Will Power is trying to extend a streak of winning at least one INDYCAR SERIES race every season since 2007, and he made a good start Friday toward reaching that goal this weekend by leading the opening practice for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville.
Two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Power was quickest with a best lap of 1 minute, 16.4042 seconds in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. All 27 drivers turned laps for 75 minutes on the 11-turn, 2.1-mile temporary circuit, which is lined with concrete barriers and includes two crossings of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge per lap, amid steamy conditions of air temperatures near 80 degrees and matching humidity percentages.
“The car is really good,” Power said. “I think we’re in a good window. All the cars are pretty similar. It will be all about putting it together when it counts.”
While Power was quickest, the bumpy, tricky nature of the track snagged him late in the session, when he clipped the wall in a chicane with the right front of his Team Penske machine.
“It’s physical,” Power said. “Man, it’s physical. I just locked a little bit on the way in, thought I was going to make it, just didn’t really. It didn’t knock the suspension off, but it was enough to … yeah, it’s not ideal.”
Up next is another practice at 11:40 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by NTT P1 Award qualifying at 2:45 p.m. and final practice at 6:25 p.m. Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network will broadcast all sessions live. Live coverage of the 80-lap race starts at noon Sunday on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
There are only five races remaining in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, with Alex Palou leading second-place Josef Newgarden by 80 points – a margin of nearly 1.5 races. Palou made a positive step toward his second championship in the last three seasons by ending up second at 1:16.6494 in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing. CGR drivers Scott Dixon (2022) and Marcus Ericsson (2021) have won the first two editions of this race in downtown Nashville.
Alexander Rossi was third at 1:16.7192 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, followed by teammate Pato O’Ward at 1:16.7778 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Toronto race winner Christian Lundgaard rounded out the top five at 1:16.9262 in the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
2022 INDY NXT by Firestone champion Linus Lundqvist, making his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut with Meyer Shank Racing, impressed by ending up 11th and the quickest rookie in the field at 1:17.3524 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda. He is substituting for Simon Pagenaud, still recovering from a violent flip July 1 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Nashville native Newgarden, who swept the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend doubleheader two weeks ago at Iowa to pull closer to Palou, was 13th at 1:17.4154 in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.
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