Josef Newgarden led the field in the opening practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. Defending winner Colton Herta was second, followed by points leader Alex Palou.
Helio Castroneves locked up and went deep into the dirt, narrowly missing the tire barrier with 18 minutes left in the practice round. Scott McLaughlin stalled on course with about 20 seconds left, and the red flag ended the session.
Weather Tech Raceway was quite slippery this afternoon, with several cars going off track and sending large dust clouds obscuring the vision of drivers behind the errant cars.
Newgarden and Palou were the only title contenders in the top 10. Pato O’Ward was 14th and Scott Dixon was 11th. Newgarden was the only Chevrolet in the top 10. His best lap was 0.08 seconds better than Herta’s fastest circuit. Palou was 0.26 seconds behind.
The top 10:
Date Change for St. Pete
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the opening race of the Indycar Series, will be earlier in 2022 and 2023. In 2022 the race weekend is February 24-27, and in 2023 the season begins March 2-6. I understand the date changes are because of television network availability.