NASHVILLE – Christian Lundgaard rode the momentum from his podium at Indianapolis last week to pace the first practice session for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.
The Dane zipped the 2.17-mile street course in 1 minute 16.8687 seconds with the aid of an extra set of guayule Firestone tires. The NTT IndyCar Series rookie’s performance gave Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing the first practice session that they have led since Graham Rahal led this race one year ago.
Felix Rosenqvist found himself sandwiched in second between two rookies as David Malukas slotted in third ahead in his Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Racing.
Team Penske had two drivers represented in the top five with Scott McLaughlin in fourth and hometown boy Josef Newgarden completing the top five.
Last week’s winner Alexander Rossi ended up sixth on the timesheets while points leader Will Power ended up seventh on the day.
Rounding out the top ten were Colton Herta, Alex Palou and Romain Grosjean.
Three red flags slowed the session with Turn 1 proving as a troubled area. Dalton Kellett was the first to overshoot the corner 13 minutes in and brought out the red. Rinus VeeKay followed suit six minutes later after practice resumed.
INDYCAR officials assessed a four-minute penalty to both drivers for causing a red.
Colton Herta, who led 39 laps in last year’s race, thirdly slid off the track in Turn 1 to bring out another Red flag.