The importance of leading the opening day of Indianapolis 500 practice can be debated, but nonetheless, Ed Carpenter came away with bragging rights after topping the charts with a lap of 220.970 miles per hour in the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.
“I felt like we were going to be strong coming in because we’ve learned a lot since we were here last year and the team’s worked really hard,” Carpenter said.
“You always have confidence when you win races so it was good to finish last year with a win [at Auto Club Speedway]. It did a lot for the team, giving the whole team motivation to keep pushing over the off-season. Hopefully, we can continue having a good month and be there when it counts.”
“…From where we were last May to where we were last September, we learned a whole lot about this new car, so you kind of apply the little we did right last year [at Indy] with a lot of the things that we learned over the course of the rest of last season and the off-season. You just try to come in with what you think will be best, whether that’s what you had here last year or if it’s something new altogether.”
Josef Newgarden was second-quickest in his backup No. 21T Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda at 220.920 miles per hour. After passing his Rookie Orientation Program, Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz managed to climb to P3 with a lap of 220.720 miles per hour. In fourth was Charlie Kimball in his No. 83T (220.633 mph), and Alex Tagliani rounded out the Top 5 speeds in his No. 98 (220.248 mph).
Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).
So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.
“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.
“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”
The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.
Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.
Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago: