Herta tops first Nashville practice as O’Ward crashes

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Credit: NTT Indycar Series

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.

Pos.NameTeamLap Time
1Colton HertaAndretti Autosport1:16:587
2Scott DixonChip Ganassi1:16:965
3Romain GrosjeanDale Coyne1:17:130
4Alexander RossiAndretti Autosport1:17:174
5Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi1:17:216
6Alex PalouChip Ganassi1:17:226
7Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SP1:17:226
8Will PowerTeam Penske1:17:243
9Scott McLaughlinTeam Penske1:17:407
10Simon PagenaudTeam Penske1:17:453
11Jack HarveyMeyer Shank1:17:467
12Josef NewgardenTeam Penske1:17:660
13James HinchcliffeAndretti Autosport1:17:857
14Graham RahalRLL1:17:982
15Sebastien BourdaisA.J Foyt1:18:033
16Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter1:18:162
17Takuma SatoRLL1:18:216
18Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti Autosport1:18:292
19Ed JonesDale Coyne1:18:347
20Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank1:18:427
21Pato O’WardArrow McLaren SP1:18:622
22Conor DalyEd Carpenter1:18:800
23Jimmie JohnsonChip Ganassi1:19:887
24Max ChitlonCarlin1:20:198
25Santino FerrucciRLL1:21:381
26Cody WareDale Coyne1:24:026
27Dalton KellettA.J FoytNO TIME
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If it's got an engine, I've watched it race. F2 and F3 correspondent with a sprinkling of speedway here and there.
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