O’Ward leads Dixon in incident-packed first practice in Detroit

STREETS OF LONG BEACH, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - APRIL 16: #5: Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet at Streets of Long Beach on Sunday April 16, 2023 in Long Beach, United States of America. (Photo by Jake Galstad / LAT Images)

The new, fast, narrow and bumpy course on the streets of downtown Detroit caused red flags aplenty, but by the end of the session, Pato O’Ward led the way for Arrow McLaren ahead of Ganassi legend Scott Dixon.

Benjamin Pedersen of A.J. Foyt Racing-Chevrolet was the first drive to complete full laps, running the extra set of primaries that all IndyCar rookies receive for road and street courses. But it was Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s rookie in the No.11 car who first ducked under the 70s barrier, setting a 1m09.9s followed by a 1m08.1s, then a 1m06.5s, then 1m05.8520s an average of 89.929mph around the 1.645-mile course. Eventually Armstrong whittled that time down to 1m05.2832, 90.712mph.

Agustin Canapino of Juncos Hollinger Racing caused the first red flag of the session. He was 1.1s off Armstrong’s early benchmark when the No.78 went long at Turn 1 and needed a restart. After 14 of the 19 Indy NXT cars ended up in the Turn 1 runoff in that series’ first sessi

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