If the first two days of official practice for the 107th running of The Indianapolis 500 are any indication, Chip Ganassi Racing looks locked, loaded, and ready to go.
Wednesday, it was Takuma Sato who found himself at the top of the speed charts after a six-hour practice session. Thursday, it was yet again another CGR entry this time though it was reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Marcus Ericsson in his No. 8 Honda looking like a threat to win this year’s race.
Ericsson, who ran a total of 87 laps, charged to first during yesterday’s practice session with his 20th lap, registering at 229. 607 MPH on the 2.5-mile oval, which held up for the remainder of the practice session. Ericsson’s lap was the fastest lap run so far during the first two days of on-track activities. Along with the quickest lap Thursday, Ericsson turned the best “no-tow” speed of the day at 224.414 MPH. He outpaced fellow CGR teammate and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon in the No. 9, who finished P2 at 229.186 MPH, giving CGR a 1-2 finish for the second straight day.
“A really good day for the whole Chip Ganassi team,” Ericsson said. “Yesterday we worked a lot on the race cars. We were good straight away. Then today we built on that.”
“I think we did some changes overnight that helped me in my feeling in the car. Felt really happy with my race car. The organization has done a really good job again this year, with really good cars.”
2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud ran his quickest lap of the day at 228.681 MPH, checking in at P3. Next was the lone Chevrolet entry to crack the top five, 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner and defending series champion Will Powerwith a lap of 228.577 MPH putting him fourth. Power also was 2nd fastest on the “no-tow” list with a lap of 224.283 MPH. Rounding out the top five was Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta in the No. 28 at 228.240 MPH.
A scary close call for Pato O'Ward and R.C. Enerson. 😳 #Indy500 practice on @peacock. pic.twitter.com/TFjHAI304j
— INDYCAR on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) May 18, 2023
The lone incident of the day occured during the final 30 minutes, when RC Enerson asked to use the warm-up lane to get back on the track and as he was coming off of Turn 4. He had a close encounter with Pato O’Ward due to a miscommunication between Enerson’s pit box and spotter. Afterward, Enerson spoke with O’Ward to explain that he didn’t do it on purpose.
During yesterday’s practice session, there were 3,159 laps turned by all 34 drivers competing to make up the 33 car field for the race on Sunday May 28th. Speeds will increase tomorrow, when both engine manufactures crank up the horsepower by an additional 100 RMPs.
UP NEXT: Practice #5 (Fast Friday) 12:00 p.m ET Today