Takuma Sato and CGR lead Fast Friday practice

By: Spencer Neff
May 19, 2023

Practice 5 Results Combined Practice Results

During Wednesday and Thursday’s practice at race day boost levels, Chip Ganassi Racing led the way as two-time (217 and 2020) Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato posted the quickest time on a delayed opening day.

Yesterday, 2022 race winner Marcus Ericsson was atop the leaderboard on both the no-tow and overall speed charts.

On Fast Friday, the added boost carried Sato to the fastest unofficial lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1996.

The driver of the No. 11 went out early and notched a best lap of 234,753 mph, it is the second consecutive year Sato led the pre-qualifying session.

Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian driver Marco Andretti would make it a 1-2 for Honda, just .0901 of a second off his 2017 teammate’s best lap. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay was best among the Chevrolets as relooks for a fourth consecutive Top Four start to begin his “500” career. Ericsson was the last of the four drivers with a lap in excess of 234 mph.

Chevrolet and Honda were split evenly at six cars apiece in the Top 12 during today’s six-hour session. Among other notables was A.J. Foyt Racing’s Benjamin Pedersen (15th), best among the four 2023 rookies.

The drama at the front of the grid is matched at the back of the grid. With 34 cars competing to be in the Field of 33, one driver will not qualify for the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Ilott and Juncos swap chassis, Harvey getting new engine

No stranger to qualifying and Bump Day drama, Juncos Hollinger Racing may have at least one car in Sunday afternoon’s Last Row Shootout.

After struggling in the April 20 Open Test and the first two days of practice, the team opted for a different chassis on Callum Ilott’s No. 77, Per Ricardo Juncos on Peacock, the new chassis is one previously used by rookie teammate Agustin Canapino during the same test. The No.77 team began working on switching over the Chevrolet engine and other preparations.

If JHR and Ilott are unable to post a qualifying time, that would automatically move them to Sunday afternoon’s qualifier for the 11th row at 4:00.

Late in Friday’s practice, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Jack Harvey prompted a caution when smoke began trailing from his No. 30 car. Harvey is expected to receive a new Honda engine as he looks to qualify for his seventh Indianapolis 500. This is slated to be completed in time for his initial Saturday attempts.

Compared to Wednesday and Thursday, the focus of Fast Friday is overwhelmingly toward single-car runs, without a tow via drafting help from at least one car. Indianapolis 500 Qualifying is four laps, double the usual two-lap length for oval qualifying in th NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

O’Ward during Thursday practice (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

In what is typically seen as the most accurate measure of pre-qualifying speed, Sato’s 233.413 four-lap average was good enough for best in the field.

Best Trap Speeds: Sato nearly made it a clean sweep of the afternoon, if not for Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, who tied with his former teammate Andretti. Here are the speeds recorded.

Start/Finish Line: 239.863-Sato

Turn 1:239.863 (Hunter-Reay/Andretti)

Turn 2: 237.636 (Sato)

Turn 3: 243.142 (O’Ward)

Turn 4:235.719 (Sato)

Qualifying Draw:

Following practice, the traditional qualifying draw was conducted behind the famed Pagoda. Here is the order for Saturday. Each car is guaranteed one attempt.

  1. 23 (Ryan Hunter-Reay)
  2. 26 (Colton Herta)
  3. 12 (Will Power)
  4. 06 (Helio Castroneves)]
  5. 98 (Marco Andretti
  6. 8 (Marcus Ericsson
  7. 45 (Christian Lundgaard)
  8. 7 (Alexander Rossi)
  9. 9 (Scott Dixon)
  10. 60 (Simon Pagenaud)
  11. 55 (Benjamin Pedersen)
  12. 51 (Sting Ray Robb
  13. 6 (Felix Rosenqvist)
  14. 66 (Tony Kanaan)
  15. 33 (Ed Carpenter)
  16. 50 (RC Enerson)
  17. 30 (Jack Harvey)
  18. 20 (Conor Daly)
  19. 29 (Devlin DeFrancesco
  20. 15 (Graham Rahal)
  21. 21 (Rinus VeeKay)
  22. 5 (Pato O’Ward)
  23. 77 (Callum Ilott)
  24. 24 (Stefan Wilson)
  25. 11 (Takuma Sato)
  26. 18 (David Malukas)
  27. 14 (Santino Ferrucci)
  28. 10 (Alex Palou)
  29. 28 (Romain Grosjean
  30. 27 (Kyle Kirkwood)
  31. 44 (Katherine Legge)
  32. 3 (Scott McLaughlin)
  33. 78 (Agustin Canapino)
  34. 2 (Josef Newgarden)

Up Next

Day 1 of Qualifying begins tomorrow with an hour of practice time split between two groups at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Drivers who drew 1-17 will go from 8:30-9 with 18-34 allowed on track from 9 to 9:30.

At 11:00, four-lap qualification attempts will begin and last until 6:00 p.m. When Saturday’s attempts are finished, the Top 30 cars will be locked into the Field of 33. Positions 13-30 will not run again on Sunday.

The 12 fastest drivers will advance to Sunday’s “Fast 12 Shootout” and look to make the Top 6 who will run for the first two rows.

In between determining the first four rows, the 11th row will qualify and one driver will get bumped.

Streaming is available via Peacock.com (Live on NBC from 2:30-4:30) 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 Doug Matthews/INDYCAR


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