WILL POWER AND CONOR DALY LEAD TEAM CHEVY AT THE CLOSE OF INDIANAPOLIS 500 THURSDAY PRACTICE
- Will Power of Team Penske led the Chevrolet teams with his fastest speed at 228.577 MPH for fourth on the second practice day leaderboard.
- Conor Daly of Ed Carpenter Racing finished second for Chevrolet teams, sixth overall, with his top speed of 228.215 MPH.
- Will Power (second), Santino Ferrucci (third), and Scott McLaughlin (fourth) led the Bowtie brand on no-tow speeds, seeing an increase of almost one mile per hour more than Wednesday’s end of day speeds. Power led Team Chevy with his fastest no-tow lap at 224.283 MPH.
- Today’s Indianapolis 500 practice field continues to demonstrate the competitive nature of the NTT INDYCAR Series. Of the 34 cars, the differential of time from first to 34th is under one second, at 0.9931.
- Kyle Larson, competing in the 2024 Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this morning along with Jeff Gordon, Vice Chairman at Hendrick Motorsports and decorated racer, and Gavin Ward, Racing Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR.
TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 PRACTICE RESULT:
4th Will Power
6th Conor Daly
8th Pato O’Ward
10th Alexander Rossi
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES)
Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 in the NASCAR Cup Series and 2024 Indianapolis 500 competitor with Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“Checking out a practice day here. Getting excited about next year’s Indy 500. Really just came here today to hang out around the Arrow McLaren team to just soak up any little bit of anything to prepare myself for whenever I get behind the wheel of an Indy car. It’s been pretty neat. I’ve been here a couple of times once to hang out, I came here for the race in 2013, but never this close to the action. It’s been neat. I think the more I can soak up, the less surprises I’ll have next year. Happy to be here, happy for the opportunity. I’m excited about the opportunity. It’s still so far away that I haven’t spent that much time preparing yet, but I look forward to the preparation to be ready and competitive. Hopefully, we have a good run next year. We’ll see. It’s been cool hanging out here today. Arrow McLaren has amazing hospitality, great people. Looking forward to next year.”
Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
"A small issue to start the day. We had something going on with our telemetry but once we diagnosed and fixed it, it was a good day for the Verizon 5G Chevy team. We seem to be in a good position for qualifying, but tomorrow will be the true test when we get the boost increase. Qualifying up front is important in the 500, but you can win from several rows back. That's not where we hope to be, but we have single-car speed and the No. 12 Chevy was racy in the pack."
Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
"Today was a good day. We had the chance to get good no-tow runs in, but know we can trim more and be even faster. The car was even great in traffic so I feel strong and that is a nice feeling."
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
"My second full day and the typical up and down. It changes every day with the conditions but got a lot of good running in with the with the Shell car . Feeling really good with Team Chevy, and what we're building towards this weekend. Qualifying -- that's going to be most important right now. There is speed in the car and hopefully stay up front. We get through that and we can worry about the race as well."
Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
"I feel good. The Pennzoil Chevy is fast on no-tow and and race running. So it looks good. We get to up the boost t tomorrow so we will see we've got. But overall pretty good day. We got through everything what we needed to do today and I feel like we're in a good spot."
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”It was a tough day for us, to be honest. We're definitely not in the spot where we want to be yet, but we're working at it. We've got a plan to go through after qualifying this weekend. Tomorrow, it's obviously a very different goal: to go as fast as you can by yourself. Boost is up, so we're going to get everything prepared for that."
Felix Roseqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”It was a very productive day. I think we did around 150 laps, so we got a lot of data – some good reads, some bad reads – but we were way more clever today than we were yesterday. Now we switch focus to going fast with Fast Friday, so we will turn up the boost. I think we're in the game. There are a lot of strong cars out there so it is going to be tight like always, probably even tighter than last year, but our cars are definitely not bad. We just need to stay with it for the month."
Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
"It was a good day. More progress was made from the whole team. I'm getting happier and happier with the car each time we go out, which is great. I think we're in a pretty good spot for the group running. There are some small tweaks to come, but now the focus turns to qualifying – one of the most fun parts of the year."
Tony Kanaan, No. 66 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
”All in all a good day. We worked on race stuff all day long. We made big changes, so I think the team is happy. Now we go back and get ready for qualifying. We had to stop a little early because we want to be ready for tomorrow. There's a little bit of a chance of rain in the afternoon, so we want to be ready to go right at noon. I'm happy."
Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
"I am very happy today. It may not look like it in charts, but we are fast. The car feels really, really good to drive. We made progress all day and the BITNILE.COM crew has made all the right changes. We have everything that we have, now we will trim it out for tomorrow. It is always the best when you are driving an ECR car here at IMS."
Ed Carpenter, No. 33 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
"Today was a good and productive day. It is funny - I feel better about the car today than yesterday, but we are deeper in the time sheet today. That doesn't really matter when we accomplished everything we wanted to today. I still have a couple questions on what the right thing ultimately is, but we worked well as a group together. We will go fast tomorrow."
Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Solid day today. P3 in the no-tow, P11 overall. I’m really happy with that and continuing to progress. Got some pace, and looking forward to Fast Friday.”
Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Very good day. It’s starting to get fun with doing some qualifying runs. Most of the morning was race runs. This afternoon, we started doing some qual runs, and we’ve got very good speed. We’ve been pretty conservative still with our current level, and we’re pretty competitive even with that. Looking forward to getting a little more aggressive with it.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 23 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:
End of day:
“It was a challenge today. We tried throwing quite a bit at the car. We knew some of it wasn’t going to stick. But we wanted to try it anyway. More of it were things to avoid than we really wanted. But at the end of the day, we found a pretty good setting for qualifying. We ended up in the Top Ten in the No-tow chart and that was good. You always want to end the day well and I think we did that today. We are ready for Fast Friday. We’ll get the extra boost right away with Friday practice begins. So, we will be ready to go at 12 noon.”
“So far so good. You know, it's only been two days on track that we've worked together. Everything so far we're doing all the right we're doing all the right stuff, checking off all the right boxes. And, you know, we're really focusing on and as a group just executing on pit lane. You know, we're all working together for the first time kind of myself at the team and it's, it's been really good though. I'm enjoying the smaller team atmosphere and certainly really happy to be back with Chevy. Got a lot of history there. Whether it be winning the championship, with the IndyCar championship, working with working with the same group on the inside, so Yeah, happy to be back.”
What has been the hardest thing jumping back in?
“Jumping back of the car after being gone a year? What's been the hardest thing? I really, I mean, after two or three laps at the open test, it was like I hadn't left so it wasn't you know, it wasn't something I've got a lot of experience here. So it was it was definitely not something that caught me off guard or anything like that. And ideally, you don't want to take a year and a half off from being in an IndyCar but it's yeah, it went better than expected.”
Stefan Wilson, No. 24 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:
End of day:
“Solid day for the No. 24 DRR/Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevrolet. We focused on our qualifying setup for the whole day. It doesn’t necessarily look great on the speed charts, but we were in a decent place on the No-tow listings. And we are happy with the car’s handling. Wednesday was a good day with the race car and it’s great to be back at Indianapolis for the 500. We are anxious for Fast Friday now with the additional boost in the engine.”
How much has changed since you drove two years ago? How difficult is it to jump back in the car?
“It's actually been really smooth for me. You know, I'm used to last minute preparation, last minute deals coming together. And this year, it's often so much earlier that we're just several steps ahead of the game, compared to last time and I'm in the process was a big boost to my program. I'm reacquainting myself to INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this whole week. And never really feel acquainted until, you know, race week, really. So I just feel like I'm ahead of the game like I've hit the ground running this week, having had that open says to get through ROP and you know, get we got 150 laps on the board that day, so it just feels like I'm so much further ahead and the cars changed just a little bit with a bit more arrow. So it's gonna make the race a little bit more exciting, maybe a few more passing opportunities. And I'm just really pleased with the whole drive. I'm Dreyer and Reinbold/Cusic Motorsports crew, they've just done an amazing job to prepare the car and because as you know, me and mine assured we're pretty fast already. So we'll see if we can keep that up, keep making some positive changes to try to develop the car and, and I think the goal for the team is trying to get both cars in the festival and we'll see if that's possible.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay is your teammate. He’s been out of the car for a year as well, so how are you guys getting through your lists so far?
“He is absolutely a legend. We have been teammates in the past, two years Andretti. In a camp that big and we barely even spoke to each other, so this is the first time we're really truly teammates. I think we're both hungry. You know, he didn't race last year, the 500. And I'm coming off with like, you know, wanting very hungry to prove myself. So we both have similar mindsets. We're both very, very determined this year and the whole crew, overdrive to that the whole drive onboard basically has something to prove. So we're all in that same mentality. And I think we're the underdogs and I think we can prove something this month.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 CHEVROLET FOR ED CARPENTER RACING – End of Day Press Conference:
THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up Thursday practice here. Joining us now Conor Daly for Ed Carpenter Racing, who next week will make his 10th Indianapolis 500 start.
No shocker, the Ed Carpenter cars are pretty good, Conor.
CONOR DALY: “Yeah, thankfully this track we've still managed to retain our speed. It's been nice. It's been fun. The couple days have been interesting.
I still think it will be very interesting come tomorrow when the power goes up because I think we'll see a general trend on fast cars, but what is that going to look like when we got all the juice? We'll see what happens.
But I'm very confident so far, more confident than I would say I was last year at this time, both in traffic and in no tow. So, yeah, not too bad.”
THE MODERATOR: When things get turned up, we're pushing about 100 horsepower more tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.
CONOR DALY: “100?”
THE MODERATOR: 90, maybe 100.
CONOR DALY: “Geez, I thought it was only 50.”
THE MODERATOR: What could it do to the cars balance-wise?
CONOR DALY: “Honestly, it depends on I guess who is developing the most grip mechanically. We could see some people, at Texas it was interesting, some people managed to run with more downforce and actually be faster.
