Newgarden Fastest, Penske Crowd Top 10 in St. Petersburg Practice 1

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(Photo Credit: Chris Owens / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Defending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner Josef Newgarden found himself at the top of the timing sheets once again on the Streets of St. Petersburg, as all of his Team Penske teammates finished the session in the top ten.

Newgarden’s time of 1:00.802 was closely followed by Will Power in second with a time of 1:00.810. Simon Pagenaud finally found himself towards the top of the scoring sheets again in fifth with a time of 1:00.899, while rookie Scott McLaughlin finished the session in eighth with a time of 1:01.015 at the track he made his IndyCar debut at last October.

The session was delayed for a brief period after an issue with timing and scoring, but soon got going. The only other stoppage came with three minutes remaining as Sebastien Bourdais overshot turn 10, and stalled his A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet trying to return to the track. After the checkered flag flew, the top 15 times were all within 0.5 seconds of each other, showing just how competitive this 2021 NTT IndyCar Series field is.

Splitting the Penskes of Power and Pagenaud were the Andretti Autosport duo of Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi. After being top contenders for a majority of the October race, they finished right back at the top with times of 1:00.834 and 1:00.865 for third and fourth place respectively.

Chip Ganassi Racing were not as dominant as they were in practice last week at Barber Motorsports Park, as Scott Dixon‘s time of 1:00.915 was good enough for sixth place, the highest of any of the Ganassi cars. Marcus Ericsson finished eleventh, while Alex Palou and Jimmie Johnson found themselves way down the order in twentieth and twenty-fourth respectively.

Sandwiching eighth-place McLaughlin were the two Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolets of Felix Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward. Despite locking up and going into the runoff area in turn 7, Rosenqvist set a time of 1:00.995 that was good enough for seventh place. O’Ward had a cleaner session, but finished ninth with a time of 1:01.060.

Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing started this weekend off much better than last, cracking the top ten with a time of 1:01.091, capitalizing on the pace the team found during the race last weekend at Barber.

One of the first cars on track today, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing‘s rookie Romain Grosjean finished the session in ninteenth with a time of 1:01.605. Like Bourdais, Grosjean also made a trip to the turn 10 runoff road, after locking up his rear tyres with 16 minutes left in the session. He was able to quickly get the car turned around and back on track.

The second practice session will take place on Saturday 24 April at 0945 EST / 1445 BST.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Practice 1 Results

12Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske01:00.802
212Will PowerAUSTeam Penske01:00.810
326Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport01:00.834
427Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport01:00.865
522Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske01:00.899
69Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing01:00.915
77Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP01:00.995
83Scott McLaughlin (R)NZLTeam Penske01:01.015
95Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP01:01.060
1015Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:01.091
118Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing01:01.117
1221Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing01:01.175
1328Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport01:01.194
1414Sebastien BourdaisFRAA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:01.269
1560Jack HarveyENGMeyer Shank Racing01:01.298
1620Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing01:01.361
1729James HinchcliffeCANAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport01:01.402
1830Takuma SatoJPNRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:01.460
1951Romain Grosjean (R)FRADale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing01:01.605
2010Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing01:01.739
2118Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan01:02.153
2259Max ChiltonENGCarlin01:02.276
234Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:02.926
2448Jimmie Johnson (R)USAChip Ganassi Racing01:03.131
(R) = Rookie
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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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