Plymouth, WI – The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to the scenic Road America course this weekend, as the 21 drivers took to the 4.014-mile Elkhart Lake facility on Friday for two 45-minute long practice sessions. In the first practice, Alexander Rossi topped the speed charts with a lap around the 14-turn road course at 1:43.3285-seconds in his No. 98 Honda.
Rossi, started 16th and finished 15th here last year, but this season, he’s already showing the pace to contend for the win in Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix (12:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network).
A Team Penske trio was right behind him in session No. 1, with Simon Pagenaud leading the charge for the team being second overall with a lap of 1:43.5625-seconds in his No. 1 Chevrolet. Pagenaud, started fourth a year ago and was in the hunt for a podium in the end before a mechanical malfunction took him out of contention.
Last year’s winner Will Power (1:43.7508-seconds) was third this morning, while Josef Newgarden, winner of the other all-terrain road course this year at Barber, was fourth in his No. 2 Chevrolet with a time of 1;43.778-seconds in his No. 2 Chevrolet.
Points leader Scott Dixon rounded out the top five with a lap of 1;43.8994-seconds.
The only incident in the session brought out a red flag with four minutes to go, when Ryan Hunter-Reay spun his No. 28 Honda in the 14th and final turn and got into the sand trap. Luckily, he escape much damage.
Session No. 2 was Team Penske dominated. They took the top four spots on the speed chart after getting three in the top four in the first session. Newgarden, led the way overall with a lap of 1:42.8229-seconds in his No. 2 Chevrolet, while Power was second in his No. 12 Chevrolet with a time of 1;42.9990-seconds.
Pagenaud (1:43.1370-seconds) and Castroneves (1:43.2227-seconds) were third and fourth respectively.
James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top five with a lap of 1:43.4802-seconds in his No. 5 Honda.
Rossi who was quickest in the first practice had two issues in the second session, both occurring in Turn 14.
The series will practice tomorrow morning at 11 am locally, before setting the field for Sunday’s race at 4 pm ET/3 pm CT.