Laguna Seca – FP1: Newgarden and Palou well launched

Josef Newgarden (Penske) was the fastest in the first free practice session at Laguna Seca, the penultimate meeting of the season.

A good start for the American, one of the great contenders for the title, as he points to 3rd place in the championship, 34 points behind the leader, Alex Palou (Ganassi).

The only Chevrolet driver in the top 10, Newgarden edged out Colton Herta (Andretti), winner two years ago in the last edition of the iconic Californian race, and Palou, who did not weaken as he approached the goal.

His runner-up, Pato O’Ward (McLaren SP) cannot say the same, while he was satisfied with the 14th fastest time, after a last race in Portland, finished in the same rank. Twenty-five points separate the two young men.

Distanced, but not yet ruled out of the title race, the six-time winner of the series, Scott Dixon, set him the 11th fastest time in a 45-minute session interrupted seven minutes when Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank) hit the wall tires of the 2nd corner, before a final red flag in the last minute which deprived many cars of a last attempt.

Romain Grosjean (Dale Coyne Racing) signed the 9th fastest time. The weekend had not yet started under the best auspices for the Franco-Swiss, since as part of an IndyCar promotion campaign, he hit a wall of tires with the Pace Car.

Blame it on the brakes which suddenly no longer responded when entering the pitlane. He and his teammate Ed Jones then hit hard enough to trigger the airbags and the windshield took a hit.

Still on the “Frenchy” side, Sébastien Bourdais (AJ Foyt) signed the 18th time, Simon Pagenaud (Penske) on the 20th.

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