Palou paces opening practice at Barber

Alex Palou started his tenure at Chip Ganassi Racing just like his boss, Chip Ganassi, likes it – on top of the speed chart.

Second-year NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Palou led the opening practice of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst this morning at Barber Motorsports Park with a top lap of 1 minute, 6.4721 seconds in the No. 10 SEGI.TV Honda. He was one of four drivers quicker than the lap record of 1:06.6001 set by Sebastien Bourdais in qualifying in 2016.

“It’s amazing,” Palou said. “I love this place, Barber. It’s the best way to start, P1. I’m happy.”

Colton Herta was second in the 45-minute session at 1:06.4897 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, followed by three-time Barber race winner Josef Newgarden at 1:06.4957 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.

Reigning and six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon was fourth at 1:06.5524 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, while Pato O’Ward rounded out the top five at 1:06.6281 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

O’Ward’s teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, was involved in the only incident of the session on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile circuit. He lost control of his No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet entering pit lane and nudged the outside barrier, damaging the right front wing and right wheel-suspension assembly. He was unhurt and expects to be back on track for the next practice, at 2:40 p.m. (ET, live on Peacock).

NTT P1 Pole Award qualifying starts at 5:55 p.m. today.

2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – First Practice Results

1Alex Palou1001:06.472110124.56418–.—-–.—-
2Colton Herta2601:06.48976124.531160.01760.0176
3Josef Newgarden201:06.49576124.519140.02360.0060
4Scott Dixon901:06.55246124.413120.08030.0567
5Pato O’Ward501:06.62816124.272110.15600.0757
6Alexander Rossi2701:06.630710124.267140.15860.0026
7Will Power1201:06.73416124.074160.26200.1034
8Scott McLaughlin301:06.749911124.045170.27780.0158
9Marcus Ericsson801:06.79998123.952180.32780.0500
10Felix Rosenqvist701:06.843510123.871100.37140.0436
11Conor Daly2001:06.86995123.823170.39780.0264
12Ryan Hunter-Reay2801:06.877710123.808140.40560.0078
13Ed Jones1801:07.057511123.476160.58540.1798
14James Hinchcliffe2901:07.10729123.385150.63510.0497
15Sebastien Bourdais1401:07.23109123.157120.75890.1238
16Simon Pagenaud2201:07.23249123.155180.76030.0014
17Jack Harvey6001:07.248511123.125170.77640.0161
18Graham Rahal1501:07.310011123.013220.83790.0615
19Rinus VeeKay2101:07.31577123.003170.84360.0057
20Takuma Sato3001:07.53496122.603181.06280.2192
21Romain Grosjean5101:07.55347122.57191.08130.0185
22Dalton Kellett401:07.727610122.254171.25550.1742
23Max Chilton5901:07.76546122.186161.29330.0378
24Jimmie Johnson4801:07.950916121.853221.47880.1855

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