News & Multimedia

Andretti Rebounds

Indianapolis 500 qualifying was a humbling experience for Andretti Autosport in 2011.

The team owned by Indy car racing legend Michael Andretti struggled for speed on the IMS oval. Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick barely made the show, and Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway flat out failed to qualify.

What a difference a year makes. Armed with the IZOD IndyCar Series’ new Dallara DW12 chassis and turbocharged Chevrolet V-6 power, Andretti Autosport claimed four of the fastest seven speeds on Fast Friday, led by Marco Andretti’s 227.540 mph scorcher.

Team Penske ran second and third with Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves, while fifth place for Target Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon at 226.224 mph represented the best effort from a Honda-powered car.

But the big story was the turnaround of the Andretti squad, which landed Hunter-Reay fourth, James Hinchcliffe sixth, Ana Beatriz seventh, and Sebastian Saavedra 19th.

“What a difference a year makes,” Andretti commented after collecting a $10,000 check for fastest time of the day. “Hopefully tomorrow if we’re knocking on the door for a pole it will be pretty ironic because last year we struggled to get into the show. The credit goes to the guys for working so hard, and my engineer Allen McDonald has a lot of faith in me and vice-versa.

“Obviously the five of us [drivers] work together as well, but most of the credit is down to the guys,” he added. “We learned attention to detail last just trying to get into the show. But now that we have pace, all those little things are putting us in position to potentially run for the pole.”

Some observers scoffed when the Andretti team often ran in tandem this week to simulate race conditions, believing that the draft effect from running around other cars masked their single car qualifying pace.

But running with the faster speeds in the draft may have prepared AA for today, when INDYCAR allowed engine manufacturers to run an additional 10 kPa of turbo boost. The modification, worth an estimated 40-50 horsepower, produced an increase in speed Friday of 4 mph over earlier practice days.

“As a driver you take to it [the extra power] well,” Andretti said. “You always want more boost and more power all the time. My car seemed to react to it really well and it would be nice to keep it for the race.”

Briscoe, who ran 226.835 mph in his IZOD-sponsored DW-Chevy, was also delighted to run his fastest laps of the month on Friday.

“I’m glad we’re back consistently in the 220s consistently and I’d really like to race with this boost level and qualify with our road course boost (155 kPa),” Briscoe said.

The Indianapolis qualifying boost level of 140 kPa is the same the cars will race with at short ovals like Milwaukee and Iowa. The cars will utilize 130 kPa during the Indianapolis 500 and for races at Texas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway in California.

“You can feel the extra power,” Briscoe noted. “Not on track so much. You’re just going faster at terminal velocity. But leaving pit lane there’s definitely a bit more punch.”

There a re two more practice sessions on Saturday morning and the normally favored Penske and Ganassi teams may still make gains prior to qualifying. But on the evidence of what we saw Fast Friday, the Andretti Autosport cars are the ones to beat.

“Today was a big day for us,” concluded Marco Andretti. “I though we were at a bit of a deficit to our teammates as we started the month, but we kept rubbing on it and I think the extra boost really woke up my car in particular.

“I was working really hard on the consistency over four laps today  because I think that’s going to make the difference tomorrow,” he added. “I’m really proud of Chevy and it would be a real statement if we put 10 Chevys in the top ten tomorrow.”
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Andretti Rebounds
 
Andretti Rebounds
The team owned by Indy car racing legend Michael Andretti struggled for speed on the IMS oval. Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick barely made the show, and Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway flat out failed to qualify.
Read More
Related Media
Fuzzy's Vodka
 
IMS and Fuzzy’s Award Winning Vodka Extend Partnership
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Fuzzy’s Award Winning Vodka have agreed to a multi-year extension of their partnership.
Read More
A.J. Foyt
 
Foyt Back in Familiar Spot For Opening Day at IMS
Garage A-1 is where the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner holds court each May. It’s a second home for the man whose name is synonymous with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Indianapolis 500 Grand Marshal
 
Olympic Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin to Serve as 2015 Indianapolis 500 Grand Marshal
Nastia Liukin, the individual all-around gold medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and one of the most successful gymnasts in U.S. history, will serve as Grand Marshal of the 99th Indianapolis 500 on May 24.
Read More
Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Opening Day Reveals Intriguing Search For Speed with New Aero Kits
The Opening Day shakedown had some Verizon IndyCar Series teams shaking their heads at times in an anticipated trial-and-error acclimation. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is tricky enough as it is. The search for an ideal setup turned Sunday into an intriguing chase.
Read More
Justin Wilson
 
Getting Up Early, Getting Back on it at IMS
No driver was more eager to return to the famous track than the 36-year-old Brit, who has been in the Verizon IndyCar Series since 2008, but is making his season debut in his first race with Andretti Autosport.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 928
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @StacyAlbano: On the day @NastiaLiukin was named the Grand Marshal of the 99th #Indy500, she and @derekhough & @SashaFarber stomped that…
about 8 hours ago