SPEEDWAY, Ind. — It was a second straight day of dominance by Chip Ganassi Racing with defending Indy 500 champion Marcus Ericsson leading the way in both overall speed (229.607) and speed alone (224.414).
With rain in the forecast for tomorrow, many teams began putting together their qualifying packages as they try to carve out as much speed as possible from their respective machines.
“A really good day for the whole Chip Ganassi team. Yesterday we worked a lot on the race cars,” said Ericsson. “I think we did some changes overnight that helped me in my feeling in the car. Felt really happy with my race car.”
Scott Dixon was second fastest on the day overall.
The Penske cars also finally also appeared to finally find some pace on the IMS oval after having some trouble in that department the last couple of years.
Early on, Scott McLaughlin had the pace of the field with a 4-lap average at 224.015 mph. Teammate Will Power also had a 4-lap average at 223.931 mph.
Former Penske driver Simon Pagenaud was third on the speed chart (228.681) for Meyer Shank Racing, which has had a tough year up to this point.
The session was not without drama though as there was an incident between Pato O’Ward and RC Enerson on pit road. Enerson, making a rookie mistake, exited his pit and immediately jumped out into the outer cruising lane, right in front of O’Ward and the two nearly collided.
“What the f**k was that,” exclaimed O’Ward over his team radio as the incident transpired.
For Ericsson, the confidence is high going into Fast Friday. Still, he is aware that that can change in an instant at places like IMS.
“We don’t want to underestimate our competition because there’s a lot of good teams that work really hard to improve,” he said. “We can’t underestimate that challenge going into this weekend and the next one.”
All 34 drivers competing for 33 spots in the starting field combined to turn 3,159 laps.
For Friday, the drivers can expect an extra shot of horsepower as they prepare for qualifying. Fans can expect to see speed north of 230 mph.
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