A pair of Arrow McLaren drivers logged the second and third fastest times, with Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi each within just 0.03 seconds of the McLaughlin.
Colton Herta and Devlin DeFrancesco set the fourth and fifth fastest times respectively, putting in a good showing for Andretti Autosport as well.
A couple teams that did not do so well in the first practice session were Ed Carpenter Racing and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. RLL drivers in particular occupied the lowest three positions on the timesheet, and is the second time in two races this year that the team has struggled with their initial setups.
The practice session took place at 8:00 AM local time, and drivers had to compete with the rising sun streaming into their visors as they drove through turns 1 and 2.
Although there is a second practice session scheduled later in the afternoon, that comes after qualifying. Meaning drivers will only have the single run to dial in their machines.
IndyCar brought a whole host of new aero pieces to Texas this year, which is able to give a significant boost to the amount of downforce available to all teams.
That extra downforce doesn’t come free, however, and drivers were busy making adjustments all morning in the limited track time they were given.
In years past, there has been remnants of a troublesome traction compound in the high line around each of the banked corners. The compound, brand named PJ1, is designed to give extra grip to the second groove when NASCAR events are on track.
Luckily for the field of 28 drivers in this weekend’s IndyCar field, there is very little of the compound present this year and there is optimism that there will be ample side by side racing on Sunday.
After a short break, qualifying will get underway with each driver attempting to set the fastest set of two consecutive laps. That high-speed shootout takes place at 11:15 Central Time.