MAY 17, 2023


  • Santino Ferrucci, in the No. 14 Homes for Our Troops Chevrolet with AJ Foyt Racing led the Bowtie brand at the conclusion of first on-track practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his fastest speed of 228.977 MPH.
  • Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay led the no-tow speed of the day at 223.212 MPH, followed by his teammate and team owner Ed Carpenter at 222.341 MPH. Will Power rounded out the top three no-tow speeds and giving Team Chevy a sweep of the first three spots with his lap at 221.803 MPH.
  • Four Chevrolets finished in the top-10 of first practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with four drivers representing three teams.
  • RC Enerson, in the No. 50 Abel Motorsports Chevrolet, completed his rookie orientation and officially becomes the 34th entry for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500.


Pos.  Driver

3rd     Santino Ferrucci

5th     Scott McLaughlin

8th     Ryan Hunter-Reay

9th     Josef Newgarden


Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:

“After the Open Test, I don’t think we were feeling too strong, so to roll out of the box here and after the first few laps in the car, I just got out and said hey, look, the car’s good. We just broke for lunch, went down for a couple of hours to get things sorted, but the raw speed of the car out of the box was phenomenal. To make two or three small changes, a couple of little aero or ride height things, you’re not looking at mind-blowing reinventing-the-wheel changes. By the time we were done, we went out with new tires and even passed some cars. We were just working on trying to follow closer, and the lap time was there. To be the fastest Chevy in the No. 14 is pretty cool. Start the month of May off, and we just have to carry the momentum.”

Talk about some of the passing and gains you feel like you made today…

“I’ve said this all year, and I feel Chevys have been really good on top-end. And I felt that not just on the ovals, but on the road courses as well. So, I think today to be in your fastest lap and then pass a car, and almost pass another into Turn 1, on the same second half of the track is pretty impressive and pretty stout. I feel really comfortable being in the Chevy for the top-end wise this year, especially in race trim. I’d like to see if we can obviously bring home the Borg Warner (trophy) for Chevy. That’d be pretty awesome and spectacular for our team.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 23 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:

“Today was a very productive day for us. We got through a lot of the checklist we hoped to. We lost a little bit yesterday with rainout. But the car has some good speed in it. We have some things to sort out tomorrow. I am cautiously optimistic with it. We are keeping our heads down and working hard. The track conditions were good today, not too hot. Track temperature got up a bit in the afternoon and the surface got greasy. It was beautiful day to be at the Speedway. We expect it to be much hotter and more difficult on race day. We are looking forward to Thursday’s action.”

Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“Felt really good in the No. 2 car. I think most of us here at Team Penske were really happy with the progress we made. It was a good, clean day all six hours which was welcome after yesterday’s rain. Feeling good, confident in the Shell car. Just need to keep it up. This weekend, we’re really going to find out where we’re at. A lot of work to do, but stay tuned with us.”

Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“Awesome to get back on track in the Pennzoil Chevy. The yellow sub is always a crowd favorite, but yeah, really good day for us. We ticked a lot of boxes. Don’t know where we are speed-wise right now, but every time we wanted to do some speed, we managed to do a reasonable time. It feels nice. We’ll see what we’ve got for the rest of the week.”

Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:

“We got through a bunch of stuff early in the session, working on qualifying configurations. We felt really happy about that. We got three good race runs in after that and the Verizon Chevy was really good. It’s the first day and we have a lot more on our list to work through, but it’s hard to say this wasn’t a good first day here at Indy.”

Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“Today was interesting and we worked through a lot of our list today. We got in over 120 laps today which is nice on the first day. We are decent in traffic which will come in handy on race day. Looking forward to getting back tomorrow and working some more.” 

Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“Today was good, then it was bad and then it was good again. That is Indy for you. Overall, today was productive. We tried a lot of stuff on the No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet and at the end of the day we found the speed for traffic runs. Of course, being on top of the no-tow is always a plus.”

Ed Carpenter, No. 33 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:

“We had a pretty productive day. I would have liked to be up a little higher on the timesheet – just for egotistical reasons, but it felt productive. We worked through some things with our race trim that we wanted to investigate further after the Open Test. I am excited to get back to debrief and look through everything. There are thousands of configurations now with the new downforce options we have this year. We are a lot more competitive than what the big board says today.” 

Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Today was interesting and we worked through a lot of our list today. We got in over 120 laps today which is nice on the first day. We are decent in traffic which will come in handy on race day. Looking forward to getting back tomorrow and working some more.” 

Felix Roseqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”It was good to get some actual runs in. They were mostly error runs in the beginning with a little race running in the end, but that was fun. I think we’re in a good window. We had some issues in the end; we couldn’t do a full run and we had to do a couple pit stops. I think we’re pretty much where we left off last year. It’s very tight. We want to catch the Ganassis, they were really strong last year and they continue to be strong. We have to bridge that gap, but otherwise, we feel really strong. I think we’re in the mix.”

Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”It was a good day, lot of laps ran. We’re still learning, but a lot of positives to take from today, and we’re happy with where we are. We’ll just continue to work tomorrow.”

Tony Kanaan, No. 66 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

”Good day for us, we did almost a hundred laps trying to make big changes, changes that take a lot of time to figure out, so from tomorrow on it’s just going to be tweaking the car. All in all, an awesome day for the No. 66 team. I think the whole team looked pretty strong, we did a lot of laps, and now on to tomorrow.”

Gavin Ward, Race Director at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:

“Strong first day running for the team. We’re focused on our own program here, a lot of race prep work. We’re pretty pleased with everything, got through a lot of tests today and we have a lot of data to chew through this evening. The drivers all seem reasonably comfortable for day one on track. Looking at the notes, we’re pretty happy where we sit. It’s always hard to judge around this place, but so far so good.”

Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:

“We did some laps in a big pack. It was really, really good. Of course, it’s tough. It’s really difficult, but at the end of the day, I think we had a good first day for us.”

Stefan Wilson, No. 24 Chevrolet at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing:

“We finished day two of practice which was really day one after Tuesday’s rainout. It was a very solid day in the No. 24 Cusick Motorsports/CareKeepers Chevy. We just worked on race setup today and focused on the race car to make it better each time out. We tried things in traffic and found some things that worked well and some which didn’t work. We are now going through all of the data that was accumulated today. We are accessing some of the changes we made and see where we can improve. We’ll look at some of the things we want to try later in the week too. Overall, it was good first day for the team.”

RC Enerson, No. 50 Chevrolet at Abel Motorsports:

“We finally concluded day two, but day one got washed out on us. We finally got a chance to run ROP and went through that pretty flawlessly. Got to finally come our for our practice at the end of the day here. We’d come to the garage, and lost a bit of time there trying to get gears changed and all of that. But we finally got back out, got to see what our single car speed is like. Got to dabble a little bit in traffic, which I think that’s something that’s going to have to get more comfortable for me. Overall, a pretty productive day.”


MODERATOR: We are joined by Rinus VeeKay, driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, the top no-tow speed today at 223.212 miles an hour, pretty important as you look ahead to qualifying this weekend Saturday and Sunday, and also Santino Ferrucci, 228.977 miles an hour in the 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing. Rinus, overall your thoughts on your day today, P1 on the no-tow.

RINUS VEEKAY: “Yeah, it was a good day, good to be out here, and got that first day over with.

It was pretty good, good no-tow speeds. We think there’s still a lot more in it, so that’s a good sign, but also mostly the focus all afternoon has been race running, just making sure the car is good enough for the race, getting behind the backup cars, and yeah, we found out a lot about bad and good changes.”

THE MODERATOR: “Santino, you’ve always been good at the speedway. I’m thinking back a couple years ago, a fourth here in 2020. You liked your car so far today, so far this month?”

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “It sure looks like that. We didn’t really change much today, just a couple small things. We rolled out actually — we weren’t strong on the open test at all, but we didn’t really have everything together, and to have all that extra day, especially the rain day yesterday to roll out today and to immediately just be comfortable was really, really nice. I haven’t been this comfortable in a couple of years.”

Q. Santino, obviously it’s hard to know what everybody else is doing up and down the pit lane and it’s probably difficult to know where you should exactly be on the leaderboard, but I guess are you feeling very confident after today’s run?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “Yeah, no, we’re in full race trim, nose down, rear wing is pretty stacked on there.

Honestly, we were looking for a tow lap like everybody else. What I didn’t expect was to be passing people in that lap, and to be able to follow as closely as we did because we did make a change before we put the set of stickers on because the left rear is a little bit softer this year, so with the track being as green as it is, they’re not quite lasting as long as we probably would have liked the first day, but expect that to obviously change.

No, I’m pretty comfortable, and this is definitely a car that I can see not needing too much adjustments for next Sunday. It’s nice to see that.”

Q. For both of you, we know one car is going home. Does that fact add any tension to the briefings or anything else, or is it just business as usual, we’re not going to worry about it, we’re just going to do what we do?

RINUS VEEKAY: “Not for us. I think ECR is not going to be worried.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “I don’t know, I don’t ever give it any thought.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “If you go back a couple years, maybe 20 years ago, there was like 40 of them. I think that would make people more stressful. I think one is what it is.”

Q. Rinus, you led last year’s first practice on the no-tow chart, too. Is that something you work on as a team on the first day, and can you really gain anything by working on your qualifying stuff?

RINUS VEEKAY: “It’s good to get a feel on it. It feels like far away, but in two days we’re at Fast Friday.

It’s good to get a feel for it, get some data on a lower downforce trim, see what that gives us, and where the balance migrates. It’s good to be fast on my own. It’s a consistent battle to be faster in a group of cars because things change all the time and one little change can make a lot of difference, but just raw pace, you don’t find that with the quick change.”

Q. Rinus and Santino, Conor was talking this morning about how you guys have lacked grip, you just don’t have the pace so far this season. It’s been a tough season, that you needed a good two weeks here. What’s this season been like, and how does it feel to have the fastest non-tow speed on day one?

RINUS VEEKAY: “It’s definitely been my hardest season so far. It’s been a struggle, but we keep working, and hopefully we can find back that pace.

This might be the turnaround. I know we have a fast car here. It showed again today. The whole team does. And of course driving we get a bit more data, and hopefully it just lifts up the spirits of the team and hopefully we nail that setup coming to road and street courses later in the season, and yeah, hopefully it gets better. That’s the goal.”

Q. Did you have this circled as sort of like hey, Indy 500, I’ve qualified well there, I know we’re good there, we’re good on ovals? Through the road and street courses where you guys were struggling, were you looking at this as a place could you make your speed?

RINUS VEEKAY: “Definitely. One thing is for certain, ECR has fast cars on the speedway. That makes me excited, but also it’s just nice to really only have to fine tune the car, not the little details, because we’re already right at the top.

It feels really good, but it’s Indy; we keep working on the car, and one day is good, the other might be worse, and it’s a roller coaster always. Don’t be too relaxed; tomorrow is another day, and only on Saturday and Sunday it counts this week.”

Q. Santino, you said you haven’t felt this kind of comfort in two years or whatever, and I saw Larry Foyt and some other people out there smiling. What’s it meant for the team to just have day like this where things are clicking when they haven’t that much this year?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “I think a lot of people know that this year at the team there’s been a lot of changes, a lot of personal changes, and I’m commenting as the veteran driver. With Michael Cannon coming in, a lot of his focus has been put towards this race and the second half of the season. I think we actually showed quite a bit of speed in the GP, especially for the race, to go from last up to about 13th before we had a small issue.

I think our season is going to turn around hopefully starting with this race. But it’s not for lack of trying. We’ve definitely had some really good pace and results up to certain points that I think people can see if they pay attention.

No, it’s just keeping our heads down, and today I think was a huge relief because we didn’t really know what we were going to have, and to just roll out and be straight comfortable, I don’t know, I don’t feel like that’s something we’re going to lose this month.

I think the team is really proud of themselves. I’m really proud of the team. We’ll just keep the Homes for Troops car up there.”

Q. Along those lines, AJ said he really didn’t want to come this month, but then he decided it would get his mind off of things. A day like today probably makes him pretty happy. I don’t know what kind of conversations you’ve had with him, if any, since he’s arrived, but —

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “Yeah, no, I think it was good to see him in the GP, in the stand, and I think obviously we were having a really good day. He was really happy to see that. I think he’s happy to see the program coming along.

I know for a fact in the garage on Sunday and on Monday he was really, really happy to see the car and to see the progress, to see I think something he hasn’t seen out of this team in a long time as far as build quality and all of the work that’s gone into it and all of the development that’s gone towards this car. He’s super excited, so I think to have a day like today to back that up is huge.

It’s a huge confidence boost for the whole organization, for the sponsors, for everybody, and to be honest with you, I think to maintain it, it’s difficult. It’s the most difficult race of the year. It’s very stressful, ever-changing.

But I think we’ll be able to stay somewhere in that really top realm. I think the Ganassi cars are obviously really, really good and competitive, and I think that’s what we’re going to strive to get to.”

Q. Do you feel like you need to do that for AJ?

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “I feel like yeah, I feel like it’s definitely — I wouldn’t say need. I feel like it’s kind of deserved to see that. Yeah.”


Q. Santino, Michael Cannon is widely respected in this business. Talk just a little bit about your working relationship and how that’s been to date for you.

SANTINO FERRUCCI: “Yeah, you know, I met Michael Cannon in 2018 when I came into the sport and worked with him as a young driver and as a rookie and in my first rookie season in 2019. To be honest, we finished seventh here as Rookie of the Year, then we went on to have three fourth-place finishes and almost a win at Gateway.

He’s just someone that I grew really close to, and we had a lot of success for me, who’s never really seen any of the tracks before and didn’t grow up in the Indy Lights series. So speaking with him this winter and getting him — before I did anything in my career, I’d always talk to him, moving forward with my path, because he’s someone that I’ve always trusted.

So given that opportunity for the stars to align at AJ Foyt, it was really cool that he wanted to come on board, work together again, and try and get some of that unfinished business out of the way a couple of the races that we felt like we gave away in ’19, particularly this being one of them that we knew we had a hell of a car back then, and we were definitely in contention to win, I just had no idea what I was doing as a rookie.

But the dynamic is awesome. Seeing him in the team working with my race engineer Daniele and with Benjamin’s race engineer Roberto has been phenomenal, and a lot of his focus is taking the pressure off of those guys and doing different things and working in different areas so they can focus on the day-to-day tasks with the race car.

It’s paying off. I think we do show a lot of success in the races regardless where the results say we are, and I think coming here where Mike has put a lot of his efforts into this car, today I think it shows.”