IndyCar: Sato tops opening Day at Indy

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Japanese veteran Takuma Sato led a Chip Ganassi Racing 1-2 in opening practice for the Indy 500 Wednesday after rain washed out Tuesday’s sessions.

With a tow, Sato turned a lap of 229.437mph to top his teammate Scott Dixon who was the only other driver over 229 mph.

None of today’s times mean anything whatsoever.  The engines are not yet turned up to qualifying boost levels, that comes Saturday morning,  and all the times were set with the help of a tow.

All 34 drivers entered turned laps today.


Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“After the Open Test, I don’t think we were feeling too strong, so to roll out of the box here and after the first few laps in the car, I just got out and said hey, look, the car’s good. We just broke for lunch, went down for a couple of hours to get things sorted, but the raw speed of the car out of the box was phenomenal. To make two or three small changes, a couple of little aero or ride height things, you’re not looking at mind-blowing reinventing-the-wheel changes. By the time we were done, we went out with new tires and even passed some cars. We were just working on trying to follow closer, and the lap time was there. To be the fastest Chevy in the No. 14 is pretty cool. Start the month of May off, and we just have to carry the momentum.”

Talk about some of the passing and gains you feel like you made today…

“I’ve said this all year, and I feel Chevys have been really good on top-end. And I felt that not just on the ovals, but on the road courses as well. So, I think today to be in your fastest lap and then pass a car, and almost pass another into Turn 1, on the same second half of the track is pretty impressive and pretty stout. I feel really comfortable being in the Chevy for the top-end wise this year, especially in race trim. I’d like to see if we can obviously bring home the Borg Warner (trophy) for Chevy. That’d be pretty awesome and spectacular for our team.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 23 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:

“Today was a very productive day for us. We got through a lot of the checklist we hoped to. We lost a little bit yesterday with rainout. But the car has some good speed in it. We have some things to sort out tomorrow. I am cautiously optimistic with it. We are keeping our heads down and working hard. The track conditions were good today, not too hot. Track temperature got up a bit in the afternoon and the surface got greasy. It was beautiful day to be at the Speedway. We expect it to be much hotter and more difficult on race day. We are looking forward to Thursday’s action.”

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“Felt really good in the No. 2 car. I think most of us here at Team Penske were really happy with the progress we made. It was a good, clean day all six hours which was welcome after yesterday’s rain. Feeling good, confident in the Shell car. Just need to keep it up. This weekend, we’re really going to find out where we’re at. A lot of work to do, but stay tuned with us.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“Awesome to get back on track in the Pennzoil Chevy. The yellow sub is always a crowd favorite, but yeah, really good day for us. We ticked a lot of boxes. Don’t know where we are speed-wise right now, but every time we wanted to do some speed, we managed to do a reasonable time. It feels nice. We’ll see what we’ve got for the rest of the week.”

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“We got through a bunch of stuff early in the session, working on qualifying configurations. We felt really happy about that. We got three good race runs in after that and the Verizon Chevy was really good. It’s the first day and we have a lot more on our list to work through, but it’s hard to say this wasn’t a good first day here at Indy.”

Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“Today was interesting and we worked through a lot of our list today. We got in over 120 laps today which is nice on the first day. We are decent in traffic which will come in handy on race day. Looking forward to getting back tomorrow and working some more.”

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“Today was good, then it was bad and then it was good again. That is Indy for you. Overall, today was productive. We tried a lot of stuff on the No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet and at the end of the day we found the speed for traffic runs. Of course, being on top of the no-tow is always a plus.”

Ed Carpenter, No. 33 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“We had a pretty productive day. I would have liked to be up a little higher on the timesheet – just for egotistical reasons, but it felt productive. We worked through some things with our race trim that we wanted to investigate further after the Open Test. I am excited to get back to debrief and look through everything. There are thousands of configurations now with the new downforce options we have this year. We are a lot more competitive than what the big board says today.”

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Today was interesting and we worked through a lot of our list today. We got in over 120 laps today which is nice on the first day. We are decent in traffic which will come in handy on race day. Looking forward to getting back tomorrow and working some more.”

Felix Roseqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”It was good to get some actual runs in. They were mostly error runs in the beginning with a little race running in the end, but that was fun. I think we’re in a good window. We had some issues in the end; we couldn’t do a full run and we had to do a couple pit stops. I think we’re pretty much where we left off last year. It’s very tight. We want to catch the Ganassis, they were really strong last year and they continue to be strong. We have to bridge that gap, but otherwise, we feel really strong. I think we’re in the mix.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”It was a good day, lot of laps ran. We’re still learning, but a lot of positives to take from today, and we’re happy with where we are. We’ll just continue to work tomorrow.”

Tony Kanaan, No. 66 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”Good day for us, we did almost a hundred laps trying to make big changes, changes that take a lot of time to figure out, so from tomorrow on it’s just going to be tweaking the car. All in all, an awesome day for the No. 66 team. I think the whole team looked pretty strong, we did a lot of laps, and now on to tomorrow.”

Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Strong first day running for the team. We’re focused on our own program here, a lot of race prep work. We’re pretty pleased with everything, got through a lot of tests today and we have a lot of data to chew through this evening. The drivers all seem reasonably comfortable for day one on track. Looking at the notes, we’re pretty happy where we sit. It’s always hard to judge around this place, but so far so good.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“We did some laps in a big pack. It was really, really good. Of course, it’s tough. It’s really difficult, but at the end of the day, I think we had a good first day for us.”

Stefan Wilson, No. 24 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:

“We finished day two of practice which was really day one after Tuesday’s rainout. It was a very solid day in the No. 24 Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevy. We just worked on race setup today and focused on the race car to make it better each time out. We tried things in traffic and found some things that worked well and some which didn’t work. We are now going through all of the data that was accumulated today. We are accessing some of the changes we made and see where we can improve. We’ll look at some of the things we want to try later in the week too. Overall, it was good first day for the team.”

RC Enerson, No. 50 Chevrolet at Abel Motorsports:

“We finally concluded day two, but day one got washed out on us. We finally got a chance to run ROP and went through that pretty flawlessly. Got to finally come our for our practice at the end of the day here. We’d come to the garage, and lost a bit of time there trying to get gears changed and all of that. But we finally got back out, got to see what our single car speed is like. Got to dabble a little bit in traffic, which I think that’s something that’s going to have to get more comfortable for me. Overall, a pretty productive day.”

Wednesday Practice Speeds

Pos No Name Time Diff Gap FL Laps Speed Engine Team
1 11 Takuma Sato 39.2261 0.000s 0.000s 78 92 229.439 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
2 9 Scott Dixon 39.2714 0.0453 0.0453 4 93 229.174 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
3 14 Santino Ferrucci 39.3053 0.0792 0.0339 75 79 228.977 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
4 10 Alex Palou 39.3494 0.1233 0.0441 56 108 228.720 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
5 3 Scott McLaughlin 39.3919 0.1658 0.0425 134 136 228.473 Chevy Team Penske
6 26 Colton Herta 39.4639 0.2378 0.0720 84 115 228.057 Honda Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian
7 8 Marcus Ericsson 39.5256 0.2995 0.0617 65 110 227.701 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
8 23 Ryan Hunter-Reay 39.5397 0.3136 0.0141 56 81 227.619 Chevy Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
9 2 Josef Newgarden 39.5668 0.3407 0.0271 94 111 227.463 Chevy Team Penske
10 98 Marco Andretti 39.6507 0.4246 0.0839 26 74 226.982 Honda Andretti
11 30 Jack Harvey 39.6659 0.4398 0.0152 65 78 226.895 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
12 12 Will Power 39.6710 0.4449 0.0051 31 118 226.866 Chevy Team Penske
13 15 Graham Rahal 39.6973 0.4712 0.0263 65 79 226.716 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
14 20 Conor Daly 39.7333 0.5072 0.0360 104 123 226.510 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
15 24 Stefan Wilson 39.7728 0.5467 0.0395 89 109 226.285 Chevy Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
16 18 David Malukas 39.7982 0.5721 0.0254 86 110 226.141 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with HMD
17 60 Simon Pagenaud 39.7988 0.5727 0.0006 78 107 226.137 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
18 21 Rinus VeeKay 39.8524 0.6263 0.0536 145 151 225.833 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
19 7 Alexander Rossi 39.8929 0.6668 0.0405 88 142 225.604 Chevy Arrow McLaren
20 5 Pato O’Ward 39.9100 0.6839 0.0171 117 122 225.507 Chevy Arrow McLaren
21 55 Benjamin Pedersen 39.9149 0.6888 0.0049 82 114 225.480 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
22 78 Agustin Canapino 39.9242 0.6981 0.0093 48 97 225.427 Chevy Juncos Holling Racing
23 66 Tony Kanaan 39.9528 0.7267 0.0286 44 81 225.266 Chevy Arrow McLaren
24 06 Helio Castroneves 39.9727 0.7466 0.0199 66 84 225.154 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
25 27 Kyle Kirkwood 40.0199 0.7938 0.0472 21 108 224.888 Honda Andretti Autosport
26 51 Sting Ray Robb 40.0340 0.8079 0.0141 69 103 224.809 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR
27 6 Felix Rosenqvist 40.0435 0.8174 0.0095 73 98 224.756 Chevy Arrow McLaren
28 33 Ed Carpenter 40.0464 0.8203 0.0029 3 123 224.739 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
29 29 Devlin DeFrancesco 40.0778 0.8517 0.0314 88 110 224.563 Honda Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
30 28 Romain Grosjean 40.0802 0.8541 0.0024 82 105 224.550 Honda Andretti Autosport
31 44 Katherine Legge 40.0961 0.8700 0.0159 68 68 224.461 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
32 45 Christian Lundgaard 40.1249 0.8988 0.0288 110 112 224.300 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
33 50 RC Enerson 40.1755 0.9494 0.0506 25 29 224.017 Chevy Abel Motorsports
34 77 Callum Ilott 40.2849 1.0588 0.1094 66 80 223.409 Chevy Juncos Hollinger Racing


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