It's about efficiency, the less scrub the better. So sometimes you can trim out here too much and be a victim of kind of being a bit too aggressive.
It's just finding that little window. By lap four, for sure the tires are going off. When you're doing two hundred a ton miles an hour, the first laps feel like I got this, then three and four you're fighting an animal - at least I have been.
I've always struggled a little bit in qualifying here, but I feel better already going forward, so that's nice.
All three of our cars are similar in speed, which is encouraging. Obviously the team brings three good cars here all the time.”
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Conor, it's been a difficult season for ECR. How confident are you coming back to the Speedway, seeing the rhythm is coming back, the cars are fast around this place?
CONOR DALY: “Well, I mean, it just shows like Rinus and I haven't forgotten how to drive, thankfully. There's been a lot of difficulties this year.
When we come here, though, it's been a great two days. It's been fun. It's more fun to be competitive as well. Appreciate the team, the effort they've put in here.
Yeah, I mean, the goal is obviously to take advantage of it. It's hard because you never know what can happen, but we're trying to execute every day, as good as we can.
I love the new look of the car. We want to do the best job we can here for Chevrolet as well, at the Chevrolet Indoor Speedway. We want to be strong for them as well (smiling).”
Q. Obviously you had a lot of boxes you wanted to tick in the first three days. How much did you feel you have ticked and how much do you feel still needs to happen?
CONOR DALY: “I actually feel pretty good when it comes to race setup. I think we're all still going to try to do a bunch of stuff on Monday and get a little bit more dialed in. But realistically there's not a ton of changes overall compared to last year, I would say. We want to try to dial in a few more things.
When we come to Sunday, next weekend, raw speed is going to be really what helps. If we can just get our cars to go faster, it's a little less work to go that fast, then we'll be in a good spot.”
Q. Conor, is there much changes for setup or in principle can you do the car unchanged when the boost goes up?
CONOR DALY: “Honestly today, as Marcus said, we try to do a couple runs in the qual trim. We peel a lot off the car for at least kind of baseline qual trim. It is different from what we're doing race setup-wise.
I would say what we ran today we'll just also start tomorrow with the more power because usually it's not too dissimilar. We'll try to run at least what we did today for our single-car runs for tomorrow and go from there.”
Q. How difficult is it to go back to normal boost and race setup? In principle can you start from last year's?
CONOR DALY: “It always feels wonderful tomorrow because power is your best friend. That's going to be amazing.
Going back to the race setup, it's actually a great feeling after you've done three days of all qual trim, absolutely wringing your neck for speed, it feels really lovely to go back to the race downforce. You feel like you can do anything, throw the car around.
It's just part of the game here. You have these next three days where you're going to be sweating a lot and it's going to be a very, very challenging situation. We'll see what we can do.
We want to put all three of our cars up front. I think this team next to me are going to be the ones to beat for sure. Hopefully we can show up in the Fast Six, 9 or 12, whatever the numbers are.”
Q. Anyone you worked with today that you really felt someone around you that had a strong car, were impressed with what you saw from other people?
CONOR DALY: “I mean, I think these guys are strong. The Ganassi cars are strong. I think Josef looked quick, too. Josef seemed pretty strong in traffic. All three of our cars were pretty decent, as well, when I was running around those guys.
I don't know. I think there's like one group, then another group. You definitely feel slightly quicker with that one group. The other group, it looks like they're having a tougher time.
When you're around fast cars, everyone seems fast. It's interesting. But usually the key players are still really quick.”
Q. Conor, you talked about the changes, how that gives you a lot of encouragement. Dixon said yesterday he feels like that could help teams close the gap a little bit. Do you feel that's the case? Are you seeing evidence with all the stuff you can try, you can find a way to decrease their edge?
CONOR DALY: “Oh, I don't know. I mean, if you're talking in traffic, it still is a challenge I would say. If you're deep in the pack, it didn't matter what car it was, it was rare to see people making progress unless people were letting people by.
The first two cars, boy, it looked like they were having a heck of a race. So I don't know if that's the case. I don't think it brings us closer. I think the entire field is just closer because everyone is really good, and the teams are really good.
When it still comes to the qualifying trim stuff, everyone is going to be peeling off all the stuff we can put on, so it's still who can generate the most mechanical grip and take the most downforce out comfortably.
I don't know. I still think closing the gap to them, it's a challenge, but that's what we're all here to do.”
Q. Conor, when the defending winner says, We feel like we're in a better place than we were last year, should we all just go home?
CONOR DALY: “No.”
CONOR DALY: “Ed (Carpenter) has a big bag of witchcraft working over there. When we show up tomorrow, it will be serious. (laughter)
Of course they're going to be good, it's Ganassi. Not like they forgot how to do things.
It's great to have really good teams like that to race against, right? If you do feel like you make progress towards them, it feels way better. If we're in a duel for the first two rows or first three rows, it means you're going up against the best of the best. Shouldn't be any other way.”