Romain Grosjean turned the fastest lap late in the first practice Friday for the NTT IndyCar Series, which kicked off a three-day weekend schedule at Road America with a unique 25-driver entry list.
The Dale Coyne Racing driver, who won the pole position and finished second last month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in his third IndyCar start, recorded a time of 1 minute, 47.6781 seconds bested Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:47.8024) and Josef Newgarden (1:47.8417).
Alex Palou and Graham Rahal rounded out the top five. Points leader Pato O’Ward turned the 11th-fastest lap on the 14-turn, 4.014-mile road course.
FRIDAY PRACTICE: IndyCar speed chart from Road America
“It’s a good start,” Grosjean told NBC Sports reporter Dillon Welch. “The track is very different from when we came testing, so we’ve got some work to do on the setup. We managed to get a good lap at the end. I think the weather is going to be changing, so we just have to adapt to that, and as a rookie, I guess we’ll find out.”
Oliver Askew, racing for the second consecutive week as a substitute, was eighth fastest in the No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing. Rinus VeeKay, who expects to miss only Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix after breaking his left shoulder in a cycling accident, was on hand to watch his replacement.
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Kevin Magnussen, Grosjean’s Haas F1 teammate in Formula One the past four seasons, was 23rd fastest in his IndyCar debut in place of Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist, who is recovering from a violent crash at Detroit Belle Isle Raceway last week.
Magnussen was one spot behind Cody Ware, who was 22nd fastest (1:50.2981) ahead of his IndyCar debut Sunday after starting every NASCAR Cup Series race this season.
Jimmie Johnson was 21st (1:50.0764) on the speed chart in the No. 48 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Because of a small fire that caused car damage, Ed Jones was unable to make a lap in the session
START TIMES, WEEKEND SCHEDULE AND TV INFO FOR REV GROUP GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA (all times ET):
8:45 a.m.: Indy Lights qualifying, Race 2
11:10-11:55 a.m.: NTT IndyCar practice, Peacock Premium
12:15 p.m.: USF2000, Race 1
1:10 p.m.: Indy Pro 2000, Race 1
2:30-3:45 p.m.: IndyCar qualifying (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock Premium (live) NBCSN (tape delay, midnight)
4:05 p.m.: Indy Lights Race 1, Peacock Premium
5:30-6 p.m.: NTT IndyCar practice, Peacock Premium
9 a.m.: USF2000 Race 2
9:45 a.m.: Indy LIghts Race 2, Peacock Premium
10:50 a.m.: Indy Pro 2000 Race 2
12:45 p.m.: REV Group Grand Prix (55 laps/220.77miles), NBCSN (live)