The diversity and challenge of the Verizon IndyCar Series was on full display for this morning’s opening practice at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.
Five days removed from competing wheel-to-wheel at more than 200 mph on the iconic 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 22 drivers took to the 2.35-mile, 14-turn Raceway at Belle Isle temporary street course to prepare for the only doubleheader race weekend on the 2017 schedule.
Graham Rahal set the pace in the opening 45-minute session with a fast time of 1 minute, 15.3328 seconds in the No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsforTroops.com Honda. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver, who finished 12th on Sunday in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, finished ahead of a pair of Team Penske drivers on the time sheet – Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden.
Takuma Sato, fresh off his historic Indianapolis 500 win, was 12th in the first practice, with a lap of 1:16.1625 in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda. Esteban Gutierrez, making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the No. 18 Boy Scouts of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing, turned 20 laps and was 21st on the chart with a lap of 1:18.2289.