By: Spencer Neff
June 21, 2019 | 12:41 PM
During Friday morning’s opening practice session at Road America, Ryan Hunter-Reay topped the speed chart. The Andretti Autosport driver posted a best lap of 1m43.7556s (139.273mph) around the 4.014-mile, 14 turn road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Finishing 0.0688 seconds off Hunter-Reay during the 45-minute session was Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato. In third place, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon completed a 1-2-3 finish in the session for Honda-powered entries.
Fourth-fastest was the 2016 Road America winner Will Power, who slotted in as the fastest Chevrolet-powered entry in the field.
Rounding out the top-five was Power’s Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, the defending pole and race winner at the track. After winning at Texas on June 8, Newgarden is the points leader by 25 markers over Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi.
Looking to shake off the disappointing results of his first three appearances at the track, Rossi notched the sixth-fastest time of the session.
Among the five rookies entered in the field, Patricio O’Ward turned the quickest lap. In the first practice, the Carlin Racing driver was 13th-fastest with a best lap of 1m44.8431s.
The 12 fastest drivers were separated by less than a full second. Only 10 drivers were able to record 10 or more laps around the long Wisconsin circuit. Of those 10, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Marcus Ericsson completed the most as he logged 15 laps. In all, the field ran 215 laps.
With two red flags impacting the opening practice, the limited track time was cut even further. For one driver, the red flags proved to come with more issues than a shortened time on track.
Midway through the session, a red flag was brought out when Jack Harvey’s Meyer Shank Racing machine stalled in Turn 12, often referred to as “Canada Corner”.
After his team incurred a five-minute penalty for causing the red flag, they were able to return to practice. During the NBC Sports Gold broadcast, Dillon Welch reported that car owner Michael Shank confirmed it was an electrical issue.
Unfortunately, the issues for Harvey in Turn 12 would continue soon after. With about five minutes remaining in the session, the driver of the No. 60 Dallara-Honda flew into the gravel runoff following what appeared to be a stuck throttle.
Due to the ensuing red flag, the session was almost brought to an abrupt end. Thankfully for the rest of the field, the red flag was lifted with about one minute remaining. Drivers were given one flying lap to complete the session.
NTT IndyCar Series drivers will have another 45-minute practice session this afternoon, plus a 30-minute pit stop practice session to end the day.
On Saturday morning we will have one final 45-minute practice session before Qualifications will kick off at 4:00 PM Eastern time live on NBC Sports Gold – TV coverage will be available on a one-hour delay via NBCSN at 5:00 PM Eastern time. For radio coverage, tune to Sirius channel 219 or XM channel 209.
Sunday’s 55-lap race will have NBC carrying the coverage with a start time of 12:00 PM Eastern. The green flag is expected to drop at approximately 12:43 PM Eastern time, and you can also catch the race on the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network by visiting RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Additionally, the site provides live timing and scoring during each on-track session. Stay tuned to Open-Wheels for coverage of this weekend’s REV Group Grand Prix.
Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR