The first car to venture out of pit lane and around a damp but drying Barber Motorsports Park during the opening NTT IndyCar Series practice session of the series’ 2019 visit ended the 45-minute outing atop the timesheet.
Aiming to maximize preparation for his first IndyCar race at the permanent road course, Felix Rosenqvist spent the early minutes of Practice 1 alone on track.
Executing a session-leading 1:09.2296 lap, the Chip Ganassi Racing newcomer joined fellow rookies Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward, Marcus Ericsson and Ben Hanley in turning more than a dozen laps en route to topping a practice session for his first time since the first of the year at the St. Petersburg street circuit.
Spins by AJ Foyt Racing pilots Matheus Leist and Tony Kanaan as well as Takuma Sato, James Hinchcliffe and Spencer Pigot combined to cause three red-flag periods, the last of which occurred late enough to force an early conclusion.
Through the interruptions, Sebastien Bourdais, Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay earned spots in the top five while Colton Herta, winner last time out at Circuit of The Americas, added a sixth Honda to the top of the results.
Herta’s former Indy Lights rival O’Ward placed seventh as the quickest driver for both Carlin and Chevrolet, leading Sato, Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud in comprising the remainder of the top 10.
After Pagenaud in 10th, Will Power and Josef Newgarden were 12th- and 14th-fastest for Team Penske. Graham Rahal, another series veteran, was 20th with a best lap 1.5086 seconds slower than Rosenqvist’s pace.
Zach Veach was 22nd at 1.8477 seconds back while DragonSpeed’s Hanley was 2.1826 seconds off and one spot worse than Veach. Due to his heavy crash at Turn 8, Leist placed last in the 24-car field, listed more than 24 seconds slower than Rosenqvist.
Practice 2 will see the field return to the 2.3-mile circuit from 2:50–3:35 p.m. Friday and will conclude the day’s IndyCar activity.