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Kyle Larson qualifies 5th for Indy 500

Kyle Larson completed his week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, securing the fifth position for next Sunday's race despite limited practice time leading up to the Indianapolis 500 qualifications.

 

Larson entered Sunday as part of the Fast 12, having posted the sixth-fastest qualifying time on Saturday. His average lap speed of 232.788 mph in the Fast 12 placed him fifth, earning him a spot in the Fast Six.

 

Following Saturday's qualifying round, Larson was unsure if he would advance to the Fast Six due to his commitment to the NASCAR All-Star Race in North Wilkesboro, N.C. However, he ultimately decided to continue competing in the qualifying weekend.

 

In his second qualification run on Sunday, Larson achieved an average speed of 232.846 mph, placing him fifth in the Fast Six group. This result positions Larson in the middle of the second row for the first Indianapolis 500 of his career.

 

Expressing his satisfaction with the qualifying outcome, Larson praised the teams at Arrow McLaren and Hendrick Motorsports for their efforts.

 

Following his media duties, Larson boarded a helicopter outside Turn 2 at IMS that transported him to the Indianapolis International Airport, where he will catch a flight to North Wilkesboro after finishing fourth in the All-Star Race.

Throughout the week, Larson remained in Indianapolis while former

 

NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick filled in for him during practice and qualifying for the NASCAR All-Star Race, an exhibition event with a $1 million prize.

Looking ahead to his upcoming schedule, Larson expressed confidence and readiness for the challenges awaiting him at North Wilkesboro.

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McLaughlin Wins Record Pole as Penske Sweeps Front Row

Scott McLaughlin emerged victorious in the NTT P1 Award during the Firestone Fast Six qualifying round for the 108th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday. This marked only the second time in the history of the famous race that one team has swept the front row. The first team to achieve this feat was Team Penske back in 1988, with Rick Mears securing the pole position, Danny Sullivan starting in second, and Al Unser in third.

 

For McLaughlin, it was a significant milestone as he earned his inaugural Indianapolis 500 pole position. Driving the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, he also set a new record for the fastest four-lap average pole speed in the race's history at 234.220 mph. In his previous three starts at the Indianapolis 500, McLaughlin's best qualifying position was 14th in 2023.

 

Expressing his excitement, McLaughlin stated, "The Pennzoil Chevy was phenomenal. It's a matter of great pride to achieve this. I've been putting in a lot of effort. Indianapolis hasn't been very kind to me, and I take responsibility for that. There are areas I need to improve on. This is just the beginning. The Thirsty 3's are on their way."

 

Will Power, a two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and the 2018 winner of the "500," will start in the second position after clocking a speed of 233.917 in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet. Josef Newgarden, the reigning winner of the "500" and a two-time series champion, will round out the front row with a speed of 233.808 in the No. 2 Shell Powering Progress Team Penske Chevrolet.

 

Team Penske secured their 19th pole position at the Indianapolis 500, further extending their record. The qualifying session took place on the hottest day of this year's event, with air temperatures rising up to 91 degrees and track temperatures peaking at 129 degrees.

 

Chevrolet-powered drivers dominated the top eight positions in the 33-car lineup for the race on Sunday, May 26.

Other notable qualifiers in the Firestone Fast Six included Alexander Rossi, who will start in fourth place at 233.090 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, Kyle Larson - the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion and a rookie - in fifth place at 232.846 in the No. 17 Hendrickcars.com Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, and Santino Ferrucci in sixth place at 232.692 in the No. 14 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet, fielded by A.J. Foyt Enterprises.

 

Felix Rosenqvist emerged as the fastest Honda-powered qualifier, earning the ninth starting position after posting a speed of 232.305 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda of Meyer Shank Racing.

Katherine Legge, Marcus Ericsson, and Graham Rahal secured the final three starting spots through Last Chance Qualifying.

 

Legge qualified in 31st place at 230.092 in the No. 51 e.l.f. Cosmetics Honda, while Ericsson secured the 32nd spot at 230.027 in the No. 28 Delaware Life Honda of Andretti Global. Rahal, avoiding elimination for the second year in a row, clinched the last starting position at 229.974 in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

 

Rahal reflected on his experience from last year, expressing how disappointing it still feels. Despite finishing 33rd, he acknowledged that just being able to compete in the race is a privilege they will treasure.

 

Unfortunately, rookie Nolan Siegel was unable to qualify for the event. Siegel, a prominent INDY NXT by Firestone participant, was involved in a crash during the final attempt of the session after being bumped earlier during Last Chance Qualifying. Luckily, he escaped the incident unscathed.

Although Siegel was disheartened by not making it into the '500', he recognized the challenges faced by the team in the past few days. He commended the team's effort and believed they gave their best performance during the runs. It was a day when they left everything on the track.

 

The field's average speed of 231.943 is the second-fastest in history, only slightly behind last year's record of 232.184.

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2024 Preview: Arrow McLaren

Note: This continues a series of 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES team previews on INDYCAR.com from Feb. 26-March 1. The season starts Sunday, March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding.

Starting Lineup: Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet), David Malukas (No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet), Alexander Rossi (No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet), Kyle Larson (No. 17 Arrow McLaren Hendrick Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge).

2023 in Review: The Indianapolis-based team was consistently in position throughout the season but did not score a race win. O’Ward had the strongest results, earning second-place finishes in the first two races of the season – the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding and the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway – and netting nine top-five finishes with 189 laps led. He finished fourth in the point standings. Rossi’s season was consistently strong, highlighted by six top-five finishes, including a fifth-place finish in the “500.” He also finished third and second, respectively, in the road course races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Felix Rosenqvist won poles at Texas Motor Speedway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca while scoring a second-place finish in the BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland. Malukas had top-five finishes for Dale Coyne Racing at Texas (fourth) and World Wide Technology Raceway (third).

New for ’24: With Rosenqvist moving to Meyer Shank Racing, Malukas steps into Arrow McLaren’s No. 6 Chevrolet. Malukas won’t begin the season in the car, however, as he recovers from a broken wrist.

Keep an Eye on This: Larson’s “500” debut will generate much intrigue as he has long been North America’s brightest motorsports star and won NASCAR’s Cup Series championship in 2021. He has tested at IMS and Phoenix Raceway, and he is scheduled to participate in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ open test at IMS in April.

Little-Known Fact: O’Ward has 20 top-three finishes over the past four seasons, and only four drivers in the series have more over that span: Alex Palou (25), Josef Newgarden (23), Scott Dixon (22) and Will Power (22)

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