Scott McLaughlin Finishes First in Practice Two Plagued by Red Flags

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(Photo Credit: Chris Owens / IMS Photo / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Team Penske rookie Scott McLaughlin finished at the top of his first career NTT IndyCar Series session, going fastest in practice two for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey. McLaughlin was one of the fastest cars throughout a red-flag filled session finding himself consistently inside the top ten for most of the morning.

All four Penske cars found themselves in the top ten at the end of the session with Simon Pagenaud fourth, Will Power fifth and championship contender Josef Newgarden in tenth. For a long portion of practice, Newgarden, McLaughlin and Pagenaud occupied the top three positions of the scoring sheets.

The first red flag of the session came out within the first ten minutes of the 45-minute session after Dalton Kellett suffered serious damage in turn four. The red flag ate up 12 minutes minutes of valuable track time as Kellett’s A.J. Foyt Enterprises machine was rescued from the gravel and the tyre barrier was repaired.

Practice resumed with 25 minutes to go, as teams began their qualifying simulations on fresh primary tyres. Just like first practice, many drivers still found themselves going off course. Colton Herta, Takuma Sato and more all found themselves dropping tyres into the gravel across the session.

Another red flag came out with ten minutes to go, as Rinus VeeKay went off-track in the same spot as Kellett in turn four, his second offroad adventure of the session. Luckily, this red flag did not take as long as before and everyone was able to get at least one lap on the alternate tyres to gather data as the session went green with three and a half laps to go.

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca looked a lot more like the congested Interstate 405 as drivers looked for an opening to set a fast lap up until the checkered flag, with the top ten shuffling greatly.

Defending Laguna Seca race winner Herta finished the session second fastest, while championship leader Alex Palou finished third. While lap time isn’t everything in practice, he was the fastest driver of the top five in points, with his title rivals Patricio O’Ward and teammate Scott Dixon finishing twentieth and eighteenth respectively as the teams collected data.

O’Ward’s teammate Felix Rosenqvist found himself sixth fastest, followed by Alexander Rossi who also finished in the top ten in first practice yesterday.

Ryan Hunter-Reay finished eighth ahead of his second-to-last race for Andretti Autosport, with Ed Jones once again showing pace with the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan crew after finishing fourth in first practice.

Qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey takes place later today at 1705 EST / 1405 PST / 2205 BST.

Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey Practice 2 Results

13Scott McLaughlin (R)NZLTeam Penske01:10.875 sec.
226Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport01:11.022 sec.
310Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing01:11.031 sec.
422Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske01:11.338 sec.
512Will PowerAUSTeam Penske01:11.393 sec.
67Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP01:11.460 sec.
727Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport01:11.491 sec.
828Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport01:11.520 sec.
918Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan01:11.580 sec.
102Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske01:11.611 sec.
1160Jack HarveyGBRMeyer Shank Racing01:11.703 sec.
128Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing01:11.716 sec.
1329James HinchcliffeCANAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport01:11.722 sec.
1415Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:11.844 sec.
1545Oliver AskewUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:11.921 sec.
1651Romain Grosjean (R)FRADale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing01:12.050 sec.
1759Max ChiltonGBRCarlin01:12.059 sec.
189Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing01:12.095 sec.
1977Callum Ilott (R)GBRJuncos Hollinger Racing01:12.111 sec.
205Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP01:12.134 sec.
2106Helio CastronevesBRAMeyer Shank Racing01:12.281 sec.
2214Sebastien BourdaisFRAA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:12.333 sec.
2320Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing01:12.412 sec.
2448Jimmie Johnson (R)USAChip Ganassi Racing01:12.431 sec.
2521Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing01:12.585 sec.
2630Takuma SatoJPNRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:12.867 sec.
274Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:13.030 sec.
(R) – Rookie
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