TORONTO – Andretti Autosport showed off its street-circuit prowess during practice Friday for the Honda Indy Toronto, as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES team took three of the top four spots on the time sheet, led by Kyle Kirkwood.
Kirkwood was quickest in the 75-minute session on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street circuit around Exhibition Place in Canada’s largest city, turning a best lap of 1 minute, .8075 of a second in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda. Kirkwood’s strength on rough-and-tumble, concrete-lined street circuits came as no surprise, as he won the Acura Long Beach Grand Prix from the pole on a street course in April.
SEE: Practice Results
“It went phenomenal for us,” Kirkwood said. “We kind of led the whole session. Andretti Autosport does a fantastic job at setting up these street-course cars, specifically. Fingers crossed. You expect to see some more of that. It’s a good start for us, but we’ve got to keep the thing going.”
Up next is a 45-minute practice at 10:45 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by NTT P1 Award qualifying at 2:50 p.m.
Kirkwood’s Andretti Autosport teammate Romain Grosjean was second in practice Friday at 1:00.8575 in the No. 28 DHL Honda. Grosjean also has shown speed this season on street circuits, as he won the NTT P1 Award at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding in March. He also finished second to Kirkwood at Long Beach.
Felix Rosenqvist was third at 1:00.8607 in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, the quickest Chevy-powered driver.
Andretti Autosport’s street party continued with Colton Herta fourth at 1:00.9135 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda. Herta has won the NTT P1 Award at the last two races this season, on natural road courses at Road America and Mid-Ohio.
Scott McLaughlin rounded out the top five at 1:00.9700 in the No. 3 Gallagher Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet.
All eyes this weekend are on championship leader Alex Palou, who is trying to become just the sixth driver since 1970 to win four consecutive INDYCAR SERIES races, joining Al Unser (1970) Al Unser Jr. (1990), Alex Zanardi (1998), Cristiano Da Matta (2002) and Sebastien Bourdais (2006). Palou, who leads the series by a healthy 110 points, ended up 12th at 1:01.3233 in the No. 10 Journie Rewards Honda.
Tom Blomqvist is another driver attracting attention this weekend. Blomqvist is making his NTT INDYCAR SERIES debut with Meyer Shank Racing as a replacement for 2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud, who was not cleared to drive after a violent flip in practice July 1 during The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2023 Accord Hybrid. 2022 IMSA champion Blomqvist was 26th at 1:03.7979 in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM as he took a methodical, patient approach to learning an unfamiliar car and circuit.
Live coverage of the 85-lap race starts at 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network in the United States and TSN in Canada.