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Pato O’Ward tops IndyCar practice at Gateway; Will Power second fastest

Pato O'Ward returning McLaren

John Cote

Pato O’Ward turned a 181.532 mph lap Friday to lead the lone practice session of the weekend for the NTT IndyCar Series at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.

The Arrow McLaren SP No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet driver, who was named the 104th Indy 500’s rookie of the year after finishing sixth this past Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, topped the speed chart for the 90-minute session ahead of Will Power (180.961), points leader Scott Dixon (180.822), Conor Daly (180.581) and Takuma Sato (180.434).

PRACTICE SPEEDS: Who was fast Friday at Gateway

WEEKEND SCHEDULE: When IndyCar is on track at Gateway

“We put a lot of very valuable work into that session,” O’Ward said in a team relesae. “We did everything we wanted to do to prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying and race. There’s so many little things that go into it that make a perfect race, so we want to make the best out of it.

“This Arrow McLaren SP crew gave us some really strong cars to roll out with and I think it was just fine tuning from there. I ended the day really happy, and I think we will be ready for qualifying tomorrow.”

There were no incidents in the practice

After winning the Indianapolis 500 for the second time, Sato enters the Saturday-Sunday doubleheader weekend at Gateway as the defending winner of last year’s race.

ENTRY LISTS: Who is racing Saturday and Sunday at Gateway

Next up is qualifying at noon ET Saturday (available on NBC Sports Gold), which will set the field for both races. The first lap determines the starting order for Saturday and the second lap sets Sunday’s lineup.

Race coverage will begin Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN (here are the streaming links for Saturday’s race and Sunday’s race).

The rest of the top 10 in practice: Jack Harvey, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Rinus VeeKay and Colton Herta.

Click here for the full practice report from Friday at Gateway.