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
Lily & Madeleine
 
Lily & Madeleine to Perform National Anthem at Red Bull Air Race
Indianapolis natives and fast-rising duo Lily & Madeleine will sing the national anthem at the inaugural Red Bull Air Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Panasonic Pagoda
 
Gate 9 is Entryway to Epic World of Red Bull Air Race at IMS
Gate 9 is the entryway to an entertaining weekend full of high-octane thrills at the first Red Bull Air Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Oct. 1-2. All fans heading to the Speedway are encouraged to use Gate 9 to enter the event.
Read More
Red Bull Air Race
 
The Countdown is on to Red Bull Air Race This Weekend
The most highly anticipated stop of the 2016 Red Bull Air Race calendar is this weekend, Oct. 1-2, when the official world championship comes to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time. The jam-packed weekend of racing action will be a landmark event for the legions of sports fans in the Midwest, for the field of top pilots looking to join Indy’s legendary winners and, especially, for the two men locked in a battle for the overall crown with only two races to go.
Read More
Kevin Coleman
 
American Coleman Well-Versed on What It Means to Fly at IMS
As the only American in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship Challenger Cup, Kevin Coleman has an appreciation for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Kirby Chambliss
 
Ten Things You Didn't Know About Kirby Chambliss
Any Red Bull Air Race fan who doesn’t know that Kirby Chambliss was born in Texas – or that he is the only two-time titleholder in the current lineup – hasn’t been paying attention. But after 10 full seasons of dazzling crowds worldwide with his talent, there’s still plenty to discover about the pilot who was instrumental in developing the ultimate motorsport series in the sky. Such as…
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,331
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
The angle that the #Indy500 cars bank is 9 degrees compared to the #AirRace 90 degrees around the chicane!… https://t.co/Jo8sYUeSv5
about 10 hours ago