Andretti Hits 220 MPH In Pocono Practice
Tony Kanaan won this year’s Indy 500 and was the second fastest driver with a fast lap of 219.802 mph with a total of 124 laps in the two sessions.
Kanaan is the only driver who has a chance to win the Fuzzy’s Vodka Triple Crown Award worth $1 million if he can win the Indianapolis 500, Pocono IndyCar 400 Fueled by Sunoco and the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in October.
“We did test here last week so we came back with a solid setup already,” Kanaan said. “We worked on race (set up) a lot. I’m happy with the car so we’ll see. We have a day off tomorrow which is very unusual for a race weekend for us. I’m happy. It’s going to be a close race. I think everybody is running pretty close together so we’ll see.
“Of course, we tried a bunch of things last week. We used last week’s test for the things I call the big things. Things that will take a long time to change. I can’t get into much detail but they’re changes in the car that will take a couple hours sometimes for you to figure out. And we had a list of three of those that I went through during that day and then we went back to the shop to evaluate those and chose the best that we thought when we came back. It was definitely helpful.”
Kanaan thought he had seen it all in racing. But he had never seen Pocono before this year.
“It’s funny I have been in America for so long now and racing in IndyCar for 14 years, you figured you have learned every single track and you’ve been to every single track,” Kanaan said. “And all of the sudden we came to a track that I hadn’t raced yet. It took me a little while to learn the track. They don’t call it the tricky tri-oval for nothing. I got here, I drove my rental car around and said ‘Eh, it’s not that bad.’ And then I got in my Indy car and I’m like ‘OK.’
“So it took me a few laps to get the confidence and to learn a lit bit about this track.”
Helio Castroneves of Team Penske was third at 219.123 mph followed by Ed Carpenter’s 218.788 mph and 2012 IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay’s 218.293 mph.
“The Hitachi Team Penske boys did a hell of a job today,” Castroneves said. “We got a lot accomplished over the full day of testing and, I have to say, the car is fast and really smooth. It feels good. It’s great to be back here racing at Pocono and it was awesome to see some fans out here today just watching testing. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd for the race. I think we will be in good shape for qualifying on Saturday. The Hitachi car is ready to go.”
The top five drivers were powered by Chevrolet engines. Scott Dixon of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing was the fastest Honda-powered driver in sixth position at 218.221 mph.
This is the first IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway since 1989 when Danny Sullivan defeated Rick Mears.
The IZOD IndyCar Series teams have Friday off because the Firestone Indy Lights Series teams will have an Open Test. IndyCar resumes Saturday morning with practice and qualifications with the race on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.