Quick, name the three NTT IndyCar Series teams to qualify their full compliment of drivers for Sunday’s (May 21) Fast 12 shoot out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Arrow McLaren? That’s one.
Chip Ganassi Racing? Keep going.
AJ Foyt Racing? Bingo.
While most thought the first two teams were locks to nail down top 12 spots on Saturday, Foyt was certainly one of the day’s biggest surprises. While several teams struggled getting the speed they were looking for, the Foyt drivers of Benjamin Pedersen and Santino Ferrucci found all the pace they needed.
Both are guaranteed a spot in the first four rows for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 next Sunday (May 28), something that was a bit crazy to think about at the beginning of the week as Ferrucci and Petersen came to Indianapolis 22nd and 27th, respectively, in overall points.
With an 88-year-old legendary car owner and 4-time Indy 500 winner watching from a golf cart on pit lane, the 24-year-old Pedersen went out for his first ever Indy qualifying run, and quickly turned heads as he dropped at four-lap average of 232.739 miles per hour. When the dust had settled at 6 p.m., that was the 11th-best effort of the day.
“It was a pretty good car,” Pedersen told NBC. “There are little things I could’ve done a little bit better, but honestly that was a really good run. AJ’s presence of being right over my shoulder has been special, and I thank him for giving me such a great car.”
While Pedersen drew the 11th spot in the qualifying order and was able to get out on a track that was still a bit cool, it was almost an hour later before his teammate took to the 2.5-mile oval, but the result for Ferrucci was even better.
The 24-year-old Ferrucci, who has finished in the top 10 in all four of his Indy 500 efforts – including a career-best fourth in 2020 – followed the lead of his teammate and then some. Ferrucci, whose best qualifying effort came a year ago when he rolled off on the outside of the fifth row in the 15th starting position, is guaranteed to being even further up in the field as the result of an eighth-best speed of 233.147 mph.
“We came here to win this thing, and qualifying is part of that,” Ferrucci told NBC. “I haven’t always had great qualifying here, but the team worked so freaking hard on this. To have the No. 14 car on the top side of the pylon is huge.
“I’m happy with where we are today, it’s a huge testament to this team.”
Pedersen, Ferrucci and AJ Foyt Racing will get their chance to go head-to-head with the big boys when Fast 12 qualifying commences at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 21.
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