2024 Indianapolis 500 Coverage

Breaking Down Kyle Larson's Fast Friday & Indy 500 Qualifying Draw

Breaking Down Kyle Larson's Fast Friday & Indy 500 Qualifying Draw

Kyle Larson posted the second-quickest overall lap on Fast Friday ahead of the Indianapolis 500.

May 17, 2024 by Kyle McFadden
Breaking Down Kyle Larson's Fast Friday & Indy 500 Qualifying Draw

Kyle Larson turned in a much smoother day on Indianapolis 500 Fast Friday compared to Thursday's practice session where seemingly nothing fell his way.

The Elk Grove, Calif., superstar registered the second-quickest overall lap of the day — his lap of 234.271 mph nearly holding serve atop the leaderboard until Colton Herta's lap of 234.974 mph at 4:53 p.m. — but what's more telling is that he came away from the day with the 10th-quickest four-lap average.

"Yeah, a good day," Larson said. "It went a lot smoother. It went more so as planned whereas yesterday did not. With the forecast being good, I thought I was going to get lots of laps, but did not. It was pretty frustrating, but it all went smooth (today). It was good to get some reps with the boost and feeling all that. I'm happy."

The four-lap average speed of 232.549 mph is the ultimate takeaway for Larson and his Chevy-Dallara-powered No. 17 Hendrickcars.com Arrow McLaren team because Indy 500 qualification results on Saturday aren’t ordered by single fastest laps, but the average speeds across the four-lap time trial run.

Reigning Indy 500 champion Josef Newgarden paced average four-lap speeds at 234.063 mph with Scott McLaughlin, Will Power, Alexander Rossi, Pato O'Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Agustin Canapino, Santino Ferrucci, Kyle Kirkwood following suit.

Speaking of Saturday's qualifications that begin at 11 a.m., Larson's slated to qualify sixth of the 34 drivers looking to advance into Sunday's Fast 12 where the top-12 drivers from qualifications will then qualify over again to determine the first four rows of May 26's Indy 500.

Larson's qualifying trim speed gives him reason for optimism to make the Fast 12, but that optimism comes with realistic expectations. While he does indeed have the potential to challenge for a lead pack starting spot, race strategist Brian Campe isn't getting too far ahead of himself, nor allowing Larson and team to do the same.

"I think our expectation is to put it in the show and then do the best we can on our first run, make a good decision on what we do to get there (and not) overextend ourselves," Campe told FloRacing. "We're still rookies. We still have to remember that even though we had a good day. We're still rookies here. You have to remember that. We'll take what we learn today and apply it tomorrow. Once 34 cars go, we'll know where we stack up.

"We'll come as the day comes to us tomorrow. The biggest thing about qualifying here is if you force it, that's where you get bit. We definitely don't want to force anything or overextend ourselves. That's the biggest thing."