Team Penske stablemates Scott McLaughlin and Will Power were at a loss after a lacklustre qualifying at the latest IndyCar round.
Roger Penske’s men have typically gone well at the Indianapolis 500 curtain raiser, enjoying a four-race streak of wins between 2015 and 2019 at the road course configured oval.
McLaughlin failed to make it out of the group stages at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, qualifying 16th for Sunday’s race.
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It marked a downturn for the Kiwi, who had been fourth and seventh in the respective practice sessions earlier in the day.
Power, meanwhile, got through to the Fast 12 but was only 12th. That also represented a fall from practice, having been ninth and eighth fastest.
It was a tough time for Team Penske on the whole. Josef Newgarden was 13th in qualifying after he got caught out by a local yellow flag in his session when Benjamin Pedersen spun.
“We just missed the balance completely, unfortunately,” said McLaughlin.
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“The Odyssey Battery Chevy felt pretty good all day. Just… I don’t know, we changed a little bit after Practice 2, not crazy, just a little smidgeon here and there, and we just missed the ballpark.
“At a track like this, you just can’t do it. So, anyway, it is what it is. I’m sure maybe a little bit of the sprinkles did something, but it wasn’t crazy. It’s just tight. IndyCar is just so hard and it’s why you love it when things go good but you hate it when things go bad.
“We just missed it and, unfortunately, when you miss it by a little bit, you’re just too far off, so we’ll work hard, we’ve got a great team behind us – Thirsty Threes, Odyssey Battery – we’ll come through to the front.”
Power was similarly bemused by the strange lack of pace relative to the leaders.
His best effort was more than half a second away from the best time in the Fast 12.
“That was everything I had,” said Power.
“I screwed the first lap up so I was probably still going to be 12th though. We’re missing I would say half a second.
“The car doesn’t feel that bad. I felt in practice we were pretty good, kind of hanging out in the top 10 – never P1 material.
“We’ll just have to dig deep tomorrow and see if we can get the Verizon car up there and I’ve got a new Chevy engine this week so I’ve got plenty of horsepower. See what we can do.”
Christian Lundgaard scored his first pole position for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at the circuit where he made his IndyCar Series debut in 2021.
McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist was second while Alex Palou qualified third for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Amid a form slump, Jack Harvey found much-needed speed to qualify fourth in another Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry.
Just 0.0889s split the top four competitors, with first and second covered by just 0.0027s.
The Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets underway on Sunday at 5:30am, with coverage live, ad-free, and exclusively on Stan Sport.
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