Indy 500 Practice: Andretti stays top on Fast Friday

Marco Andretti’s startling morning speed was enough to keep him in top spot as drivers and engineers spent a tough and hot afternoon struggling to get a strong four-lap average.

Indy 500 Practice: Andretti stays top on Fast Friday

While Takuma Sato has said the IMS track surface has been surprisingly kind to the Firestones over race stints, the track conditions today threw up the problems predicted by Simon Pagenaud’s race engineer Ben Bretzman when it came to qualifying simulations.

The drivers who were trimmed out could start off with a really strong first lap but the loss of tire grip caused by 1.5-bar boost sending cars into the turn 8-10mph faster than yesterday, and increased weight transference thanks to the aeroscreen’s position and mass, would cause up to 4mph to bleed away by the fourth lap of a run. Other drivers tried keeping more downforce on, and while this lowered their ultimate speed, they were rewarded by greater consistency across the four laps.

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Andretti’s remarkable lap from this morning inevitably held firm as track temperatures increased, while Daly’s lap which also received a tow kept him second.

A late improvement by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon saw the 2008 Indy winner jump to third fastest overall and second on the no-tow speeds, just ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay who was best of the no-tows, and Spencer Pigot of Citrone/Buhl Autosport with RLL.

Alex Palou made a late improvement to clock sixth for Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh, while Will Power clocked the best Penske speed of the day but was still only 11th.

Fernando Alonso turned 52 laps, but was left down in 25th.

Tomorrow’s action sees an hour of practice divided into two groups – 8.30-9.00am and 9.00-9.30am.

Qualifying commences at 11.00am and the 33-car field’s initial qualifying order, drawn this evening, is as follows: 1. Rahal, 2. Sato, 3. Kellett, 4. VeeKay, 5. Harvey, 6. Dixon, 7. Pigot, 8. O’Ward, 9. Newgarden, 10. Power, 11. Karam, 12. Rossi, 13. Alonso, 14. Hunter-Reay, 15. Veach, 16. Ericsson, 17. Askew, 18. Rosenqvist, 19. Carpenter, 20. Hinchcliffe, 21. Hanley, 22. Davison, 23. Palou, 24. Ferrucci, 25. Daly, 26. Kimball, 27. Pagenaud, 28. Andretti, 29. Kanaan, 30. Herta, 31. Chilton, 32. Castroneves, 33. Hildebrand.

The drivers will then get a chance to take multiple runs until 4.50pm, but most observers are expecting to see the fastest times at the start of the session, as Indianapolis is forecast to reach a peak temperature of 88degF, and the gun signaling the end of the day’s action is 70 minutes earlier than usual.

The top nine qualifying times by day’s end will then move forward to a Fast Nine shootout on Sunday, preceded by a half-hour practice from 11.00-11.30am. The fight for pole – just one run each – will be held 1.15-2.15pm.

With boost then turned back down to raceday levels, the 33-car field will resume practicing at 3.30pm, with a 2hr30min session. This will be the final practice until a two-hour session on Carb Day (Friday, Aug. 21).

Indy 500 Fast Friday speeds

P

No

Name

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Team

1

98

Marco Andretti

10

43

233.491

Honda

Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian

2

47

Conor Daly

14

44

232.337

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

3

9

Scott Dixon

18

30

232.290

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

4

28

Ryan Hunter-Reay

3

34

232.124

Honda

Andretti Autosport

5

45

Spencer Pigot

9

35

232.116

Honda

RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport

6

55

Alex Palou

15

17

231.989

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh

7

29

James Hinchcliffe

10

30

231.967

Honda

Andretti Autosport

8

30

Takuma Sato

43

53

231.880

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

9

27

Alexander Rossi

23

60

231.859

Honda

Andretti Autosport

10

8

Marcus Ericsson

12

22

231.763

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

11

12

Will Power

25

27

231.605

Chevy

Team Penske

12

60

Jack Harvey

10

47

231.600

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

13

88

Colton Herta

36

56

231.595

Honda

Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport

14

15

Graham Rahal

45

56

231.239

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

15

26

Zach Veach

11

46

231.190

Honda

Andretti Autosport

16

4

Charlie Kimball

22

29

230.861

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

17

1

Josef Newgarden

25

32

230.583

Chevy

Team Penske

18

5

Pato O'Ward

10

43

230.581

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

19

7

Oliver Askew

34

35

230.507

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

20

10

Felix Rosenqvist

16

35

230.432

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

21

21

Rinus VeeKay

16

27

230.331

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

22

22

Simon Pagenaud

2

28

230.189

Chevy

Team Penske

23

18

Santino Ferrucci

6

43

230.154

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

24

14

Tony Kanaan

26

31

229.946

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

25

66

Fernando Alonso

49

52

229.788

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

26

51

James Davison

10

37

229.766

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing/Byrd/Belardi

27

20

Ed Carpenter

4

44

229.563

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

28

41

Dalton Kellett

30

40

229.099

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

29

3

Helio Castroneves

23

32

228.451

Chevy

Team Penske

30

67

JR Hildebrand

14

34

228.275

Chevy

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

31

24

Sage Karam

15

37

228.187

Chevy

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

32

59

Max Chilton

58

62

227.610

Chevy

Carlin

33

81

Ben Hanley

55

79

222.086

Chevy

DragonSpeed USA

 

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Series IndyCar
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Author David Malsher-Lopez
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