Methodical Approach To Start Of Indy 500 Practice For Ganassi And Rahal Teams

Qualifying Takes Place This Weekend

Scott Stiller
May 15, 2019 - 1:43 pm
Scott Dixon's No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda At Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Chris Owens-IndyCar Series

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Speedway, IN (93.7 The Fan) - Chip Ganassi and Bobby Rahal’s IndyCar teams took a methodical approach to the first day of practice for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ganassi's Scott Dixon was 13th fastest on the speed chart turning a fast lap of 39.5730-seconds (227.428 mph) in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.

“Today, we tried to focus strictly on race running in the PNC Bank car to get the balance where we wanted,” said Dixon, the 5-time and defending series champion and 2008 500 winner. “I think we made some pretty good improvements actually, especially in the last few runs.  We also ran in traffic, but honestly, it’s just hard to know for sure.  We just went through the very first part of what we have on our test plan.  We just want to get some of our big-ticket items tested before we run out of time.”

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing picked up where they left off after testing on the oval in the fall.

Takuma Sato, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 champion, turned a fast lap of 39.6042-seconds (227.249) right behind Dixon on the speed chart at 14th.

“It’s good to be back on the oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Sato.  “The car felt really good today and we made it through quite a few parts of our program in the tested and to get the group runs was very valuable.  There is still a lot of work to be done, but it was very productive for the first day.”

Dixon’s CGR teammate Felix Rosenqvist turned the 18th quickest lap on the day at 39.6774-seconds (226.829) in the No. 10 NTT Data Honda.

“We started pretty slowly to get used to things and to get up to speed to continue where we loft off with the ROP (Rookie Orientation Program) test that we had a couple of weeks ago,” said Rosenqvist, who is in his rookie season.  “We ran in some traffic.  We did some laps alone as well to simulate what qualifying would be like – a bit more trimmed out.  Overall, it was a good day where we covered a lot of things.  The NTT Data car feels good so far.”

Graham Rahal turned the 20th fastest lap of the day at 39.7354-seconds (226.498) in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda.

“It was good day,” said Rahal.  “I think we checked off everything that was on our list of things to try today.  We wanted to stay pretty strict and only use three sets of tires.  We could have used more, done more running, but we wanted to make sure we save up for the rest of the week.  I was surprised that a lot of the guys ran more than I expected today, but we stuck to the plan and I’m pleased with where we are speed-wise and setup-wise.”

Rookie Jordan King, who is running a third car for RLL at the 500, completed his Rookie orientation. King will be making his first oval start in the 500 after competing in 11-road and street course races with Ed Carpenter Racing.

“At rookie orientation, it was bit strange really,” explained King.  “It’s one of those things that as a racing driver you want to be flat out and be 100% all the time.  It was a bit of a strange feeling to have to sit at a certain pace and pass the test. In the end, I’m happy with how the day has gone.”

Fans can get an unprecedented live look inside the RLL team in action in as they have partnered with Digital Ally, a company whose mission is to provide law enforcement, emergency management and commercial companies high quality video solutions and software management.  Digital Ally has installed cameras in the teams garage in Gasoline Alley and can be accessed at www.rahal.com or www.digitalally.com.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Garage Area At The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Scott Stiller

Practice continues today through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET each day.  Qualifying begins Saturday for spots 1-30 and continues on Sunday with the Last Row Shootout (spots 31, 32, 33) and the Fast Nine Shootout, which determines the pole position and the lineup of the first three rows.

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