Power fastest in COTA test, McLaughlin third

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Will Power was the fastest driver in Wednesday’s IndyCar test session at Circuit of the Americas, while rookie Scott McLaughlin finished third in only his second series test.

Power’s best lap time of 1 minute, 46.7603 seconds was just over a half-second off of his pole time in last year’s race at the facility.

Andretti Aurosport’s Alexander Rossi was second-fastest, 0.2396 seconds behind Power, while McLaughlin was third-fastest in the No. 2  Team Penske Chevrolet.

McLaughlin, the two-time defending Australian Supercars champion, is scheduled to make his IndyCar debut in May’s GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He finished just ahead of teammate and defending series champion Josef Newgarden.

“It’s an altogether new feeling,” McLaughlin said. “I’m a race driver. I like going fast, so this is a lot faster. I’m having fun. A lot of grip and it’s tough to drive.

“You turn that pit speed (limiter) off and there’s a lot of power and a lot of braking. I’m just really privileged to drive this car. Roger (Penske) and Team Penske have given me a go. I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can with a smile on my face.”

Colton Herta was fifth-fastest in the No. 88 Honda, while Simon Pagenaud ended the day sixth-fastest in the No. 22 Chevrolet.

Arrow McLaren SP rookie Oliver Askew ended the day seventh fastest, while Scott Dixon, Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top ten.

With inclement weather hampering Tuesday’s on-track action, Wednesday’s schedule was expanded to allow for more testing. Cars were on track from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time, with a half-hour lunch break at noon.

The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season begins Sunday, March 15 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. NBCSN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the race, which is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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