Felix Rosenqvist

Felix Rosenqvist wasted no time settling into his new surroundings at Meyer Shank Racing, leading the first practice of the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season Friday on the streets of St. Petersburg.

Rosenqvist, who moved to MSR during the offseason after three seasons at Arrow McLaren, led the 27-car field with a top lap of 1 minute, .3390 of a second in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit. That was nearly a half-second quicker than his closest pursuer, Pato O’Ward, second at 1:00.8112 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

SEE: Practice Results

“I was kind of surprised,” Rosenqvist said. “I had a good run on the blacks (Firestone primary tires) to start with. Good confidence, which I’ve been talking about through preseason testing. Then on the reds (Firestone alternate tires), we just took another step.

“The car feels great. Early days, but better than being last. I’ve given the team a good idea of what I like, and I think that lines up pretty well with what we had, anyways. I really like it and hope we can keep going.”

Rosenqvist and O’Ward led eight drivers under the 1:01 lap time mark in a 75-minute session that ended with the top 18 drivers within a second of each other. The top five drivers overall each hail from different teams, a hallmark of the ultra-competitive series.

Marcus Armstrong was third overall at 1:00.8182 in the No. 11 Ridgeline Lubricants Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Armstrong was NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year in 2023 despite racing only road and street course events. He is competing in every race this year.

Two-time series champion Will Power ended up fourth at 1:00.8409 in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet. Power, who won this race in 2010 and 2014, is trying to snap a 27-race winless streak dating to June 2022.

“We’ve worked very hard in the offseason and have made some major improvements, which we needed to,” Power said. “I’m very determined to have a strong year. I was very disappointed with last year.”

Rinus VeeKay rounded out the top five at 1:00.8848 in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.

Reigning series champion Alex Palou was ninth at 1:01.0200 in the No. 10 DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. 2023 St. Petersburg winner Marcus Ericsson clocked in 17th at 1:01.3071 in the No. 28 Delaware Life Honda fielded by Andretti Global, which Ericsson joined for this season after four years at Chip Ganassi Racing.

The session was largely clean, with two red flags only for cars that overshot braking zones and were forced to turn around in runoff areas.

Up next is practice at 9:35 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by NTT P1 Award qualifying at 2 p.m. (live, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network). Live coverage of the 100-lap race starts at noon ET Sunday on NBC, Peacock, Universo and the INDYCAR Radio Network.