LEXINGTON, Ohio – Defending Verizon IndyCar Series and Honda Indy 200 champion Simon Pagenaud paced opening practice for this year’s occasion, posting a quick time of 1:04.9079 at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Pagenaud, in the No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, sits third in this year’s championship with 404 points. Interestingly his only win this year has come on the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway back in April.
Graham Rahal, the 2015 Mid-Ohio winner, was second in the session in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at 1:04.922. Marco Andretti made it into third in his No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda at 1:04.9814.
The top nine drivers down to Scott Dixon in ninth were separated by only 0.3241 of a second and all 21 drivers bar JR Hildebrand were within one second.
Other than a near miss when Helio Castroneves almost hit Esteban Gutierrez exiting the Keyhole, there were no issues in the session and no red flags.
Second practice runs from 2:15 to 3 p.m. ET and local time.
Times are below.