Andretti's time of 30.733sec (234.275mph) on the bumpy circuit beat the record set by Rick Mears (233.926mph) on the same track in 1986. It also stole Nigel Mansell's thunder.
The British driver went out early in the session and set an official track record of 30.840sec (233.462mph), but Andretti was waiting his turn.
Watching the veteran's laps it was obvious that something special was afoot. You could hear the speed more than see it. Swinging off the front curve, the tyres of his car made the rapid clickety-clack of a speeding train. Then as the car powered through the first turn you could hear the roar, like a jet taking off. A roar of appreciation went up from the packed grandstands for Andretti - an enormously popular driver, whose performance belies his 53 years.
Mansell congratulated his Newman-Haas team-mate, noting Andretti's 25 years of experience at the Michigan circuit. Asked for his reaction to the track, Mansell said: 'It takes the biscuit. It's the fastest track I've ever driven.'
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