Herta leads feisty second Detroit practice

A frenetic 45-minute morning practice session for the NTT IndyCar Series on the streets of Detroit went as expected with locked brakes and cars stalled in or spinning their way out of the runoffs as they put in final preparations for this afternoon’s qualifying session for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. When it was over, Andretti Global’s Colton Herta was fastest, posting a 1m01.573s lap in the No. 26 Honda to lead teammate Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 27 Honda (1m01.738s) and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou in the No. 10 Honda (1m01.898s).

The top three were followed by two welcome surprises as Arrow McLaren’s Theo Pourchaire fired the No. 6 Chevy into fourth (1m01.943s) and Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Agustin Canapino went fifth fastest in the No. 78 Chevy (1m002.103s). Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin completed the top six with the No. 3 Chevy (1m02.112s).

Finding an opportunity to produce a single clean lap was a serious challenge for the 27 drivers.


“Thankfully I got one and it ended up being perfect and the tires were in the right temperature window,” Herta said. “You have to take the practice results with a grain of salt because there are guys that are really fast and just get screwed and don’t get laps. But luckily we were one of the lucky ones — I got to have a lap.”

Christian Lundgaard set the first competitive lap of the session and before long, Canapino spent a brief moment at the top of the field. Kirkwood joined the party and then it was his teammate Herta who shot to first and stayed there and gave the team a 1-2. Palou was represented in third as the clock wound down to the last 10 minutes and soon he was joined by Pourchaire in fourth and Canapino in fifth.

The session cleared 44 of the 45 minutes without a need for a red flag, but Pourchaire stuffed the front of his car hard into the Turn 9 barrier and broke the front wing from his car. The session was duly flagged.

Marcus Ericsson’s struggles after his Friday crash persisted as his No. 28 Andretti Global Honda refused to depart pit lane. The car died altogether at the start of the session and while it eventually fired, it stalled while trying to leave. It took the better part of 15 minutes for the issue to be resolved and he was able to rise to 13th in the session.

A light clash between Kirkwood and Santino Ferrucci as they sought to create gaps for themselves to execute a clear lap resulted in contact as Kirkwood turned slightly towards the left as Ferrucci went by on the inside and was turning right to set himself up for the left-hand turn. Both cars were unaffected by the minor touch, but tempers flared.

“Santino needs to be kicked out of the series,” Kirkwood said to his team over the radio.

The Andretti driver went to confront the A.J. Foyt Racing pilot on pit lane after the checkered flag, and was met by a fiery Ferrucci who wasn’t having Kirkwood’s protestations.

“You turned into me, you f***ing piece of s**t,” Ferrucci was heard saying on the broadcast. “Don’t ever do that again.”

UP NEXT: Qualifying, 12:15pm ET, streaming on Peacock.


Story originally appeared on Racer