Rinus VeeKay led the warmup session Sunday at Laguna Seca. (Al Steinberg Photo)

Rinus VeeKay Leads Warmup At Lagunca Seca

Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing was the fastest driver in Sunday afternoon’s warmup session for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

This weekend’s contest is at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca on the Monterey Peninsula of the Central California coast.

VeeKay’s best lap was 1:08.4096 in the No. 21 Chevrolet. Defending Monterey winner Scott Dixon was second at 1:08.4516 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Agustin Canapino of Juncos-Hollinger Racing was third at 1:08.5314 in the No. 78 Chevrolet followed by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Linus Lundqvist, who had a best time of 1:08.6070 in the No. 8 American Legion Honda.

Two-time Monterey winner Colton Herta rounded out the top five at 1:08.6449 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda for Andretti Global.

Just seven minutes in, Romain Grosjean and Santino Ferrucci renewed their long-standing annoyance with each other as both drivers swerved in front of each other on the course without making contact. This is a feud that dates to the beginning of the season and is apparently continuing.

Ferrucci was penalized for “unsportsmanlike conduct” for his move by IndyCar race control and had to sit in pit lane for five minutes.

Sting Ray Robb was running as second fastest at 1:10.0141 when he lost control in the high-speed turn six, slid across the gravel and into the tire barrier to stop the session.

“We’re all good,” Robb said. “I hit the curb, got into the gravel and into the tire barriers. I feel bad for the crew. It’s not the way we want to start or day or have during the weekend. Hopefully, we get it figured out before the race.”

The green flag was issued with 13 minutes left on the clock for the session. 

Power also went off course, through the gravel in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet but was able to continue. 

Rookie Luca Ghiotto had a fire extinguisher go off in his car and had to return to the garage so the Dale Coyne Racing crew could fix the problem.

Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing starts on the pole for the race that begins at 6:30 p.m. ET. He was eighth fastest in the final session at 1:08.8313 in the No. 10 DHL Honda.

Starting on the pole at Monterey is important because 20 of the 26 IndyCar Series race winners at Laguna Seca have come from the pole, but the past two race winners started 11th.