Race Weekend Central

Scott McLaughlin Leads Front Row Sweep for Penske at Indianpaolis 500

Scott McLaughlin drove the iconic “Yellow Submarine” Pennzoil Chevrolet to the fastest-ever Indianapolis 500 pole speed, turning four-laps at an average speed of 234.220 miles per hour.

McLaughlin will lead his Team Penske teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden to the green flag in the race’s 108th running, marking the second time Team Penske has swept the race’s front row, the first being in 1988.

“Welcome to the party,” McLaughlin shouted after taking the pole. “The Pennzoil Chevrolet was unreal. So much pride to be able to do it. A lot of pride. Hello to my mum and dad back home in New Zealand, and there’s one person I know that is watching this who’s helped me all week. You know who you are brother.”

“Him, but there’s a couple of others in my corner that I’m very thankful for,” McLaughlin said when asked if the person who had helped was Rick Mears, who was one of multiple IndyCar legends to wheel the iconic paint scheme around the Speedway in years past.

“I’m working hard,” he continued. “Indy hasn’t been kind to me and a lot of it was my doing, I need to work on things and this is the first step. Really to proud to do it with all these guys and girls on the team, the Thirsty Threes, baby. We’re coming … Let’s get this Yellow Submarine back in victory lane.”

Frontstretch‘s Tony Donohue caught up with McLaughlin on pit road after the session.

Fast Six

The Team Penske teammates each took a turn atop the pylon in the Fast Six shootout, with defending winner Newgarden first taking the provisional pole with an average of 233.808 mph. Then came Power, who holds the all-time pole record in the NTT IndyCar Series. Power leapfrogged Newgarden with a run of 233.917 mph, but will be left to seek out his first Indy 500 pole next year owing to McLaughlin’s pace.

Behind the Penske trio making up front row is Alexander Rossi, whose four-lap run came to an average of 233.090 mph, followed by his one-off teammate Kyle Larson. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion will roll off fifth for his first Indy 500 by virtue of his four-lap average clocking 232.846 mph.

Larson made haste in leaving the Speedway en route to North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina where he is due to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Last of the Fast Six is Santino Ferrucci, who went out first and laid down an average of 232.692 mph. Ferrucci’s sixth-place starting position boosts his chances of extending his top-10 streak at the 500, having never finished lower than 10th in five entries.

Fast 12

Rinus VeeKay will lead row 3 from the inside after making a last-minute dash to the Fast 12 during Saturday’s qualifying session. The 23-year-old from Hoofddorp, Netherelands, crashed in turn 3 early on Saturday and picked up heavy damage to the left-hand side of his car in the process.

With just five minutes remaining, VeeKay’s crew rolled the car forward and its driver put in a blistering run to force his way into the top 12. VeeKay showed a similarly impressive pace during Sunday’s Fast 12 session, but the dominance of Team Penske, coupled with two Arrow McLaren entries making their way into the top five relegated VeeKay to seventh place, just 0.113 mph from advancing to the pole shootout.

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Pato O’Ward will start eighth, matching his qualifying effort from last year’s 500. The Mexican’s three-lap average came in at 232.584 mph. Felix Rosenqvist followed O’Ward in ninth place with an average of 232.305 mph.

Two-time 500 winner Takuma Sato was the fastest of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing cars, placing his one-off No. 75 entry 10th on the grid, inside of row four, with an average speed clocking 232.171 mph.

Kyle Kirkwood struggled with handling throughout his run, having to lift while fighting the car’s balance and losing pace in the process. The Floridian’s four-lap averaged came to a modest 230.993 mph. On the outside of row four will be Ryan Hunter-Reay, whose car looked stable, but not fast. The 2014 500 winner turned his four laps at an average of 230.567 mph and expressed disappointment with his run afterward.

Last Chance Qualifying

At the top of the final row showdown and starting 31st for her fourth attempt at the 500 is Katherine Legge. After being the only Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver to make the top 30 for last year’s running, the Briton established firm control over the LCQ on her first run and advanced safely while the drama unfolded further down the timing stand.

That’s not to say that Legge didn’t put in some work for her spot, however.

Sunday came down to a near-perfect case of deja vu for Graham Rahal, who found himself once again facing elimination from the race, though not at the hands of Jack Harvey this time.

First to threaten Rahal was Marcus Ericsson, whose exploits in Last Chance Qualifying were bordering on Lifetime film levels of drama. The Swede misheard his team and lifted prematurely during his first run, mistaking the end of his third lap for the end of his final lap and therefore squashing his attempt.

Ericsson and his No. 28 team found their feet on their next attempt, and the 2022 winner jumped to second of the four, pushing Rahal into a provisional 33rd place.

The last car out was Nolan Siegel, with no time for Rahal to answer Ericsson’s run.

Siegel, facing elimination from his first Indy 500 attempt, left it all on the track, but not in the way he would have liked. As track temperatures rose and grip begin to fall off, Siegel lost the car on the exit of turn 1 on his second lap and hit the short chute wall before spinning down the track and impacting the turn 2 wall.

2024 Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Results

The 2024 Indianapolis 500 will get underway at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 26. Coverage will be provided by NBC as well as being available to stream on Peacock.

About the author

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Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.

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