Sam Hornish leads the list of contenders for the pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after setting the fastest lap for the sixth time. With seven practice sessions for the veterans in the books, Dan Wheldon still sits atop the overall speed ...
Sam Hornish leads the list of contenders for the pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after setting the fastest lap for the sixth time. With seven practice sessions for the veterans in the books, Dan Wheldon still sits atop the overall speed chart with his lap of 228.663 mph set May 14.
Although practice started on time at noon and finished at the scheduled time of 6:00 p.m., rain halted on track activities for about 15 minutes during the last half hour of practice.
Indianapolis has experienced 11 straight days with some precipitation. Only the rookies, who practiced on May 7 and 8, enjoyed their scheduled five hour sessions uninterrupted by weather. Every practice session since the veterans took to the track on May 9 has included some interruptions due to rain.
Wheldon was third quickest today, 0.0492 seconds behind his Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, who set his fastest speed of the event at 227.332 mph. "The race car was pretty good right out of the box this morning," said Dixon. "We trimmed out, but didn't really get to run. Our first run was pretty conservative, and Dan's was pretty conservative as well, so I think everybody's got a little left on the table."
Helio Castroneves, who continued to drive his backup car, was fourth fastest at 226.654 mph. Castroneves said he was doing, "pretty much the same as everyone else, working on race setup at the beginning, and then towards the end, putting the qualifying setup on."
Asked about tomorrow's qualifying, Castroneves said, "You never know. Let me tell you, this place here, you never know."
Tony Kanaan led the five entries at Andretti Green Racing after finding speed late in the day. Kanaan, who turned a total of 73 laps, recorded his best lap, at 226.14 mph, on his last lap at speed. "I would be happy to be in the first three rows," said Kanaan, fifth fastest on the day. "It's hard to say where we'll be because there were so many cars out there today that even if you tried to do a qualifying simulation on your own, you might get a draft from someone, so you're only fooling yourself. We'll shoot for the first three rows. I've never started worse than fifth since I've been coming here, and I'd like to keep that tradition. But if we can't, we'll just make it up in the race."
While some drivers spent their day splitting their time between developing a race day setup and qualifying setup, others used the entire day to work on reliability. Today, P.J. Chesson recorded 144 laps, the most of any driver. That brings the New Jersey rookie's total laps to 381 for the month. He ended the day 22nd on the speed chart.
Jeff Simmons was involved in a single car incident when he spun entering Turn one. He made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn one, damaging the left side of the car before sliding down the track and coming to a rest in Turn two. "I'm okay, just upset," said Simmons. "We were trying to do a qualifying run, got stuck in the draft and probably should have aborted it. I got a lot more speed going in (to Turn one) that time because of the draft and the car just couldn't handle it."
Marty Roth was the only other driver to spin when he lost control exiting Turn one and did a half spin. He locked the brakes and the car righted itself without making any contact. Roth was involved in a similar incident last week exiting Turn two.
Roger Yasukawa spent the morning in Turn three working as a spotter for Playa del Racing. By the afternoon he was in Jon Herb's No. 12 Playa del Racing entry. Within minutes he was recording laps well above 210 mph. After turning a total of 40 laps, Yasukawa's best averaged 218.466 mph, while Herb's best, set May 17, was 204.824 mph.