Newgarden Leads Interrupted First COTA Practice

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Leading the NTT IndyCar Series points after coming out on top at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Josef Newgarden kicked off the series’ inaugural Circuit of The Americas visit with the fastest lap in the opening practice.

The North American premier open-wheel championship’s newest drivers starred during the first session at the new track, particularly midway through when Colton Herta led Felix Rosenqvist, Marcus Ericsson, Matheus Leist and Max Chilton atop the timesheet.

Shortly thereafter, Newgarden improved his time with a 1:48.6567 on his third of six total laps during the session, placing his No. 2 PPG Chevrolet in the first position and displacing Herta to second.

Herta initiated a lengthy red-flag period when the Honda in his Harding Steinbrenner Racing machine locked up and caused him to spin. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team removed the No. 88 Honda — and the oil it laid down — from the racetrack and INDYCAR guaranteed one timed lap to the field when the green flag returned.

Despite not participating in that opportunity, Herta retained the second-fastest lap, having come 0.1372 seconds short of the lap that put Newgarden on top.

Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay placed third and fourth in their Andretti Autosport machines while Graham Rahal competed an all-American top five, which was split by 0.8509 seconds.

Rosenqvist ultimately landed sixth as the first driver to lap more than one second slower than Newgarden. Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Scott Dixon and Chilton completed the top 10.

A total of 149 laps were completed by the 24-car field during the interrupted session, creating an average of six per car. In his debut session with Carlin, Pato O’Ward contributed to that figure by turning 10 laps while Rosenqvist, Chilton and Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser were the next busiest drivers with eight laps turned.

A second one-hour practice outing is scheduled for 2:05–3:05 p.m. CDT Friday.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Duranthttp://aarondurant.com
Aaron brings a developing design and editorial vision to The Apex every day and co-hosts The Braking Point podcast every week. As editor-in-chief and an avid reader, Aaron enjoys aligning his relentless care for quality with an interest in counterintuitive approaches.

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