Takuma Sato leads first Indianapolis 500 Practice

By: Spencer Neff
May 17, 2023

Wednesday Practice Results Combined Practice Results

Following Tuesday’s rainout, the six-hour practice session Wednesday would become even more significant. The 34 drivers vying for a spot in the field of 33 for the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented By Gainbridge would get 15 minutes for install laps when the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened at 10:00 a.m.

Once the session time elapsed, Abel Motorsports’ RC Enerson took to the track. After he did not qualify for the race in 2021, Enerson is seeking to make his debut in the May 28th race.

Once Enerson’s allowed time wound down, the full-field session began. A new pairing for 2023, Chip Ganassi Racing and Takuma Sato picked up where they left off in their first “500” together. The 2017 and 2020 winner clocked a best lap of 229.439 mph (39.2261). Sato, who started 10th and finished 25th, led a 1-2 finish for CGR.

2008 winner Scott Dixon was .0453 of a second back of Sato. This year, Dixon will look for a second “500” victory as well as his record-tying sixth pole and record-breaking third in as many years.

Santino Ferrucci was third on the chart and best among the Chevrolet group. The 2019 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year is making his fifth “500” appearance and first with A.J. Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci’s teammate Benjamin Petersen was 21st, best among the four drivers looking to make their “500” debut.

Practice Notes:

Just over an hour into the running, the first caution was brought out.

A small piece of debris, potentially a hose from one. of the driver’s helmets meant to provide them with cool air, was found in Turn 3.

Following a five-minute yellow flag for cleanup, the green flag waved for the resumption of practice. Two more debris cautions would fly in the following hour and a half.

By 3:22 P.M, Enerson completed the remaining lap in excess of 215 mph needed for him to run with the full-field without a speed requirement.

Top No-tow Speeds: VeeKay leads Chevrolet sweep of Top 6

VeeKay’s previous best “500” finish was eighth in 2021, where he led 32 laps (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Although the cars will not receive the added boost for qualifying until Friday’s practice, the non-tow sped chart may provide a small glimpse into potential contenders for Sunday’s Fast 6/12 and the NTT P1 Award for the pole winner.

In contrast to Honda and CGR’s dominance atop the speed chart, it would be Ed Carpenter Racing and Chevrolet leading that particular category.

Rinus VeeKay, who has qualified fourth, third and third in his first three “500” starts was atop the list, the driver of the No. 21 posted a best lap of 223.212 (40.3204) during today’s running. He also ran a session-leading 151 laps.

Veekay’s Car Owner Ed Carpenter was second, turning a best lap of 222.341 mph,.1579 of a second behind as he looks for a fourth “500” pole and his first win.

Between all three cars from both ECR (Conor Daly was fifth) and Team Penske (Power, McLaughlin and Newgarden were third, fourth and sixth), the bowties locked down the opening six spots.

Kyle Kirkwood of Andretti Autosport was best among the Honda camp in seventh.

Best Trap Speeds:

Hunter-Reay in the garage yesterday (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

As he returns to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for the first time since the end of 2021, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing’s Ryan Hunter-Reay was quickest in all five of the measured speed traps at IMS.

Here are the speeds for the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner.

Start/Finish Line:237.978 mph

Turn 1: 234.436

Turn2: 230.279

Turn 3: 233.633

Turn 4: 230.799

With Practice 1 in the books, the month of May on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has begun. Here’s a look at the on-track schedule for Thursday.

Up Next:

Pedersen clocked a best lap of 225.480 mph (39.9149) during his 114 laps on track. (Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Pit Assignments

Tomorrow will be the final practice with race day boost levels before preparation for qualifying preparations begin. Like today and Friday, practice is scheduled for 12-6 p.m. EDT. Streaming is available via Peacock.com with Timing and Scoring (including IndyCar Radio) from race control.indycar.com, the INDYCAR app powered by NTT DATA and SiriusXM Channel 160.

IndyCar1909 is on site at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will have continued updates for each on-track session. Check out our social media channels for even more content. 

Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR


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