Defending Indy Grand Prix winner Will Power fastest in first practice at IMS

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Two-time INDYCAR Grand Prix of Indianapolis winner Will Power kicked off his bid to defend last year’s victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by clocking the best speed in Friday’s first of two practice sessions.

Power, who won the Grand Prix in 2015 and again last year, topped the 24-car field, covering the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course with a speed of 125.279 mph at an elapsed time of 1 minute, 10.0866 seconds.

2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi was second fastest (125.220 mph at 1:10.1198), followed by rookie Jordan King (125.157 mph at 1:10.1551), St. Petersburg Grand Prix winner Sebastien Bourdais (125.114 mph at 1:10.1791) and 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato (125.108 mph at 1:10.1824).

Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was sixth-fastest at 124.934 mph (1:10.2802), followed by Scott Dixon (124.924 mph, 1:10.2858), Spencer Pigot (124.867 mph, 1:10.3180), Ed Jones (124.647 mph, 1:10.4422) and Helio Castroneves (124.617 mph, 1:10.4589).

Two-time Grand Prix winner Simon Pagenaud struggled in practice, able to clock only the 18th-fastest speed (124.294 mph at 1:10.6420).

Also struggling was James Hinchcliffe, who was 20th-fastest (123.781 mph at 1:10.9351).

The second practice session today takes place at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed by qualifying starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The fifth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix of Indianapolis will take the green flag Saturday at 3:40 p.m. ET.

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