The defending Indy 500 winner beat the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 38.1854 seconds, setting the fastest practice time of the week on the final lap before qualifying resumed.
AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci set the early pace at 234.972 mph straight out of the box, in perfect weather conditions and a much lighter wind than yesterday.
Ferrucci then set a four-lap average of 234.649 mph to put himself on pole, later saying: “I think we’ve got what it takes, that’s clear.”
Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) improved his one-lap speed to 235.609 mph, even though he ran within 10 seconds of teammate Takuma Sato across the track. However, his quad ride was about 0.2 mph slower than Ferrucci’s.
“A big drag,” Ballou admitted. “The car was very consistent in terms of balance, but I made a big mistake going into turn 3 on the last lap.”
Baloo was then dislodged by teammate Ericsson, who clocked 235.692 mph while taking advantage of the slipstream. Sato finished third with a speed of 235.121 mph, but undermined his car too much applying downforce and couldn’t keep steady on the throttle on the final lap.
Ericsson also admitted: “The car is really good, it’s very fast, but I’m struggling with my final sprint.” “I had to jump in the first corner on the last lap, so I just have to work on that.”
Benjamin Pedersen, A. J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Photography: Michael L. Levitt / Autosport Photos
The fastest lap with no tow was recorded by Foyt rookie Benjamin Pedersen at 235.793 mph, ahead of Scott Dixon’s 234.958 mph (aborting his quad ride), good for fourth overall.
“I didn’t know it was such a fast holy cow!” exclaimed Pedersen. “The thing is a rocket, I’m speechless.”
Arrow McLaren’s Pato Award was only seventh fastest at 234.826 mph, but finished third behind Ferrucci and Palou on the four-lap average chart at 234.190 mph.
“It was so good, we had quite a bit of understeer,” said O’Ward. “The track is very fast today with less wind. We are a bit shy on the front wing, but it was good to read.”
Rinus VeeKay ran into trouble when smoke and sparks billowed from the rear of his Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet-powered car, causing yellow after 12 minutes of driving. He left the track and his team will now aim to get the car ready in time to qualify within two hours of it being withdrawn.
“I worked on the fourth lap and the car was good,” he said. “He made a little noise and slowed down. It’s not perfect. But the car is definitely fast.”
Vichai was eighth ahead of McLaren’s Alexander Rossi, Penske’s Will Power and Saturday’s creator Felix Rosenqvist. Tony Kanaan chose McLaren’s fourth entry by not standing.
Fast 12 qualifying for the Indy 500 begins at 2 p.m. local time.