Scott McLaughlin set the first real benchmark for the Month of May as teams finally began to do some meaningful running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s washout was followed by another ra in delay on Wednesday morning, and five hours were lost to the weather before the cars finally ventured out of pitlane just after 3pm local time.

McLaughlin’s best of 229.493mph in the No..3 Team Penske Chevrolet came in the opening 45 minutes. Not only did it remain for the rest of the day, but it proved to be the only lap to breach the 229mph barrier.

“The car, straight out of the box, was pretty good,” said McLaughlin, whose team called it a day with an hour still on the clock. “I was able to use that draft and get that speed – obviously the car has pretty good pace. We ran through as many items as we can, and we’re in a pretty good spot.”

The other fast times also came relatively early: 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power made it a Penske 1-2 at the top with a 228.767mph from the No.12 just before the 90-minute mark, bumping the 227.858 that Colton Herta produced a couple of minutes earlier in the No.26 Andretti Global Honda back to third-fastest.

Moments after Power set his best time, Josef Newgarden reinforced Penske’s presence in the top order with a 227.675mph in the No.2, leaving Alexander Rossi to complete the top five for Arrow McLaren with a 227.484mph in the No.7 Chevrolet.

The compressed running time, coupled with the prospect of just one more day of practice before the boost gets turned up on Friday – when rain is once again in the forecast – left teams trying to juggle priorities. Most focused on race simulations, while some, such as Rahal Letterman Lanigan, opted to split their strategies, sending two-time winner Takuma Sato out on qualifying simulations while the rest of the team’s cars worked on their race setups.

And for the rookies, the day was as much about familiarization and getting comfortable in the draft as anything else.

“It’s a little bit frustrating,” said Arrow McLaren’s Kyle Larson of the lost track time. “But it is what it is. There’s plenty of track time, so just trying to remember that. I’m still trying to figure a lot of things out, trying to play around with things.

“Overall I’m happy with the few hours that we got. I feel like know what I need to feel in traffic to maintain those runs, but if you miss that a little, or get some clean air, then you’re weirdly loose. There are some moments where it feels unpredictable on the couple of times I’ve had a loose moment. But Tony ’s been a great help, and it will be nice to hear what everyone else on the team thought.”

Larson ended the day fastest of the rookies, and actually led the field early on before settling in at 15th-fastest with a 225.245mph best in the No.17 Chevrolet.

Six cautions punctuated the session, mostly for moisture or track inspections, although Helio Castroneves also prompted a brief one when his air hose flew off. The final caution for moisture came inside the final hour, and despite a scramble by the series to squeeze in one last green flag window at the end, the clock ran out before the track was ready.

Sato owned the fastest no- tow time with a 221.219mph effort in the No.75 Honda, putting him well clear of Herta’s 219.607mph.

Marco Andretti did a relatively meager 15 laps for the day; the Andretti Global team spending most of the afternoon making changes to the No.98 Honda ahead of tomorrow. It was a similar story for Santino Ferrucci, although he did return in the final part of the session to get the No.14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevy’s lap count up to 22.


UP NEXT: Practice, Thursday, 10am ET