Alex Palou

No NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver has ruled Road America recently like Alex Palou, and that mastery continued Friday when he led the opening practice for the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR.

Two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Palou was quickest with a lap of 1 minute, 43.1709 seconds in the No. 10 DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. The Spaniard won on this 14-turn, 4.014-mile road course en route to his season championships in 2021 and 2023.

SEE: Practice Results

“It’s a really great start so far,” Palou said. “It doesn’t mean anything; it just means that the car is really good, easy to drive. It’s great to be back here. A proper track for INDYCAR. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

NTT P1 Award qualifying is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. ET Saturday, preceded by practice at 11:10 a.m. (both sessions live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network). Live coverage of the race will start at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC and Peacock and 3 p.m. on the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Colton Herta was second at 1:43.2506 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda fielded by Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian, followed by Santino Ferrucci at 1:43.3618 in the No. 14 AJ FOYT RACING/SEXTON PROPERTIES Chevrolet of AJ Foyt Racing.

Two-time and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden rebounded from a 26th-place finish last Sunday at Detroit to end up fourth in this 75-minute session at 1:43.3812 in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet. Christian Lundgaard rounded out the top five at 1:43.3984 in the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Championship leader Scott Dixon, winner last Sunday at Detroit, was sixth at 1:43.5340 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Luca Ghiotto was the quickest of the six rookies in the 27-driver field, 17th at 1:44.1009 in the No. 51 GAV Air Technology Honda of Dale Coyne Racing. INDY NXT by Firestone championship contender Nolan Siegel, named earlier today to substitute for Agustin Canapino at this race, was 26th at 1:45.1027 in the No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.

Less than a second separated the top 17 drivers in the field on the fast, flowing, picturesque circuit, the longest on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar.

Many drivers found the grass and gravel outside of Turn 14, a right-hander leading to the long hill up the front straightaway. Romain Grosjean made contact with the tire barrier adjacent to that turn in his No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet, triggering a red flag 19 minutes into the session. He was unhurt.