Race Weekend Central

Pato O’Ward Fastest, Marcus Ericsson & Linus Lundqvist Crash in Thursday’s Indianapolis Practice

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — While Pato O’Ward set his fastest lap of the week during practice for the 108th Indianapolis 500, the Swedish tandem of Marcus Ericsson and Linus Lundqvist are both preparing for Friday practice with repaired cars after separate crashes.

O’Ward’s 14th and fastest lap of the day was turned at an average speed of 228.681 mph in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Colton Herta was fastest on the non-tow time sheet at 224.182 mph.

“We got a pretty fat tow lap on the board, which was unexpected, I would say,” O’Ward said in the post practice press conference. “But yeah, I’m happy with my car. We did race runs, we did qualifying runs. Obviously it doesn’t necessarily translate perfectly to when the boosts come up just because the speed is so different.

“But I mean, tomorrow if it does rain out, at least we got a bit of a feeling of what the car is tending to want to do on a bit more trim level.”

See also
Scott McLaughlin Fastest in Wednesday Indianapolis 500 Practice

Lundqvist hit the turn 2 wall around 11:30 a.m. The No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was following Alexander Rossi and O’Ward when Lundqvist lost control at the corner apex after hitting the apex curb, hitting the SAFER barrier with the right side of the car.

The car went across the back straight and lightly brushed the inside retaining wall after a brief excursion in the grass. Lundqvist was seen and released from the IndyCar medical unit.

“Just want to apologize to the team, obviously not what we’re looking to do,” Lundqvist said after the crash. “It’s a shame, I know the guys worked so hard to put this car together. It sucks, it’s my mistake, I know exactly what I did. I touched the curb in two and I couldn’t hold onto it.

“It’s just a mistake on my part and obviously the team’s going to pay the price for it. So yeah, it sucks, but I’m alright.”

Practice resumed with only brief interruptions until Ericsson’s No. 28 Andretti Global Honda lost control after making the same mistake as Lundqvist going through turn 4.

The 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner did a half-spin, hitting the SAFER barrier with the left side of the car before the car slid to the wall on the inside of the track. Ericsson then hit the attenuator separating pit road from the racetrack, coming to a stop on pit road just after pit entrance.

“I’m feeling okay, obviously it was quite a decent hit but the safety in these cars is pretty impressive, so [I’m] feeling okay,” Ericsson said on the practice broadcast outside the media center. “I think I brushed the curb a little bit and that probably was enough to send it and then you’re a passenger. So yeah, very disappointed, very sorry for my team, you know, they have done a good job and they have a lot of work ahead of them now so that’s probably the worst of the whole thing.”

Ericsson was seen and released by IndyCar medical staff. While Lundqvist’s primary car is being repaired, Andretti Global are building Ericsson’s backup car into a new race car.

“We could have fixed the primary car, but the body fit of the new bodywork was not fit for that tub,” said an Andretti Global team member. “The backup car has its own body panels fit to it, so it’s easier to just build up the new car with the new bodywork because not every panel will fit for every car.”

Practice ended with Conor Daly‘s No. 24 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Chevrolet having a mechanical failure on the right front of the car causing Daly to slow down out of an abundance of caution. The yellow flag remained out until the 6 p.m-scheduled end of practice.

Friday is better known as Fast Friday, owing to the increased turbocharger boost pressure that will be assigned to each driver for the final day of practice before Saturday and Sunday’s qualifying sessions ahead of the 108th Indianapolis 500 on May 26.

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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