Do Indy 500 competitors like driving 'normal' cars?

INDIANAPOLIS – As some drivers drove faster than 240 mph in the most recent qualifying rounds for the 108th Indianapolis 500 and all 33 prepare to reach speeds faster than 230 mph come race day, it would be an understatement to call the drivers ventures onto the open roads an “adjustment.”

Just like any citizen, IndyCar drivers are expected to abide by the speed limits and rules of the road. But do they feel a difference when driving a “normal” car?

Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)

“I’ll drive anything if there is a wheel and a gas pedal,” he said. “ … You’re going over 220 mph, then when you jump in a Honda Civic you feel so slow. When you’re younger you want to go fast but today I’m more relaxed.”

Conor Daly (Meyer Shank Racing)

“I actually don’t like driving on the road fast,” he said. “Going to the Indy 500 in 2017 – or maybe the year before – I got two tickets in a week, and I hated paying that money, so I have not got a ticket since 2017 … My girlfriend tells me I drive slow.

“I don’t have a reason to go fast, we don’t get paid to drive on the road fast. That’s kind of the opposite of what we’re put on this Earth to do. I wanna make money driving fast, not lose money.”

Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing)

“Typically I’m just running a kid around or going home or going to the office or going to the gym,” he said. “I’ve got one driver in the house and another coming soon, so I’m just trying to set a good example for them … It’s not like it takes an adjustment going from a race car to a road car because it feels nothing alike.”

Kyffin Simpson (Chip Ganassi Racing)

“You're in such different environments when you go from a race car to a normal road car that it's almost like riding a bike,” he said. “I like driving, usually if I'm driving somewhere else I prefer driving rather than having someone else drive because I'm not a very good passenger.”

Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)

“I love to do road trips over flying,” he said. “I enjoy driving anything, but speed is a relative term. If you’re out on track, it’s fast, but if you’ve ever driven a 1964 Mini Cooper at 50 mph, it feels like you’re doing 1,000.”

Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Global)

“It’s so much different,” he said. “It’s pretty easy to switch on and off, for me at least. If you ask Colton (Herta) that, he’ll be like, ‘I’m doing 120 (mph) down the road and I don’t know why.’”

Colton Herta (Andretti Global)

“It’s just relative speed, so if people are driving 60 mph around you it just feels normal,” he said. “I don’t like to drive.”

Marcus Armstrong (Chip Ganassi Racing)

“I don’t drive much on the road (because) I don’t like driving on the road much, frankly,” he said. “It’s time wasted. I normally get whoever I’m with to drive me. Next week when we go to Detroit I will not be driving. I will be sitting in the passenger seat asleep.”

Katherine Legge (Dale Coyne Racing)

“You switch off because it’s so slow and boring,” she said. “I just want to get there.”

Marcus Ericsson (Andretti Global)

“When I drive a normal car, it’s just like going from A to B,” he said. “Normally I’ll ride with my friends and they drive faster on the road than I do. … My favorite car is an SUV because it’s more comfortable and nice to drive.”

Callum Ilott (Arrow McLaren)

“I find it a very relaxing place,” he said. “When I was a bit younger I would go for a late night drive, put some music on and chill out … I’ve gone from country to rap to house (music), I change depending on the week.”

Marco Andretti (Andretti Global)

“It comes more (like) second nature,” he said. “You’re more in chill mode when you get in the car and just (start) cruising … You’re not competing, so you’re just chilling.”

Josef Newgarden (Team Penske)

“I don't feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to drive this thing fast.’ If anything, it's more frustrating to be around drivers of different skill sets and people that seem unaware on the road,” he said. “The fun thing about being a professional racecar driver is that you get all your enjoyment and fun out on the racetrack.”

Contact Kyle Smedley with comments via email at or on X @KyleSmedley_.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indy 500 drivers give their thoughts about driving off the track