Ed Carpenter becomes 8th-fastest driver in Indy 500 practice history

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Ed Carpenter turned the fastest practice lap at the Indianapolis 500 in more than 25 years. The veteran IndyCar driver preparing to qualify for his 19th Indy 500 ripped off a lap of 234.410 mph on the 2.5-mile oval during Saturday morning's pre-qualifying practice session, the fastest practice lap at the track since 1996.

Ed Carpenter Racing driver Ed Carpenter (33) sits by his pit box Friday, May 20, 2022, during Fast Friday practice in preparation for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Ed Carpenter Racing driver Ed Carpenter (33) sits by his pit box Friday, May 20, 2022, during Fast Friday practice in preparation for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

That year, two-time 500-winner Arie Luyendyk registered a single lap of 239.260 during Fast Friday practice, and several drivers turned multiple laps above 234 mph. By the end of that Month of May, seven drivers had turned practice laps at 234.6 mph or above, paced by Luyendyk's run on May 10. After his car failed post-pole day inspection, the Dutch driver logged the track's fastest "official" lap during the final lap of his Day 2 qualifying run (237.498 mph), rounding out his four-lap average of 236.986 mph. Because of his failed inspection, he qualified 21st the following day.

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That year's 500 month would be the final one run with turbocharged engines for more than a decade, and since then, it's been rare even to see drivers top 233 mph. Two years ago on Fast Friday, Marco Andretti logged what was said at the time to be the quickest Fast Friday lap (233.491 mph) since Luyendyk's 25 years prior.

Carpenter wasn't the only driver in this year's 33-car field to turn a lap at historic speeds. Jimmie Johnson paced the first half of the field that ran from 8:30-9 a.m. Saturday morning at 233.961 mph, and last year's polesitter Scott Dixon slotted in between with a single lap of 234.043 mph. Carpenter's unofficial lap made him the 8th-fastest driver on the track in its history, with Dixon placing 13th and Johnson 14th.

At 233.340 mph, Dixon turned the fastest no-tow lap of the morning, followed by Alexander Rossi (233.295 mph) and Rinus VeeKay (233.206 mph). Johnson registered the fastest four-lap average of the morning (233.771 mph), followed by Dixon (232.875 mph) and Callum Ilott (232.847 mph). Only 23 cars turned laps during the pair of sessions, with those absent including: all three Penske cars, all three Arrow McLaren SP cars, both Dale Coyne Racing cars, Tony Kanaan and Sage Karam.

Email IndyStar motor sports reporter Nathan Brown at nlbrown@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @By_NathanBrown.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indy 500: Ed Carpenter turns fastest practice lap since 1996