"Fast Friday" Sets the Stage for Indy 500 Pole Qualifying

Scott Dixon led the way during a rain-shortened "Fast Friday", the final day of practice prior to Saturday's qualifying to set the first 11 positions in the traditional 33-car field for the 2008 Indianapolis 500. Andretti Green Racing teammates Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan rounded out the top three both today and for the week.

A total of 33 drivers turned 2,418 laps in a practice week shortened to just Tuesday and Friday by rain, and all were on the track today. More showers arrived around 3 p.m. to end the session, but the weather forecast for Saturday is good, with clearing skies and a high temperature of 68 degrees.

Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe posted the fourth-fastest lap today in his return to Indianapolis after a year of sports-car racing, while fifth-fastest Hideki Mutoh headed a large list of 14 rookies attempting to make their first Indianapolis 500 start.

In the day's one major incident, rookie Alex Lloyd spun in Turn 1 and made heavy contact with the outside wall. He reported back pain and was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further examination.

Pole Day action begins with a 30-minute practice session at 9 a.m. EDT, followed by single-car qualifying from 12-6 p.m. EDT. Television coverage will be provided throughout the day on the ABC/ESPN family of networks.

Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's practice: "For all the rain we've had the last two days, I thought we saw some pretty impressive speeds today. I've also been very pleased with the excellent performance and reliability of our engines this month. It's unfortunate that Alex Lloyd had his crash today. We hope that the medical report on him is encouraging. The additional rain that fell this afternoon will once again wash away all the built-up rubber on the track, so things are shaping up for a very interesting Pole Day tomorrow."

-credit: honda