IndyCar: Ganassi Hondas remain fastest on Day 2 of Indy Practice

–by Mark Cipolloni–

The Chip Ganassi Racing Hondas of defending Indy 500 champion Marcus Ericsson and his teammate, veteran Scott Dixon, ran 1-2 in practice Thursday for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Ericsson and Dixon were the only cars over 229mph today.

Ericsson also was the fastest car running alone, with a best “no-tow” lap of 224.414.

“A really good day for the whole Chip Ganassi team,” Ericsson said. “Yesterday we worked a lot on the race cars. We were good straight away. Then today we built on that.

“I think we did some changes overnight that helped me in my feeling in the car. Felt really happy with my race car. The organization has done a really good job again this year, with really good cars.”

Simon Pagenaud in the #60 Meyer Shank Racing entry made it a 1-2-3 Honda sweep.

Team Penske’s Will Power and Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta rounded out the top-5.

However, all times were set with a tow, so these times are totally irrelevant to what we will see in single car qualifying with the turbo boost turned up to make headlines..

Speeds will jump during the next practice from noon-6 p.m. ET Friday. The Honda and Chevrolet engines that power the field will feature approximately 100 more horsepower due to increased boost levels that also will be available during PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying on Saturday and Sunday.

Select Quotes

Marcus Ericsson
No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda
“It was a really good day for the whole team and especially the 8 team. We were fastest on the speed charts and also the no-tow, as well. It was a very positive day and the car feels really hooked up. I’m looking forward to tomorrow with the high boost. It’s going to be fun.”

Scott Dixon
No. 9 PNC Bank Honda

“Today was a bit up and down. We learned some stuff and swapped over at the end there to do one run on lower downforce in a kind of qualifying setting. We felt okay, but just didn’t do a very good job of it and got a bit mixed up on the gears. But all was okay.”

Takuma Sato
No. 11 Deloitte Honda
“It was another great day and we learned a lot. In fact, I think in the early afternoon we struggled a bit to find good grip and balance, but toward the end on the long runs we found a happy place. That was really encouraging to see. In the end, we did one shot of the qualifying sim in order to prepare for the weather if it turns bad. But all in all, once again, the four cars were competitive and it was a good day.”

Alex Palou
No. 10 American Legion Honda
“We ran quite a lot today in race trim, and then qualifying trim at the end there. Feeling confident and all four Ganassi cars were fast again. I can’t wait for Fast Friday with more boost and a bit more speed.”

Simon Pagenaud
“Great day obviously, P3 at the end of the day. We got a monster tow, which we will take it when we can! It’s great for the team and the crew, they are working so hard to make the car as fast as possible, so I’m really pleased. It is great to give the team a little gift with that P3 – especially on my birthday! It’s great for our partners that support us so well so, I am really happy with that. Top speed doesn’t really tell you what you are going to be like in the race, but it felt like we made great progress today. Really interesting day with mega improvements and I felt comfortable in race running too, so It was a really good day all around.”

Helio Castroneves
“It was a really productive day. The No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM MSR guys did another fantastic job today. We just keep pushing, keep trying new little bits. Not only working on finding a good balance, but we found a little more speed than we anticipated which is great. The competition keeps improving and pushing us, so feels like a really good day. Tomorrow, we get the boost up and focused just on getting all the speed that we can out of the car, so I’m really looking forward to that.”

Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 in the NASCAR Cup Series and 2024 Indianapolis 500 competitor with Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Checking out a practice day here. Getting excited about next year’s Indy 500. Really just came here today to hang out around the Arrow McLaren team to just soak up any little bit of anything to prepare myself for whenever I get behind the wheel of an Indy car. It’s been pretty neat. I’ve been here a couple of times once to hang out, I came here for the race in 2013, but never this close to the action. It’s been neat. I think the more I can soak up, the less surprises I’ll have next year. Happy to be here, happy for the opportunity. I’m excited about the opportunity. It’s still so far away that I haven’t spent that much time preparing yet, but I look forward to the preparation to be ready and competitive. Hopefully, we have a good run next year. We’ll see. It’s been cool hanging out here today. Arrow McLaren has amazing hospitality, great people. Looking forward to next year.”

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“A small issue to start the day. We had something going on with our telemetry but once we diagnosed and fixed it, it was a good day for the Verizon 5G Chevy team. We seem to be in a good position for qualifying, but tomorrow will be the true test when we get the boost increase. Qualifying up front is important in the 500, but you can win from several rows back. That’s not where we hope to be, but we have single-car speed and the No. 12 Chevy was racy in the pack.”

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

“Today was a good day. We had the chance to get good no-tow runs in, but know we can trim more and be even faster. The car was even great in traffic so I feel strong and that is a nice feeling.”

