DETROIT – Alexander Rossi made a statement for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear weekend in Friday’s second practice, gapping himself from the field by more than a half-second with his fastest lap.
Driving the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, Rossi navigated the bumpy street course at Belle Isle Park in 1 minute, 15.1367 seconds (112.595 mph) to record the best lap among the day’s three practice sessions.
Josef Newgarden was second in the second practice and for the day with a lap of 1:15.6641 (111.810 mph) in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
With the three practices now complete, all that remain are a qualifying and race session each of the next two days for the only doubleheader weekend on the NTT IndyCar Series schedule.
Rossi led 46 laps in the second race of last year’s Detroit doubleheader before going into the runoff area in Turn 3 and slipping to 12th place at the finish. Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay wound up winning the race, a day after Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon won Race 1.
Dixon was third on Friday’s combined session timesheet with a lap of 1:15.7824 (111.635 mph) in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. Hunter-Reay was fifth on the combined chart in the No. 28 DHL Honda with a lap of 1:15.9896 (111.635 mph) that was fastest in the final warmup practice where teams were permitted to practice pit stops as well.
Two-time Detroit race winner Will Power ranked fourth on the combined list Friday (1:15.8713, 111.505 mph) and Graham Rahal, who swept the 2017 doubleheader, was sixth at 1:16.0757 (111.205 mph).
Simon Pagenaud – winner of the two most recent NTT IndyCar Series races, the INDYCAR Grand Prix and 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – placed 10th overall in Friday practice with a lap of 1:16.2923 (110.889 mph) on the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet. Pagenaud brought out a red-flag stoppage during the second practice when he brushed the wall exiting Turn 12, but he was able to drive the car back to pit lane.
Qualifying for Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix begins at 10;45 a.m. ET Saturday. It streams live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, with a delayed telecast at noon on NBCSN. Race 1 coverage begins at 3 p.m. on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
Qualifying for Race 2 airs live at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on NBCSN, with race coverage commencing at 3 p.m. on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
The Detroit races are the seventh and eighth of a 17-race NTT IndyCar Series schedule in 2019. Pagenaud takes a one-point championship lead over teammate Newgarden into the weekend.