Indianapolis, IN, Thursday, May 19, 2006- In the final full day of practice before Pole Day qualifying, Target's Scott Dixon stepped out of the shadows as he posted the second fastest lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 227.322 mph.
Indianapolis, IN, Thursday, May 19, 2006- In the final full day of practice before Pole Day qualifying, Target's Scott Dixon stepped out of the shadows as he posted the second fastest lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 227.322 mph. While Dixon has been in the top ten in every session, Friday's fast time put him just ahead teammate Dan Wheldon who posted a lap speed of 227.040 mph. Sam Hornish Jr. (227.925 mph) was fastest once again, with Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan rounding out the top five spots.
"I think a lot of us focused on full tanks this morning, and then there was a bit of a layover to transfer the cars into qualifying setup for later this afternoon," said Dixon. "I was pretty happy with the race car right out of the box this morning. I think we were a little light on downforce, and Dan proved a bit later when you put some in the car it was a lot better to drive. That's always nice. The car's pretty consistent. We've still got a bit of work to do to try to beat the Penskes."
"Sam did a lot of qualifying simulations today," said Dixon after Hornish set consistently quick laps, "and we sort of realized that tomorrow's going to be a bit different, so we wanted to save the tires. 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 probably got a little bit left on the table."
The defending race winner Wheldon still retains bragging rights for the fastest lap of the month in practice with a 228.663 mph and while he won last year's Indy 500 from a 16th place starting position, he's looking to be much strong in qualifying this time around.
"It was a busy day, to tell you the truth, and we had to work very hard on the Target race car," said Wheldon. "With Pole Day being pushed back a week, you come up against how many sets of tires do you save for Pole Day and how many runs do you allow yourself in race trim with full fuel. I think we balanced that out pretty well. I think the car definitely has the potential to be on the pole. Sam (Hornish Jr.) has been very quick the whole month but I'm pretty happy with where we're at. We're going to give it everything we've got to get pole tomorrow. I would hazard a guess, depending on weather conditions if they were similar to today, I think an average around 227.5 would be pretty good for the pole. Maybe a bit more than that.
"I don't think you'll see many people go out when they're supposed to, or they won't follow the line," added Wheldon."I think you'll see the line's going to go so quick, you can get through it now pretty much in 2 1/2 hours because nobody has T cars and stuff like that. I think you'll see people let the line go through, and then people will start testing. I'm pretty sure that the pole speed won't be laid down until later in the day."
Pole Day qualifying will take place Saturday, with all 33 positions up for grabs and Bump Day on Sunday. The 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 will air live on ABC Sports on Sunday, May 28 at 1:00 p.m. EDT.