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“My second full day and the typical up and down. It changes every day with the conditions but got a lot of good running in with the with the Shell car . Feeling really good with Team Chevy, and what we’re building towards this weekend. Qualifying — that’s going to be most important right now. There is speed in the car and hopefully stay up front. We get through that and we can worry about the race as well.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“I feel good. The Pennzoil Chevy is fast on no-tow and and race running. So it looks good. We get to up the boost t tomorrow so we will see we’ve got. But overall pretty good day. We got through everything what we needed to do today and I feel like we’re in a good spot.”

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

”It was a tough day for us, to be honest. We’re definitely not in the spot where we want to be yet, but we’re working at it. We’ve got a plan to go through after qualifying this weekend. Tomorrow, it’s obviously a very different goal: to go as fast as you can by yourself. Boost is up, so we’re going to get everything prepared for that.”

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

”It was a very productive day. I think we did around 150 laps, so we got a lot of data – some good reads, some bad reads – but we were way more clever today than we were yesterday. Now we switch focus to going fast with Fast Friday, so we will turn up the boost. I think we’re in the game. There are a lot of strong cars out there so it is going to be tight like always, probably even tighter than last year, but our cars are definitely not bad. We just need to stay with it for the month.”

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

“It was a good day. More progress was made from the whole team. I’m getting happier and happier with the car each time we go out, which is great. I think we’re in a pretty good spot for the group running. There are some small tweaks to come, but now the focus turns to qualifying – one of the most fun parts of the year.”

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

”All in all a good day. We worked on race stuff all day long. We made big changes, so I think the team is happy. Now we go back and get ready for qualifying. We had to stop a little early because we want to be ready for tomorrow. There’s a little bit of a chance of rain in the afternoon, so we want to be ready to go right at noon. I’m happy.”

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

“I am very happy today. It may not look like it in charts, but we are fast. The car feels really, really good to drive. We made progress all day and the BITNILE.COM crew has made all the right changes. We have everything that we have, now we will trim it out for tomorrow. It is always the best when you are driving an ECR car here at IMS.”

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

“Today was a good and productive day. It is funny – I feel better about the car today than yesterday, but we are deeper in the time sheet today. That doesn’t really matter when we accomplished everything we wanted to today. I still have a couple questions on what the right thing ultimately is, but we worked well as a group together. We will go fast tomorrow.”

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

“Solid day today. P3 in the no-tow, P11 overall. I’m really happy with that and continuing to progress. Got some pace, and looking forward to Fast Friday.”

Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“Very good day. It’s starting to get fun with doing some qualifying runs. Most of the morning was race runs. This afternoon, we started doing some qual runs, and we’ve got very good speed. We’ve been pretty conservative still with our current level, and we’re pretty competitive even with that. Looking forward to getting a little more aggressive with it.”

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

End of day:

“It was a challenge today. We tried throwing quite a bit at the car. We knew some of it wasn’t going to stick. But we wanted to try it anyway. More of it were things to avoid than we really wanted. But at the end of the day, we found a pretty good setting for qualifying. We ended up in the Top Ten in the No-tow chart and that was good. You always want to end the day well and I think we did that today. We are ready for Fast Friday. We’ll get the extra boost right away with Friday practice begins. So, we will be ready to go at 12 noon.”

“So far so good. You know, it’s only been two days on track that we’ve worked together. Everything so far we’re doing all the right we’re doing all the right stuff, checking off all the right boxes. And, you know, we’re really focusing on and as a group just executing on pit lane. You know, we’re all working together for the first time kind of myself at the team and it’s, it’s been really good though. I’m enjoying the smaller team atmosphere and certainly really happy to be back with Chevy. Got a lot of history there. Whether it be winning the championship, with the IndyCar championship, working with working with the same group on the inside, so Yeah, happy to be back.”

What has been the hardest thing jumping back in? 

“Jumping back of the car after being gone a year? What’s been the hardest thing? I really, I mean, after two or three laps at the open test, it was like I hadn’t left so it wasn’t you know, it wasn’t something I’ve got a lot of experience here. So it was it was definitely not something that caught me off guard or anything like that. And ideally, you don’t want to take a year and a half off from being in an IndyCar but it’s yeah, it went better than expected.”

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

End of day:

“Solid day for the No. 24 DRR/Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevrolet. We focused on our qualifying setup for the whole day. It doesn’t necessarily look great on the speed charts, but we were in a decent place on the No-tow listings. And we are happy with the car’s handling. Wednesday was a good day with the race car and it’s great to be back at Indianapolis for the 500. We are anxious for Fast Friday now with the additional boost in the engine.”

How much has changed since you drove two years ago? How difficult is it to jump back in the car?

