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IndyCar Indianapolis 500

Indy 500: Herta sets quickest lap at 234.974mph, Newgarden tops four-lap average

Colton Herta unleashed the quickest single-lap run, while Josef Newgarden put together a stout four-lap effort on Fast Friday ahead of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

Colton Herta, Andretti Global w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

While out for a simulated qualifying run, Herta’s quickest lap of 234.974mph came courtesy of a tow off the #15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda of Graham Rahal with 90 minutes left on the session.

Herta opted to abort the effort after Rahal impeded his planned four-lap run.

Newgarden, the reigning Indy 500 winner, made his presence felt with a strong simulated qualifying run at 234.063mph (234.260, 233.937, 233.970, 234.087) to seize control of the fastest four-lap average in the #2 Team Penske Chevrolet.

Newgarden went out around 3pm ET, which is the same time Sunday’s Top 12 battle would be taking place.

“You can’t control this stuff sometimes,” Newgarden said. “Like, you show up and... you can’t get too excited on a day like today.

“We’re testing. Everybody is testing. It counts when it counts but I think we have fast cars. There’s no doubt we gotta be somewhat pleased at what we’re looking at.

“Again, let’s not get excited because it’s Fast Friday but we need to put our pieces together tomorrow [for qualifying].”

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Team Penske swept the top three spots in the four-lap average runs, with Scott McLaughlin (233.623mph) and Will Power (233.451mph) ending up second and third, respectively.

The Arrow McLaren duo of Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward were fourth and fifth after simulated qualifying outings at 233.355mph and 233.043mph.

Felix Rosenqvist (Meyer Shank Racing), Agustin Canapino (Juncos Hollinger Racing), Santino Ferrucci (AJ Foyt Racing), Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Global) and Kyle Larson (Arrow McLaren) rounded out the rest of the top 10 in best four-lap average speed.

Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion, ran the second-quickest single lap behind Herta, hitting 234.271mph. Newgarden’s fastest individual lap of 234.260mph took third, ahead of team-mate McLaughlin’s 234.102mph run in fourth.

Rossi was fifth on the single-lap efforts at 234.006mph.

Reigning and two-time IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou, who is also the defending pole-sitter of the Indy 500, encountered a problem during his simulated run in the afternoon after a plume of smoke from the right side of his #10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

The verdict was an engine issue, as oil caked his pitbox, with an extended yellow flag to clean up residue on the track.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Palou received a new engine and was able to return before the end of the session. He ended up 24th on the single-lap outing at 232.135mph.

The Honda of Pietro Fittipaldi also endured a mechanical issue, but it was found to be an overboost and did not have to require an engine change. His best lap was 231.586mph.

There was only one major incident on the day, which involved rookie Nolan Siegel.

Driving the #18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, Siegel was in the midst of a third lap during a simulated qualifying run when his car snapped around and hit the outside wall on the exit of Turn 2.

The back of the car lifted and nearly inverted before skating down the backstretch on the left side before coming to a stop in the middle of the track.

Fortunately, he was able to walk away after receiving assistance – due to car positioning and the aeroscreen – from the accident.

Nolan Siegel, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Nolan Siegel, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

The incident happened roughly 90 minutes into the day, with Siegel only running 15 laps with a best of 229.813mph (28th overall).

He became the third driver to crash this week, with Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Linus Lundqvist and Andretti Global’s Marcus Ericsson, the 2022 Indy 500 winner, involved in separate incidents in Thursday’s running.

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