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Qualifying report
IndyCar Indianapolis 500

Indy 500: McLaughlin sets new pole record at 234.220mph in Penske sweep

Scott McLaughlin led a Team Penske front row sweep for the 108th Indianapolis 500 with a new record four-lap pole speed of 234.220mph.

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

The New Zealander was the last of the drivers in the Fast Six to go out and delivered an ominous opening lap of 234.526mph before going on to grab a four-lap average of 234.220mph to take the top spot from team-mate Will Power.

The 2018 Indy 500 champion, Power gathered up a superb run that hit a four-lap average of 233.917mph, which knocked Josef Newgarden, team-mate to both McLaughlin and Power, from provisional pole.

The fourth driver to go out was Newgarden, the reigning Indy 500 winner, who nailed a 234.188mph on the first of four laps on his attempt. There was minimal drop on the second lap as he hit a 234.004mph before a third at 233.640mph.

A fourth lap of 233.400mph for Newgarden provided a four-lap average of 233.808mph.

This marked the second time Penske has swept the front row of the Indy 500, with the last time being in 1988.

Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi began his run with a monster opening lap at 234.062mph, then backed it up with a 233.335mph lap. He kept carefully navigating his machine with a 232.651mph on the third lap but was left with a slight lift on his last lap that dropped to 232.319mph.

In the end, he delivered a 233.090mph four-lap average that took provisional pole before being bumped by Newgarden.

Rossi, clearly agitated by being knocked off the perch, stated, “I’m annoyed” before declaring it “good motivation for next weekend”.

Kyle Larson’s quest for pole in his Indy 500 debut began as the second driver to go out and he nailed a strong opening lap of 233.383mph in the No. 17 Arrow McLaren-Rick Hendrick Chevrolet.

The following lap dipped under the 233mph barrier with a 232.903mph before combating understeer on his third lap for 232.669mph. The final lap of his four-lap run came in at 232.433mph and hold an average of 232.846.

The first driver to go out was AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci, who was sliding wildly around the 2.5-mile superspeedway but still able to wrangle the Chevrolet-powered No. 14 entry to an average run of 232.692mph and land sixth.

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

The rest of the Top 12 qualifiers

Rinus VeeKay’s streak of three consecutive front row starts came to end after his No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet was the first driver on the outside of the bubble in seventh after a 232.610mph four-lap run.

But considering he made it this far after an early qualifying crash, the Dutchman will take it.

“I was happy,” said VeeKay. “It was building understeer, so that was pretty easy to adjust with the tools in the car.”

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward was eighth (232.583mph), while the first Honda engine represented was courtesy of Felix Rosenqvist in ninth after his Meyer Shank Racing entry had a four-lap average of 232.305mph.

Two-time Indy 500 champion Takuma Sato was 10th in the No. 75 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda following a 232.171mph four-lap outing.

The No. 27 Andretti Global Honda of Kyle Kirkwood, who went out eighth, was having a stable run in the 232mph range before encountering a near-miss with the Turn 1 wall that required him to back out of the throttle. That dropped his average to 230.993mph to end up 11th.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indy 500 winner, was the first to go out in the No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet and established a consistent four-lap average of 230.567mph to slot in the final spot in 12th.

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