“It’s actually been really smooth for me. You know, I’m used to last minute preparation, last minute deals coming together. And this year, it’s often so much earlier that we’re just several steps ahead of the game, compared to last time and I’m in the process was a big boost to my program. I’m reacquainting myself to INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this whole week. And never really feel acquainted until, you know, race week, really. So I just feel like I’m ahead of the game like I’ve hit the ground running this week, having had that open says to get through ROP and you know, get we got 150 laps on the board that day, so it just feels like I’m so much further ahead and the cars changed just a little bit with a bit more arrow. So it’s gonna make the race a little bit more exciting, maybe a few more passing opportunities. And I’m just really pleased with the whole drive. I’m Dreyer and Reinbold/Cusic Motorsports crew, they’ve just done an amazing job to prepare the car and because as you know, me and mine assured we’re pretty fast already. So we’ll see if we can keep that up, keep making some positive changes to try to develop the car and, and I think the goal for the team is trying to get both cars in the festival and we’ll see if that’s possible.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay is your teammate. He’s been out of the car for a year as well, so how are you guys getting through your lists so far?

“He is absolutely a legend. We have been teammates in the past, two years Andretti. In a camp that big and we barely even spoke to each other, so this is the first time we’re really truly teammates. I think we’re both hungry. You know, he didn’t race last year, the 500. And I’m coming off with like, you know, wanting very hungry to prove myself. So we both have similar mindsets. We’re both very, very determined this year and the whole crew, overdrive to that the whole drive onboard basically has something to prove. So we’re all in that same mentality. And I think we’re the underdogs and I think we can prove something this month.”

Thursday Indy 500 Practice Times

Pos No Name Time Behind Gap FL Laps Speed Engine Team
1 8 Marcus Ericsson 39.1974 0.000s 0.000s 20 87 229.607 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
2 9 Scott Dixon 39.2694 0.0720 0.0720 76 84 229.186 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
3 60 Simon Pagenaud 39.3562 0.1588 0.0868 66 104 228.681 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
4 12 Will Power 39.3740 0.1766 0.0178 71 85 228.577 Chevy Team Penske
5 26 Colton Herta 39.4321 0.2347 0.0581 80 103 228.240 Honda Andretti Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian
6 20 Conor Daly 39.4365 0.2391 0.0044 31 105 228.215 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
7 11 Takuma Sato 39.5052 0.3078 0.0687 66 98 227.818 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
8 5 Pato O’Ward 39.5198 0.3224 0.0146 16 92 227.734 Chevy Arrow McLaren
9 10 Alex Palou 39.5225 0.3251 0.0027 3 83 227.718 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing
10 7 Alexander Rossi 39.5234 0.3260 0.0009 4 164 227.713 Chevy Arrow McLaren
11 14 Santino Ferrucci 39.5561 0.3587 0.0327 48 57 227.525 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
12 15 Graham Rahal 39.6523 0.4549 0.0962 78 82 226.973 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
13 66 Tony Kanaan 39.6790 0.4816 0.0267 5 47 226.820 Chevy Arrow McLaren
14 27 Kyle Kirkwood 39.7015 0.5041 0.0225 37 94 226.692 Honda Andretti Autosport
15 78 Agustin Canapino 39.7091 0.5117 0.0076 71 84 226.648 Chevy Juncos Holling Racing
16 6 Felix Rosenqvist 39.7189 0.5215 0.0098 18 153 226.592 Chevy Arrow McLaren
17 98 Marco Andretti 39.7239 0.5265 0.0050 57 74 226.564 Honda Andretti
18 06 Helio Castroneves 39.7357 0.5383 0.0118 99 120 226.497 Honda Meyer Shank Racing
19 51 Sting Ray Robb 39.7512 0.5538 0.0155 45 102 226.408 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR
20 2 Josef Newgarden 39.8207 0.6233 0.0695 61 90 226.013 Chevy Team Penske
21 30 Jack Harvey 39.8281 0.6307 0.0074 55 86 225.971 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
22 23 Ryan Hunter-Reay 39.8317 0.6343 0.0036 23 54 225.951 Chevy Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
23 18 David Malukas 39.8340 0.6366 0.0023 107 164 225.938 Honda Dale Coyne Racing with HMD
24 3 Scott McLaughlin 39.8398 0.6424 0.0058 84 105 225.905 Chevy Team Penske
25 28 Romain Grosjean 39.8433 0.6459 0.0035 55 123 225.885 Honda Andretti Autosport
26 55 Benjamin Pedersen 39.9234 0.7260 0.0801 60 63 225.432 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
27 45 Christian Lundgaard 39.9698 0.7724 0.0464 83 89 225.170 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
28 50 RC Enerson 39.9801 0.7827 0.0103 63 68 225.112 Chevy Abel Motorsports
29 29 Devlin DeFrancesco 39.9913 0.7939 0.0112 14 52 225.049 Honda Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport
30 21 Rinus VeeKay 39.9950 0.7976 0.0037 81 128 225.028 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
31 33 Ed Carpenter 40.0167 0.8193 0.0217 13 112 224.906 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
32 77 Callum Ilott 40.0486 0.8512 0.0319 4 71 224.727 Chevy Juncos Hollinger Racing
33 24 Stefan Wilson 40.0582 0.8608 0.0096 25 53 224.673 Chevy Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
34 44 Katherine Legge 40.1905 0.9931 0.1323 46 83 223.934 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing


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