IndyCar Laguna Seca: Herta Shines in Crash-Filled Opening Practice
The roar of engines and the screeching of tires echoed through the scenic Laguna Seca raceway as IndyCar’s finest took to the track for the opening practice session. Colton Herta, the 23-year-old Californian sensation, wasted no time in making his presence known. With a blistering lap time of 1m07.5382s, he set the tone for what promises to be an action-packed race weekend on the 2.238-mile natural terrain road course.
What’s remarkable about Herta’s performance is that he achieved this feat on a set of the harder primary tire compound. It’s a testament to his skill and the Andretti Autosport team’s preparation.
Right on Herta’s tail, just 0.0529 seconds adrift, was Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, who’s no stranger to success at Laguna Seca. Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi followed closely in third place. O’Ward’s impressive feat extended to the number of laps completed, logging 33 laps, the most in the session.
Marcus Ericsson, in his final race weekend with Chip Ganassi Racing, secured the fourth spot on the leaderboard, trailing Herta by 0.2531 seconds. Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood rounded up the top five, showcasing the depth of talent in the IndyCar field.
But the practice session wasn’t all about speed and skill; it was also marked by a series of stoppages, with no fewer than five red flags interrupting the proceedings.
It all began with a dramatic incident involving Romain Grosjean, who found himself backing his Andretti Autosport machine into the tire barrier at Turn 4. The damage was significant, forcing him to exit the car as it was towed back to the paddock.
After a relatively short red-flag period, another disruption occurred as Juri Vips received an urgent radio message to halt his car due to an apparent engine issue. The Estonian driver came to a stop on the Rahal straight and was assisted by the safety crew. They towed him to the top of the iconic Corkscrew, allowing him to coast back to the pit lane in neutral.
Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin was the next to add to the stoppage count, losing control of his car as he entered Turn 1 and ending up stuck in the gravel.
The incidents continued with Juncos Hollinger Racing rookie Agustin Canapino’s off-course excursion, leaving him stalled in Turn 6.
Finally, it was Will Power’s turn to bring out the red flag after heavy contact with the barrier in Turn 4, leaving his car stranded in Turn 5. Power humorously lamented over the radio, “I damaged the floor, man.”
Before the practice session even began, IndyCar officials had penalized Canapino with a six-position starting grid penalty for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Monterey due to an unapproved engine change following the last round at Portland International Raceway.
As the dust settled and the red flags waved, it became clear that this practice session had provided a taste of the excitement and drama that fans can expect in the upcoming race weekend at Laguna Seca. With Herta leading the way and a field of talented drivers hungry for victory, the stage is set for an unforgettable IndyCar showdown.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about IndyCar Laguna Seca Practice
What happened during the IndyCar Laguna Seca practice session?
During the practice session at Laguna Seca, Colton Herta set a blistering lap time on harder tires, leading the pack. However, the session was marred by five red flags due to incidents on the track.
Who were the top performers in the practice session?
Colton Herta topped the timesheets, followed closely by Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi. Marcus Ericsson and Kyle Kirkwood also showcased their skills, rounding up the top five.
What caused the red flag incidents during the practice session?
The red flags were caused by various incidents. Romain Grosjean backed into a tire barrier, Juri Vips had an engine issue, Scott McLaughlin got stuck in gravel, Agustin Canapino went off-course, and Will Power had heavy contact with the barrier.
How did these incidents affect the drivers?
These incidents disrupted the practice session and led to several drivers temporarily halting their on-track activities. It added drama and unpredictability to the session, highlighting the challenges of racing at Laguna Seca.
What penalty was imposed before the practice session?
Before the practice session, IndyCar officials penalized Agustin Canapino with a six-position starting grid penalty for the upcoming Grand Prix of Monterey due to an unapproved engine change following the previous race at Portland International Raceway.
More about IndyCar Laguna Seca Practice
- Colton Herta – Learn more about the talented Californian driver.
- Laguna Seca Raceway – Explore the iconic raceway where the IndyCar action unfolded.
- Pato O’Ward – Discover more about Arrow McLaren’s contender.
- Alexander Rossi – Get insights into Alexander Rossi’s racing career.
- Romain Grosjean – Learn about Romain Grosjean’s transition to IndyCar.
- IndyCar Official Website – Stay updated on the latest IndyCar news and events.