O’Ward tops 181 mph, leads Gateway practice

MADISON, Ill — Pato O’Ward has a great chance to make up ground this weekend in the NTT INDYCAR Series Championship. The Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, fresh off a sixth place finish, currency sits third in the standings. On Friday, he led the way in the lone Indy Car practice session of the weekend.

O’Ward, turned in a lap of 181.532 mph in his No. 5 Chevrolet at the World Wide Technology Raceway which was good enough for P1. The man he’s chasing in the points, Scott Dixon, was third at 180.822 mph in his No. 9 Honda.

Dixon, has five top two finishes in seven tries this season and two podiums in his last three starts around the 1.25 mile St. Louis area race track.

Will Power (180.961 mph) was second on the speed charts but his teammates were 12th (Josef Newgarden) and 18th (Simon Pagenaud). Both Newgarden and Pagenaud swept the last doubleheader weekend in Iowa, which is also a short oval, but no wine has come outside of the top five at Gateway either and at this pace, they have a lot of ground to make up for qualifying on Saturday.

Conor Daly (180.581 mph) started in the top three of both Iowa races and has a top six in both Gateway starts was fourth while Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (180.581 mph) rounded out the top five.

The Andretti guys struggled with Colton Herta being the lone representative in the top 10 in ninth. The rest were 11-16-17-19. Jack Harvey in their alliance car was sixth which was promising. He had a top 10 at Indy and seventh in both Iowa races.

The field was tight. From first to last was a little over a second apart. Also, the top seven speeds belonged to seven different teams too.

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