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

Pato O'Ward returning McLaren
John Cote/IndyCar
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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.

 

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.