The defending Indy 500 winner smashed the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 38.1854 seconds to set the week’s fastest practice time in the final lap before qualifying resumed.
Santino Ferrucci of AJ Foyt Racing set the early pace at 234.972 mph straight out of the box, in perfect weather conditions and a much lighter wind than yesterday.
Ferrucci went on to set a four-lap average of 234.649 mph to put himself on pole and later said, “I think we got what it takes, that’s obvious.”
Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) beat his one-lap speed at 235.609 mph, even though he was running within 10 seconds of teammate Takuma Sato along the track. However, his quad ride was slower than Ferrucci’s by about 0.2 mph.
“A big drag,” Ballou admitted. “The car was really consistent in terms of balance, but I made a huge mistake going into Turn 3 on the last lap.”
Baloo was then ousted by teammate Ericsson, who clocked 235.692 mph while taking advantage of the slipstream. Sato finished third fastest at 235.121 mph, but he undercut his car too much when applying downforce and could not stay steady on the throttle on the final lap.
Ericsson also admitted: “The car is really good, it’s really fast, but I’m struggling with my finishing sprint.” “I had to bail out at turn one on the last lap, so I just need to work on that.”
Benjamin Pedersen, AJ Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Photography: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Pictures
The fastest lap without tow was recorded by Foyt rookie Benjamin Pedersen at 235.793 mph, ahead of Scott Dixon’s 234.958 mph (who aborted his quad ride), which was good for fourth overall.
“I didn’t realize it was that fast, holy cow!” exclaimed Pedersen. “The thing is a missile, I am speechless.”
Arrow McLaren’s Pato Oward was only seventh fastest at 234.826 mph, but finished third behind Ferrucci and Palou on the four-lap average chart at 234.190 mph.
“It was so good, we had quite a bit of understeer,” O’Ward said. “The track is really fast today with less wind. We’re a little shy on the front wing, but it was a good read.”
Rinus VeeKay ran into trouble when smoke and sparks billowed from the back of his Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet powered car, causing a yellow after 12 minutes of running. He left off track and his team will now strive to get the car ready in time to qualify within two hours after it has been withdrawn.
“I was working on lap four and the car was good,” he said. “It made a little bit of noise and slowed down. It’s not perfect. But the car is definitely fast.”
Vichai was eighth, ahead of McLaren’s Alexander Rossi, Penske’s Will Power and Saturday’s creator Felix Rosenqvist. Tony Kanaan elected McLaren’s fourth entry by not standing.
Fast 12 qualifying for the Indy 500 begins at 2 p.m. local time.
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