Indy 500: Marco Andretti runs fastest lap since 1996

Marco Andretti recorded the fastest lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1996 in preparation for the 104th running of the Indy 500.

Andretti Herta Autosport’s Marco Andretti shot to the top of the speed chart early in the Fast Friday practice session for the 104th running of the Indy 500 in his #98 Honda, and he did it with a lap speed not seen in over 24 years.

Andretti completed a lap around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in Speedway, Indiana with an average speed of 233.491 miles per hour (38.5454 seconds).

No driver had gone this fast around the Brickyard since 1996. Eddie Cheever Jr. turned a lap at 236.103 miles per hour (38.1190 seconds) during the race itself, the fastest lap in race history.

Arie Luyendyk turned a record lap at 239.260 miles per hour (37.6160 seconds) on Fast Friday that year, and the late Scott Brayton ended up taking the pole position with a record four-lap average speed of 233.718 miles per hour.

Luyendyk recorded the one-lap qualifying record that year with a lap at 237.498 miles per hour (37.8951 seconds) as well as the four-lap qualifying record with an average speed of 236.986 miles per hour.

Prior to Andretti’s lap, the fastest lap around Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1996 belonged to Helio Castroneves. He recorded a lap at 233.474 miles per hour (38.5482 seconds) in the practice session ahead of qualifying the morning after Fast Friday back in 2015.

The fastest Fast Friday lap around the track since 1996 had belonged to Sebastien Bourdais, who recorded a lap at 233.116 miles per hour (38.6074 seconds) back in 2017.

Andretti is seeking his first Indy 500 victory in his 15th attempt this year. He finished in a career-high second place in his rookie year back in 2006 after being passed on the front straightaway on the final lap by Sam Hornish Jr. He has finished in third place three times since then (2008, 2010 and 2014).

Fast Friday practice is currently in session and can be seen live on NBC Sports Gold until 5:30 p.m. ET. As of 2:00 p.m. ET, Andretti is one of 11 Honda drivers in the top 12 and one of 14 in the top 16. Qualifying is set to begin on NBC Sports Gold at 11:00 a.m. ET tomorrow morning.