In the closing laps of Friday IndyCar practice from Road America, Romain Grosjean shot to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:47.6781.
The rookie has made a habit of hanging around at the top of the timesheets in practice and qualifying in the five IndyCar races he has contested so far, and today was no exception.
Just before Grosjean snatched the top spot, it was Ryan Hunter-Reay who had laid down the quickest time of the afternoon.
Finishing second on the charts, it was a rare session near to top for the 40-year-old who has had his share of bad luck this season.
Josef Newgarden finished third on the timesheets, and gave hope for to a bad luck-stricken Team Penske squad that has yet to get its first win of the year.
Inexperience up and down the field
There were a few new faces on the track this weekend, both on account of injuries and due to a one-race deal.
Kevin Magnussen made his IndyCar debut behind the wheel of the #7 Arrow McLaren SP ride, and was able to log the 23rd best time.
Being as he has had no testing ahead of his substitution for an injured Felix Rosenqvist, Magnussen logged the most laps of anyone and completed 14 laps in the short 45-minute session.
Cody Ware also made his IndyCar debut on Friday, logging 12 laps in the second Dale Coyne Racing entry.
Aside from Grosjean at the top of the field, the fastest rookie was Scott McLaughlin who put in a lap good enough for the eighth fastest on the charts.
Old school circuit
Universally, Road America is seen as a favorite by the fans and the drivers alike. Multiple drivers expressed their relief to be off the hot streets of Detroit that the series visited last weekend.
With its long straights and grassy runoff areas, the 4.05-mile circuit just outside of ElkHart Lake, Wisconsin represents a proper old-school circuit.
The elevation changes and natural terrain corners presented a bit of trouble for some drivers, including Will Power who went for a trip through the grass on the penultimate corner.
But no harm was done, and everyone was able to continue to run under the green flag for the entirety of the session.
Unlike some weekends in IndyCar’s shortened weekend format, the drivers will get another practice session Saturday morning ahead of a full Fast-6 qualifying session that afternoon.