Herta sets pace as Andretti drivers dominate hairdressing practice

Herta sets pace as Andretti drivers dominate hairdressing practice

Andretti Autosport was on the pulse at Barber Motorsports Park on Friday as Colton Herta led opening practice for the Honda Indy Alabama Grand Prix presented by AmFirst with a best lap of 1 minute 6.5149 seconds in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.

Defending race winner and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou followed in second with 1:06.5657 in the #10 The American Legion Honda, just 0.05s behind Herta’s fast lap.

SEE: Practice results

“I was very happy with how the car was,” said Herta. “We were one of the lucky few to get to test here (recently), so we did a lot that day to prepare for this weekend, and it showed. We came in here and rolled off the truck, and the car was really nice right away.”

Herta’s Andretti Autosport teammates followed closely as Alexander Rossi hit his No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda placed third in 1:06.6657 and Romain Grosjean placed No. 28 Enevate/DHL Honda fourth with a best lap of 1:06.7046.

The rookie teammate of the Andretti Autosport trio also proved strong on the 17-turn, 3.3-mile course. Devlin DeFrancesco set the fastest time in the practice session before finishing the session in a solid 14th at 1:07.3817 in the PowerTap Honda No. 29.

Scott McLaughlin, who won the season opener in St. Petersburg, rounded out the top five as fastest Chevrolet driver in the #3 Sonsio Team Penske Chevrolet with a best lap of 1:06.8705. Callum Ilott was the fastest rookie of the day, setting a best lap of 1:07.0861 early in the session in the number 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, finishing eighth overall.

Less than a second separated the top 17 drivers in the 26-strong field.

Missing from the top half of the practice sheets were former Barber Motorsports Park winners Josef Newgarden (2015, ’17, ’18), Simon Pagenaud (2016) and Takuma Sato (2019). Newgarden was 18th with 1:07.5505 in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, while Pagenaud finished 21st at 1:07.6916 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda and Sato finished 22nd at 1:07.7473 in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to action on Saturday with training at 10am (ET), followed by NTT P1 Award Qualifying at 1pm and final practice at 5:20pm. All sessions are live on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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