MADISON, Ill. (Friday, Aug. 28, 2020) – Pato O’Ward continued his impressive first full season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Friday, leading practice for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Doubleheader at World Wide Technology Raceway.
O’Ward turned a top lap of 24.7890 seconds, 181.532 mph on the 1.25-mile oval in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. This is O’Ward’s first NTT INDYCAR SERIES start at WWTR, as he ran only a partial schedule last season.
The hot lap today continued an emergence in 2020 that has seen Mexican driver O’Ward climb to third in the series standings after seven races. He also finished sixth last Sunday in his first Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge start and was named that event’s Rookie of the Year.
RESULTS: Practice 1
“We put a lot of very valuable work in that session,” O’Ward said. “We did everything we wanted to do to prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying and race. There’s so many little things that go into it that make a perfect race, so we want to make the best out of it.
“This Arrow McLaren SP crew gave us some really strong cars to roll out with, and I think it was just fine tuning from there. I ended the day really happy, and I think we will be ready for qualifying tomorrow.”
2014 series champion Will Power was second on the speed charts today with his best lap of 180.961 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Five-time series champion and current points leader Scott Dixon ended up third at 180.822 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
Conor Daly was fourth at 180.581 in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. Freshly crowned Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato, who won this race last year, rounded out the top five at 180.434 in the No. 30 ABeam Consulting Honda.
Up next is qualifying at noon (ET) Saturday (live, INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network). The unique format features two laps, with Lap 1 setting the grid for the Saturday race and Lap 2 for the Sunday race.
The race for both poles should be very competitive, as less than one-half of a second separated the top 15 drivers on the speed chart Friday.
A pair of 200-lap races will take place Saturday and Sunday at the WWTR oval just across the Mississippi River from the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Live coverage starts both days at 3 p.m. (ET) on NBCSN and the Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network.