Kanaan Leads Ganassi Honda Blitz On Carb Day

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 28 2022

Veteran Tony Kanaan led the field during Friday’s Carb Day practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Up next is Sunday’s 500. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Carburetion Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is for sending messages. And the message delivered Friday by Chip Ganassi Racing was the team’s Honda-powered Dallaras are wicked fast in race trim, too.

CGR continued its dominance of the “Month of May” as Tony Kanaan turned the fastest overall speed while leading three of the team’s drivers in the top four on the speed chart during Miller Lite Carb Day _the final practice heading into Sunday’s 106th Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion, cranked out a top lap of 227.114 mph in the No. 1 CGR Honda during a 90-minute session that was shortened and started two hours late due to morning rain. Teammate Marcus Ericsson was second-fast at 227.004 mph in the No. 8 CGR Honda.

“We’ve been happy with the car all week,” said Kanaan, the popular Brazilian making a one-off start at IMS. “That is no secret that the cars are good. We did a few pit stops there, run a couple things. But honestly, we didn’t change anything.”

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato broke up the Ganassi juggernaut by clocking in third at 226.839 mph in the No. 51 Honda entered by Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing.

NTT P1 Award-winner Scott Dixon _ the 2008 Indy 500 champ who set the fastest pole speed in 500 history last Sunday _ was fourth at 226.696 mph in the No. 9 CGR Honda.

Sage Karam was the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver and fifth overall at 226.517 mph in the No. 24 Chevy entered by Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.

Ganassi’s strength wasn’t limited to the top four spots, as all five of the team’s drivers placed in the top 14. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was the fastest 500 rookie and seventh overall at 225.974 mph in the No. 48 CGR Honda. In addition, reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou was 14th at 225.435 mph in the No. 10 CGR Honda.

Friday’s results validated the speed Ganassi’s organization displayed during qualifying last Sunday, as all five of the team’s drivers will start in the first four rows of the 200-lapper.

Friday’s activity was the last on the 2.5-mile oval before “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” takes the green flag on Sunday. Live coverage will start at 11 a.m. (ET) on NBC, Telemundo Deportes on Universo and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

However, Andretti Autosport and Dale Coyne Racing with HMD teams faced a busy Friday evening and Saturday after two crashes during the session.

At 2:05 p.m., Colton Herta’s No. 26 Honda fielded by Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian wiggled in Turn 1 and made right-rear contact with the SAFER Barrier at the exit of the turn. The car overturned and slid through the short chute between Turns 1 and 2, making secondary contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2 with the nose of the car.

Herta climbed from the car after the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team carefully turned the chassis onto its wheels. The car suffered extensive damage.

At 1:44 p.m., rookie David Malukas did a half-spin and hit the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 with the left side of his No. 18 Honda after side-by-side contact with the No. 23 DRR Chevrolet driven by Santino Ferrucci entering the turn. Malukas was unhurt, but his car suffered extensive damage.

Ferrucci was held in his pit box for 20 minutes after the incident in penalty mode for avoidable contact levied by INDYCAR officials.

All 33 drivers in the traditional starting lineup participated in the final practice. The field combined to turn 1,590 laps, with rookie Callum Ilott leading the laps-completed column with 68 in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.


Team Penske earned its record-extending 18th career victory in the Ruoff Mortgage Pit Stop Challenge, with two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden at the wheel of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet. Newgarden’s crew earned $50,000 in awards from a prize pool of $100,000.

This was Newgarden’s first victory in the event and the third for chief mechanic Travis Law, who led the No. 3 crew to wins in 2015 and 2016 with Helio Castroneves. Team Penske’s last victory came in 2017 with the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske crew and driver Will Power.

“Everybody showed up, and we did what we had to do,” Law said. “Hats off to everybody involved, the guys back at the shop to get the equipment ready. Can’t thank them enough.”

Team Penske swept the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda crew and driver Scott Dixon in the best-of-three final round. It was the first sweep by a team since the best-of-three format was adopted in 2017.

The last team and driver to win the annual competition between the best IndyCar Series crews and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year was Team Penske and Castroneves in 2009. Team Penske also earned its first Indy 500 victory 50 years ago this year, with the late Mark Donohue driving the No. 66 McLaren in 1972.

“Maybe a little good mojo,” said Newgarden, a two-time winner this season looking for his first Indy 500 victory. “Like Travis said, we had a little slower lane there, and they made the difference on that final stop to get it done. I’m always thrilled to show up at the racetrack because I know I have the best of the best behind me.”


Pato O’Ward and Arrow McLaren SP officially are in it together for the long haul. Arrow McLaren SP has extended its agreement with O’Ward through the end of 2025, the team confirmed Friday. Pato joined the organization in 2020 and extending the 23-year-old driver’s contract reaffirms the team’s goals to challenge for race wins, championships and Indianapolis 500 victories.

“Pato is an important part of McLaren’s future in INDYCAR and we are happy that he will be a key part of Arrow McLaren SP for years to come,” said Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing. “He is an incredibly talented driver who has already shown what he is capable of in INDYCAR and I look forward to watching him take the next step in his promising career.” That career also could include a Formula One seat with McLaren.

A native of Monterrey, Mexico, O’Ward made his NTT IndyCar Series debut in 2018. He since has secured three wins, four poles and nine podiums, all with Arrow McLaren SP. His three wins came in 2021 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, on the Belle Isle road-course in Detroit and most recently at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., earlier this season. O’Ward was voted Rookie of the Year after the 2020 Indianapolis 500 when he finished sixth, a result he improved upon in 2021 with a fourth-place finish.

“I’m incredibly happy to have locked-in my future with Arrow McLaren SP,” said O’Ward, driver of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. “This team has truly felt like home for me over the past three years and I can’t wait to build on our success as we compete for wins and championships. I want to thank the whole team for this opportunity. This is exactly where I want to be.”

O’Ward’s motorsports resume includes an Indy Lights championship in 2018 and victories at IMSA’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in 2017 and 2022.

Arrow McLaren SP will update its full 2023 lineup in due course.

“The entire team is excited that Pato is onboard for the long haul,” said Taylor Kiel, president, Arrow McLaren SP. “He is an important part of our plan here at Arrow McLaren SP; his energy and work ethic is infectious. Having watched him develop since he joined the team, I look forward to building on these foundations to increase our performance and achieve our common goals in the years to come.”

In related team news, McLaren Racing confirmed Thursday it has commissioned a new INDYCAR facility for Arrow McLaren SP, with construction scheduled to begin in the second-half of 2022. McLaren Racing is looking to begin site preparation and construction in August or September, with an estimated build time of just over 18 months. 

Intense detailed design and planning is underway and it is anticipated the new facility will become operational in phases between 2023 or early 2024. The facility will be located north of Indianapolis in Whitestown, Ind. 

Brown announced the project during an appearance at the Indiana Global Economic Summit. “Part of our long-term strategy for Arrow McLaren SP is to relocate the team to a new facility fit for the future,” Brown said. “This is both a clear sign of our commitment to INDYCAR and also to the community of Whitestown, the City of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana, which has been the home of INDYCAR since the sport began.”

Arrow McLaren SP is planning to run three fulltime entries in the NTT IndyCar Series in 2023. Reflecting McLaren’s commitment to INDYCAR and its North American presence, the new building will more than double the size of the current facility, with over 97,000 square feet of space. The new facility also will provide a significant number of additional, high-quality jobs across a range of categories. 

Sustainability will be a core focus for the design and construction, with ecological features focused on the well-being of all employees. The new facility will combine modern office space with technical areas, workshop space, logistics and transport areas and even a dedicated space for the team to practice pit stops. The building will feature a gym with an emphasis on sports science, allowing all employees to focus on their physical and mental well-being on and off the track. 

The facility will look to the future, with focus on advances in technology and engineering that still show respect for McLaren’s history at Indianapolis and its motorsports pedigree. McLaren’s advanced development programs, such as Accelerator & Engage, will feature heavily at the facility.

“This new facility will be a cataylst for motorsports and business growth for McLaren Racing in North America,” Kiel said. “We are working hand-in-hand with Whitestown officials throughout the entire process, making sure we create an environment for hard work and excellence.

“We look forward to having a new, class-leading home for our team with access to the state-of-the-art resources they need to compete for wins and championships. Investment like this just shows the excitement and growth around INDYCAR locally and nationally.” 

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1997) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service and Ford Racing). 


