Scott McLaughlin on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (IndyCar Photo)

McLaughlin Tops Indy 500 Practice Charts

INDIANAPOLIS — After a five-hour, five-minute delay, practice for the 108th Indianapolis 500, Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske was the fastest driver of the day.

The Team Penske driver had the fastest speed of the day at 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 229.493 miles per hour in the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet. He ran 78 laps.


“It was a pretty busy day,” McLaughlin said. “The start of it was pretty slow, and then once we got out there, it was hustle and bustle just getting out there and finding some space, and traffic running was probably what we were working on. The race car feels really good, basically straight out of the truck. Even yesterday when we had those limited running, I felt really good there just from a balance perspective, and just had that confidence today.

“We ran some really good runs in pretty dirty air deep in the pack and was able to pass a few cars, and that’s always a good sign.

“We just ran through — obviously running through a lot of race trim stuff, a lot of traffic stuff. A lot of it’s also, for me, I feel like I’m improving year in, year out, and you just never stop learning. Sometimes it takes a little bit to get back into the rhythm of things around here and understanding the timing, and that’s how guys like Takuma (Sato) have won this race is understanding that stuff, and I’m trying to get a handle on that pretty early.

“We’ll work on qualifying here tomorrow and whatnot, but at the same time, I think we’re in a lot better shape. For me mentally, just I’m a bit more focused on the right things, not being blase on the little details because it takes every little detail to be good here, and I think we made the most of our time.”

Six-time IndyCar Series champion, five-time Indy 500 pole winner and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing was second at 229.107 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.

Team Penske’s Will Power, the 2018 Indy 500 winner, was third at 228.767 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. Marco Andretti of Andretti Global was fourth at 228.399 mph in the No. 98 Honda and teammate Colton Herta rounded out the top five at 227.858 mph.

All 34 car/driver combinations were on track Wednesday in a session that was delayed five-hours-and-five minutes by rain. It also ended about an hour early from its extended time of 7 p.m. because of light sprinkles.

Click here for the full results.

Kyle Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, was 17th fastest in his first day of running significant number of laps at IMS this year. Larson’s best speed was 17th on the board at 225.245 mph. He ran 56 laps.

McLaughlin admits he was tired of sitting in the motorhome watching movies to deal with the time of waiting out the rain.

“So boring, there’s only so much Netflix you can watch,” McLaughlin said. “I was over it. I watched about three movies but then I was ready to go once we got going, and I was happy as. 

“When the car is good straight away, that’s a nice feeling. I feel that anticipation, as well, because it is quite a bit of anticipation just getting ready to go. I think this is two years in a row we’ve lost opening day. It’s a nice feeling.”

The practice was originally scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., but with heavy rain in the morning, track drying did not begin until 12 noon.

At 3:05 p.m., Eastern Time, the green flag waved, and cars rolled off pit lane in the practice session that has been extended to 7 p.m. ET.

IndyCar officials have also revised Thursday’s practice schedule. Instead of beginning at 12 noon, it will now begin at 10 a.m. and run through 6 p.m. on May 16.

“It’s the same for everyone,” McLaughlin said. “It’s not like anyone else is going out there and running. We’re all in the same box together. 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. We were able to sort of put the car away at 6:00 instead of running all the way to 7 p.m., 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.

“Always fun. It’s always fun around here.”