Alex Palou

Once again, Alex Palou turned Barber Motorsports Park into his personal playground by leading practice Saturday morning for the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.

Palou topped the 45-minute session with a best lap of 1 minute, 6.2781 seconds in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing. That’s the quickest lap of the weekend, well ahead of the top lap of 1:06.6610 turned by Scott McLaughlin in practice Friday.

SEE: Practice Results

“We’re looking strong,” Palou said. “I don’t know if practice results are true, with the traffic and stuff, but I’m happy with the car. I’m It’s going to be a tight qualifying, as always, here at Barber.”

Up next is NTT P1 Award qualifying at 3 p.m. ET (Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network).

Palou’s pace on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile road course should come as no surprise. He won his first start at the picturesque circuit in 2021 en route to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship and finished second last year to Pato O’Ward.

Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden was second in practice this morning at 1:06.5133 in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet. His teammate McLaughlin was third at 1:06.5386 in the No. 3 Good Ranchers Team Penske Chevrolet.

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon ended up fourth at 1:06.6090 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, with Colton Herta rounding out the top five at 1:06.6788 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.

Championship leader Marcus Ericsson slipped to 10th at 1:06.8654 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after ending up fifth in practice Friday.