The winningest driver in the field kicked off this year’s edition of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio with the fastest lap in a midday opening practice session at the classic permanent road course Friday.
- Results: 2019 Honda Indy 200 Practice 1
Scott Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate and NTT IndyCar Series rookie Felix Rosenqvist was first to turn a 1:06 lap as preparations for Sunday’s 90-lap race began but fell down the running order as veterans surged to the top once the racetrack was rubbered in.
The eighth of Dixon’s 13 laps during the 45-minute session put he and the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda 0.1482 seconds clear of Spencer Pigot in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 21 entry. At 1:06.0973, Dixon’s chart-topping lap was more than half a second short of the top Practice 1 lap from 2018 but 0.1184 seconds quicker than his starting point a year ago, which placed him third.
Simon Pagenaud was the next-best championship contender in the first session, lapping within 0.1692 seconds of Dixon on their respective fastest laps. Josef Newgarden added a second Team Penske-prepared Chevrolet to the top five, going just 0.0547 seconds quicker than James Hinchcliffe who gave Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports representation at the forefront of the field.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power set the sixth- and seventh-quickest laps and were the final two pilots within half a second of two-time Mid-Ohio pole sitter and five-time winner Dixon. Rosenqvist, Sebastien Bourdais and Max Chilton competed the top 10.
Ending with Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s rookie Colton Herta, the top 12 lapped within the same second. Placed second in the championship standings and aiming to win at Mid-Ohio in back-to-back years, Alexander Rossi was 13th in the opening session, 1.007 seconds off Dixon’s best-lap pace.
Driving an Indy car for his first time since testing with Carlin in the February Open Test at Circuit of The Americas, RC Enerson was quickly up to speed and ended up 21st, a second and a half from the top.
With a field-wide 365 laps already completed, a second 45-minute practice will begin at 3:15 p.m. EDT Friday and lead into qualifying day Saturday.