Scott McLaughlin finished fractionally slower than Penske teammate Josef Newgarden in the sole IndyCar practice session at Gateway this morning.
The Kiwi ended up second-fastest on the timesheets, with a best lap of 177.669mph, just over one mph slower than Newgarden.
Given this was the only practice before qualifying, most cars opted to run a two-lap qualifying simulation near the end of the session.
McLaughlin has seemingly got a strong liking to ovals – he collected his maiden series podium at Texas Motor Speedway and was the highest-placed Penske car in Indy 500 qualifying.
He racked up 67 laps across the 90-minute session, the fourth-highest tally in the field.
Championship contender Scott Dixon was fifth at the chequered flag, ending a solid session for the two Kiwis.
Dixon’s best lap had an average speed of 177.463mph, and he was 0.01mph slower than Graham Rahal in P4.
Series leader Alex Palou was a lowly 17th in practice. He will take a hefty grid penalty after qualifying following his engine failure in Indy last weekend.
Romain Grosjean is making his first oval appearance this weekend and was a credible 11th fastest.
He also turned the third-largest tally of laps.
Qualifying begins at 09.00 am NZT, with the race scheduled to start at 12.40 pm.