It was Team Penske’s Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, leading the way for Chevrolet in today’s practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 with a fast lap of 40.5529 seconds/221.932 mph. A total of 12 Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 drivers participated in the six-hour session today, which was incident-free.
With the increase in the turbo boost level tomorrow in preparation for Pole Day on Saturday, today was the last day that the Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 teams had to focus on race set-up and how the cars are going to handle in a pack. Bump Day on Sunday will also allow teams track time to continue race practice. Final race practice will be on Carb Day, Friday, May 25th.
Of note today for Chevrolet was the announcement of the two Dragon Racing entries joining the Team Chevy roster with drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge. Legge completed two phases of the Rookie Orientation Program (R.O.P.) today which will allow her to practice in traffic tomorrow.
Three of the Andretti Autosport drivers did not take any laps today, opting instead to begin work on preparing their Chevy V-6 powered cars for qualifying practice tomorrow.
Bourdais took some shake-down laps in Legge’s car to ensure she was prepared for phases one and two of R.O.P. Tony Kanaan ran four laps in his KV Racing Technology teammate E.J. Viso’s car.
Practice will resume Friday at noon.
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – 4TH QUICKEST: WHAT WAS THE FOCUS TODAY? DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT MIND SET FOR TOMORROW? TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY: “It’s out last chance until Sunday, hoping the weather is good then, it’s out last chance to try race set-up and understand what it does in traffic and so on. We did two full runs basically today.”
WHAT IS IT LIKE RUNNING IN TRAFFIC? “It’s the opposite of what was said in pre-season. I think you can probably run closer (together) with this car than you could the old car. It punctures a massive hole in the air. So tow affect is huge. You could be leading doing 217’s and the guy behind you would be doing five mile per hour quicker at 222.”
THINKING FORWARD TO RACE DAY, ARE YOU BETTER TO BE IN THE FRONT OR BETTER TO BE SOMEWHERE IN THE BACK FOLLOWING THE LEADER? “You definitely have to be second if not first. That is tough to say. Whether it is actually possible to draft and pull a move off. It will be a pretty tight race I can see that. I don’t think anyone will ever get left behind the train. The tow affect is so big.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE PLAN IS FOR TOMORROW? “Yeah, start to understand the car with more boosts. It will be a full focus on qualifying.”
HAS THE TRACK CHANGED AT ALL FROM LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR? “The track hasn’t changed at all. The biggest change is the car. As you can see there have been a lot less accidents this year. Usually, more people get into the wall, but the cars are definitely more forgiving and easier to drive, there is no question. The reason for that is they have more grip than last year’s car and have less horsepower so they are pretty stuck to the road.”
ANYTHING DIFFERENT YOU EXPECT IN THE RACE? “Yeah in the race it’s a little bit different because you are following a bunch of cars you lose a lot of grip and downforce. It’s all about timing a run to the car in front and punching a big hole.”
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR CARS HERE COMPARED TO ALL THE OPEN WHEEL CARS HERE RACING IN AMERICA? “It’s a nice machine for sure on road courses. I think with the downforce we’ve got we need another hundred horsepower basically. That would put it on par with the Champ Car I ran. It’s good, it’s good racing. The car is fun to drive, very fast through fast corners and a good machine.”
IS THIS SCHEDULE SOMETHING YOU LIKE? USUALLY IT’S ALL ABOUT SPEED AND NOW EVERYTHING YOU HAVE DONE SPEED WISE IS ALMOST IRRELEVANT STARTING TOMORROW? “I think tomorrow it will be about four mile per hour so it won’t be a massive change. People have been doing those times in big towers and probably in towed on air as well. I think that it is certainly a big shock to the system. I think it is good because it makes it a little harder. It makes it a little more about driving than qualifying.”
INAUDIBLE: “It hasn’t been. It’s definitely a challenge as far as understanding where the set-up should be. As far as driving it’s been a lot easier. I think just because there is more grip and less power so you are kind of stuck to the road. You have less chance of making a mistake.”
HAVE YOU SEEN ANYONE GET A LITTLE LOOSE? ANYONE HAVE ANY TROUBLE AT ALL? “No, for me it has been really planted. Josef Newgarden yesterday made a mistake. That is the first I have seen. These cars for whatever reason, I think it is just grip, downforce, it’s pretty forgiving. It’s stuck. But if you are in a big draft you definitely lose grip. You will be lifting in the race. It will be good racing once it is all said and done it will be similar to last year. ” HAS IT BEEN BORING THE LAST SEVERAL DAYS? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SENSATION OF DRIVING THE CAR? “In traffic has been good. If you are running out front it has been easy. If you are running out front in race downforce it’s very easy. If you are running in the pack, there is just a big difference between running by yourself and running in traffic with this car because it punches such a big hole. That makes it quite difficult in the race to understand which downforce stuff to run.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 IZOD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – 6TH QUICKEST: "Not a bad day really - it was nice to get more running in after a quiet Wednesday. We did a lot of race set-up work with our IZOD car today and we are learning a lot - finding more of the things we will need come race day."
