Newgarden Leads Hectic Race Prep Practice at Indy

Whether running with qualifying or race setups, there is one indisputable fact this Month of May: Team Penske is fast.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Josef Newgarden led the two-hour practice Monday for the 108th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” as teams shifted from the all-out speed of PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying last weekend to stable setups for the race Sunday, May 26. Newgarden, who qualified third Sunday, turned a best lap of 226.238 mph in the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet.

SEE: Practice Results

“The car feels good,” Newgarden said. “I’ve been happy with it since we showed up. I’m excited to go racing. The team has done a great job.

“We’re going to see how things shake up. You’ve just got to be ready for everything. We’re going to make a plan, like qualifying, and we might change the plan. You never know with the Indy 500. We’re ready for Sunday.”

The next and final on-track session is Miller Lite Carb Day practice from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET Friday (live, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network). Live coverage of the race starts at 11 a.m. ET Sunday on NBC, Universo, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Colton Herta, who qualified 13th, climbed to second on the speed charts Monday at 226.222 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian. 2018 “500” winner Will Power, who qualified second, was third in practice at 226.137 in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet.

Agustin Canapino, who qualified 22nd, jumped to fourth in the thick traffic of this practice at 225.747 in the No. 78 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet. Pato O’Ward, who qualified eighth, rounded out the top five at 225.738 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

Team Penske swept the front row in qualifying for just the second time in “500” history Sunday – repeating its feat from 1988 – with Scott McLaughlin winning the NTT P1 Award, Power qualifying second and Newgarden third. McLaughlin was 21st fastest Monday in practice at 224.031 in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet.

Drivers flipped the mental switch from running alone in four-lap qualifying runs Saturday and Sunday on the 2.5-mile oval to darting in and out of tight thickets of traffic Monday in preparation for the race.

All 33 starters combined to turn 2,655 laps, more than any practice this month despite the session lasting only two hours. Rookie Tom Blomqvist was the busiest driver, turning 106 laps – more than half of the race distance – in his No. 66 AutoNation/Arctic Wolf Honda fielded by Meyer Shank Racing.

IndyCar PR