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Scott McLaughlin leads Penske front row sweep for Indianapolis 500; Kyle Larson to start 5th

In Sports
May 20, 2024
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 19: Scott Mclaughlin of New Zealand (3) driving for Team Penske exits turn one during the practice session for the fast twelve prior to qualifications for the NTT IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Qualifying on May 19 2024 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Scott McLaughlin won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 as Team Penske swept the top three spots. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Team Penske backed up its qualifying pace from Saturday with a front row sweep on Sunday.

Scott McLaughlin went out last on Sunday and posted the fastest four-lap run of the weekend to win the pole for the 2024 Indianapolis 500. His speed bested his Team Penske teammates Will Power and Josef Newgarden, the defending Indy 500 champion.

McLaughlin’s average speed of 234.220 MPH over his four laps is the fastest pole run in Indianapolis 500 history. McLaughlin went out last after he posted the fastest speed earlier in the day and had the benefit of slightly more shade over a track that was cooling as the shadows got longer.

Kyle Larson qualified fifth for the 500 before he had to head to North Carolina for the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race later Sunday night. Larson is set to be the fifth driver to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day next weekend.

Larson had an early issue with his car during Saturday’s qualifying session but was able to complete a run that easily got him into the second round of qualifying on Sunday. The top 12 drivers from Saturday’s qualifying session raced for the pole position on Sunday.

The six cars that went for the pole position late Sunday afternoon were all powered by Chevrolet engines and the Team Penske cars are clearly the fastest of the Chevy bunch.

The Indy 500 has always been the most important race for Roger Penske, and Team Penske’s front row sweep comes after a significant penalty to the team earlier this season. Newgarden and McLaughlin were disqualified from the season-opening race at St. Petersburg while Power was penalized because the team had software on its engines that allowed the drivers to use more push to pass boost than is allowed.

The DQs led to suspensions for Penske personnel for the 500 and a lot of chatter among the series’ other competitors. Penske is the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series.

His team is clearly the one to beat in a week as it looks to back up its historic success at IMS. Newgarden’s win in 2023 was the 19th Indy 500 win for Team Penske. No other team has more than six Indianapolis 500 victories.

Nolan Siegel pushed as hard as he could during his final run on Sunday and found that he went a little too close to the edge.

Siegel found himself 34th of 34 drivers after Marcus Ericsson pushed his way into the field with less than five minutes to go in the last-row qualifying session. Siegel’s first lap of his four-lap qualifying attempt wasn’t good enough to make the field and then he hit the wall on his second lap before his car crashed.

It was the second crash of the week for the 19-year-old after he flipped in practice earlier in the week.

Siegel’s DNQ means that Graham Rahal got the 33rd and final spot in the field. Rahal missed out on last year’s race but ended up driving the No. 24 car during the 500 because of Stefan Wilson’s practice crash.

Ericsson also crashed during practice this week and failed to lock into the field during Saturday’s qualifying session that guaranteed starting spots for the fastest 30 drivers in the 33-car field.

Ericsson was plenty fast on his first qualifying attempt but backed off after his third lap because of an apparent miscommunication about the number of laps he had completed. Had Ericsson kept going on his fourth and final lap, he wouldn’t have needed a second qualifying run.

Instead, he had to go again and did just enough to get in. Ericsson’s second run bumped Siegel from the field.

1. Scott McLaughlin

2. Will Power

3. Josef Newgarden

4. Alexander Rossi

5. Kyle Larson

6. Santino Ferrucci

7. Rinus VeeKay

8. Pato O’Ward

9. Felix Rosenqvist

10. Takuma Sato

11. Kyle Kirkwood

12. Ryan Hunter-Reay

13. Colton Herta

14. Alex Palou

15. Callum Ilott

16. Marcus Armstrong

17. Ed Carpenter

18. Kyffin Simpson

19. Marco Andretti

20. Helio Castroneves

21. Scott Dixon

22. Augustin Canapino

23. Sting Ray Robb

24. Christian Rasmussen

25. Tom Blomqvist

26. Romain Grosjean

27. Linus Lundqvist

28. Christian Lundgaard

29. Conor Daly

30. Pietro Fittipaldi

31. Katherine Legge

32. Marcus Ericsson

33. Graham Rahal

DNQ: Nolan Siegel

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