Ryan Hunter-Reay came out on top in the opening practice session at Pocono Raceway on Saturday in a session that saw Ed Carpenter crash hard into the wall.
Carpenter lost the rear of his Ed Carpenter Racing car exiting turn three of the tricky triangle, making heavy contact with the SAFER barrier, and although he has been cleared to resume racing following his mandatory visit to the medical centre, his participation in qualifying later in the day is in doubt due to the damage on his car.
At the point of the stoppage, Marco Andretti was heading the field, but his Andretti Autosport team-mate Hunter-Reay emerged on top at the end of the session, which was extended by seven minutes due to Carpenter’s crash.
Hunter-Reay’s best lap of 41.0456 seconds was just 0.0107 seconds clear of Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, while Tony Kanaan also found himself ahead of Andretti when the chequered flag fell.
Scott Dixon ended up fifth for Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of Takuma Sato of Andretti Autosport, while the Andretti Herta Autosport machine of Alexander Rossi concluded the session in seventh.
Graham Rahal was eighth ahead of Helio Castroneves, while Gabby Chaves rounded out the top ten in only his third start of the season for Harding Racing, under four-tenths of a second shy of Hunter-Reay.
Carpenter was not the only driver to spin out of the session, with Ed Jones spinning on the exit of turn two and brushing the wall with this front wing. Unlike Carpenter though, the Dale Coyne Racing driver should be able to return to the track during qualifying.
Defending Pocono winner Will Power was down in eighteenth, two places ahead of championship leading Team Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden, but with the times so close – the top twenty-one were within one second – anything could happen during qualifying.
Pocono Raceway Free Practice 1 Result
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