Carburetion Day practice speeds at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, with rank, car number in parenthesis, driver, engine/time/speed/best lap and totals laps run:

1.(1) Tony Kanaan-(W), Honda, 00:39.627-seconds/227.114 mph/15/46

2.(8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 00:39.6468/227.004/8/30

  1. (51) Takuma Sato-(W), Honda, 00:39.6757/226.839/9/45
  2. (9) Scott Dixon-(W), Honda, 00:39.7007/226.696/8/35
  3. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 00:39.7322/226.517/36/61
  4. (12) Will Power-(W), Chevrolet, 00:39.8174/226.032/46/53
  5. (48) Jimmie Johnson-(R), Honda, 00:39.8276/225.974/29/49

8.(5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 00:39.8661/225.756/25/42

  1. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 00:39.8735/225.714/55/61
  2. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 00:39.8822/225.665/6/61
  3. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 00:39.9028/225.548/44/45
  4. (30) Christian Lundgaard-(R), Honda, 00:39.9118/225.497/58/61
  5. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 00:39.9146/225.481/40/56
  6. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 00:39.9229/225.435/4/49
  7. (25) Stefan Wilson, Chevrolet, 00:39.9302/225.393/8/45
  8. (6) Juan Pablo Montoya-(W), Chevrolet/00:39.9354/225.364/26/41
  9. (18) David Malukas-(R), Honda, 00:39.9875/225.070/18/35
  10. (06) Helio Castroneves-(W), Honda, 00:40.0052/224.971/6/41
  11. (14) Kyle Kirkwood-(R), Chevrolet, 00:40.0286/224.839/33/60
  12. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 00:40.0567/224.682/33/43
  13. (60) Simon Pagenaud-(W), Honda, 00:40.0977/224.452/41/52
  14. (11) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 00:40.1302/224.270/34/40
  15. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 00:40.1492/224.164/37/62
  16. (77) Callum Ilott-(R), Chevrolet, 00:40.1502/224.158/59/68
  17. (27) Alexander Rossi-(W), Honda, 00:40.2294/223.717/17/56
  18. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 00:40.3244/223.190/40/58
  19. (28) Romain Grosjean-(R), Honda, 00:40.3352/223.130/8/56
  20. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 00:40.3519/223.038/9/53
  21. (23) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 00:40.3896/222.830/46/54
  22. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco-(R), Honda, 00:40.4804/222.330/8/42
  23. (33) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet/00:40.4846/222.307/12/23
  24. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 00:40.5641/221.871/43/49
  25. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 00:40.7908/220.638/6/18

Note _All cars use the fourth generation Dallara IR12 chassis with universal IR-18 aerodynamic bodywork and Firestone Firehawk radial tires.

(W) _ Indy 500 winner

(R) _ Rookie of the Year candidate


Starting grid for the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge NTT IndyCar Series event at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with rank, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 02:33.8162 (234.046 mph)
2. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 02:34.1761 (233.499)
3. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 02:34.2516 (233.385)
4. (33) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 02:34.4532 (233.080)
5. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 02:34.6630 (232.764)
6. (1) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 02:34.9243 (232.372)
7. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 02:34.7022 (232.705)
8. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 02:35.0506 (232.182)
9. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 02:35.1729 (231.999)
10. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 02:35.3935 (231.670)
11. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 02:35.4846 (231.534)
12. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 02:35.6664 (231.264)
13. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 02:35.4356 (231.607)
14. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 02:35.4541 (231.580)
15. (23) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 02:35.5019 (231.508)
16. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 02:35.6590 (231.275)
17. (11) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 02:35.7684 (231.112)
18. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 02:35.8451 (230.999)
19. (77) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 02:35.8707 (230.961)
20. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 02:35.9713 (230.812)
21. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 02:36.0022 (230.766)
22. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 02:36.2064 (230.464)
23. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 02:36.2875 (230.345)
24. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 02:36.3002 (230.326)
25. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 02:36.3620 (230.235)
26. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 02:36.4167 (230.154)
27. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 02:36.7741 (229.630)
28. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 02:36.9269 (229.406)
29. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 02:37.2628 (228.916)
30. (6) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 02:37.4655 (228.622)
31. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 02:38.5531 (227.053)
32. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 02:38.6944 (226.851)
33. (25) Stefan Wilson, Chevrolet, no time (no speed)



| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 28 2022
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