Final practice prior to qualifying weekend.
Marco Andretti led the way for Honda and his Andretti Autosport team in a rain-shortened “Fast Friday”, the final day of practice prior to qualifying for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Andretti posted a quick lap of 229.419 mph on the famed 2.5-mile oval, third quickest on a day that saw speeds climb significantly due to the cool conditions and increased turbocharger boost permitted for the final day of practice and both days of qualifying. Ed Carpenter led the day with a best lap of 230.522 mph.
Honda-powered drivers led practice on three of this week’s six practice days, with Ryan Hunter-Reay topping the speed chart on Monday, E.J. Viso – substituting for an injured James Hinchcliffe – fastest on Tuesday and Simon Pagenaud heading the time sheets on Wednesday.
Hinchcliffe sustained a concussion when struck by debris from a collision ahead of him on the track during last Saturday’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the speedway’s infield road course. Following four days rest, and further medical evaluation, he was cleared to return to competition on Thursday, and posted the 11th-fastest speed today in a tightly-bunched field at 228.115 mph.
Overnight and morning showers delayed the start of today’s final practice from the scheduled 12 p.m. EDT start until just after 2 p.m. Additional showers brought action to a halt after just under 20 minutes of green-flag time.
First-round qualifying to lock in the first 30 starters takes place on Saturday, May 17, with live television coverage on ABC starting at 4 p.m. EDT. Final-round qualifying on Sunday will complete the 33-car starting field and determine the coveted pole, with ABC again covering the action starting at 1 p.m. EDT.