Will Power once again fastest in second practice for INDYCAR GP at Indianapolis

IndyCar
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Will Power is proving to be the man to beat when it comes to preparing for Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix of Indianapolis at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After being fastest in Friday’s first practice session for the GP this morning, Power roared right back to be fastest in the afternoon session, as well.

That’s not surprising since he not only is the defending winner of the GP, but has also won it twice (2015 and 2017).

Power covered the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course with a top speed of 125.657 mph (at 1 minute, 9.8759 seconds).

Rookie Jordan King, who was third-fastest in the morning practice, proved that was no fluke, as he was second-fastest in the afternoon practice (125.592 mph at 1:09.9122).

2016 Indy 500 champ Alexander Rossi, who was second-fastest in the morning practice, slipped one spot to be third-fastest in the afternoon session (125.469 mph at 1:09.9806).

Rookie Robert Wickens was fourth-fastest (125.296 mph, 1:10.0773), followed by the other two-time winner of the Grand Prix (2014 and 2016), Simon Pagenaud (125.296 mph, 1:10.0775), Power’s Team Penske teammate.

Sixth through 10th were Helio Castroneves (125.275 mph, 1:10.0891), Sebastien Bourdais (125.242 mph, 1:10.1072), Spencer Pigot (125.193 mph, 1:10.1347), Tony Kanaan (125.033 mph, 1:10.2248) and 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden (125.027 mph, 1:10.2279).

Now Power and the rest of the 24-driver field prepare for qualifying for tomorrow’s race later this afternoon, starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The fifth annual INDYCAR Grand Prix of Indianapolis will take the green flag Saturday afternoon at 3:40 p.m. ET.

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AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”