POWER ENTERS FAST FRIDAY WITH THE MOST LAPS AFTER TWO RAIN-OUTS
After two consecutive days of practice were rained out Will Power will enter tomorrow's 'Fast Friday' practice with the most laps completed of any driver so far in preparation for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana.
Power has completed 204 laps of practice in the #8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone over three days of practice so far.
The Australian was one of 13 drivers to benefit from rookie practice on Sunday and Monday, before all drivers and teams hit the track for the first day of official practice on Tuesday.
Power completed 93 laps on Opening Day when he was fastest, then a further 61 laps on day two of Rookie Orientation when the Toowoomba-born driver was third fastest.
On Tuesday Power was the 10th fastest driver and the top rookie when 31 cars hit the 2.5-mile Indianapolis oval, completing a further 50 laps to bring his month of May total to over 200 laps, the race distance for the Indianapolis 500.
With the last two days of official practice on Wednesday and Thursday both rained out, Power enters Friday practice, known 'Fast Friday' as it is the final day of official practice before Pole Day qualifying is staged, with more track time than any other driver this month so far.
Saturday's 'Pole Day' qualifying will set the first 11 spots on the 33-car grid for this year's 92nd Indianapolis 500, the race known as 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing'. It will be a tough task for any rookie to claim any of those top 11 spots tomorrow, but with Power logging so many laps to date, he stands a chance of achieving the enormous feat.
Power and his Aussie Vineyards crew realised that rain could hamper official practice, leading the team to the decision to run Power as much as possible early in the week to log maximum track time while conditions were fine.
As well as track time, Power has continually improved his lap times and has been one of the surprises of the month so far, culminating in Power posting a top 11 time on the first day of Official Practice, which so far is the only day experienced 'veteran' drivers have had on track.
WHAT THE TEAM HAD TO SAY --
Will Power - #8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone
"It was good that Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia car got a lot of miles in during the first three days," said Power.
"Those three days really helped us because the last two it has been raining and we haven't had any track time which is so important to a new team, especially one like us that has two rookie drivers.
"I think the rain has helped us a little bit because the established teams have not run as much as we have and when we get out on Friday the track is going to have less grip.
"At this point, we need all the advantage we can get. The down time has also allowed the crew to make some changes to the car that we have been discussing.
"Overall there are some advantages to the wet weather and some disadvantages."
Craig Gore - Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia
"I'm sure it's frustrating for Will and the Aussie Vineyards crew to be sitting in the garage as the rain falls, but it could also be a blessing in disguise," said Gore.
"It has given our crew two days to take stock, think about things and do some work on the car and get things just right heading into some really important days of the month in the next few days.
"Ever since unification was announced the Aussie Vineyards crew and the entire KV Racing Technology operation have been flat out, working around the clock to get things done.
"So although Will is a rookie and would be keen to get as much track time as possible, a couple of days to really think about things and take stock are not such a bad thing." -credit: kvt/team australia