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Power's Penske flies in final Indy 500 practice

Staff WritersAP
Will Power climbs into his car for the final practice before qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconWill Power climbs into his car for the final practice before qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

All of the attention ahead of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 is on Team Penske, and the team comprising Australian star Will Power did not disappoint on Fast Friday.

The Chevrolet-powered cars from Team Penske and Arrow McLaren flew in final practice before qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 - a perfect tonic after the cheating scandal for using illegal software rocked the franchise.

All the cars got a boost of about 100 horsepower on Friday that they will use for qualifying and it was reflected in the speeds, with Colton Herta of Honda-powered Andretti Global turning the day's fastest lap at 234.974 mph with the help of a slight tow.

Otherwise, it was Team Penske and Arrow McLaren flexing their muscles ahead of qualifying.

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NASCAR star Kyle Larson, who will be trying to run the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, had the second-fastest single lap for McLaren at 234.271 mph.

Josef Newgarden and former Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin were next for Penske, with Alexander Rossi and Pato O'Ward of the McLaren team sandwiched around Power, the third-fastest of the Penske cars.

Newgarden had the fastest four-lap average of 234.063 mph in a simulated qualifying run. McLaughlin and Power gave Penske a sweep of the three fastest four-lap averages ahead of Saturday's time trials.

"I think today is a good indicator," said Newgarden, the defending race winner, "and we feel like we're in a decent spot. We're definitely in the mix, which is great to see. We've been working the last four years to get back in the mix in qualifying."

Team owner Roger Penske hopes its fun come Sunday and his three cars are qualified inside the top three rows for the Indy 500.

Power at Long Beach last month was adamant a Penske car would be on the pole for the May 26 race based solely on the work Team Penske had put into its Indianapolis program.

"I feel like we have a great shot because we've worked so hard. I don't think we've left anything on the table," said Power.

"I've said that for the last five years. I haven't said we'd be on pole. I've said we have a good shot. This year I really feel like we've put everything together. I feel like one of our cars have a great shot at pole, if not all on the front row."

Two-time IndyCar champion Alex Palou, who came close to winning the Indy 500 the past three years, was left in a tough situation when his Honda-powered engine let go during practice. His team at Chip Ganassi Racing spent much of the afternoon swapping engines, and Palou was left to head into qualifying with a lot of uncertainty.

Friday's session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was brought to a halt after 19-year-old rookie Nolan Siegel spun coming out of Turn 2, hit the outside wall and then caught air and sailed down the backstretch.

He was not injured but the harrowing crash left Dale Coyne Racing frantically trying to put together a backup car for Siegel with qualifying for the May 26 race on deck this weekend.

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