Castroneves leads final practice ahead of Saturday Indy 500 qualifying

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Only 11 cars to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a final practice on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Of the 11 who ventured out on track, Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves was the fastest with a lap of 229.505 mph – a lap that was also completed without a tow.

Teammate Will Power was second with a lap of 229.015 mph – his non-tow speed was all but identical at 229.014 mph.

The session was originally planned to be three parts with the field divided into two groups – Group 1 would go first for 30 minutes, followed by a 30-minute session for Group 2, with a 30-minute “all skate” session to finish up, with everyone allowed on track at that time.

However, overnight rains altered the schedule, and only the individual Group sessions took place.

Of note: Graham had a fastest lap of 225.293 mph, down slightly from his speed yesterday, which put him 34th on the non-tow chart.

Also, James Davison, the driver of the collaborative No. 33 Jonathan Byrd’s Chevrolet – A.J. Foyt Racing, Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, and Belardi Auto Racing are all collaborating in that effort – returned to the track after Friday’s crash in a repaired car.

Davison’s fastest lap in the session came in at 226.596 mph, but his best non-tow lap was at 224.732 mph.

Times are below. Qualifying begins at 11:00 a.m.

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Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.