Newgarden fastest from Larson as rain is the big winner on the first day of open test at IMS

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Walt Kuhn
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Defending Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden went fastest on the first day of the categories open test at IMS for Team Penske.

Newgarden, who controversially won the famous race last year after a wild last lap battle with Marcus Ericsson that featured a lot of weaving, came out of the blocks quickly to lead the field by over 2 miles per hour.

The big surprise was Kyle Larson. The NASCAR star was a sensational P2 in his Arrow McLaren as he continues to familiarise himself with an IndyCar package ahead of May. He’ll be doing the double-header as he drives in the Coca Cola 600 that day as well, providing he makes the 500 field.

2022 and 2023 polesitters Scott Dixon and Alex Palou finished P3 and P4 respectively as Chip Ganassi Racing continues to show strong speed at the speedway.

Herta, McLaughlin, Carpenter, Kirkwood, Rasmussen and Rosenqvist rounded out the top 10.

David Malukas, still sidelined by injury following his bike crash in pre-season, is being replaced by Callum Ilott for the test. The British driver was P27 on a low-key day for Arrow McLaren’s regular drivers.

All three veterans required to do the refresher tests – Marco Andretti [Andretti Autosport], Pietro Fittipaldi [Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing] and Katherine Legge [Dale Coyne Racing] – completed that program.

Christian Rasmussen [Ed Carpenter Racing], Kyffin Simpson [Chip Ganassi Racing] and Nolan Siegel [Dale Coyne Racing] also completed their three-phase Rookie Orientation Program as they will attempt to qualify for the 500 in their maiden IndyCar campaigns.

Rain was the biggest winner of the day as interruptions continually hampered the opportunity for teams to get significant running in, with IndyCar eventually calling it a day in the afternoon.