At 2 p.m. the cars took to the track for the first practice session of the weekend in Indianapolis. John Andretti was the first driver to complete a lap in front of a crowd of over 10,000 people. Early in the session Jimmie Johnson was second fastest but suffered some minor damage to the right-rear quarterpanel somewhere during his initial laps.
The majority of the teams ran the first session in race trim to get a gauge as to how the tires were going to wear and get some rubber worked into the track. Kyle Busch ran a 12-lap run to start off the session and his tire wear was as expected with no chording. The tires that came off of the cars showed rubber balling up rather than powdering like they did last year. It appears as though the tire issues have been solved, now it is up to the teams to figure out just how hard they can push the tires and still run a full fuel run.
Bill Elliott was the fastest car out of the box in the first 15 minutes of the session driving a limited schedule that the Wood Brothers are utilizing this year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief Lance McGrew took it easy on his driver due to the fact Earnhardt was suffering from a stomach virus this weekend. He took IV fluids this morning to ensure he was properly hydrated before the practice started.
Carl Edwards was one of the few drivers who was running in qualifying trim during the first session. He ran three laps but was only up to fourth on the speed chart. Roush Fenway Racing has never won a race at Indianapolis.
In the last 15 minutes of the session, Greg Biffle was able to overtake Elliott for the top spot, and Juan Pablo Montoya also snuck by the past champion for the second position on the chart. Elliott maintained third while Brian Vickers and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five. Bobby Labonte, David Ragan, Johnson, Edwards and AJ Allmendinger finished out the top 10.
Kyle Busch was the busiest driver on the track completing 26 laps. Mark Martin and Allmendinger were next with 24 laps.