We may only be talking about practice, but Alexander Rossi stormed past the IndyCar field in Detroit, posting the fastest lap time during Friday’s two sessions by more than half a second.
But the driver of the No. 27 car for Andretti Autosport downplayed the accomplishment.
“Considering most of the guys didn’t get a run on reds (Firestone alternate tires), I’m not sure how relevant our session times were,” said Rossi. “Overall, I think the team has carried on well from last year – we had a good car last year; all four cars were strong. To be able to pick up where we left off is a strength.”
Josef Newgarden was second-fastest behind Rossi.
“I think we had a decent start today,” said the Team Penske driver. “Not 100 percent sure where we stack up. I think we’re a little bit further back than where we were on that final red (Firestone alternate) tire run. Some of the Andretti (Autosport) boys look really good. Some of the (Chip) Ganassi (Racing) guys look really good. We’ll see.”
As Indy 500 champion Simon Pagenaud points out, the racing weekend in Detroit is far different than that at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Detroit is a lot more physical,” explained Pagenaud, “but you have to be sharp with your mind because you are running so close to the wall. You have to be on top of your game. But a different on-top of your game than Indy. At Indianapolis it is all flowing speed. The track can slow down everything. Here it is just the opposite. You really have to be up on the wheel.”
Qualifying for the first race in the Dual starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with the race itself beginning shortly after 3:00 p.m.