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Rosenqvist tops opening St. Petersburg IndyCar practice

Felix Rosenqvist is known as a street course specialist, and St. Peterburg has always been among his favorites, which made for a happy debut with Meyer Shank Racing as the Swede placed the No. 60 Honda atop the times for the 27-car field.

Rosenqvist’s 1m.3390s tour around the 1.8-mile circuit was well clear of his former teammate Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren in the No. 5 Chevy (+0.4722s), Marcus Armstrong in the No. 11 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda (+0.4792s), Team Penske’s Will Power in the No. 12 Honda (+0.5019s), Rinus VeeKay in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy (+0.5458s), and in sixth, Penske’s Scott McLaughlin (+0.5716s) was in the thick of a pack with the No. 3 Chevy that was covered by 0.1s.

“I think it’s just been really nice to come to Meyer Shank Racing, it’s been super-easy transition,” Rosenqvist said after completing the hot and humid outing. “Both with people and the car, which is nice.”

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The 75-minute session was one of experimentation by the series with the opening 20 minutes made available to all cars, followed by 10-minute runs in split groups. Red flags made for shortened segments for some, which limited their ability to post fast laps.

The timing of red flags during some of those 10-minute blasts meant some drivers had limited or no time on the faster alternate tires which are used in qualifying. With one set made available for teams to use in the first practice session alone, some drivers were able to complete clean qualifying simulations while others did not, and as expected, their lap times suffered.