IRL: Rain foils Fast Friday at Indy

IRL: Rain foils Fast Friday at Indy

As expected, Indianapolis Motor Speedway was inundated by thunderstorms today, allowing only four minutes of practice shortly after the official start time of 11AM EST this morning. Only four drivers made it on-circuit and Sarah Fisher turned the...

As expected, Indianapolis Motor Speedway was inundated by thunderstorms today, allowing only four minutes of practice shortly after the official start time of 11AM EST this morning. Only four drivers made it on-circuit and Sarah Fisher turned the sole competitive lap time of 212.616mph in her #39 Bryant Heating and Cooling Dallara/Toyota.

Sarah Fisher.
Photo by Dan Helrigel - IRL.
Fisher hasn't had much time on the 2.5-mile historic oval in the last couple of days - "maybe 12 laps combined in the last two days" - and she is "pretty disappointed that we didn't get to run today. I was looking forward to at least an hour to try some of the things we have learned." She drew the 60th qualifying slot for her primary car and #36 for the backup.

While this day is normally known as "Fast Friday", the only things moving quickly through the 16th and Georgetown Roads complex were storms, one right after the other, leaving Tony Kanaan's Wednesday speed of 222.668mph in his #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda as the one to beat. "It's going to be an interesting day tomorrow," Kanaan said. "I'm hoping tomorrow is going to be really good." He'll qualify the primary 59th; his backup car is set for 3rd in the lineup.

Teammate Dan Wheldon is second in the #26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda at 221.953mph, also on Wednesday and the Briton knows, "Tomorrow is a big day. The closer to the front we start, the better I think we will be. This field is so close, it will be difficult," Wheldon realizes. Wheldon will be poised in 15th position to qualify.

Kosuke Matsuura.
Photo by Dana Garrett - IRL.
Fearless rookie Kosuke Matsuura in the #55 Panasonic/ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda holds the third-best lap of practice thus far at 221.857mph. "I think we found a lot of good things this week and we are ready to try for the front row tomorrow." He'll have to contend with teammate Adrian Fernandez and his #5 Quaker State/Telmex Panoz G Force/Honda, which is ranked fourth at 221.705mph. Both drivers set their quick laps on Tuesday.

Sophomore Roger Yasukawa, driving the #16 Sammy Panoz G Force/Honda has the fifth best speed of practice to date at 221.248mph, set on Wednesday. Yasukawa "will be going out early Saturday and I like that." He drew 5th qualifying slot in the blind draw held at 3:30 this afternoon.

Helio Castroneves lies sixth in the speed charts with his #3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota and is eighth and 36th in the qualifying order. Teammate Sam Hornish Jr., who practiced seventh - both Penske drivers set their quick laps on Thursday - in his #6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota drew the #6 spot in line tomorrow (#21 for his backup).

The reigning Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion, Scott Dixon set the eighth best practice speed of the meeting on Wednesday. His draw in the qualifying line is #33 for his primary #1 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota; the #1T is #42 in the lineup.

Teammates Buddy Rice (#15 Argent Mortgage/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda) and Vitor Meira (#17 Team CENTRIX Panoz G Force/Honda) round out of the top ten in practice laps thus far in the month of May. Rice drew #44 for his primary car and #20 for the backup; Meira lies 51st in the qualifying line.

Robby Gordon and A.J. Foyt.
Photo by Dana Garrett - IRL.
Robby Gordon, who has a definite time limit for his Saturday activities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway got lucky when team manager Thomas Knapp stepped to the checkered flag helmet to draw Gordon's slots in the qualifying lineup. Robby can bring his #70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara/Chevrolet to the line second; his T car goes to the line seventh in the 53-car time trials procession.

The weather cells that have hung around the Midwest over the past few days are expected to dissipate and leave behind sunshine for the balance of this all-important weekend. The cars and drivers on-site will have two hours of practice beginning at 8AM tomorrow morning, while the qualifying line begins churning at 11. Who will get the MBNA Pole Position and the check for $100,000 that accompanies the honor?

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Sarah Fisher , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Roger Yasukawa , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , A.J. Foyt , Jim Beam , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske