Ferrucci, RLL Rebound with authority
What an accident? What sanction?
Santino Ferrucci and the entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing organization rebounded from a difficult and controversial Thursday to deliver high-fives on Friday.
Ferrucci was medically cleared to resume competition in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Friday morning, and once the various RLL crew members finished repairing his # 45 Honda Hy-Vee, he got out and showed why he had finished seventh and fourth in his two oval Indianapolis Motor Speedway starts. Ferrucci was rookie of the year in 2019.
At around 4 p.m. on Friday, when the track surface was the hottest, Ferrucci faked a four-lap qualifying effort that landed him second in the table at the time. Wearing a knee brace over his sore left knee and walking a bit cautiously, Ferrucci celebrated with every crew member he could find.
“These guys worked all night, and some of them didn’t leave until 4:30 pm this morning,” said the 23-year-old pilot. “Some of them came back at 6 years old. They haven’t stopped working on this car since I crashed it.
“This is the real American dream.”
Team co-owner Bobby Rahal said the car’s tub, gearbox and engine escaped damage during the sharp impact of the rear-first, but staff rolled over the car repaired on the pit lane before 2 p.m.
“Pretty amazing, really, because it happened (at 4:14 pm),” Rahal said. “It’s not like it happened at 10 am. Great recovery. A great team effort to get the car finished, and more than anything I’m sure it’s more painful than it lets it be, but to see it drive around is a good sight.
Teammates Takuma Sato, reigning “500” champion driving the No. 30 Panasonic / PeopleReady Honda Honda, and Graham Rahal, driving the No. 15 Honda United Rentals, also had good days on Friday. They were eighth and 11th on the overall speed chart. Ferrucci finished 14th overall.
Rahal finished with the second fastest towless lap, meaning there wasn’t a lot of setback to sit the first 30 minutes as a misconduct penalty with the photo shoot ahead of Thursday .
“We should have made a formal request,” Rahal said. “At the end of the day, that’s why I say we were penalized. We didn’t complain; we did not protest against this sanction. We were okay with that.
“Forward and up.”
The pursuit begins with the qualification of the Royal Crown Armed Forces on Saturday. The team’s goal will be to earn a spot in Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout.
Reunion of a race-winning caliber
Sato and engineer Eddie Jones had a magical 2020 together by winning the “500” for third qualifying position. Jones retired at the end of the season and Matt Beasley was promoted to work with Sato. But Beasley was unable to make it to Indianapolis from his native England for personal reasons, and Jones was put into service.
Sato couldn’t be happier to have Jones, who is highly regarded as an engineer at Indy and who won the “500” with Dan Wheldon in 2005, back by his side.
“Eddie was going to attend this event anyway to oversee and supervise the three (team cars),” Sato said. “Yeah, we’re lucky to have Eddie on hold, and it was kind of a coincidence that coming together – (we) just feel natural, you felt you melt away immediately.”
Sato said Beasley is supporting the team online from England.
Prankster Kanaan warns Palou
The topic of pranking young drivers was brought up on Friday, and veteran Tony Kanaan, a legendary prankster, has vowed that Chip Ganassi Racing freshman driver Alex Palou will soon be getting screwed.
“We are waiting until after qualifying,” said Kanaan, winner of the 2013 “500”. “Next week he will have something.
Palou said he was open to pranks.
“If that gives me a win, I’ll do whatever it takes,” he said. “I also have something in mind. I will come back (to them).
Kanaan said: “He’s talking about a good game.”
McLaughlin takes advantage of Mears
Series rookie Scott McLaughlin delivered the best quote on Friday when asked what the best advice he received from four-time “500” winner Rick Mears was.
“Trust your ass, smell the car,” said the three-time Australian V8 Supercars champion. “Sorry, but this is literally the best room I have ever had. Trust him.
“If something’s wrong, come in (at the pits). If it feels good play with it, get used to it, the front bar, the back bar, the jacker weight. Yeah, he was phenomenal.
Speaking of McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden said one of the perks of having him as a teammate was evident at Team Penske’s annual Quick Friday rally.
“I had to make sure we brought someone else who didn’t win (the race) into the team,” he laughed.
Newgarden was right. Also interviewed were former winners Will Power (2018), Simon Pagenaud (2019) and team president Tim Cindric, who has won eight wins with six different drivers since joining the organization in 2001. Luckily for Newgarden , team owner Roger Penske (18 wins)) and Mears (four) were not present, as is usually the case.
Penske Drivers Eye Le Mans Ride
With the recent announcement of the partnership between Team Penske and Porsche to participate in major endurance races in 2023, the team’s four INDYCAR drivers have been invited to take part in the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The answers came quickly.
Cindric refused to be drawn into the discussion.
“I don’t know,” he said of the drivers who will be selected. “We will talk about it again in a few years.”
The Penske quartet may have to compete with the boss for a ride. It should be noted that Roger Penske, 84, recently drove the beautiful Porsche RS Spyder which won the 12 Hours of Sebring and the ALMS LMP2 Championship in 2008. The former sports car star completed around 25 laps on the M1 Concourse circuit near his office in Michigan. The RS Spyder will be one of many Team Penske teams featured at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, which honors and welcomes Penske.
- Chip Ganassi has four drivers in this field, with seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson envisioning a ‘500’ race in 2022. Ganassi said he would be willing to field five cars if there was sponsorship for it. do it. “I think you would definitely check it out, yeah,” he said.
- Ganassi seems to have heard enough about the batch of young INDYCAR drivers leading the races. “The youth movements are coming, but the champions endure,” he said. “That’s what Scott Dixon does.”
- Scott Dixon drives Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda, and he had the fastest lap of the day at 233.302 mph, but struggled to get four clean laps to simulate an effort of qualifying (his best was 12th on the list). For example, he and Juan Pablo Montoya (# 86 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) had to work around each other when exiting the pit. Dixon tried to keep Friday in perspective. “It was complicated for everyone,” he said.
- INDYCAR returns to the annual Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit presented by Lear on June 11-13, and event officials have announced that full participation will be possible due to Michigan lifting its external restrictions starting June 1. . to the pandemic.