Wednesday, May 25, 2022

McLaughlin Tops Second Practice Plagued by Multiple Crashes in St. Petersburg

Scott McLaughlin rocketed to the top of the timesheets in second practice in St. Petersburg.
Scott McLaughlin rocketed to the top of the timesheets in second practice in St. Petersburg. Image courtesy of James Black / Penske Entertainment

Scott McLaughlin torched the timesheets in an eventful second practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that was plagued by crashes and red flags.

Piloting the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet, the second-year driver surged to the top with a stunning flying lap at 59.7342 seconds around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit. The lap, which came on a set of alternate (red sidewall) tires, was set just prior to the third and final red flag on the session (more on that in a moment) with just over eight minutes remaining. Additionally, the stunning performance put him as the only driver to hit a lap under a minute, with defending race winner Colton Herta finishing 0.3509 of a second behind to claim his second runner-up outing in as many sessions this weekend.

“The DEX Imaging Chevy feels really great,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve worked really hard with my engineer, Ben Bretzman, to fine-tune what I want from this car, and I’m very proud of this team.

“But at the end of the day, it’s only practice, and there’s no such thing as a perfect lap, so I’ll work on it and get better. We know we’re going to have to come back stronger because, man, it’s going to be tight.”

Simon Pagenaud ended up a narrow 0.0002 behind Herta in third, with Alexander Rossi and Will Power completing the rest of the top five.

Rinus VeeKay, Alex Palou, rookie Kyle Kirkwood, Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist cleaned out the rest of the top 10.

There were several incidents in the 45-minute session, each of which brought out red flags. The first came virtue of Jack Harvey, who clipped the inside wall of Turn 9 before making heavy contact with the outside wall upon exit.

The second incident involved Romain Grosjean, who plowed into the back of Takuma Sato coming into Turn 10, lifting the rear of Sato’s No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda and forcing an early retirement for both drivers.

Then, reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou crashed hard into the outside wall at the exit of Turn 9 in similar fashion to Harvey’s earlier incident.

Qualifying begins later today at 12:30-1:45 p.m. ET, which will be streamed live on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.

13Scott McLaughlin59.7342021
226Colton Herta60.0851-0.350923
360Simon Pagenaud60.0853-0.351117
427Alexander Rossi60.1075-0.373319
512Will Power60.1600-0.425820
621Rinus VeeKay60.2104-0.476214
710Alex Palou60.2364-0.502222
814Kyle Kirkwood60.2402-0.506018
95Pato O'Ward60.3333-0.599119
107Felix Rosenqvist60.3763-0.642118
1120Conor Daly60.3820-0.647820
1206Helio Castroneves60.3860-0.651814
138Marcus Ericsson60.3910-0.656820
142Josef Newgarden60.3919-0.657722
1529Devlin DeFrancesco60.4390-0.704820
1630Christian Lundgaard60.4587-0.724520
1718David Malukas60.4872-0.753017
1877Callum Ilott60.6036-0.869416
1928Romain Grosjean60.7546-1.020412
209Scott Dixon60.7970-1.062817
214Dalton Kellett60.8203-1.086118
2215Graham Rahal61.3287-1.594519
2351Takuma Sato61.3591-1.624912
2445Jack Harvey61.3650-1.630810
2548Jimmie Johnson61.8848-2.150614
2611Tatiana Calderon62.1327-2.398519


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