Herta edges Canapino in first Indy GP practice

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta topped opening practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for Saturday’s Sonsio Grand Prix, but Agustin Canapino of Juncos Hollinger Racing was the talk of the session.

In a bright but fresh 75-minute session — 56 degrees F at the start — the rookies took advantage of their extra set of tires to lay down early laps, Christian Rasmussen of Ed Carpenter Racing leading Chip Ganassi Racing youngsters Linus Lundqvist and Kyffin Simpson after 15 minutes.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden had moved to the top of the times on his third lap and then on his fourth ducked beneath the 70-second barrier — 1m09.9152s — when he spun and stalled exiting Turn 2, causing a red flag.


Newly signed Arrow McLaren driver Theo Pourchaire was up to third ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda’s Christian Lundgaard and Meyer Shank Racing’s rookie Tom Blomqvist when the second red flew for another RLL driver, Graham Rahal, who had pulled off at pit exit with a suspected mechanical issue. The session had barely restarted when Marcus Armstrong’s Ganassi car went up in smoke on its second lap and pulled into pitlane with fire on the right side.

When the track stayed under green long enough for more established stars to lay down times, Felix Rosenqvist — twice a polesitter here — and Herta, a former winner here, were into the top five. But by then Lundgaard was up to second and Rasmussen had improved his best to go third.

Then Rasmussen’s teammate, Rinus VeeKay, who scored his first win on this course back in 2021, finally usurped Newgarden from the top spot to set a 1m09.7872s with 25 minutes to go, while Ganassi’s Alex Palou moved up to third.

The McLarens of Pourchaire and Pato O’Ward went onto the alternate compound Firestones with 18 minutes to go, and the latter made that pay off with a 1m09.7199s to go top on his 16th lap. Pietro Fittipaldi in the third RLL car jumped to sixth with a time almost identical to what Lundgaard achieved on primaries.

Will Power — a five-time winner at this track — went to P1 for Penske with the first 126mph lap of the session, briefly got knocked off the top, surprisingly, by Canapino and then the Australian lowered the benchmark to 1m09.3930s. But Canapino was equal to that challenge, too, and resumed P1 with a 1m09.3713s. Behind Power was VeeKay with Scott McLaughlin (Penske) in fourth, ahead of O’Ward and Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Autosport).

Kirkwood didn’t stay top Andretti Global driver for long, as Herta got down to a 1m09.2863s to grab the top spot, while the third AG car of Marcus Ericsson slotted into fifth.

In the final minutes, Rosenqvist fell off the track at Turn 7, Pourchaire lost fuel pressure and coasted to a halt, and Santino Ferrucci did another fine job to put AJ Foyt Racing into the top 10.

Practice 2 begins at 1:10pm local (Eastern) time, with qualifying starting at 4:20pm.


Story originally appeared on Racer