Josef Newgarden Sets the Pace in Indianapolis Motor Speedway Test

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Credit: James Black/IndyCar

Two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden ended the final day of the pre-season test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday with the quickest time overall, with thirty-two cars taking to the track across the two days.

Sébastien Bourdais topped day one on Thursday in a rain affected day, with the AJ Foyt Racing driver hitting 224.427 mph in the session just for rookies and drivers needing a refresher.  The Frenchman ended ahead of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Sage Karam and Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves.

Earlier in the day, Conor Daly had hit 222.714 in the rain-shortened veteran session for Ed Carpenter Racing just ahead of team-mate/team boss Ed Carpenter, but there was disappointment elsewhere in the team as their third driver, Rinus Veekay, crashed heavily into the SAFER barriers at turn one.

Veekay was absent from Fridays running as a result, with the Dutch runner unable to take to the track following the crash early on Thursday.  Veekay had been cleared to drive despite breaking a finger in the incident, but his #21 Ed Carpenter Racing machine was not ready for him to resume running.

Behind Daly and Carpenter was Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Arrow McLaren SP team-mates Felix Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward, although rain prevented any significant running from happening.

Team Penske’s Newgarden set the fastest lap of the day on Friday and of the whole test, with his 226.819mph lap eclipsing Bourdais’ best time from day one.  Newgarden ended just ahead of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, with the Japanese racer setting a lap of 226.396mph.

Arrow McLaren SP’s Juan Pablo Montoya looked impressive on his return to the cockpit of an IndyCar, with the Colombian ending third fastest on Friday (226.123mph), with reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Dixon placed fourth with a lap of 225.906mph.

Sato’s team-mate Graham Rahal was fifth fastest ahead of Daly, while Team Penske’s Will Power, O’Ward and Castroneves completed the top ten.  Rahal ensured it was a good day for RLLR by setting the fastest lap of the test without a tow.

Team Penske’s rookie Scott McLaughlin was the busiest driver of the day, with the New Zealander completing one hundred and ninety-five laps, just five short of a full Indianapolis 500 race distance!

The returning Simona De Silvestro, running for the Paretta Autosport team, ended a respectable twenty-first in the speed charts in her first running in an IndyCar since 2015. 

Of the confirmed entrants to the Indy 500, only Charlie Kimball and JR Hildebrand did not participate in the test, with their first running in the third and fourth AJ Foyt Racing cars set to be when practice begins for the legendary race next month.

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