Sunday, May 28, 2023

Takuma Sato Continues Strength on Fast Friday from Indianapolis

Takuma Sato and Kyle Kirkwood drive through the turn at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The start of Fast Friday was a quiet one, in the evening drivers and teams ramped up the action and Takuma Sato topped the one lap speeds. Image courtesy of Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment

Takuma Sato kept the momentum rolling at the top of the board late in the fifth Indianapolis 500 practice.

The two-time winner of the Indy 500 has shown speed since the start of the week and logged 24 laps, clocking a lap time of 38.6616s at 232.789 mph.

Fastest on the leaderboard for much of the day, Alexander Rossi placed second sitting 0.1511s behind. The No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda team only ran six laps, having the same attitude on the day as many others.

It was quite windy for the majority of the timed session, around the halfway point pit-lane was nearly empty with only a handful of cars in their stalls. Drivers and teams elected to go back to the garage because the windy conditions did not let them get a full realistic read on their cars.

For the qualifying sims to be as realistic as possible, drivers need to be able to keep their foot all the way down gassing their machines through the corners. It was only until later in the session where a few thought they could do that.

Pato O’Ward was third with a quickest lap recorded at 38.8269s with a speed of 231.798 mph. The Arrow McLaren SP driver turned 12 circuits and was fourth on the best four-lap average chart.

A pair of fast Chip Ganassi Racing Hondas, Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon rounded out the top five. Ericsson was willing to put his car on the line early in the session with laps that were pushing full throttle as Dixon had an opposite plan and waited until the final hour to head onto the track.

There was a practice high for cautions, five total. The first yellow came out for race control’s loss of power, which was followed by the first incident that occurred so far this week.

Jimmie Johnson slapped the wall off Turn 2 with the right side tires. It was later revealed that the No. 48 CGR Honda’s floorboard and gearbox took some beating.

The following session stoppages were for two debris cleanups and a squirrel running onto the racetrack.

Up Next: Pre-qualifying practice tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. ET, live on Peacock and IndyCar Radio.

Matt Narváez
Matt Narváez
Matthew is a NASCAR contributor apart of the team. A fan of racing since 2011, he has had passion for sports journalism since 2015 and is a current Mass Communications student at the University of South Florida.

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