By: Spencer Neff
Kicking off the weekend for the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix, Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin paced the 27-car field. The No.3 entry posted a best lap of 1m06.661 (124.211 mph) on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course. In his second appearance at Barber last season, the Christchurch, New Zealand native started fourth and sixth, his best of two starts at the track.
Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta was the fastest Honda in Friday’s opening session, the No.26 was .1583 of a second back of McLaughlin’s Chevrolet. Despite prompting a red flag with an off-track excursion, Mclaughlin’s teammate Will Power bookended a Top 3 for Penske.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, a six-time runner-up at Barber and points leader Marcus Ericsson rounded out the Top Five. The drivers will look to join 2021 race winner Alex Palou as drivers to win for CGR at Barber.
Marcus Armstrong, the current Rookie of the Year leader, continued his first year with a 17th-place effort in the session for CGR. Last year’s race and pole winners, Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, finished eighth and 13th.
During the 75-minute session, the red flag was displayed on three occasions for separate incidents.
About 15 minutes into practice, Helio Castroneves went off track and was caught in the Turn 9 gravel trap. The 2010 race winner and two-time pole winner (2012 and 2015) was assessed a five-minute hold penalty and his No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing entry was given a new front wing before continuing on.
Soon after, Romain Grosjean had an engine let go. The No. 28 Andretti Autosport team quickly went to work once the car wad brought to pit road. The St. Petersburg pole winner and Long Beach runner-up’s day would end prematurely.
With just over 12 minutes remaining, two-time Barber race winner and four-time pole winner Power went off into the gravel in Turn 3. After having the No. 12 entry pulled from the gravel by the AMR Safety Team, Power made it back to pit lane.
Here is the remaining on track schedule for this weekend. Stay with IndyCar1909 for the latest on the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.
At-track schedule (All Times Local/Central Time):
Friday, April 28
1:40-2:25 p.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone practice, INDYCAR LIVE
2:40-3:55 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice (75 minutes), Peacock
Saturday, April 29
10-10:45 a.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone practice, INDYCAR LIVE
11 a.m.-noon – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice (45 minutes), Peacock
1:20-1:40 p.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone, INDYCAR LIVE
2-3:15 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), Peacock
Sunday, April 30
11-11:30 a.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock 11:55 a.m. – INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama “Drivers, start your engines”
Noon – INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Alabama (35 laps/55 minutes), Peacock.
2 p.m. – NBC on air
2:23 p.m. – Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix “Drivers, start your engines”
2:30 p.m. – Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix (90 laps / 207 miles), NBC (Live)
Header Image By INDYCAR