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET – 10TH QUICKEST:
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 PANTHER/DREYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET – 13ST QUICKEST: “I’ll say it very simply, we wanted to do a race simulation and we got together with the Penske guys and JR. We wanted to work on the racecar all day and we were hoping to finish with a good feel and I’m finishing with the happiest balance I’ve had all week. It was very consistent through the whole stint and life of the tires and fuel. It’s going to be an interesting race because I think that we are going to be in a pack, but it will be a good one. I’m very happy with not only how the car feels, but the work we did all day today with all of the fine tuning. We definitely ended the day with a good car.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 SHELL V-POWER/PENNZOIL ULTRA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – 14TH QUICKEST: “Today was good, our Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car was really consistent. Most of our day was spent doing race set-up work so that we can focus on qualifying tomorrow. We made a lot of major steps in the right direction and we are looking forward tomorrow since we will be getting some additional power per the rules. We should be in good shape moving towards Saturday.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 ITAIPAVA | GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 16TH QUICKEST: “We worked well together as a team today and found a couple of improvements. Our focus will now shift tomorrow and Saturday on our qualifying setup and then back to race setup on Sunday. This is a difficult track, you go through a lot of up and down emotions and this place can get to your head, so we just need to keep it calm and have a good weekend.
ANA BEATRIZ, NO. 25 TEAM IPIRANGA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT / CONQUEST RACING CHEVROLET – 19TH QUICKEST: “It looks like we found some speed in the car. We ran by ourselves and I’m happy with what we accomplished, of course tomorrow is going to be a different day but I think we moved a step forward. It was great to have Michael (Andretti) in our pit helping us a lot today and I think we found some speed so today we very important for the Ipiranga car.”
RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 20TH QUICKEST: "It has been a better day. We made some changes to the car which helped increase my speed and I also ran in traffic which was good. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel now that the speeds are getting better, which makes me happy."
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – 22ND QUICKEST: “We definitely made progress with the car today and found some more grip. I think we improved our race setup a lot from where we were previously. So that is encouraging as we got a lot done today. With some of the things that helped the race car, we felt it would be better for our qualifying setup. But it wasn’t the case. But we are definitely within the speed that we want for the race. We’ll work on the qualifying setup tomorrow with the extra boost for the turbo and be ready for the Saturday time trials.”
E .J. VISO, NO. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – 23RD QUICKEST: “I have to take today as a positive day after having two difficult days. Today we clicked most of the things we tried. This puts us in a better position to continue the work and improvement of the car tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day we need to put everything together and prepare the car for qualifying on Saturday. Then hopefully, Sunday we can finish working on our race setup and be ready to go.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – 25TH QUICKEST: “It’s great to be back, but if you had asked me that this morning, I would have had a different answer. We had something that completely messed the car up and it made for the toughest car that I’ve ever driven. We struggled to run 209 and I wasn’t really comfortable at all. I’m just glad we found the reason and now we are good to go. The car is easy to drive and has a good balance. We can drive flat out and not even think about, which is what you want around here. Pretty happy with that.” (Last time you were only had a week of practice as well. Any concerns with getting up to speed): “With the way the car is now, it’s fine. Engineer Neil (Fife) has a lot of experience and the setup was spot on. Once we found the problem, the car was spot on. By Lap 3 we were flat and I was happy with that. We still have a lot of downforce, but the balance was back and everything is all right. Tomorrow will be a different deal with the increased boost level, but I can’t say we feel ready for anything right now, but we have a good baseline, and we won’t worry too much about qualifying setup. We’ll just do as much running as we can, get some data work on the car and traffic and go from there.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – 29TH QUICKEST: ONLY RAN TWO LAPS: "For qualifying, everything's reset. Tomorrow, we will take our time and make a series of changes, slowly removing downforce on the car. We'll continue to work with our teammates to get into the best possible condition for qualifying."
KYLE MOYER, GENERAL MANAGER OF ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT: EXPLAINING WHY EACH OF THE FIVE ANDRETTI CARS UNDERWENT AN ALMOST COMPLETE REBUILD TODAY, PREPARING THE CARS FOR QUALIFYING ACTION: "We're really happy with our cars in race trim. Other than a few runs on opening weekend, we spent almost the entire week of practice working on our cars in traffic, preparing for the race. So, now we're getting them ready for qualifying. We'll have more boost tomorrow, so there wasn't much reason to simulate qualifying runs until then."
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – DID NOT PRACTICE: "I think we'll be good. We've been fast all week in traffic, and I think we have a real good shot to make it into the "Fast Nine" (the top nine qualifiers Saturday afternoon). If all of the little changes we made work today, we'll be good."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: DID NOT PRACTICE: “We always knew we were going to get on track late today. I think we were hoping to get on track and get at least one real run or two getting ready for tomorrow with proper boost, but we had a small problem that we found and we wanted to make sure everything was right before we hit the track properly, so we only got out for an install today but that means the Go Daddy car is ready to rock tomorrow with the extra boost and that’s when it’s really going to matter.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 17 TEAM AFS ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: DID NOT PRACTICE: “We were able to use our time off-track today to focus on our racing and learn things from the past days. I got together with my teammates to see what has been working well for them. The whole AFS Racing team has been working very hard today to get the car in its greatest condition. I am anxious to get on the track tomorrow for Fast Friday and see what we can do.”
KATHERINE LEGGE, NO. 6 TRUECAR-DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – COMPLETED TWO PHASES OF ROOKIE ORIENTATION PROGRAM WHICH CLEARS HER TO RUN IN TRAFFIC TOMORROW: “It’s unbelievably satisfying (to get through two phases of ROP). This morning, we had a small issue with the car, but we were still able to complete the first phase. The team has done a great job. They are all really tired and they worked really hard to put the engine in and get all the bits on to get us out. So it’s thanks to them that we were able to do what we did today. And also Sebastien (Bourdais). He shook down the car and made sure everything was fixed from this morning. I can go home now very happy.”