Past winners Takuma Sato and Scott Dixon both topped 229 mph as Chip Ganassi Racing drivers took four of the top seven spots on the speed chart in the first day of practice Wednesday for the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.
Two-time “500” winner Sato led with a top lap of 39.2261 seconds, 229.439 mph in the No. 11 Deloitte Honda, turned in the final two hours under sunny skies and air temperatures in the mid-70s. 2008 Indy 500 winner Dixon was second at 229.174 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda on a lap turned in the first 10 minutes of the day.
This is Sato’s first “500” outing with the powerful Ganassi team. He won the race in 2017 with Andretti Autosport and in 2020 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
SEE: Practice Results
“The organization is very impressive,” Sato said. “Everything is in the right place and the right people. They use their resources and make the most of it. Preparation is simply impressive.
“Today on the track, all four drivers divided a few different programs. I wasn’t particularly happy with the kind of sensation I was getting in the morning. We’re just working on what’s the best way. In the afternoon, the group run by Ganassi was a great hint for me about what needs to be done. We went for it, and we had a big tow, and that’s why we have a very successful platform right now.”
Santino Ferrucci was third at 228.977 in the No. 14 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet fielded by AJ Foyt Racing. 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion and current series points leader Alex Palou was fourth at 228.720 in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.
Scott McLaughlin was fifth at 228.473 in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet. Reigning “500” winner Marcus Ericsson rounded out the four-car Chip Ganassi Racing team in seventh at 227.701 in the No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda.
RC Enerson completed the three-phase Rookie Orientation Program in the No. 50 Abel Motorsports Chevrolet, as all 34 entries combined to turn 3,455 laps (8,637.5 miles) in the busy, six-hour session after Opening Day was rained out Tuesday.
Practice resumes from noon-6 p.m. ET Thursday. Public gates open at 10 a.m.
The 107th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 28 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, Peacock, Universo, INDYCAR Radio Network). PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying is Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21.