Christian Lundgaard topped the second NTT IndyCar Series practice session at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on a morning where preparations were again interrupted by red flags.
Lundgaard’s best of 1m07.6154s in the No.45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda came with 20 minutes still on the clock, and to some extent was insulated against further improvement by a stoppage that ate up a large chunk of the remaining time. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay came closest with a 1m07.6548s that put the Dutchman on top for about 10 seconds before Lundgaard completed his lap.
VeeKay was a little fortunate to have simply been on the track long enough to set his time after he spun in Turn 5 during the opening minutes and came to rest in the middle of the track perpendicular to the approaching cars. Some quick hands from Romain Grosjean saved VeeKay from being T-boned by the Andretti Honda, and VeeKay was able to get himself going again.
Scary spin in practice for @rinusveekay 😬
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) September 9, 2023
The late red came courtesy of Santino Ferrucci, or more specifically, a component in the back of his car that began blowing white smoke as he exited Turn 9 with 11 minutes remaining. By the time the No. 14 Foyt Chevy had been retrieved there was just under four minutes remaining, and the track was too congested after session returned to green for any meaningful improvements.
Alex Palou wound up third fastest ahead of early session leader Alexander Rossi, leaving Kyle Kirkwood to complete the top five.
The low grip level away from the racing line, along with the sharp contrast between the grip level on the track surface and the painted curbs, continued to cause problems, and the 60 minutes were loaded with cars running off and into the gravel.
Most continued unscathed, however Pato O’Ward’s No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevy needed a new left-front corner after he went off and hit the wall at Turn 3 10 minutes in. Later, Will Power’s No. 12 Team Penske Chevy snapped around at the entry to the Corkscrew and sent him into the gravel backwards. He required help from the AMR Safety Team to get the car pointed in the right direction again, but there was no apparent damage.
UP NEXT: Qualifying, Saturday, 2:00pm PT.