IndyCar Gateway: O’Ward leads Power in practice

Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet’s Patricio O’Ward led the only practice session for this weekend’s double-header at World Wide Technology Raceway, beating Team Penske-Chevy’s 2017 polesitter and 2018 race winner Will Power.

IndyCar Gateway: O’Ward leads Power in practice

In the only practice session for this weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 – two races of 250 laps each – the rookies and first-time entrants in an IndyCar at the 1.25-mile oval got half an hour in which O’Ward turned 13 laps to set a 177.072mph lap to head Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh’s Alex Palou.

However, as more and more rubber went down on the track through the one-hour session for which all 23 entrants took to the track, speeds kept climbing and the #5 Arrow McLaren SP’s eventual high point was 181.552 on the 66th of 75 laps.

“We put a lot of very valuable work in that session,” O’Ward said. “We did everything we wanted to do to prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying and race. There’s so many little things that go into it that make a perfect race, so we want to make the best out of it.

“This Arrow McLaren SP crew gave us some really strong cars to roll out with, and I think it was just fine tuning from there. I ended the day really happy, and I think we will be ready for qualifying tomorrow."

His top effort put the 2018 Indy Lights champion more than 0.5mph clear of Power who turned more laps than anyone except Palou.

"We ran a lot and did some pretty long runs there to understand the car," said Power. "We didn’t have to change much because the Verizon Chevrolet was pretty good out of the box. I think we are pretty good, but I also ran a lot by myself. So, I’m not really sure where we are at in a pack. But overall, I’m happy with what we had today.”

Dixon made a late surge up to P3 in the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda to unseat Conor Daly who is back in the Carlin-Chevy this weekend, trying to emulate the short-oval performance we saw from this combo in Iowa, where he took his and Carlin’s first IndyCar pole.

“I think we’re in a really good place with the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet for the races this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. We went out and did our qual sim pretty early in the session, and then the track just continued to get quicker as practice went on. We knew that was going to be the case, but we wanted to make sure we worked through everything we needed to with only one practice session.

"The tire seems to be a little different and it’s creating a different feel, but obviously we’re still quick, which is nice. It feels really good to roll off the truck again with a quick car, and so far it’s really just been an incredible effort by the Carlin team. I love this track so much, and with how strong we were here last year and how the car felt today, I’m feeling really good about where we are.”

Now two-time Indy 500 champion and defending WWTR winner Takuma Sato slotted in fifth for Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda while Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing was sixth.

Palou held on to finish seventh fifth after going past the 100-lap barrier, but the Coyne team will be relying a lot on his feedback since teammate Santino Ferrucci – who led much of last year’s race here – suffered a mechanical fault and was towed back to the garage.

The Andretti Autosport-Honda team didn’t show particularly well, Alexander Rossi clocking a respectable 11th, but Ryan Hunter-Reay was in handling difficulties and buried in 19th, behind teammates Zach Veach and Marco Andretti.

Qualifying begins at 11am local (Central) time tomorrow and will be run as per Iowa. Each car gets a two-lap run, everyone’s first lap deciding the grid for Saturday’s race, the second deciding the grid for Sunday’s round.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Mph
1 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 75 24.789   181.532
2 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 81 24.867 0.078 180.961
3 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 55 24.886 0.097 180.822
4 United States Conor Daly United Kingdom Carlin 57 24.919 0.130 180.581
5 Japan Takuma Sato United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 53 24.939 0.150 180.434
6 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 80 24.965 0.176 180.246
7 Spain Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh 101 24.974 0.185 180.182
8 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 57 24.978 0.189 180.157
9 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 86 24.985 0.196 180.104
10 United States Colton Herta Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport 54 25.023 0.234 179.835
11 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 53 25.153 0.364 178.902
12 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 64 25.157 0.368 178.874
13 United States Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP 79 25.174 0.385 178.753
14 Brazil Tony Kanaan United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 52 25.220 0.431 178.426
15 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Chip Ganassi Racing 70 25.245 0.456 178.248
16 United States Zach Veach United States Andretti Autosport 54 25.315 0.526 177.760
17 United States Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani 56 25.325 0.536 177.687
18 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 54 25.426 0.637 176.981
19 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport 32 25.435 0.646 176.917
20 United States Ed Carpenter United States Ed Carpenter Racing 59 25.449 0.660 176.824
21 United States Charlie Kimball United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 52 25.535 0.746 176.222
22 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 64 25.583 0.794 175.892
23 United States Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan 40 25.880 1.091 173.874

 

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