Allan Brewer, IndyCar correspondent
Teams and drivers continued to work on race set-ups and simulations on May 17th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Scott Dixon, the 2008 race winner, was quickest on the day with a lap of 40.3428 seconds (223.088 mph, second-quickest of the month) in the No. 9 Ganassi Racing car.
"It's nice," said Dixon. "I think we've taken this week a little slower. We didn't have the speed; these speeds are all big tows, so it doesn't really matter much. For us, we're just working on the race car, and I think we've made big improvements on how it feels. For me, I feel happy because we made the car feel a lot nicer to drive, and especially in traffic it pulls up better, I think. Tomorrow and Saturday are going to be totally different stories to see who's got what out there by themselves, so that will be interesting. But all in all, I think Honda and Team Target are doing pretty well."
SFHR has done a great job.
Josef Newgarden, who was quickest a day earlier, was second on the speed chart (40.1115 seconds, 222.709 mph) in the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car.
"Today we only worked on race setup," said Newgarden. "We'll start back on qualifying tomorrow when we get the boost. We just picked up today where we left off yesterday and continued working in the race direction. We've had a great week, and we just need to continue what we've been doing. SFHR has done a great job. They've built a quick, beautiful race car. The Honda power has been quick and reliable. We've just got to keep up the work this weekend and put it all together next Sunday for the race."
Graham Rahal jumped to third late in the session with a month-best 222.080 mph, and IndyCar Series championship points leader Will Power (221.932 mph) was fourth.
"The boys had a great day," said Rahal. "We worked on a couple things we needed to, we found out a lot. We worked on our race cars, and we're pretty happy with it. We're excited to move on and work on some qualifying stuff. Come Sunday, when we get back to race trim, I think we're going to have a good car."
Justin Wilson finished fifth at 221.715 mph.
IndyCar confirmed today that it has approved an engine partner change from Lotus to Chevrolet power for Dragon Racing for the entries driven by Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge. .
The change is effective immediately.
"We are pleased to see this issue resolved as we head into the final practice days in advance of qualifying," said Randy Bernard, CEO, IndyCar. "I have to thank all parties for working together to help preserve the traditions of the Indianapolis 500."
IndyCar approved an increase in the turbocharger boost level for "Fast Friday" on May 18th and the May 19-20th time trials for the Indianapolis 500 from 130 kPa (kilopascals) to 140 kPa.
The increase will add 40-50 horsepower to the 2.2-lter, turbocharged V-6 engines supplied by Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus, resulting in an increase of 4-5 mph per lap. The boost level will be returned to 130 kPa for the 200-lap race May 27th.
Twenty-nine drivers recorded 1,391 laps without incident on Thursday. The 2.5-mile oval is open for practice from noon-6 PM May 18th, with Pole Day qualifying featuring the top-nine shootout commencing at noon May 19th.