NTT INDYCAR SERIES Qualifying Report - Thermal

March 24, 2024

Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge Qualifying Report

Thermal, California – March 23, 2024

Pure McLaren Thermal Club | McLaren Automotive

Saturday at the Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge featured two, two-hour practice sessions before one of the most unique qualifying sessions in NTT INDYCAR SERIES history. Team Penske continued its strong start to the weekend with Scott McLaughlin pacing the team with the fourth-fastest lap in the morning practice session. In the afternoon both Will Power and McLaughlin posted top-five times with Josef Newgarden just outside of the top 10 in 11th.

Qualifying for this weekend's non-points event is unique for the series. The field was split into two groups with the first group setting the field for Sunday's first heat race and the second group setting the lineup for the second heat race. Additionally, drivers were given 40 seconds of push-to-pass for use in qualifying for the first time in the series' history.

All three Team Penske Chevrolets were drawn into the first qualifying group and will race in the first heat race tomorrow. McLaughlin made a strong run late in the session but came up just short of the top starting spot and will roll off second in the first heat race. Both Newgarden and Power had solid runs and will start fifth and sixth, respectively.

Scott McLaughlin - 2nd
Josef Newgarden - 5th

Will Power - 6th

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DREAMING: This weekend's $1 Million Challenge is the first of two-consecutive race weekends in southern California as the next race is the Grand Prix of Long Beach - a race Team Penske has won seven times - on April 21.

THEY SAID IT: "I’m hell bent. To have a qualifying session which was just bang, bang, bang in a shootout lap, one lap, is pretty awesome and that’s effectively what that was. To do a good job there with the XPEL Chevy and the Thirsty Threes was amazing. Congrats to Felix (Rosenqvist). I feel like I could have had him. I just mucked up that last corner, but that’s… You’ve got to do the lap, it’s pressure, and that’s cool."
- Scott McLaughlin