Colton Herta demonstrates quickness as Honda makes a comeback in the second-to-last Indy 500 practice session

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Colton Herta leads the pack of cars

Colton Herta and Andretti Global showed on Monday that the Honda teams at the Indianapolis 500 might have a chance against the strong Chevrolet cars from Team Penske and Arrow McLaren when the race starts next weekend.

Herta led the speed chart for about half of the 2-hour practice session, finishing with the second-fastest lap behind Penske’s Josef Newgarden, the defending race winner.

Herta was so satisfied with his car’s performance that he practiced pit stops and ended the session early instead of continuing to drive laps.

“I felt very good and confident in the car,” said Herta, who will start from the inside of the fifth row on Sunday. “The car felt solid and responsive. I was happy.”

The Andretti team was also pleased, although only Kyle Kirkwood made it into the top 12 in qualifying. Kirkwood will start in the middle of the fourth row, while Marco Andretti will start 19th and Marcus Ericsson will be in the middle of the last row.

Colton Herta looks at his phone

“We’re happy at the moment,” said Rob Edwards, Herta’s race strategist, “but we still have some things to figure out before race day.” There’s uncertainty about how the weather will impact things ahead.

During Monday’s practice, the sun was out and temperatures soared near 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), heating the track to over 123 degrees. However, cooler weather and possible rain are expected by final practice on Friday, leading to different conditions for race day.

The forecast for the Indy 500 predicts temperatures in the low 80s with a chance of scattered showers. Herta noted that while the cooler temperatures might make them feel even better, there’s still room for improvement.

Unlike last year’s practice, which saw a major wreck involving Stefan Wilson and Katherine Legge, Monday’s practice went smoothly, with Scott McLaughlin setting a record in qualifying.

Kyle Larson, fresh from the NASCAR All-Star Race, practiced running in traffic and fine-tuning his pit stops. Many rookies, including Tom Blomqvist, logged numerous laps, with Blomqvist completing the most at 106 for Meyer Shank Racing.

Kyle larson waits in the pit box

Pato O’Ward, who will start in the middle of the third row for McLaren, had the fifth-fastest lap at 225.738 mph, but he wasn’t happy after practice. O’Ward mentioned they found a problem they couldn’t solve.

He said there were “too many variables” when asked for details. “I just hope we can fix it. If not, we’re going to be at a disadvantage for the race,” said O’Ward, who finished second two years ago.

Scott Dixon showed speed for Chip Ganassi Racing, turning a lap of 225.446 mph. Graham Rahal also improved after surviving bump day Sunday.

The trio of Team Penske cars dominated in qualifying. Newgarden had the fastest lap on Monday, with Will Power close behind and McLaughlin also looking strong.

“We’re going to see how things go. You have to be ready for anything,” Newgarden said. “We’ll make a plan and adapt if needed. You never know at the Indy 500.”


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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