Newgarden leads halfway through Fast Friday at Indy

Josef Newgarden was the pacesetter as the six-hour Fast Friday session ticked past its halfway mark at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Teams have an additional 100hp of boost on tap ahead of the first day of qualifying tomorrow, and that extra power made its presence known within the first three minutes of the session when Newgarden broke the 233mph barrier with his first flying lap in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.

He finished his run with a 233.259mph four-lap average, which remained unbeaten until he went out again and improved it to 234.063mph.

“You can’t get too excited on a day like today,” Newgarden said. “We’re testing, everybody’s testing, it counts when it counts. But I think we have fast cars — there’s no doubt we have to be somewhat pleased at what we’re looking at.


“Let’s not get excited about Fast Friday, we need to put the pieces together tomorrow and I think the car can do that. We just need to go through the motions. It’s going to be harder tomorrow, it’s going to be even harder on Sunday, so I think those are the things we really need to think about and game out what is our plan and how are we going to attack this, because there are no guarantees in IndyCar racing.”

Penske had the top three spots on the timing screens locked out, with Will Power’s 233.172mph — set right at the end of the third hour — putting him just ahead of Scott McLaughlin’s 233.054mph run.

Alexander Rossi was next for Arrow McLaren with a four-lap average of 232.916mph, while a long period of Chevrolet domination was finally ended by Meyer Shank’s Felix Rosenqvist, who popped up fifth fastest after two-and-a-half hours of running with a four-lap average of 232.857mph.

Penske also had a 1-2-3 over a single lap, with Newgarden (234.260mph) leading McLaughlin (233.932mph) and Power (233,864mph), leaving Rossi (233,741mph) and Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood (233.705) rounding out the top five.

The only significant incident came right around the 100-minute mark when DCR rookie Nolan Siegel crashed heavily at Turn 2. The No. 18 Honda was most of the way through the corner when the rear wiggled and sent him into the wall., the car spinning 180 degrees before becoming airborne and landing upside-down in the middle of the track. Siegel was unhurt, but the car was less fortunate. The team is now preparing the road course car used by Luca Ghiotto in last week’s Indy GP.

The session was under yellow once again just after the three-hour after smoke began to appear from the rear of Alex Palou’s No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Story originally appeared on Racer