Colton Herta took the honours of leading the first ever practice session on the streets of Nashville after topping the times on Friday ahead of this weekend’s NTT Indycar Series Music City Grand Prix.
It was a session full of learning for all 27 drivers but the Andretti Autosport driver learned the quickest on the tight, bumpy street circuit, setting a 1:16:587, just under four tenths clear of second place.
That second spot was occupied by six-time champion Scott Dixon who showed you can teach old dogs new tricks as he continues to fight at the front at the very top of the sport.
Championship contender Pato O’Ward didn’t have the session he desired though as he hit the wall at turn three having just gone second at the time. The Mexican clipped the inside wall which speared his Arrow McLaren SP car into the outside wall doing a fair amount of damage that needs to be fixed for tomorrow’s second practice.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly also caused a red flag as he locked the rear tyres over the bumpy bridge and went heavily into the tyre barriers at the end of the long straight. The Indianapolis native was OK, as was O’Ward.
Romain Grosjean won’t have raced on a track as violent as this during his time in Formula One but he showed all his years of experience to go third fastest ahead of Alexander Rossi, who hosted a live recording of his and James Hinchcliffe’s podcast (Off Track with Hinch and Rossi) in downtown Nashville last night.
Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou ensured three Chip Ganassi cars ended in the top six, but points leader Palou was given a six-place grid penalty for an unauthorised engine change prior to the weekend’s running.
Felix Rosenqvist did provide Arrow McLaren SP with a glimmer of hope after a dismal season in seventh ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power who has recovered from a broken bone in his wrist after coming together with Dixon at Mid-Ohio last time out.
His fellow Penske stablemates Scott McLaughlin and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top ten with hometown hero Josef Newgarden 12th.
|1||Colton Herta||Andretti Autosport||1:16:587|
|2||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi||1:16:965|
|3||Romain Grosjean||Dale Coyne||1:17:130|
|4||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||1:17:174|
|5||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi||1:17:216|
|6||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi||1:17:226|
|7||Felix Rosenqvist||Arrow McLaren SP||1:17:226|
|8||Will Power||Team Penske||1:17:243|
|9||Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske||1:17:407|
|10||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||1:17:453|
|11||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank||1:17:467|
|12||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||1:17:660|
|13||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||1:17:857|
|15||Sebastien Bourdais||A.J Foyt||1:18:033|
|16||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter||1:18:162|
|18||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||1:18:292|
|19||Ed Jones||Dale Coyne||1:18:347|
|20||Helio Castroneves||Meyer Shank||1:18:427|
|21||Pato O’Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||1:18:622|
|22||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter||1:18:800|
|23||Jimmie Johnson||Chip Ganassi||1:19:887|
|26||Cody Ware||Dale Coyne||1:24:026|
|27||Dalton Kellett||A.J Foyt||NO TIME|