Fast Friday Wrap-up

I thought we were going to have more answers from today and we got them. As if we didn’t already know, we had it confirmed that the Ganassi cars are fast. Once again, a Ganassi car was listed atop the scoring pylon when the checkered flag flew at 6:00 pm. Takuma Sato turned a lap of 234.753 mph early in the day, on a run where he got as close to hitting the wall without actually hitting it as I think I’ve ever seen. As the late Bobby Unser would’ve said – you couldn’t slip a sheet of paper in between the car and the wall.

What else do we know? Callum Ilott is in trouble and so are the Rahal cars.

Curiously enough, Juncos Hollinger Racing waited until about 3:00 on fast Friday before deciding to use a totally different car. They have bought a new car from Dallara, but will switch to the car that Agustin Canapino used in the Open Test back in April. It’s a little late in the game to be making a major switch, and this could be the death knell for Ilott’s chances of making the race. But as we saw in 2019, the obvious pick to go home, sometimes doesn’t.

The next three cars from the bottom of the pylon were all from the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) stable. Graham Rahal posted the thirty-third fastest speed, Christian Lundgaard was just ahead of him at thirty-second and Jack Harvey had the thirty=first quickest time of the day. Katherine Legge posted the best RLLR time of the day, good enough for twenty-ninth. The Rahal cars were a disaster on the last oval at Texas, and it looks like they picked up this week where they left off in Texas.

RC Enerson isn’t out of the woods yet. His fastest lap of the day was only good for thirtieth quick. That’s flirting with an area where you don’t want to be this weekend.

Honorable mention goes to Marco Andretti, who has been fairly quiet this month. Late in the day, he turned a lap of 234.202 mph, good enough for second quick of the day. The fastest Chevy was Rinus VeeKay, who was third quick. Pato O’Ward posted the fastest time among the McLaren drivers and was fifth fastest of the day. Josef Newgarden was the fastest Penske car, and was sixth quickest overall.

Once again, Santino Ferrucci was very impressive and consistent for the famous No. 14 of AJ Foyt Enterprises. He was seventh fastest overall. It would be very refreshing to see a Foyt car in the Fast Twelve.

The draw was held immediately after the close of practice. Ryan Hunter-Reay chose No. 1, and Josef Newgarden picked No. 34.

There will be a practice at 8:30 am EDT, then qualifying gets underway at 11:00 am EDT.

That is going to do it for us for now. The rain that was promised for tonight is almost here, and we’d like to get to the car before it hits. It will pass through overnight, bringing sunny skies, but cool temperatures tomorrow – making for a green, but fast track.

An evening at Dawson’s is on the docket for the evening. Our friend Paul Dalbey arrived in town this morning, so the three of us are going to enjoy the night. I’ll close with a few photos from the day – some by Susan and some by me. You can probably tell the difference. Please check back here in the morning.

George Phillips







SATO copy

One Response to “Fast Friday Wrap-up”

  1. Brent Blaine Says:


    I thought your comments about added boost being contrived were a bit off the mark. Your history should remind you of the added “pop” of nitro in the sixties and the unlimited boost of the 70’s. Back in the day qualifying speeds were determined by how willing the crew chief was willing to “tip the can” on nitro…Parnelli knew he had a winner in 67 because the piston guys could run nowhere near as fast in race trim as they “loaded” for qualifying.

    Same in the early 70’s…speed was determined by how brave the engine guy was at setting the boost. I remember being in the pits in 72 when Gurney engine guy, John Miller set the boost for Bobby’s qualifying run and Dan went back and added a couple of more turns. John was actually physically sick in the back of the pit for fear the engine wouldn’t last 4 laps.

    I don’t think todays speed was “contrived “ but clearly controlled to avoid “blowing “ the engine bank

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