O’Ward leads halfway through Thursday Indy 500 practice

Thursday’s practice session for the Indianapolis 500 got off to a swift start as drivers used the early 10 am ET start and its cooler ambient conditions to perform qualifying simulations. Andretti Global’s Colton Herta was the fastest of the 10 drivers with a no-tow best lap of 223.143mph set in the first 15 minutes of the eight-hour session with the No. 26 Honda. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay was second on the no-tow list with a 222.627mph lap in the No. 21 Chevy.

Herta also set the fastest lap among the first runners with a 226.218mph after catching a tow, which stood until Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden nudged the number up to 226.684mph in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy. Set in the opening 25 minutes, Newgarden’s lap stood as the track got busier and sizable packs of drivers began running together while working on race-day setups.

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward took command of P1 at the 45-minute mark with a lap of 228.861mph in his No. 5 Chevy while sitting fourth in a line of cars. O’Ward held P1 through the first 90 minutes, and at that point in time, he was joined by teammate Kyle Larson on track, whose car spent the morning in the Arrow McLaren garage having its Chevy engine changed.


The first crash of the event was produced by Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Linus Lundqvist at 11:31am when he smacked the Turn 2 wall with the No. 8 Honda. The rookie from Sweden climbed from the car without assistance. The right-rear suspension and rear wing bore the brunt of the damage in the contact as his car oversteered and went into the SAFER barrier with the right-rear corner.

O’Ward held firm to P1 after two hours of running and had Penske’s Scott McLaughlin nestled behind in second with a tow-aided 227.316mph in the No. 3 Chevy and Ganassi’s Alex Palou in third with a 226.915mph in the No. 10 Honda.

Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi struggled to launch from his pit stall and came to a stop next to Meyer Shank Racing’s pit boxes. The team would take his No. 7 Chevy back to Gasoline Alley and get to work on resolving an unnamed drivetrain issue.

The order of O’Ward, McLaughlin, and Palou remained unchanged as the halfway point — four hours of running — was completed.

Story originally appeared on Racer