IndyCar: Sato Flexes Ganassi’s Muscles During First Practice

Takuma Sato during the first day of practice for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (James Black/Penske Entertainment)

After a rain-washed practice, today was a new day as Takuma Sato showed what his capabilities are with great equipment.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Sato posted a fastest lap of 229.439 MPH with a little over two hours left in the six-hour practice session today to find himself P1 after the first official practice for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28h.

“The organization is very impressive,” Sato said. “Everything is in the right place and the right people. They use their resources and make the most of it. Preparation is simply impressive.

“Today on the track, all four drivers divided a few different programs. I wasn’t particularly happy with the kind of sensation I was getting in the morning. We’re just working on what’s the best way. In the afternoon, the group run by Ganassi was a great hint for me about what needs to be done. We went for it, and we had a big tow, and that’s why we have a very successful platform right now.”

Sato wasn’t the only CGR driver to have success today, as teammate and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon wasn’t too far behind. Dixon was P1 for most of today’s practice session until Sato knocked him off, sending Dixon to second in the session.

In somewhat surprising fashion, Santino Ferrucci, who has been all but quiet for most of the 2023 season, showed up third on the speed charts for AJ Foyt Racing in his No. 14 Chevrolet, turning a lap of 228.977 MPH.

Another Ganassi entry flexed its muscles during today’s practice, as 2021 series champion and current points leader Alex Palou put his No. 1o Honda in fourth.

Rounding out the top five of today’s practice was Scott McLaughlin in his No. 3 Chevrolet laying down a lap of 228.473 MPH securing him P5.

Stefan Wilson, who hasn’t been in an Indycar since the last year’s 500, is attempting to make this year’s race driving for Dryer & Reinbold Racing along with Cusick Motorsports in his No. 24 Chevrolet posted a quick lap today that placed him at P15 at 226.285 MPH.

Car owner Don Cusick said after Wilson’s performance today, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the car Dreyer & Reinbold prepared for us and with the excellent work and professionalism their team has shown us. To team with them and Ryan Hunter-Reay is a dream come true for Cusick Motorsports. Super proud of Stefan Wilson and his drive today, its was also great to see Anders Krohn on the pit stand where he belongs.”

Before today’s practice session was underway, rookie RC Enerson, driving for Abel Motorsports in his No. 50 Chevrolet, completed the three phases of Rookie Orientation making it official that there will be 34 entries vying for 33 spots for The 107th Indianapolis 500.

“First day on track went great.”, Enerson said after today’s practice. “Breezed through ROP. The car showed really good speed and finally got my first taste of traffic and dirty air. I think that’s going to be the biggest learning curve.”

UP NEXT: Practice Session #4 – 12:00 p.m EST Today

Featured Image Credit: James Black/Penske Entertainment