Newgarden tops second day of Indy 500 open test

By IndyCar Media
Posted 8:00PM on Friday 9th April 2021 ( 3 years ago )

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Josef Newgarden has won the NTT IndyCar Series championship twice in the last four years, so he freely admits winning the Indianapolis 500 is the biggest box left to check in his racing career.

If the speed chart from the second day of the Indy 500 Open Test on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is any indication, that dream could become reality this May.

Newgarden, from Nashville, Tennessee, was the fastest driver today and overall from two days of testing, turning a top lap of 226.819 mph in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet under mostly sunny skies on the 2.5-mile oval. That easily eclipsed the top speed from the rain-hampered first day Thursday, 224.427 by Sebastien Bourdais.

“It was a pretty good day,” Newgarden said. “I was happy enough with the car. I think we still need some work, for sure, but to just get an initial read on where we’re at is good. Obviously, there are a lot of new parts and differences to the last couple of years, so we’re just trying to assess what we need to really work on these last couple of weeks before we get back here in May. But I’m pretty happy.”

Indy 500 winners and IndyCar Series champions dominated the top of the speed chart. Two-time and reigning Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato was second at 226.369, with two-time Indy winner and 1999 CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya third at 226.123.

Six-time series champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon was fourth at 225.906, while Graham Rahal rounded out the top five at 225.644 in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.

RLL was the only team to power two drivers into the top five today, and Rahal was the fastest driver without the benefit of an aerodynamic tow in traffic, at 221.949. Sato won last year’s Indianapolis 500, with teammate Rahal third.

The speed limit increased Friday in more favorable conditions and larger, more aerodynamic packs. The top 12 drivers laid down laps faster than Bourdais’ chart-topper Thursday.

Passing raindrops and track inspections only briefly interrupted the nine-hour session. Rookie Scott McLaughlin turned 195 laps, more than any driver and just five laps shy of the full 500-mile race distance.

Up next for the NTT IndyCar Series is the 2021 season opener, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday, April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

The 105th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 30 at IMS.

Josef Newgarden was fastest in Friday's Indianapolis 500 Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Photo: Chris Jones

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