Power leads from Palou and Rossi the first practise session in Nashville

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It’s time for the first practise session of the weekend in Nashville. The street course will mark the INDYCAR debut of INDYNXT’s reigning champion Linus Lunqvist for Meyers Shank Racing, as Simon Pagenaud still hasn’t been declared fit to race after his big shunt in Mid-Ohio. He is the third driver appointed to drive car no. 60 after Conor Daly and Tom Blomqvist.

The sun is peeking through the clouds, as the drivers get out on a mostly dry track. Many of them return to the pits, bar for the Swedish rookie who is trying to get used to the new championship and car.

After the first fifteen minutes of the session, he was joined by fellow rookie drivers Benjamin Pedersen and Marcus Armstrong, with the latter posting the best early timed lap in 1:18.2776s.

As the track gets more populated, the winner of the Toronto GP, first time race winner Christian Lundgaard, slots ahead of Armstrong with a 1:18.0009s, whereas Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward issued a local yellow flag at Turn 9 for going wide in the runoff. The same issue happened to Armstrong and Rossi as well.

The Mexican driver, yet to win a race in 2023 in spite of his five podium finishes, is the first driver to post a time in the order of the 1:17s.

Lundqvist and Power both had a moment but managed to steer their cars away from the walls, as championship leader Alex Palou goes fastest in the session.

With half an hour to go, the Ganassi driver leads the session in 1:16.9063s, followed by Colton Herta, the only other driver in the 1:16s, and Scott McLaughlin, who has also become the latest driver to ran wide at Turn 9.

Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey as well ran into the runoff at Turn 9, for what has by now become a recurring theme.

Reigning champion Will Power replaces his Penske teammate McLaughlin in P3, with the rest of the provisional top ten featuring Dixon, Armstrong, Newgarden, O’Ward, Rossi and Lundgaard.

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment | Chris Jones

In the final ten minutes of the session, Lundqvist joins the top ten for what has been an impressive first INDYCAR session from the young driver, whereas Power improves Palou’s time by 0.200s.

With five minutes to go a red flag was issued due to Callum Ilott on fresh alternates running wide after a bump and ending up with his car sideways in the runoff at Turn 9. The session was resumed with three minutes to go and a provisional top three of Power, Palou and Rossi.

Dale Coyne’s David Malukas jumps up to P8, as another red flag is issued due to Benjamin Pedersen stalling in the runoff. At the same time, Will Power slightly hits the wall and stops on track at the pit exit, ultimately managing to restart his car no.12.

The session was not restarted, with Power, Palou, Rossi, O’Ward, Lundgaard, Herta, Grosjean, McLaughlin and Dixon in the top ten, but a special mention for Lundqvist in P11 must be made as well.

See you tomorrow at 11:40 ET for the second practise session of the weekend!