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Scott McLaughlin

Source: Paul Hurley/Penske Entertainment / other

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — After about 30 hours of continuous rain delays, drivers who will attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 finally spent significant time out on the oval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

It was a day mostly dedicated to seeing what each respective team had in their equally respective machines for the week leading up to qualifying. This means lots of groups and traffic running to see how cars held up in race trim.

Scott McLaughlin was able to turn the quickest overall lap for the day topping out at 229.493 mph. McLaughlin turned that lap after having had just about 23 minutes of practice on Tuesday before the rain moved in.

“Straight out of the box it was pretty good,” McLaughlin said. “We were able to use the draft and get that speed. Obviously, the car’s got good pace right now. We ran through a lot of items as much as we can and we think we are in a really good spot.”

His Team Penske teammate Will Power joined him near the top of the chart for the day at 228.767.

Colton Herta also found pace in traffic at 227.858. Herta said everything “seems okay” for him and his crew so far. But, the eye-popping moment for him for the day was a slight tussle between him and rookie driver Christian Rasmussen. While running in traffic at one point Rasmussen held the low line going into Turn 1 while Herta had momentum on the outside of the entrance. Instead of letting Herta by, Rasmussen forced both of them to go through the turn two abreast, which can be dangerous.

Upon hitting the backstretch Herta pulled alongside Rasmussen and gave him the one-finger-salute before diving for the pits.

“I just thought it was a late move and it made us go in side-by-side on the first day of practice,” Herta said. “I thought it was a little silly and I didn’t know how else to tell him it was silly.”

Even though they mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, with a day behind on practice some teams began getting a look at what they may have as far as qualifying set up is concerned. Among those were Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing as well as Juncos Racing.

Takuma Sato, who turned just 31 laps, had hoped for some clear track to get some qualifying practice in. Pickens were slim, but he was able to crank out the top speed without the assistance of an aerodynamic tow from a car in front at 221.219 mph.

“Ideally you’re by yourself all the time, but bearing in mind that everybody wants to go to running today. It was nearly — not impossible but very difficult to get by yourself,” Sato said. “The couple runs that we were in tow, gentle tow, but we tried to avoid it today. Overall I think we’ve done a lot since last year.”

RLL, whom Sato is back with this year for the second time in his career, is trying to ensure history does not repeat itself from last year when the team had a serious lack of qualifying pace. Those demons appear to be exercised this year with Sato’s run on Wednesday.

The day also meant another day of experience gained for former NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson. He turned 54 laps for the day and was the fastest among the Indy 500 rookies at 225.245 mph.

Outside of these few instances, Wednesday was not a day in which teams, or those observing practice, learned much about where they stand when it comes to where they may stack up on race day.

Drivers are expected to dive more into qualifying setups for Thursday’s practice session. With hardly any rain expected for the day, drivers are likely to expedite some of the work they have to do given the grim forecast for both Fast Friday and the start of qualifying on Saturday.