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Pedersen quickest in Indy Lights’ first taste of Nashville

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Travis Hinkle

Benjamin Pedersen topped the times in Indy Lights’ forst ever session on the streets of Nashville.

Pedersen was one of a handful of drivers who jumped to the sharp end of the field with his final lap of the Friday practice ession. The HMD Motorsports with Global Racing Group driver was the only driver to set a sub-1m22s lap, as he took the chequered flag with a best effort of 1m21.8473s.

Late improvements for Danial Frost and Hunter McElrea allowed them to take second and third respectively. Frost was 0.4143 seconds off the pace set by Pedersen.

Matthew Brabham spent most of the session at the top of the order. He set the pace early on, then made contact with the wall at turn nine, damaging his rear-right suspension. Despite the damage, Brabham lowered his benchmark twice before coming into the pits to have the damage repaired.

Brabham continued to lower his best laptime, but would be knocked down to fifth in the final moments of practice.

Championship leader Linus Lundqvist slotted into fourth. He held the top spot in the closing stages before the final flying laps for Pedersen, Frost and McElrea. He ended practice 0.4715s behind Pedersen.

Sting Ray Robb was sixth sixth, ahead of Christian Rasmussen and HMD’s new signing James Roe Jr.

Jacob Abel was another driver who made contact with the wall, damaging the front-right of his car, though he was able to limp back to the pits and didn’t lose too much track time. He was ninth quickest, ahead of Christian Bogle, Kyffin Simpson and Ernie Francis Jr.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Benjamin Pedersen Global Racing Group w/ HMD 1m21.8473s 29
2 Danial Frost HMD Motorsports 1m22.2616s +0.4143s 18
3 Hunter McElrea Andretti Autosport 1m22.3069s +0.4596s 27
4 Linus Lundqvist HMD Motorsports 1m22.3188s +0.4715s 29
5 Matthew Brabham Andretti Autosport 1m22.3457s +0.4984s 27
6 Sting Ray Robb Andretti Autosport 1m22.5222s +0.6749s 24
7 Christian Rasmussen Andretti Autosport 1m22.5489s +0.7016s 26
8 James Roe Jr HMD Motorsports 1m23.0465s +1.1992s 29
9 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1m23.1164s +1.2691s 22
10 Christian Bogle HMD Motorsports 1m23.2822s +1.4349s 24
11 Kyffin Simpson HMD Motorsports 1m23.3664s +1.5191s 25
12 Ernie Francis Jr. Force Indy 1m26.0251s +4.1778s 23