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O’Ward lands P1 after GMR Grand Prix Practice 1

Pato O'Ward during Practice 1 for the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (James Black/Penske Entertainment)

The start of practice #1 for Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was anything but ordinary.

With rain hitting the Indianapolis area overnight and early this morning a lot of teams were hesitant at the start of practice to take the track, but after all the rain dried for the most part, Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward in his #5 Chevrolet found himself at P1 after practice session #1 with a time of 01:09.4981.

After the practice session, O’Ward said “Every time we come here, if you gain a tenth (of a second), you gain six or seven spots – sometimes even more, Qualifying is probably going to be like that. It’s a busy day. We’ve made some good changes to the car. What we need to do now is make sure we follow the track to where it’s going.”

Following O’Ward was Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard (01:09.4988) in his #45 Honda, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou (01:09.5213) in his #10, Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin (01:09.5465) in his #3 Chevrolet and rounding out the Top 5 was another entry from the Rahal Letterman Lanigan camp of Jack Harvey (01:09.5976).

Talking about his practice run, Harvey said “Everyone knows I like this place, I just like being at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Everything about this place is cool. Naturally, I feel like I’ve always gone well here. The attitude is, ‘Let’s leave no stone unturned,’ as many times as we can. It’s a nice start to the weekend, for sure.”

Early during the 90-minute practice session the first drivers to take to the track were the rookies, who keep in mind are making their debut on the IMS road course led by Chip Ganassi’s Marcus Armstrong (01:09.9771) which was good enough for P11 followed by Dale Coyne Racing’s Sting Ray Robb (01:10.3928) P20, AJ Foyt Racing’s Benjamin Pedersen (01:10.7691) P25 and Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Agustin Canapino (01:10.9736) which put him P26 after the first session.

Only Colton Herta and Santino Ferrucci at the start of the session and Scott Dixon towards the end developed any issues with their cars, but their crews were able to work out the problems and get them back out on the track.

Later today, cars will be on track once more for a 45-minute practice session. After that, it is time to set the fastest lap possible as qualifying will finish off the day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Up next: Practice 2 at 1:00 p.m EST on Peacock

Featured Image Credit: James Black/Penske Entertainment

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