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Josef Newgarden testing at Sebring

Source: Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment / Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

SEBRING, Fla. — We are less than two weeks away from the start of the NTT IndyCar Series season.

Teams and drivers found themselves at Sebring Raceway in Florida on Monday as they gathered for the first sanctioned test of the season. The goal of the test was for teams to shake down their cars and get things dialed in as we get closer to the Firestone GP of St. Petersburg.

Defending series champion Alex Palou was the fastest on Day 1 of testing. Only about 15 drivers of the 26 expected full-time entries took to the track on Monday.

“It’s good to be back. It was a long off-season,” Palou said. “Nowadays we don’t get as many test days as we would like. It’s super important. We want to go through some of the engineering lays we’ve been going through. We won’t have enough time, but it’s a way to get all the drivers and all the crew together.”

Christian Lundgaard and Josef Newgarden rounded out the top three quickest in the test.

“This is always like the first day of school with getting everyone back together,” Newgarden said. “There were a lot of places we fell short last year. Winning the Indy 500 was the highlight of the season, for sure. But, we need to have a more complete season this year.”

Newgarden said St. Pete will be a place where he wants to simply “get on the board” and set the tone for the season. He said this will be a “season of two halves” as IndyCar will roll out the new hybrid engine at some point in the middle of the season.

One noticeable participant on the first day of the Sebring test was Jack Harvey, who piloted the No. 18 car for Dale Coyne Racing around the circuit. He was the slowest among the 15 drivers taking part. For Day 2 today, Colin Braun will test the No. 51 car for Coyne and Rick Ware Racing.

This is Braun’s first foray into North American open-wheel racing. he has previously been among the IMSA crowd where he has won class championships in sports car racing.

Coyne has still not made a decision on who will pilot their cars for the 2024 season.