Race Weekend Central

Scott McLaughlin Fastest in Wednesday Indianapolis 500 Practice

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — On a day that could best be described as weather-impacted, Scott McLaughlin turned the fastest lap in Wednesday’s pre-qualifying practice ahead of the 108th Indianapolis 500.

The No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet clocked a lap of 229.493 mph around the 2.5-mile oval. Teammate Will Power was second-fastest at 228.767 mph while Colton Herta was third fastest at 227.858 mph.

McLaughlin turned 78 laps in the abbreviated session.

“You’ve just got to make the most of the track time that you have, and I felt like we had a really good day today with how much we got through,” McLaughlin said. “We were able to sort of put the car away at 6:00 instead of running all the way to 7:00, even though the rain didn’t stop, so that was always our plan anyway.

“It’s nice to be in that situation, but at the same time it can change quickly if you let it. You get a little bit complacent or whatever, so it’s important that we stick with it and keep focused, and hopefully we’re there or thereabouts.”

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden was fourth fastest at 227.675 mph and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi was fifth at 227.484 mph.

On the non tow-assisted lap chart, Takuma Sato led those runners with a fastest lap of 221.219 mph in the No. 75 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. A driver is credited with a non-tow lap if they complete a lap with at least 10 seconds of separation between them and the preceding driver on track.

“Ideally [you run] by yourself all the time, but bearing in mind that everybody wants to go to running today, it was nearly … not impossible, but very difficult to get by yourself,” Sato said. “So the couple runs that we were in tow, [we had a] gentle tow, but we tried to avoid it today. Overall I think we’ve done a lot since last year. I think we did a very, very different philosophy of the car, so it was good to see the car putting up better speed.”

See also
The Pit Straight: Can Alex Palou Be Stopped at Indianapolis?

Indiana’s weather was not playing nice with the Speedway’s practice schedule. After completing only 23 minutes of running on Tuesday, IndyCar planned for an earlier start on Wednesday in case meteorologists got the morning forecast wrong.

However, instead of starting at 10 a.m, already changed from the planned noon start time, no cars ended up turning laps until 3:05 p.m. Race control called several yellow flags for track inspections, misty conditions and a piece of debris in turn 1.

Drivers were able to get two hours of green flag conditions but race control put a halt on practice a few minutes before 6 p.m. due to moisture in turn 3. Shortly thereafter, persistent drizzle kept cars off the race track despite the best efforts of the track crew to keep the track in a practice-worthy condition.

Race control called the session completed with five minutes left on the clock.

About the author

Christopher DeHarde has covered IndyCar racing and the Road to Indy for various outlets since 2014. In addition to open wheel racing, DeHarde has also covered IMSA and various short track racing events around Indiana. Originally from New Orleans, DeHarde moved to the Indianapolis area in 2017 to further pursue a career as a motorsports writer.

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