Herta, Andretti cars off to fast start at Portland

Updated: 

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Alexander Rossi isn't sure how much testing earlier this month at Portland International Raceway will help him by the time the Grand Prix of Portland is held Sunday, but the NTT IndyCar Series championship contender is off to a good start this weekend -- and so are his Andretti Autosport teammates.

Counting series rookie Colton Herta, who drives the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda for Andretti-connected Harding Steinbrenner Racing, Michael Andretti's umbrella of five cars posted three of the top five laps in today's first practice.

Herta ran a lap of 57.4293 seconds to take the top spot on the time sheet with Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) second at 57.5538 seconds and Marco Andretti (No. 98 Oberto Circle K/Curb Honda) fifth at 57.9006 seconds. Teammates Zach Veach (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) were seventh and ninth, respectively.

Chip Ganassi Racing was the only other INDYCAR team to test here in advance of the race weekend, and it did so with Indy Lights leader Oliver Askew.

Among other title contenders, series leader Josef Newgarden of Team Penske (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet) was fourth today at 57.8504 seconds and Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda) third at 57.7922 seconds.

Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Chevrolet) was 12th at 58.3294 seconds.

Newgarden brings a 38-point lead over Pagenaud into this event, the 16th of 17 held this season. Rossi is 40 points out of the lead, Dixon 70.

A second practice will be held today at 5:40 p.m. ET (2:40 p.m. local) with coverage on NBC Sports Gold. NTT P1 Award qualifying is Saturday at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. local) on NBCSN.

Sunday‚Äôs Grand Prix of Portland has live race coverage on NBC begins at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT local) with the green flag at approximately 3:45 p.m. Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

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