It was a hectic hour of practice as teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series had one final hour to test and tune their machines before the 200-lap Indianapolis 500 commences this Sunday.
Not short on excitement, Tony Kanaan led the 60-minute session with a best lap speed at 227.791 MPH in his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet for A.J. Foyt Racing. He was followed on the time sheet by the Chip Ganassi Racing Honda of Scott Dixon who was 2nd at 225.684 MPH and Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti who placed 3rd at 225.220 MPH.
Note that all of these speeds are draft-aided and while it will be important for the drivers to be quick in traffic, practice speeds aren’t always the best indicator of outright speed or suitable car handling.
An example of that is current pole sitter and driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, Ed Carpenter. The team owner was a respectable 14th-quick in this practice with a best lap speed of 223.219 MPH but complained mightily about his car’s handling.
His Ed Carpenter Racing crew had that car basically in pieces on pit road trying to make changes mid-session to springs to try and make his ride through the 500 miles on Sunday a bit more comfortable.
Carpenter’s teammate, Danica Patrick, also faced issues during the session as her No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet was wheeled back to the garage area during the first third of the session with an electrical issue.
After replacing the ECU on Patrick’s car, she was wheeled back out to pit road and was able to run 9 more laps before the session concluded for a total of 15 on the day. Her quickest lap was a 223.653 MPH average speed, good for 8th on the speed chart.
Spencer Pigot would be the only ECR driver to have a relatively calm morning as he was 9th on the charts.
Another story to follow is the relative lack of pace exhibited by the Andretti Autosport drivers with the exception of Marco Andretti.
With Marco and his No. 98 car 3rd fastest, you had to go all the way back to Carlos Munoz, an Indy-only entry, to find the next Andretti machine at 18th.
Indianapolis 500 sophomore Zach Veach was 23rd, 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th, Stefan Wilson was 29th in his Driven2SaveLives Honda and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi was 32nd.
The next time the field will hit the race track will be for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. Gates will open at 6:00 a.m. Eastern and the broadcast for both ABC and the IMS Radio Network will go live at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.
Green flag for the 200-lap race will fly at 12:20 p.m. Eastern.
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com for the latest news as we get you ready for the Indianapolis 500.
Image courtesy of Matt Fraver/INDYCAR Media.