Monday, November 27, 2023

Takuma Sato Fastest in Fast Friday at Indianapolis

Takuma Sato practices during Fast Friday in 2023 ahead of qualification weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Takuma Sato practices during Fast Friday in 2023 ahead of qualification weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Photo courtesy of Doug Mathews/Penske Entertainment.

INDIANAPOLIS — Continuing Chip Ganassi Racing’s dominant form, Takuma Sato led the speed charts again in practice for the 2023 Indianapolis 500.

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Called ‘Fast Friday’ owing to the turbocharger boost pressure increase ahead of qualifying weekend, Sato went around the two-and-a-half mile oval at an average speed of 234.753 mph. The No. 11 Honda was also fastest on the non-tow speed chart as well.

Most drivers spent the day doing qualification simulations to try and replicate Saturday’s running as much as possible. Most cars’s speeds on the non-tow list mirror their placement on the overall speed chart because of this. IndyCar judges a driver to have received a tow-assist for a lap when they are within 10 seconds of the car in front of them.

“Entirely impressive with the current package, with HPD,” Sato said. “The group of engineering and the team working extremely hard, of course.

“Happy to be here. It was my first experience for Chip Ganassi qualify trim car today with high boost. My eyeballs go big first lap in the morning. They give me equipment of same trimming with Scott made last year with a significant speed.”

Second fastest was Marco Andretti in the No. 98 Andretti Autosport Honda. The third-generation racer’s fastest lap was 234.202 mph. Third fastest was Rinus VeeKay in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet at 234.171 mph ahead of Marcus Ericsson in fourth and Pato O’Ward in fifth.

While many teams are content with their speed, two in particular are not. Juncos Hollinger Racing made the decision to change the chassis for Callum Ilott’s car after Ilott could not get up to speed in the chassis he was driving. Ilott’s new chassis will be the one teammate Agustin Canapino drove in April’s open test.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is also on the hot seat. Their four entries were 29th, 31st, 32nd and 33rd on the speed chart posted below. Additionally, Jack Harvey apparently had an engine failure in the No. 30 Honda in the final minutes of practice. With 34 entries, that means that the Zionsville, Ind.-based team has a small mountain to climb to ensure their safety in the 33-car field.

There will be two 30-minute practice sessions on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying at 11:00 a.m. ET. Qualifying will last until 5:50 p.m. ET and all sessions will air live on Peacock.

Practice results:


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