Josef Newgarden has topped the timesheets for Friday’s sole IndyCar practice session from Mid-Ohio.
The Team Penske driver put his Chevrolet-powered car on top in Honda’s home track, lapping the short 2.26-mile circuit in 1:07.2524.
Newgarden remarked that his car was locked in right from the start, and is happy to have a good balance in the early running.
Coming in just over a quarter of a second behind was Pato O’Ward, who used his fast hands to power his Arrow McLaren SP Chevy into the second spot.
Jack Harvey was the first Honda on the list, putting his Meyer Shank Racing drive into third and continuing the Briton’s fast starts to the weekends that he has enjoyed lately.
Four other Honda drivers filled in the next three positions, with Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal, Romain Grosjean, and Scott Dixon all putting in laps fast enough to get into the seven positions of the time sheet.
Extra refresher laps
In the early part of the session it was the drivers that needed the extra refresher laps that seemingly had the circuit to themselves for a bit.
Jimmie Johnson logged the most laps of anybody, completing 25 laps in an effort to get as much practice in as possible at his first visit to the track.
Felix Rosenqvist and Rinus VeeKay also took advantage of a mostly empty track in their returns from injury. Both drivers logged over 18 laps and were quick to get back up to pace.
Rosenqvist did have a spin into turn 1, but damage to his AMSP Chevy was minimal and he was able to get back on track after some help from the track crew to get rolling again.
Ryan Norman, in his debut IndyCar session, was also out early and often and ended the day a solid 22nd on his hometown track.
Cool and windy
Many drivers struggled with grip around the hilly course, power sliding out of corners on the regular as they hunted for traction.
Part of the slickness was on account of the cooler temperatures, which were nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the expected high temperature for the race on Sunday.
It was also partly due to different tire compounds being laid down earlier in the day, as three other series are competing on track throughout the weekend.
The gusty winds did not seem to affect the drivers too much, although they did bring a quick rain shower across the track in the closing laps.
The field will get one more full 45-minute practice session on Saturday morning at 9:00 EDT, with a full Fast-Six qualifying session following after that.