By: Tanner Watkins
May 17, 2019 | 6:00 PM
Earlier in the day, Conor Daly said that he wanted to make a statement and put up a big time on Fast Friday. With just minutes left in the seven-hour practice, the Noblesville native did just that by posting a lap over 231 miles per hour – with a draft.
On a day that saw the highest temperatures of the month thus far, drivers and teams turned up the wick with added engine boost in anticipation of qualifications – which begin tomorrow. Daly’s top lap registered an average speed of 231.704 miles per hour. His teammate Marco Andretti went 230.851 MPH, which was good for P2, and Takuma Sato was third on the overall leaderboard with a best lap speed of 230.755 MPH.
The day started off with enthusiasm and anticipation as McLaren rolled out of their garage for the first time since Fernando Alonso crashed his No. 66 Chevrolet on Thursday. The Spanish driver was working early and often on this day, logging a total of 77 laps overall before posting a best lap speed of 229.328 MPH at the end of the day.
Alonso’s quickest lap was 24th-best on the overall leaderboard, but the two-time Formula One world champion was only 31st-quick on the no-two leaderboard. More on the no-tow leaders later.
Shortly after Noon Eastern time – which was been the witching hour at IMS this week – Juncos Racing driver Kyle Kaiser became the fourth crash victim in the last three days as he pounded the wall with his No. 32 Chevrolet on the exit of Turn 3.
Kaiser, looking to qualify for his second Indianapolis 500 this year, lost the rear end of the car on entry to the corner and the tub of his machine was terminally damaged.
Juncos is working on a backup car as we speak and hopes to be out on track by practice tomorrow morning. The driver was cleared by INDYCAR to resume driving after being checked in the infield medical center.
The afternoon was filled with a flurry of cars trying to find clean air and get a true no-tow run to gauge their single-car speed. After lightning stalled track activity for nearly an hour during the mid-afternoon, much emphasis was placed on the final two hours of practice before a brief pre-qualifying practice session on Saturday morning.
As fans and teams alike try to judge where each stands on the no-tow leaderboard, here are the five quickest and slowest no-tow speeds heading into Saturday.
1. Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, 230.106 MPH
2. Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, 229.879 MPH
3. Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda, 229.878 MPH
4. Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, 229.751 MPH
5. Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet, 229.548 MPH
36. Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, 221.733 MPH
35. Patricio O’Ward, Carlin Chevrolet, 221.898 MPH
34. Ben Hanley, DragonSpeed Chevrolet, 225.492 MPH
33. Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, 225.533 MPH
32. Max Chilton, Carlin Chevrolet, 226.636 MPH
For tomorrow, there will be open practice between 8:00 and 9:30 AM before the qualifications order kicks off at 11:00 AM. Public gates open at 7:00 AM, the earliest we have had the gates open this week.
Stay tuned for further updates ahead of Saturday qualifications at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Header image by John Cote/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.