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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson posted the fastest lap in the IndyCar Grand Prix’s final practice session Saturday, completing Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course in 1 minute, 11.0839 seconds.

He qualified 18th for Saturday’s race, which will start about 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled.

Race organizers moved the start time because of the possibility of late afternoon rain.

Ericsson eclipsed rookie Callum Illot late in the session, breaking what had been Chevrolet’s dominant performance in Friday’s qualifying. Six of the top seven spots, including pole winner Will Power, use Chevy’s. The English-born Illot went 1:11.1979 in his Chevy-powered car for Juncos Hollinger Racing.

But Ericsson drove his Honda to the top of the speed chart for team owner Chip Ganassi. Honda took four of the top six spots on a warm, humid day in Indianapolis. None of the 27 drivers on the starting grid used red tires and many worry that without rain, tire wear will be a key factor in the race.

Power was ninth in practice, less than 24 hours after winning his 64th career pole and moving within three of matching Mario Andretti’s IndyCar record. This is the sixth time Power will start from the No. 1 spot on Indy’s road course, and he won four of the previous five times. The Australian also is attempting to win a record fourth Indy GP crown — his first since 2018 — for series powerhouse Team Penske.

Defending series champion and current points leader Alex Palou was eighth Saturday. The Spaniard will start second in the race and drives for Ganassi.

___

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Andy Lally Adds Surprise Start to 2022 Schedule

Getty Andy Lally is about to make another NASCAR start.

Andy Lally is about to make his second NASCAR start of the 2022 season. The veteran road course ace is going to join Alpha Prime Racing for the June trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Lally dropped the news on May 16. He tweeted that he will join the team for the Pacific Office Automation 147 Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway on June 4. Lally also noted that he has opportunities available for sponsors to support him. Neither Lally nor Alpha Prime Racing revealed if Lally will take over the No. 44 or the No. 45 Chevrolet.

This deal signifies a partial reunion for Lally and APR. He previously agreed to join the Xfinity Series team for the 2022 season so he could compete in every road course race. The situation changed, however, on January 7 when APR announced that the team had released Lally from his contract so he could pursue another endeavor.

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Lally Has Made 1 NASCAR Start During the 2022 Season

Lally, who has 72 starts across the three national series, has only made one NASCAR start during the 2022 season so far. He joined Live Fast Motorsports for the Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas on March 27.

The race weekend did not go particularly well for Lally or Live Fast Motorsports. The No. 78 Ford Mustang failed pre-race inspection three times, taking away an opportunity for Lally to make a qualifying lap. He had to start the race from the rear of the field and serve a pass-through penalty on the opening lap.

The situation became worse for Lally during the 69-lap race that featured an overtime finish and a battle between Ross Chastain, AJ Allmendinger, and Alex Bowman. A suspension issue forced the No. 78 from the track after Lally completed 19 of the scheduled laps. He finished last in the 39-car field.

Lally Has Several Strong Performances in the Xfinity Series

GettyAndy Lally (right) has several top-10s in the Xfinity Series.

The Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas did not turn out as Lally hoped, but the trip to Portland International Raceway provides another opportunity for him to succeed in the Xfinity Series. He could potentially reach double-digit top-10 finishes in his career.

Lally has only made 18 starts in the Xfinity Series dating back to 2007. He has posted a top-10 finish in exactly half of these races while primarily competing on the various road courses on the schedule.

Lally posted his first top-10 finish during a 2007 race at Watkins Glen International. He added two more during races at Road America (2014) and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2016). Lally then added his first top-five in 2017 while competing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The veteran driver has yet to reach Victory Lane in a national NASCAR series while driving for a variety of teams. However, he has consistently secured strong finishes at road courses for smaller teams that have less funding than the powerhouses. This run includes three consecutive fifth-place finishes for Our Motorsports in 2020 and 2021.

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