Bourdais leads opening IndyCar practice for Honda Indy 200

Sebastien Bourdais
Sebastien Bourdais

An active opening practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio ended with an exclamation point Friday morning when three cars were involved in an incident at the crest of a blind hill turn.

Sebastien Bourdais led the 45-minute session at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a best lap of 1 minute, 5.5784 seconds (123.955 mph) around the 2.258-mile twisty, undulating permanent road circuit in north-central Ohio.

On-track time was broken up by three red-flag stoppages. The last occurred just two minutes before the scheduled end of the session when Will Power spun and stopped sideways on track in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet as he avoided much-slower car of teammate Simon Pagenaud.

“It was pretty hectic," Power said. “I was worried because I spun at the crest of the hill and no one can see you. I tried to roll (the car) back as far as I could.

“It’s tough when people back up (in front of you), man. Someone (Pagenaud) had to go and stop going right into the turn, and I came up there full speed and nowhere to go."

With a local yellow flag waving, several cars carefully maneuvered around Power’s stalled car. But when Tony Kanaan slowed in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet approaching the incident, Charlie Kimball couldn’t brake quickly enough in the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet and ran into the rear of Kanaan.

No one was injured, and all were able to drive their cars to pit lane as the session ended under red and checkered flags. Kimball’s car sustained front wing damage.

“I think (Power) spun over the crest at the exit of Turn 9 just in front of (Kanaan), who was just out of the pits on cold tires," Kimball explained. “I was coming with a big head of steam on hot tires, expecting to finish that lap and then pit. By the time I turned in and saw the yellow, (Kanaan) was backing up because he had a little clearer vision.

“I feel badly about getting into him; hopefully it didn’t do too much damage to him and to us."

Other red flags were precipitated when Matheus “Matt" Leist, Kanaan’s teammate in the No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet, spun in Turn 5 but did not make contact with anything. Soon after, Robert Wickens pulled off course exiting Turn 2 with smoke pluming from the rear of his No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda.

Bourdais, meanwhile, outlasted the disjointed session to post the fastest lap in the No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan.

“It’s a bit of a surprise as we didn’t come test here," said Bourdais, the 2014 Mid-Ohio winner. “Pietro (Fittipaldi, Bourdais’ teammate) came and tested (July 17) and we didn’t get much of a read that we needed data-wise.

“We basically threw the kitchen sink at it. The guys did a really good job, as it seems to be up there with what we want. This place is tough as the track changes so much between sessions and even in the race. It’s great to be P1. Obviously, it bodes well, but you have to be careful and continue to be on top of things. Hopefully, we can stay up there."

Josef Newgarden, the defending race winner and Verizon IndyCar Series champion, was second quick with a lap of 1:05.9167 (123.319 mph) in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Championship leader Scott Dixon was third in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda (1:06.2157, 122.762 mph).

A second practice begins at 2:35 p.m. ET Friday and streams live on, and the INDYCAR Mobile app. Verizon P1 Award qualifying is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday (live on NBCSN).

Practice 1 Results

Pos No Name FTime Diff Gap Laps FSpeed Engine Team
1 18 Sebastien Bourdais 1:05.578 –.—- –.—- 11 123.955 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with VS
2 1 Josef Newgarden 1:05.917 0.3383 0.3383 15 123.319 Chevy Team Penske
3 9 Scott Dixon 1:06.216 0.6373 0.2990 13 122.762 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
4 30 Takuma Sato 1:06.242 0.6640 0.0267 13 122.713 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
5 21 Spencer Pigot 1:06.255 0.6762 0.0122 12 122.690 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
6 10 Ed Jones 1:06.272 0.6933 0.0171 13 122.659 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
7 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:06.276 0.6974 0.0041 14 122.651 Honda Andretti Autosport
8 5 James Hinchcliffe 1:06.329 0.7503 0.0529 12 122.553 Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
9 15 Graham Rahal 1:06.354 0.7757 0.0254 13 122.506 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
10 27 Alexander Rossi 1:06.396 0.8172 0.0415 15 122.430 Honda Andretti Autosport
11 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:06.403 0.8242 0.0070 14 122.417 Chevy Team Penske
12 98 Marco Andretti 1:06.655 1.0765 0.2523 13 121.954 Honda Andretti Herta Autosport with CA
13 4 Matheus Leist 1:06.797 1.2188 0.1423 19 121.694 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
14 12 Will Power 1:06.901 1.3222 0.1034 16 121.506 Chevy Team Penske
15 26 Zach Veach 1:06.946 1.3675 0.0453 18 121.423 Honda Andretti Autosport
16 59 Max Chilton 1:07.012 1.4338 0.0663 17 121.303 Chevy Carlin
17 19 Pietro Fittipaldi 1:07.070 1.4912 0.0574 11 121.199 Honda Dale Coyne Racing
18 14 Tony Kanaan 1:07.070 1.4915 0.0003 10 121.199 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
19 20 Jordan King 1:07.084 1.5053 0.0138 20 121.174 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
20 23 Charlie Kimball 1:07.093 1.5148 0.0095 13 121.157 Chevy Carlin
21 6 Robert Wickens 1:07.277 1.6983 0.1835 6 120.826 Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
22 60 Jack Harvey 1:07.303 1.7245 0.0262 15 120.779 Honda Meyer Shank Racing with SPM
23 32 Rene Binder 1:07.425 1.8469 0.1486 19 120.560 Chevy Juncos Racing
24 88 Conor Daly 1:07.727 2.1490 0.3021 13 120.022 Chevy Harding Racing

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