Palou Paces Practice in Mixed Conditions at Mid-Ohio

Championship leader Alex Palou paced the opening practice for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2025 Civic Hybrid on Friday, a session in mixed weather conditions that prevented most of the field from enough track time to give the new INDYCAR hybrid system a full workout.

Two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Palou was quickest at 1 minute, 7.0650 seconds in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Palou, who leads second-place Will Power by 23 points in the standings, is a recent master at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with a victory last July and three consecutive podium finishes dating to 2021.

SEE: Practice Results

“Not much running,” Palou said. “Only got I think nine laps. I think everybody wanted to get more. We didn’t really get all the learnings we wanted. Happy with the first run we got, but we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”

Two red flags in the first 50 minutes of the 90-minute session reduced early track time. Then the arrival of intensifying rain with about 26 minutes left divided the session into two distinct parts.

All 27 drivers circulated early on the freshly paved, 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit, learning the grip limits of the smooth new asphalt and working with the hybrid system INDYCAR is introducing to all engines starting at this event. But once the rain arrived and intensified, only a handful of drivers – Pato O’Ward, Kyle Kirkwood, Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist among them – switched to Firestone Firehawk rain tires and tiptoed around the wet track. Nearly every driver stayed in the pits and didn’t risk an incident, as the weather forecast looks clear for Saturday and Sunday.

Rossi ended up second at 1:07.5093 – .4493 of a second behind Palou – in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Marcus Armstrong was third at 1:07.5442 in the No. 11 Root Insurance Chip Ganassi Racing Honda before spinning off track in Turn 2 to trigger one of the two red flags in the session.

2020 Mid-Ohio winner Herta was fourth at 1:07.6346 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian. Scott McLaughlin rounded out the top five at 1:07.6827 in the No. 3 Sonsio Team Penske Chevrolet.

Among the closest pursuers to Palou in points, Power ended up 10th at 1:08.1458 in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet, and third place Scott Dixon was 19th at 1:08.4384 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Up next is a one-hour practice starting at 10:50 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by NTT P1 Award qualifying at 3 p.m. ET. Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network will broadcast both sessions, which Palou said will have even greater importance due to the limited laps turned today.

“I think everybody with the hybrid system wants to get reads on all the stages and also get the car where we want because with the repave, everything changed quite a lot,” Palou said. “It’s going to be exciting tomorrow.”

Live coverage of the 80-lap race starts at 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

IndyCar PR