Chip Ganassi Racing’s defending Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Honda ended the final day of NTT IndyCar Series Spring Training P1with a time of 01:38.4223s and speaking following the action he said:
“It feels great to be back here in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda. We’ve had quite the extensive test program here over the past two days. We worked very hard in the winter to try to get different things on the set-up side where we think we can improve our package for road and street course races. We’ve gone through that program and I think we’ve found some really interesting things that will make us stronger as a team. That’s very promising and of course now, we’ll have a lot of data to analyze but I’m confident that we made some improvements.”
Christian Lundgaard was second fastest with a time of 01:38.5682s.
Kyle Kirkwood was third fastest in the No.27 AutoNation Honda and speaking following the action he said:
“It’s a new team for me, new group of guys, kind of jelling with them to see how everyone operates. “I wouldn’t say that we found something here that is going to translate to anywhere, right? This is a very unique track, although it was a lot of fun to drive, and it kind of surprised me in the amount of grip that it actually produced.”
“Honestly, it felt pretty easy to get to the top in this car. It’s not really needed to try and overextend anything.”
Callum Ilott had a great day for Juncos Hollinger Racing as he was fourth overall just ahead of Marcus Armstrong who commented saying:
“My expectation, or at least my goal, was to be top-5 at the test. I think it went better than I expected. I got used to the car quicker than I thought. I thought there might be a day where I go, ‘Woah, okay that is what it is like.’ But I felt comfortable right away. Satisfaction is the killer of motorsport, so I don’t want to say that I’m satisfied, but it was good.”
Will Power was sixth fastest in the No.12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet while Alex Palou was seventh in the No.10 American Legion Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing and speaking following the action the Spaniard said:
This was an amazing place and I’m very happy we could come out here and test. It’s been a while since Laguna, so it felt amazing to drive an INDYCAR. We’ve been able to achieve a lot of things we wanted to here at Thermal. I think the CGR team did a great job during the week here. We can’t wait to get to St. Pete to go do the real thing now. We have four weeks to go through everything and we’ll be ready to go to try to get to victory lane.”
Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin and Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist were eighth and ninth respectively while six-time series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda rounded out the top ten and speaking following the action he said:
“It was fun to get back into an INDYCAR after the downtime in the offseason. Obviously, a big thanks to everyone at Thermal for getting us out here. It’s a new track, and one different to what we typically run on. Looking forward to kicking off the season. This just means we’re getting a little bit closer. We’ll keep working away until then.”
Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud in the No.60 AutoNation Honda had the 11th combined fastest time just ahead of Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden who commented following the action saying:
Yeah, I think that rings true, for sure. Productive for us. A lot of new people on the 2 car. Nice to have this competitive environment.
Everyone looked like they were pushing. Looked like typical INDYCAR, right? A couple 10ths on the top split. It was really productive. I was happy with the second half of the day. We were getting the car in a good window. I made a mistake about an hour to go, kind of ruined our last hour there. That was unfortunate.
These are things that happen. It’s good to have this type of environment to make that mistake and get ready for St. Pete. I leave here feeling really confident that we’ve got a team that can build together and try and push from the very beginning of the season.
Alexander Rossi was P13 for Arrow McLaren just ahead of his former team-mate Romain Grosjean of Andretti Autosport while Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward was P16.
Dale Coyne Racing’s David Malukas was 17th just ahead of Helio Castroneves and Devlin DeFrancesco while Jack Harvey rounded out the top twenty for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Agustin Canapino was 21st for Juncos Hollinger Racing just ahead of Graham Rahal and Rinus VeeKay while Sting Ray Robb was 24th just ahead of Santino Ferrucci and Conor Daly while Benjamin Pedersen rounded out the order for AJ Foyt Racing.