Team Penske’s NTT IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Shell Rewards Chevrolet was the pacesetter on the final day of track action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday.
The start of on-track activity was once again delayed due to weather however when the action got underway the Tennessee-native set the benchmark with a 229.519MPH.
Dale Coyne Racing with RWR’s Takuma Sato was second fastest with a speed of 229.427MPH while Tony Kanaan in the No.1 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was third fastest with a speed of 228.767MPH.
Speaking to Paddock Eye following the action, the Brazilian said that although he hasn’t been in the car for eight months he has been with the team throughout the season to date and was with Jimmie Johnson at the season-opening race in St Pete and he feels like he never left the team.
Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda had another strong day as he ended up in fourth place with a speed of 228.689MPH.
Scott McLaughlin was fifth for Tram Penske with a 228.689MPH just ahead of Marco Andretti with a speed of 228.185MPH. Defending series champion Alex Palou was seventh fastest with a 228.058MPH ending the day just ahead of his teammate Jimmie Johnson in the No.48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda who set a speed of 227.900MPH.
Felix Rosenqvist was ninth fastest with a speed of 227.812MPH while Marcus Ericsson gave Chip Ganassi Racing all five cars in the top ten with a speed of 227.785MPH. Speaking following the action Rosenqvist said:
“I thought today went well. It was a rainy morning; we were sitting in the truck for like five hours and I felt kind of sleepy at first but then we got going pretty good. I think we did like four long runs, almost full tanks runs, so we will take that, that’s a good day. A lot of the things we tried today went well. That’s not really common at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I think we have a good car, we’re not really pushing the limits yet but I feel like we’re running well. Overall, two good test days.”
Simon Pagenaud was 11th fastest for Meyer Shank Racing with a speed of 227.575MPH ending the day just ahead of Dreyer and Reinbold Racing’s Santino Ferrucci who set a speed of 227.489MPH just ahead of his teammate Sage Karam who set a speed of 227.425MPH.
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet was 14th fastest with a speed of 227.204MPH just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay who set a speed of 227.194MPH just ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean and Callum Ilott. Conor Daly was 18th with a 226.517MPH just ahead of Devlin DeFrancesco who set a 226.266MPH.
Speaking following the action, Romain Grosjean said:
“For everyone that thinks it’s easy to drive ovals, you’re wrong. It is a challenge. It’s a very specific discipline. I got a lot of laps in today. I was getting the car where I felt comfortable in it. I liked it more than I thought I would, which I guess is a good thing. We’ll come back here for the Month of May, The Indy GP and the big one – the Indy 500.”
Devlin DeFrancesco commented saying:
“The Andretti Steinbrenner No. 29 PowerTap Honda seemed to be pretty decent I think. We tested the limits. I think we have good speed. We have a few things we can work on for balance. But in general, I’m pumped for the month of May.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Jack Harvey in the No.45 Hy Vee Honda rounded out the top 20 with a speed of 226.224MPH just ahead of Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward in the No.5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet who set a 226.199MPH ending the day just ahead of David Malukas who set a 226.114MPH.
Speaking following the action, O’Ward said:
“Today was a beautiful day after the rain went away. I think we got some great running in and a lot of laps. I think we got the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in the window. The car felt very familiar to what we had last year so I think when we come back we have a great baseline to work from and we will just try to make it better in traffic.”
Alexander Rossi was 23rd in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts AutoNation Honda who set a speed of 226.048MPH. Speaking following the action he said:
“The day got off to a damp start, but we did 138 laps in about three hours. I think the team worked well together. We got through a lot of things. This test is a little strange. You’re trying to run through your speedway car for the first time in the year but also get through some test items. Ultimately, the track and the conditions will be different when we come back here next month. It was a good exercise for everyone to get in the rhythm around here again. It’s all a lot of fun to drive here. We’ll go away and see what learned, but when we come back in May, it’s going to basically be starting from scratch.”
Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda was 24th fastest with a speed of 225.845MPH just ahead of AJ Foyt Racing’s J.R Hildebrand who set a speed of 225.640MPH. Kyle Kirkwood was 26th fastest for AJ Foyt Racing with a speed of 225.579MPH while Dalton Kellett in the No.4 K Line Insulator Chevrolet was 27th with a speed of 224.911MPH.
Colton Herta was 28th with a speed of 224.786MPH just ahead of Christian Lundgaard who set a speed of 224.185MPH. Ed Carpenter was 30th with a speed of 224.161MPH while Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the order in 31st place with a speed of 223.980MPH and speaking following the action he said:
“I am really happy with the day; both days went really well. I never really focus on getting a big draft to put a big number on the board. Actually my fastest time was on the long run in the end so I am pretty happy with that. Honestly, we made a lot of progress from where we finished last year and I am really happy with the car. We made a few adjustments that all seem to be positive. I think we are headed in the right direction, so I’m really happy.”
“We put a lot of laps in over the course of the two-day test. Overall, we got the car in a good place for May. It’s really all about laying the groundwork now so you have a baseline to work off of when we come here for the real thing.”
“Coming back here was like riding a bike. My first run I was pretty much flat out, out of the pits. In the rookie test, they slapped my hand for that a little bit. We slowed it down and got through the phases. This is the first year that I’ve truly had a year off. In 2020, I ran at the end of the season with this race too. So, this time I’ve had a year off and I was a little worried about what it would feel like but I’m right back at home.”