AVONDALE, La. (Friday, April 10, 2015) – Tony Kanaan, who will make his 296th career Indy car start this weekend, posted the quickest lap in the first practice session for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.
It was a good first day for Kanaan as he shoots for the Verizon P1 Award in qualifications Saturday, then goes for the win in the 75-lap race Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at NOLA Motorsports Park.
Kanaan, driving the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, recorded a lap of 1 minute, 18.8753 seconds (125.058 mph) on the 2.74-mile, 13-turn road course during the 90-minute session early in the afternoon. A heavy rainstorm delayed the second practice session and limited track time in dry conditions, so no one was able to surpass Kanaan’s best lap from the opening session.
“It’s still really early in the weekend, but finishing P1 in our first practice session on this track is a good feeling,” said Kanaan, who earned his 119th career top-five finish in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29.
“The car tested really well here a few weeks ago, so I was confident that we had a good car coming into this weekend. It was much hotter this afternoon than it’s been when we’ve tested here in the past, so our lap times were much slower, but the track is still really good. Like I said, we still have a ways to go before the race, but it’s definitely a good start.
“The track looks good,” continued Kanaan. “Big props to the people in New Orleans. People know about the race, people know what’s going on and those are the places we want to come.”
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power, who was runner-up to Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya two weeks ago on the St. Petersburg street circuit, posted the second-quickest lap (1:18.9292) today. Kanaan’s teammate, three-time series champion Scott Dixon, was third on the time chart (1:18.9662). KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais (1:19.2563) was fourth and first-year Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud (1:19.2782) was fifth.
Chevrolet-powered cars took the top seven positions in practice, with James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports the fastest Honda in eighth (1:19.4764). Fifteen of the 24 drivers were within one second of Kanaan’s quick lap.
A 45-minute practice is scheduled Saturday preceding the three rounds of qualifications (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN).