Photo: Walter G.Arce/ASP, Inc.

Newgarden Paces Monday Indy 500 Practice as Chevrolet Keeps the Pressure Up

By Kirby Arnold, Special Contributor

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden of Team Penske led practice Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Chevrolet teams dominated the speed chart. 


One day after Penske drivers swept the three front-row starting spots and Chevy-powered cars claimed the first eight positions for Sunday’s race, the story was much the same Monday in race trim. 

Newgarden posted the fastest lap at 226.238 mph and, after Colton Herta was second in his Andretti Global Honda, the next five were Chevy cars – Will Power, Agustin Canapino, Pato O’Ward and Christian Rasmussen. 

Scott McLaughlin, who set the speedway’s all-time pole winning speed record at 234.220 mph on Sunday, was only 21st fastest Monday at 224.031 mph. 

“A lot of cars look sporty, more than I can count on my fingers,” O’Ward said.  

Despite running fifth Monday, O’Ward wasn’t pleased. He didn’t count himself among those with a chance to win the 500 unless the team finds more speed in his Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. 

“I think there are a lot of cars with a shot,” he said. “Maybe it’s because I felt a little slow. If we speed up, we’ll be fine.” 

O’Ward wouldn’t say what plagued his car. 

“We’ve had so many annoying issues that we can’t seem to perfect,” he said. “I hope we can fix it. If not, we will be handicapped during the race. It just sucks when you’re not fast enough around here. You feel helpless.” 

Herta, who qualified 13th fastest, not only showed speed Monday, but was comfortable running in traffic. 

“I felt very confident in the car and what it was able to do, especially with the tailwind where you usually get big understeers,” he said.

“Out of Turn 2 today, the car just felt solid, was right underneath me. The car was in a nice kind of window. We tried some small things, found some stuff that was a little bit better, some stuff that was worse, and overall, I was just happy with it for most of the time out there.” 

The track will be quiet until a two-hour Carb Day practice on Friday, the final tuneup before Sunday’s race. 

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