DETROIT – Familiarity bred success in Friday’s opening practice for NTT IndyCar Series drivers at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.
The last four drivers to win on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street course on Belle Isle Park finished in the top five in the 45-minute session. Scott Dixon, who won the first race of the 2018 doubleheader weekend, was fastest with a lap of 1 minute, 16.7418 seconds (110.240 mph) in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX: Practice 1 results
Will Power, a two-time Belle Isle winner including in the second race of the 2016 twin bill, was second in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet with a best lap of 1:17.0882 (109.744 mph). Ryan Hunter-Reay, winner of last year’s second race, came in third in practice at 1:17.1060 (109.719 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Honda.
Finally, Graham Rahal – the only driver to sweep both Detroit races (in 2017) since it became a doubleheader on the schedule in 2013 – was fifth of the 22 cars with a lap of 1:17.2201 (109.557 mph) in the No. 15 Fifth Third/United Rentals Honda.
The only non-Detroit winner to break up the practice list was Josef Newgarden, who ran fourth in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet (1:17.1981, 109.588 mph). Newgarden did finish second to Rahal in the second race of 2017.
Simon Pagenaud, fresh off his victory Sunday in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, was 12th fastest in practice at 1:17.7087 (108.868 mph) in the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet. Pagenaud takes a one-point championship lead over Newgarden into the Detroit race weekend.
A second practice is scheduled from 2:50-3:35 p.m. ET Friday, followed by the warmup/pit stop practice session from 3:50-4:20 p.m. Both stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold.
With the doubleheader format, qualifying this weekend varies from the traditional knockout qualifying. Instead, the field is split into two groups, with each group receiving 12 minutes of track time in Race 1 qualifying at 10:45 a.m. Saturday (live on INDYCAR Pass; delayed broadcast at noon on NBCSN). The fastest overall driver earns the NTT P1 Award pole position for the race, with the fastest in the other group starting second.
Race 1 airs live at 3 p.m. Saturday on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
The qualifying and race schedules are repeated for Race 2 on Sunday, with qualifying telecast live on NBCSN starting at 10:30 a.m. and the race live again on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network starting at 3 p.m.