Herta on top of opening Barber practice

Colton Herta paced a Honda top-four sweep of opening practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix at Alabama.

The driver of the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda led the pack with a flyer of 1 minute 6.5149 seconds.

Defending race winner Alex Palou slid into an Andretti Autosport sandwich with a 1:06.5657 lap ahead of Alexander Rossi in third. Romain Grosjean brought up the rear of the Andretti Autosport train in fourth while Scott McLaughlin took top honors for Chevrolet in fifth after logging a record 22 laps.

Six-time Barber runner-up Scott Dixon completed the session in sixth followed by Pato O’Ward in seventh. Callum Illot turned a nice run in eighth for Juncos Hollinger Racing. The British rookie ended up a tenth short off O’Ward’s time after running 20 laps.

 Marcus Ericsson recovered from a minor skirt into the Turn 13 grass to end up ninth fastest while Rinus VeeKay completed the top ten.

Three-time Barber winner Josef Newgarden ended the session 10 minutes early with mechanical issues which relegated the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet to 18th in the final order. The two-time NTT IndyCar Series Champion is in contention to earn a $1,000,000 bonus to become the first driver to win on an oval, street course and a natural terrain road course.

A trio of fellow Barber winners ended near the bottom of the order as Helio Castroneves slotted in up 12th while Will Power ended the day 18th and Takuma Sato finished the day in 22nd.

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