Indianapolis, Ind. – All 33 entrants in the Indianapolis 500 participated in Carb Day late Friday morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When the checkered flag dropped after an hour’s practice time, Simon Pagenaud ripped off the fastest lap as the session wound down. His speed in the Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda was a rapid 225.827 miles per hour.
Unseasonably cool temperatures greeted the participants today with ambient temperature at 54 degrees when Carb Day runs started.
“The car is really good in race trim,” Pagenaud said. “Honda has done a lot of work before and after qualifying, and Honda’s racing mentality is to go racing, and that’s exactly what they’ve doing. They provided us with an engine that is clearly a lot better, so it’s a good sign for the race.”
Chasing Pagenaud were Andretti Autosports teammates E. J. Viso and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Driving Chevrolet-powered cars, their respective speeds were 225.304 and 225.053 mph, and they were the only ones to eclipse the 225 mark.
“It was a good session for us, and we tried a few things in the short period of time available," Hunter-Reay said. “It does look like Honda turned up the power, so it should be a hard-fought race, although Carb Day doesn’t mean much. You get a feel for what your car does, and that’s about what it’s good for.”
Commented Viso, “It’s been very refreshing working with this team. It’s nice. Every time you go to the track, they give you a fast car. The cars are good but the biggest difference is teamwork, and we see the results out there. Today was a good day. We did plenty of pit stops, ran in traffic and on my own, and the car responded very nice.”
Scott Dixon (Honda), Sebastian Bourdais (Chevrolet), Dario Franchitti (Honda), James Jakes (Honda), Katherine Legge (Honda), Marco Andretti (Chevrolet) and Alex Taglianai (Honda) were next in line.
Of the top-10 fastest cars, six were driving Honda’s and four Chevrolet’s.
Pole winner Ed Carpenter was 17th on the speed charts, running 41 laps. “We were going to run 20 to 25 laps, but the car felt good, so we did a couple of pit stops and parked the car. It would have been fun to go out and play, but it isn’t necessary.”
Bourdais turned the most laps at 52 while Pippa Mann had the fewest at six.
Two on-track incidents dotted the action. Ana Beatriz seemed to enter pits too fast and grazed a wall while slowing down and just as the checkered flag dropped, Ryan Briscoe slowed on the backstretch and once stopped his car experienced a momentary flash fire.
“We were actually on a huge lap and coming to the checkered flag, the engine went,” Briscoe said. “It’s better to happen now than the first couple of laps of the race.”