Gateway IndyCar: Power tops Palou in first practice

IndyCar championship leader Will Power led the way in opening practice at the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway, ahead of the 15th round in the 2022 season.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD-Honda rookie David Malukas was the first driver into the 175s, Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Will Power was the first into the 176s, Devlin De Francesco sent his Andretti Autosport-Honda around in 177mph, and then Josef Newgarden – a three-time winner here – put everyone in perspective with a 179.660mph effort on his ninth lap.

Scott McLaughlin, who finished fourth here last year, got close to his teammate, with a 179.172mph lap, and at that time the pair of them were the only drivers to hit 195mph through the Turn 1 speed trap.

But it was a driver who ran ‘only’ 194 into Turn 1, Felix Rosenqvist of Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet who hit the top spot with 12 minutes to go, with the first 180mph lap of the weekend. Soon after, Graham Rahal moved into second with a 179.713mph effort for Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda.

Then Pato O’Ward made it an AMSP 1-2, just 0.0074sec/0.052mph slower than his teammate.

Both were pushed down by Alex Palou’s qualifying simulation, a 180.208mph lap, before McLaughlin joined them in the 180mph bracket, and then Will Power went fastest with a 180.539 with six minutes to go.

That remained the top speed of the session, although it ended with six drivers north of 180mph, and several drivers had their qualifying sim runs ruined by traffic, so the results aren’t very conclusive.

Nonetheless, Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda will be content to have two cars in the top five at what has become regarded as ‘a Penske track’, and it’s clear that Arrow McLaren SP will be in with a chance of pole in qualifying this afternoon.

Andretti Autosport-Honda was disappointing overall, even though De Francesco – who tested here along with his fellow rookies last week – did himself great credit by being fastest of the quartet in 11th, fractionally ahead of Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi.

Takuma Sato and Malukas were ninth and 13th for Dale Coyne Racing, Malukas turning the most laps at 57.

Qualifying begins at 3.15pm local (Central) time.

 

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