The first of four test sessions ahead of this weekend’s $1 Million Challenge, Palou, the reigning and two-time IndyCar champion, vaulted to the top of the timesheets early with a flying lap of 1m39.5149s (110.950 mph) around the 3.067-mile , 17-turn road course.

The No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda of Christian Lundgaard finished up second, 0.1825s behind.

Marcus Armstrong, the 2023 Rookie of the Year, came across third to give Chip Ganassi Racing two of the top three spots. The Arrow McLaren duo of Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward in fourth and fifth, respectively. The top five was separated by 0.3975s.

Palou’s biggest gain of time came in the first sector, where he hit a 40.0757s section, while the second-best time was a 40.3047s run by Armstrong.

Linus Lundqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing), Felix Rosenqvist (Meyer Shank Racing), Will Power (Team Penske), Callum Ilott (Arrow McLaren) and Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) rounded out the rest of the top 10. Romain Grosjean (Juncos Hollinger Racing) was the first driver on the outside in 11th.

Although the track temperature started off at 80F, it warmed up to just over 100F by the end of the session.

There were no major incidents that brought out the caution, but there were a few off-track moments in Turn 2 for the likes of Santino Ferrucci (AJ Foyt Racing), Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and rookie Christian Rasmussen (Ed Carpenter Racing).

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay also went into a power slide that led to a brief off course excursion in Turn 6 in the final three minutes of the test.

Andretti Global’s Marcus Ericsson suffered an issue in the final 20 minutes after his left-front caught fire on his No. 28 Honda. When he came down pit lane, the crew removed the tire and fragments of the brake system could be seen falling from the car. He ended up 12th when the checked flag fell on the session.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden only turned an installation lap in the opening hour, but stepped in to log an additional eight laps when everything wrapped up, scoring 20th at 1.4244s off the mark set by Palou.

Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Kyffin Simpson logged the most laps over the two hours at 32, with a best at 1m41.0819 that put him 23rd overall (1.5670s).

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