O’Ward leads Dixon in Indy 500 Carb Day practice

Arrow McLaren SP driver Patricio O’Ward

Patricio O’Ward recorded the fastest lap of Carb Day practice for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 ahead of three former winners of the famed race.

Driving for Arrow McLaren SP, the Mexican driver set a fastest lap of 225.355 mph (362.673 km/h) in the two hour hit-out to put Chevrolet at the top of a session at this year’s event for the first time.

The 21-year-old will start 15th for Monday’s race (Sunday local time), with current series leader and 2008 race winner Scott Dixon second in the session with a best lap of 224.646 mph (361.538 km/h).

Dixon will start the race second in his Honda-powered Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

O’Ward was pleased to find pace in race trim ahead of his maiden Indianapolis 500 start.

The 21-year-old raced in the 2019 series, but failed to qualify for Carlin in last year’s Indianapolis 500.

“I think it’s just been really important to try and get the best car under us for Race Day,” O’Ward said.

“I think traffic running is going to be key. It’s going to be my first 500.

“From just feeling out practice and everything, it’s so important to have a car that’s able to follow closely and be able to get runs on people, ultimately move forward instead of moving backward.”

Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, who won the 2016 race as a rookie and will start ninth on Sunday, turned the third fastest lap (224.599 mph, 361.457 km/h) ahead of 2017 winner Takuma Sato (224.580 mph, 361.426 km/h).

The Japanese driver will start the race third, on the front row with Dixon and pole-sitter Marco Andretti.

Andretti, who had been at the top all week, recorded only the 28th fastest time on Friday (221.314 mph, 356.170 km/h).

O’Ward’s Arrow McLaren SP teammate Oliver Askew, who will start the race in 21st, was fifth in the session (224.128 mph, 360.699 km/h).

Other notables in the session include reigning series champion Josef Newgarden (seventh), three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves (17th), two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso (23rd) and Team Penske’s 2018 winner Will Power (24th).

Sunday’s showpiece race will commence at 14:30 local time (04:30 AEST Monday).

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