Five-time Indy 500-winning team Chip Ganassi Racing and Honda were looking ominously strong in the first half of the second day of practice for the Indianapolis 500. Defending Indy 500 champion Marcus Ericsson was the first to nudge the 227mph barrier, 2021 runner-up Alex Palou the first to surpass, and then Ericsson pumped in a 229.607 effort after 45 minutes.
But it was the work the four Ganassi drivers did — with Arrow McLaren-Chevrolet’s Alexander Rossi as an interloper — from around the 90-minute mark that gave a clue as to how “comfortable” the CGR cars are when in close proximity. Ericsson’s race engineer Brad Goldberg told Peacock that the team had also run from full tank to empty to allow them to get a handle on tire wear across a stint.
The fact that Dixon and Palou were able to pass and re-pass along the front and back straight without the car in front breathing the throttle would also appear to indicate that IndyCar’s aero changes for 2023, allowing cars to run in closer proximity, are working.
Also appearing in the top five was their part-time teammate Takuma Sato.
The Arrow McLaren team ran as a pack that enabled Pato O’Ward and Rossi to surpass 227 and Tony Kanaan and Felix Rosenqvist to get into the top 10.
Santino Ferrucci fell just 0.005mph short of 227, a very encouraging performance from A.J. Foyt Racing.
2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power suffered a telemetry issue so didn’t hit the track for the first 90 minutes, but turned an impressive 224.283mph without the aid of a tow, even when the track was hot at around 2pm. That was fastest of the no-tows, Power’s nearest rivals being his teammates Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden, this pair split by the Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet of Rinus VeeKay. Fastest other Honda was Colton Herta’s Andretti Autosport entry in fifth.
Practice continues at Indy through 6pm ET.