Herta leads final IndyCar practice at St. Pete from Newgarden and Power, Palou P20

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski
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Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin logged the first time of practice with a 1:05.8901.

Alex Rossi quickly slashed that, banging in a low 1:01 to take spot from Kirkwood and McLaughlin.

Santino Ferrucci failed to do a lap due to issues with his AJ Foyt Racing package as a problem was detected early on.

At the 10-minute mark, Will Power led the way on a 1:00.4, ahead of Kirkwood, McLaughlin, Rossi, Lundqvist, Ericsson, Dixon, Rosenqvist, Grosjean and Blomqvist. The top 9 all got into the 1:00s early on. Palou and Newgarden ran in P12 and P13.

Dutchman Rinus VeeKay made a good gain, slotting into 2nd with a 1:00.6201, just over 0.2s slower than the Australian.

Unfortunately for Kyle Kirkwood, he gave the wall a hard hit at turn 2 and his session was done with suspension damage after logging just 4 laps.

With just over 16 minutes remaining, Indy 500 champion Josef Newgarden logged a 1:00.3872 to go top of the charts from his teammate by a very small margin. O’Ward, VeeKay, Kirkwood, McLaughlin, Armstrong, Grosjean, Rosenqvist and Rossi completed the top 10 with 12 minutes left.

As the drivers and teams approached the final 10 minutes, Andretti’s Colton Herta banged in a 1:00.1331 to go fastest by over 0.2s.

There was a worrying moment for RLL as Christian Lundgaard’s right rear brake duct caught fire on pit road. The rotor became too hot and that caused it.

Herta topped the times in final practice, from Newgarden, Power, O’Ward, Grosjean, VeeKay, Kirkwood, McLaughlin, Dixon and Armstrong.Super sub Callum Ilott placed P15 in the Arrow McLaren, with defending champion Alex Palou all the way down in 20th.

The top 17 drivers all dipped below 61s as the 60s barrier should be broken in qualifying by multiple drivers.