LONG POND, Pa. -- "221; holy cow," a spectator remarked as the initial IZOD IndyCar Series practice session at Pocono Raceway came to a close.
Such speeds haven't been seen at the 2.5-mile tri-oval since it opened in 1971 so Marco Andretti's fast lap of 221.883 mph (40.5620 seconds) caught first-time in-person viewers a bit off-guard. It was 10 mph better than the official Indy car track record set by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989, which will fall by the wayside in qualifications (1:15 p.m. ET). The NASCAR Sprint Cup record? Firestone Indy Lights cars left that in the dust, too.
Click it: Practice 1 results || Qualifying order
Fans will get quite a show in the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7 (noon ET on ABC) -- the first Indy car race at the track since 1989.
“Good start here this weekend," said Andretti, who also topped the speed chart in the July 4 Open Test in the No. 25 RC Cola car for Andretti Autosport. "But we’re going to have to see what happens.”
He was referring to the depth of the competition. There have been seven different winners through the first 10 races, including three first-time winners, and seven teams are represented in the top 10 of the standings. Adding that no one in the 24-driver field has contested an Indy car race here, "it's wide open."
Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan was second fast (220.819 mph) in the No. 11 Sunoco "Turbo" car for KV Racing Technology-SH Racing. Charlie Kimball was third (220.683 mph) in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing car and Simon Pagenaud was fourth (220.226 mph) in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports entry.