The drivers of the NTT IndyCar Series kicked off the Month of May with a Friday practice session around the Indianapolis road course.
After the 75-minute session was complete, it was Pato O’Ward that was sitting on top of the timesheets, continuing his strong performances this season.
Nearly every driver’s times dropped in the final 10 minutes as they fitted the softer alternate tires for the first time, and O’Ward’s best lap was completed in 1:09.4981.
Christian Lundgaard was close behind in his RLL Honda, completing his lap just seven thousandths of a second slower.
Lundgaard made his first ever IndyCar appearance on this track, and has been fast around the 2.44-mile course from the outset.
Alex Palou was fastest for much of the day, and was third quickest on the softer tires late in the session. He was followed by the most recent race winner Scott McLaughlin.
The surprise of the morning was Jack Harvey, who completed the fifth fastest time. The Briton has struggled all season, and hopes to continue his pace into the race on Saturday.
There is rain in the forecast for much of the weekend, and indeed a line of rain moved through around sunrise and suitably soaked the track.
Less than an hour before IndyCar took to the track, however, the sun made an appearance and ensured the rain tires were not used for the opening session.
Colton Herta suffered some bad luck in his return to IMS, as his Andretti Autosport Honda was forced to go to the garages after just a single install lap.
During that lap a small fire appeared on the left side of the engine, and his team suspected an oil leak was the culprit.
Despite the length of the practice session, his crew barely completed repairs and Herta was only able to run a second install lap as time ran out.
There were no other serious issues during the morning, although a few drivers did push the limits a bit far and used the runoff area at Turn 1.
A second practice session is scheduled for 1:00 PM Eastern, followed by qualifying later in the afternoon.