Fast Friday Notes and Quotes

Conor Daly - Indianapolis Motor Speedway. © [Jamie Sheldrick/ Spacesuit Media]

Conor Daly – Indianapolis Motor Speedway. © [Jamie Sheldrick/ Spacesuit Media]

by Paul Gohde

Fast Friday is usually a day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for school groups, businessmen and women and serious racing fans alike, all hoping to see quick times and track action.

Conor Daly, in his Andretti Autosport Honda (231.704 mph), Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato provided the fastest speeds of the season, as twelve drivers were over 230 mph. Juncos’ young driver Kyle Kaiser crashed hard in the morning session, giving fans some action and the Juncos crew some major repair work. Impending storms with lightning closed the track for 1hr.19min. in the  afternoon, stirring up frustration for those drivers that needed track time to prepare for tomorrow’s qualifying runs; (think Fernando Alonso, Felix Rosenqvist, Pato O’Ward and Kyle Kaiser). Of those four drivers who, needed as much practice as possible, Alonso gained the most, posting a speed (229.328 mph) good enough for 24th quickest. Rosenqvist (30th), O’Ward (34th) and Kaiser (37th) trailed.

  • It was announced today by Chevrolet that NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. would lead Sunday’s race-day field to the green flag in a 2019 Corvette Grand Sport pace car. Earnhardt is also in Indianapolis to provide color commentary and analysis for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd “I’m proud to be a part of such a prestigious event at a place that means so much to racing history. This will be an experience that I’ll treasure forever,” Earnhardt said. Sunday’s race will mark the 16th time that a Corvette has been the pace car here, beginning in 1978.
  • For team owner Roger Penske, it’s been 50 years since he submitted his first entry for the Indianapolis 500. That 1969 entry was for Mark Donohue in a McLaren, and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren team will honor that anniversary on Sunday. “Donohue was a student of (working together as a team); very open,” noted Penske. “We have four guys here that want to win the race. There’s only going to be one. I think the effort and time, to see them work together, we have an open and transparent relationship with the drivers. We’re a team, one team, not four teams. I think that’s kind of the way we operated.” Alonso will pay tribute to that 1969 Donohue entry on Sunday by driving another #66 McLaren, the same number as that initial Penske entry ran 50 races ago.
  • Two IndyCar team owners gave a look to the 2020 season and beyond Friday when they both hinted at expanding their teams to three cars come next year. “ I think that’s our intent,” Bobby Rahal noted when asked if he is considering a third entry. “It’s like anything. We’re pleased to have Jordan (King) join us because I was impressed with what he was able to do last year in his first year in Indy cars. He was quick (and) has a talent to run up front…We’re getting to the level where we want to be, where we’re there every weekend on average. That’s when you start to look for the third car. So, yeah, our goal is certainly to expand the number of entries we have…but we want them to be the three best cars possible. First things first.”

Chip Ganassi concurred with ‘The captain’ when asked if he, too, was thinking of growing his team. “I think, yeah, you could probably say we’re certainly looking in that direction.” IndyCar must be happy to hear that kind of news from those two.



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