Rossi aims for pole after leading a hectic practice in Detroit

Alexander Rossi was the fastest driver in Saturday morning practice at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, aiming for his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole since 2019.

Rossi led with a fastest lap of 1 minute, 15.8101 seconds in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. That lap was nearly three-tenths of a second faster than the best time recorded in Friday’s free practice, 1:16.1345 by rookie Kyle Kirkwood.

SEE: Practice Results

Qualifying for the NTT P1 award begins at 12:35 p.m. ET today at the temporary 14-turn, 2.35-mile circuit at Belle Isle Park Raceway, with live coverage by Peacock Premium and the Radio Network INDYCAR. Live coverage of the race begins at 3 p.m. Sunday on USA Network, Peacock Premium and INDYCAR Radio Network.

Rossi’s last career pole came in 2019 for the first race at this track. Two of his six career poles have come at Belle Isle, as he also took first place in 2018 for the second race at Detroit.

2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud finished second Saturday morning at 1:15.8803 in the #60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda, followed by two-time series champion Josef Newgarden at 1:15.9118 in the #2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevy.

The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner joined Meyer Shank Racing teammate Pagenaud in the top five, finishing fourth at 1:16.0412 in the #06 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda. Rookie David Malukas overcame an incident with Kirkwood early in the session to complete the top five at 1:16.1180 in the #18 Honda HMD.

In a pendulum swing from Friday, Kirkwood had his training cut short by an incident just three minutes into this morning’s session.

Kirkwood and Malukas made side-by-side contact entering Turn 7, with Kirkwood’s #14 ROKiT/AJ FOYT RACING Chevy colliding with the tire barrier. He was unharmed. Malukas avoided contact with the barrier and continued after performing a U-turn in the runoff area.

“We had a mechanical (problem) from the start of the session,” Kirkwood said. “That’s why it put us in the wall. Unfortunately, that’s not something we can fix in the pit lane. I was ready to leave.

“It wasn’t Malukas’ fault at all. I was trying to let it pass. Unfortunately, I ran into him. It’s on us, of course. We will be there for qualifying.

Tough testing continued for AJ Foyt Racing when Dalton Kellett slammed the concrete barrier into Turn 10 with the left side of the #4 K-LINE/AJ FOYT RACING Chevrolet after 35 minutes of practice, triggering the second flag red from the tests. Kellett was unharmed.

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