INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 20, 2012) – Team Penske quietly put in one of its busiest days of practice Sunday during Bump Day festivities for the 96th Indianapolis 500.
The team’s three drivers, who secured positions in the first two rows during Saturday’s Pole Day qualifying, recorded a total of 246 laps Sunday while perfecting their cars’ race setups in preparation for May 27 race.
Ryan Briscoe, who won the pole position Saturday, completed 71 laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on Sunday in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet with a best lap of 218.831 mph. The fast lap ranked 21st-fastest of the day but more importantly he was able to collect relevant data for next Sunday’s “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
"We did a few race runs in the IZOD car today - a bit of fine tuning on our race set-up,” said Briscoe, who earned the team’s record 17th Indy 500 pole. “It was hot and slick out there today. We feel pretty good about where we are at as we were able to do a long run with Rahal (Graham) and we banked some good data there. We have a good idea where we sit and are looking forward to the race."
Will Power, who will start fifth in the race, completed 100 laps with a top speed of 220.640 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, which ranked eighth-best of the day. The IZOD IndyCar Series points leader is pleased with the progress being made by the entire Verizon team.
"We ran a lot of laps today, and the Verizon car was good,” said Power. “We worked on our race set-up and experimented with down-force levels and we feel pretty good about what we have. It was good out there today, running in traffic especially with the various people that we will be racing with come next Sunday. Overall it was good - we feel like we know what we have and what we will need in the race."
Helio Castroneves completed 75 laps in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet with a fastest lap of 220.217 mph, which ranked 10th-best. After earning a sixth-place starting position for the race, Castroneves is in pursuit of a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory.
“Today was a good day; we were able to practice in traffic,” said Castroneves. “I think today, if not yesterday, was the hottest day we have had and it was the perfect condition to practice for the race. The Shell Pennzoil car is very, very strong. I’m very happy. I know the car very well and for me that is the best car I can have.”