Ricciardo thanks Red Bull for quick engine change (VIDEO)

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Daniel Ricciardo has thanked the Red Bull mechanics for their quick turnaround with his new power unit that allowed him to get out during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Ricciardo suffered a terminal failure on his new power unit – only fitted at the beginning of the weekend – that forced him to miss most of FP3 and the first part of Q1.

He finally got out of the garage with two minutes remaining in Q1, allowing him to get out on track and post a lap time quick enough to secure him a spot in Q2.

With a 50-place grid penalty hanging over his head due to the two new power units, Ricciardo opted not to run in Q2, leaving himself 15th in the final classification.

“We had a new engine in the car this morning that lasted a handful of laps,” Ricciardo explained.

“I think the boys in the garage did the world’s quickest engine change to get the car out for Q1. The previous best was about two hours and I think the boys have just done it in 1 hour and 40 minutes.

“To do one lap was already a victory – the boys are absolute legends. I think everyone cheered when I drove out of the box and I was pretty happy with the lap.”

Ricciardo remains upbeat despite being resigned to starting from the back row, and is relishing the challenge of overtaking at Monza.

“We’ll be starting from the back tomorrow and we’ll try to make up some places,” Ricciardo said.

“The positive aspect is I like overtaking and at this track you can do it, so I’m looking forward to the challenges tomorrow.”

The Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at Ground Zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.