Practice report

Laguna Seca IndyCar: Palou leads second practice

Alex Palou set the pace in second practice for IndyCar's finale, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, ahead of the outgoing champion’s final attempt to score a win in 2022.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Colton Herta had worked down to a 72.9450sec in his Andretti Herta Autosport-Honda, when Graham Rahal spun his Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda exiting the top of the Corkscrew and stalled, causing a red flag.

Juncos Hollinger Racing’s rookie Callum Ilott delivered a 72.34, then a 71.9899sec to go top ahead of fellow rookies David Malukas and Christian Lundgaard. As in Portland, Ilott was shining at a track where he gained experience last year, and he was over three-tenths of a second clear of his nearest rival at the time.

The first of the Team Penske-Chevrolet drivers to set a representative lap was Scott McLaughlin, who set a 72.6457 on his first flyer.

On the exit of Turn 9, Pato O’Ward got slightly sideways in his Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet, but then got irredeemably sideways approaching Turn 10 and skated backward over the gravel and required rescuing.

The session resumed with 24mins remaining, and Romain Grosjean moved his Andretti Autosport-Honda up to second, halving Ilott’s advantage, but the changes weren’t coming quickly as drivers were doing long runs. Scott McLaughlin did a 10-lap run on his primaries and saw only one-second fall-off from first lap to last, but that low degradation was aided by the cool temperatures – 68degF ambient and 82degF track temp.

With 13mins to go, Alexander Rossi shaded Ilott’s time by a mere 0.0086sec, and then out came several drivers on fresh rubber and the order started shuffling. Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda, who topped a test here two weeks ago, claimed top spot with a 71.6510sec effort – three-tenths quicker than Rossi. While Rossi then improved, so too did Palou, getting down to 71.3847s, a 112.865mph average.

Colton Herta moved up to third, 0.15sec behind teammate Rossi and now ahead of rookie Rookie of the Year contender Christian Lundgaard of RLL and Simon Pagenaud’s Meyer Shank Racing-Honda.

On a set of fresh primaries, Scott Dixon moved into sixth, but 0.5866sec off pace-setting teammate Palou, then trimmed that deficit to 0.5345 and moved up to fourth.

However, with their final efforts Team Penske-Chevrolet’s title battlers Will Power and Josef Newgarden moved up to third and fourth.

Paretta Autosport-Chevrolet’s Simona De Silvestro was 25th but only 0.5sec and 0.8sec off her teammates at Ed Carpenter Racing, Conor Daly and Rinus VeeKay respectively.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Mph
1 Spain Alex Palou
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 23 1'11.3847 112.865
2 United States Alexander Rossi
United States Andretti Autosport 20 1'11.6920 0.3073 112.381
3 Australia Will Power
United States Team Penske 13 1'11.7183 0.3336 112.340
4 United States Josef Newgarden
United States Team Penske 19 1'11.7973 0.4126 112.216
5 United States Colton Herta
United States Andretti Autosport 17 1'11.8497 0.4650 112.134
6 New Zealand Scott Dixon
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 17 1'11.9192 0.5345 112.026
7 Denmark Christian Lundgaard
United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 22 1'11.9463 0.5616 111.984
8 France Simon Pagenaud
United States Meyer Shank Racing 16 1'11.9514 0.5667 111.976
9 United Kingdom Callum Ilott
United States Juncos Hollinger Racing 18 1'11.9899 0.6052 111.916
10 United States David Malukas
United States Dale Coyne Racing 21 1'12.1029 0.7182 111.740
11 France Romain Grosjean
United States Andretti Autosport 21 1'12.1568 0.7721 111.657
12 United Kingdom Jack Harvey
United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 19 1'12.3024 0.9177 111.432
13 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco
United States Andretti Autosport 20 1'12.3337 0.9490 111.384
14 United States Graham Rahal
United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 18 1'12.3532 0.9685 111.354
15 Brazil Helio Castroneves
United States Meyer Shank Racing 20 1'12.4744 1.0897 111.168
16 United States Kyle Kirkwood
United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 23 1'12.5186 1.1339 111.100
17 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout
United States Ed Carpenter Racing 19 1'12.6215 1.2368 110.942
18 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
United States Team Penske 21 1'12.6457 1.2610 110.905
19 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist
United States Arrow McLaren SP 17 1'12.6659 1.2812 110.875
20 Sweden Marcus Ericsson
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 15 1'12.7757 1.3910 110.707
21 Japan Takuma Sato
United States Dale Coyne Racing 22 1'12.8304 1.4457 110.624
22 United States Conor Daly
United States Ed Carpenter Racing 17 1'12.8597 1.4750 110.580
23 Canada Dalton Kellett
United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 29 1'12.9890 1.6043 110.384
24 United States Jimmie Johnson
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 21 1'13.2065 1.8218 110.056
25 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro
Paretta Autosport 21 1'13.3861 2.0014 109.786
26 Mexico Patricio O'Ward
United States Arrow McLaren SP 9 1'13.7735 2.3888 109.210


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