Takuma Sato is reminding everyone that he is a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
Driving a Chip Ganassi Racing entry, Sato put up the fastest lap since 1996 on Friday as he clocked in with a lap of 38.3382 seconds or 234.753 mph.
The eight fastest practice laps at Indy were turned in 1996, led by Arie Luyendyk’s speed of 239.260.
Sato’s best lap came during a four-lap qualifying simulation early in the six-hour session that he had to abandon after coming within a hair’s width of touching the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4.
“The beginning of the run, first time today, was really too light,” Sato said. “The middle run, we had more downforce, and I was getting more comfortable. By the end of the day, I think I wanted to try to find the limit again, so we went to a little bit sketchy one (setup) again, so I had to lift in Turn 4. But overall, I think we were very satisfied with our performance.”
Sato was the fastest driver on Tuesday as well and the Ganassi cars have been at the top of the speed charts all week at the 2.5-mile track.
Saturday’s action starts with practice from 8:30-9:30 a.m., separated into two groups. Qualifying takes place from 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m., with spots 13 through 30 in the field of 33 determined.
The 12 fastest drivers Saturday will return Sunday to compete for the coveted NTT P1 Award through two rounds of qualifying, while the four slowest cars also will be back on track Sunday to grab one of the final three spots in the field in Last Chance Qualifying.