By: Spencer Neff
Practice 2 Results Combined Practice Results Tire Strategies Round 1 Qualifying Groups
Looking to repeat the success of his team debut in 2021, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou led Saturday’s 45-minute practice session ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.
The 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion and race winner at Barber Motorsports Park turned in a best lap of 1m06.2781 (124.928 mph) on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course in Birmingham, Alabama. All four of Palou’s series victories and his lone pole have been on permanent road courses.
Finishing .2352 of a second behind Palou was three-time Barber winner Josef Newgarden, fastest among the Chevrolet entries. After leading yesterday’s opening practice, Scott McLaughlin followed his teammate by placing third on the speed chart. Palou’s teammate Scott Dixon and Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta finished a Top Five bookended by Honda.
Defending race winner Pato O”Ward finished ninth for Arrow McLaren with series points leader Marcus Ericsson in 10th. In 15th, Ericsson’s CGR teammate Marcus Armstrong was best among the four-driver rookie class. After three red flags interrupted opening practice, one stoppage impeded the early afternoon running
The lone red flag of the afternoon session occurred when Helio Castroneves spun in Turn 9. The No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing entry spun on corner entry but was able to return to pit lane under his own power.
With less than a minute remaining, INDYCAR would resume the session to allow drivers to one more lap to conclude the last pre-qualifying session.
Despite the likely tire discrepancy in qualifying and tomorrow’s 90-lap race, no drivers opted for the alternate Firestone tires in practice. Preparations will now shift to setting the field for Sunday’s race in qualifying this afternoon.
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):
Saturday, April 29
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 James Black/INDYCAR