Indy 500 | IndyCar Practice 3 | McLaughlin tops rainy, fragmented session ahead of Power and Herta

Photo credits Penske Entertainment | James Black
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Rain delays strike again  in Indianapolis, as the beginning of the session was delayed to 3pm local. All drivers immediately went out on track to make up for the lost time.

Herta is the first driver to put in a lap speed of 222.113mph, with track evolution allowing the Andretti driver to improve around 223mphs.

Kyle Larson’s first lap of the day is good enough to send him at the top of the provisional standings, with a speed of 224.239mph, but it’s short lasted as Andretti’s strong pace is evident when 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson improved his speed.

Fifteen minutes into the session, 18 cars are out on track and Ganassi’s Dixon holds the top spot as the first driver to sign a lap in the 226mphs, followed by Rahal and part time entrant Conor Daly. 

Half hour from the beginning of the session the first yellow of the day was introduced in order to complete a planned track inspection and make sure that no water is left on track. 

Dixon is leading just like he had done on the first shortened testing day, followed by Rahal and reigning champion Palou with a 0:40.03s. Daly and Ericsson round off the top 5, with Ilott, Castroneves, Carpenter (who also has the best speed at the Turn 1 trap), Larson and Newgarden.

RLL’s Sato is the only driver yet to turn a lap in, due to the fact that he is yet to complete qualifying simulations on the simulator.

Green flag racing resumed with three hours and twenty minutes to go. McLaren is immediately performing at the restart, with O’Ward signing the fastest lap in 0:39.650s and luxury rookie Larson slotting in in third. The Mexican driver also had a moment coming out of the pits.

Barber race winner McLaughlin sets a new benchmark of 229.463mph ahead of Rossi’s 227.484mph, O’Ward and Hunter Reay, but the session is then stopped due to debris on track at Turn 1 coming from Castroneves’s car no.06. The Brazilian MSR driver has also picked up a driver through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Photo credits Penske Entertainment | James Black

The top five still features the same Chevy top three , with ECR’s Veekay a new introduction in the top ten. A yellow flag was issued five minutes into the second hour of practise due to the return of the rain, which lasted for twelve minutes.

After the restart of the session Penske is going places, with Power up to P2 with a 228.767mph and Newgarden in P4. The Chevy duo is split by a consistently fast Herta.

Another track inspection took place at 4:30pm. McLaughlin still leads from Power and Herta, with 500 winners Newgarden and Rossi rounding off the top 5. Kirkwood, O’Ward, Hunter-Reay, Castroneves, and Dixon are in the top ten as well.

After around fifteen minutes of green flag practise, the session was cautioned due to track conditions at Turn 3. Green flag racing resumed with a little less than two hours left on the clock, but it only lasts for two minutes as rain drops are felt again on track.

Latest restart sees 1:45h left on the clock. Veekay holds the best non tow speed with a 202.071, ahead of Canapino, Rossi, Herta and Rasmussen in the 219mphs.

With an hour and a half to go McLaughlin’s earlier lap is still the fastest signed in the session, with the whole top ten looking the same also due to the many interruptions. Fittipaldi returns to the pits for a front wing swap, with RLL running all three cars with the same specifics and setups in order to gain as much information on it as possible.

Championship leader Alex Palou slot in P8 behind O’Ward ahead of yet another break due to moist at Turn 3 at the beginning of the last hour of practise.

Among the drivers who have put in the least laps are Andretti and Ferrucci, who has changed multiple setups. Coyne and Juncos Hollinger Racing have both their drivers in the bottom 6.

With half hour to go Palou and Dixon left the pit lane, while their colleagues remain in their cars hoping for a weather change.

Ultimately the chequered flag was waved with five minutes to go, leaving Penske’s Chevrolets on top of the standings. However, both Andretti and McLaren have shown promising speed and pace.