Newgarden Leads Power and Pagenaud in Opening Sonoma Practice

Josef Newgarden was quickest in first practice at Sonoma - Credit: Chris Owens / IndyCar

Championship leader Josef Newgarden set the pace in the opening practice session of the season finale at Sonoma Raceway as Team Penske locked out the top three places.

Newgarden has a three-point advantage in the championship ahead of Scott Dixon ahead of this weekend’s double-points finale, and he set the pace with a best time of 1:16.3950s ahead of team-mates Will Power and Simon Pagenaud.

All four Penske drivers remain in contention for the championship, as does Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dixon, but while Alexander Rossi and Graham Rahal both remain mathematically in with a shout, they would need a miracle result for either to take the crown.

Rossi kept up his momentum from his race-winning performance from Watkins Glen International to set the fourth fastest time for Andretti Herta Autosport ahead of Sebastien Bourdais of Dale Coyne Racing, while Dixon was sixth, 0.2247 seconds off Newgarden’s best.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was seventh for Andretti Autosport ahead of Castroneves, who could only get to within 0.3075 seconds of Newgarden, while Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing and Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport completed the top ten.

Rahal was eleventh fastest for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, with the American having the rarity of a team-mate this weekend, with Canadian Zachery Cleman DeMelo making his series debut, although the teenager brought up the rear of the twenty-two car field in his first practice session.

Sonoma Raceway Free Practice 1 Result

12Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske1:16.3950
212Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:16.4322
31Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:16.5047
498Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:16.5720
518Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne Racing1:16.6060
69Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:16.6197
728Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:16.6711
83Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:16.7025
910Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:16.7484
1027Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:16.7843
1115Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:16.9072
1226Takuma SatoJAPAndretti Autosport1:16.9676
135James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:17.1210
1421JR HildebrandUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.3287
1519Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing1:17.3960
1620Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.4254
1783Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:17.4384
188Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:17.4736
1914Carlos MunozCOLAJ Foyt Enterprises1:17.5451
207Jack HarveyGBRSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:17.6168
214Conor DalyUSAAJ Foyt Enterprises1:17.6566
2213Zachery Claman DeMeloCANRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:17.9506