Newgarden edges Herta to top Monday Indy 500 practice

It was hot and hectic on Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the full field made great use of the last regular practice session before engines fall silent until Friday’s Carb Day outing. With temperatures creeping towards 90F, teams kept their drivers busy with non-stop lead and follow running as drivers and their race engineers tried to perfect race-day setups.

The session was a tale of two halves as Andretti Global’s Colton Herta was the fastest in the field with the No. 26 Honda through the first hour of running with a full-tow lap pf 226.222mph, and with a caution thrown at the halfway point for a track inspection, the 33 drivers fired back out with 50 minutes to go and continued the drafting party.

“The car feels very, very nice,” Herta said. “I think there’s more stuff we can work on, but we’re there.”


Reigning Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden edged ahead of Herta on the back half of the session with a 226.238mph lap in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy and it held until the end of the outing. Penske’s Will Power was third (226.137mph), Juncos Hollinger’s Agustin Canapino was a surprise fourth (225.747mph), Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward was fifth (225.738mph) and the top six was closed out by Ed Carpenter Racing’s Christian Rasmussen (225.718mph).

Tom Blomqvist brought the only drama of the day when he did a hot pit stop — as most drivers did late in the two-hour session — and hammered the throttle too hard and half spun on the way out of his pit box. The rookie was fortunate to avoid hitting anything and was quickly pointed forward and sent on his way. The British-born Swede completed 106 laps — 265 miles — and was 16th on the speed chart 224.600mph).

Teams will spend Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday tearing down their cars and completing final preparations before returning on Friday to do two more hours of running from 11am-1pm ET before going racing for 500 miles on Sunday.


Story originally appeared on Racer