Simon Pagenaud ended with the fastest time for a second consecutive day as speeds rose around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Fast Friday, the day before qualifying begins for the 99th running of the Indy 500.
The Frenchman’s best lap of 230.698mph was enough to see the Team Penske driver end the day on top, with the top six drivers all exceeding 230mph, while the top twenty-seven drivers all exceeded 228mph, with the gap from P1 to P27 equating to roughly four tenths of a second over the legendary 2.5mile oval.
“The conditions were difficult,” said Pagenaud. “The conditions were finally hot and there are a lot of differences in how the body kits react depending on the weather.
“For Team Penske, the biggest thing is we worked really well as a team to get different versions of aero levels for tomorrow and understanding that, so we can look at that information tonight and decided very precisely what we need.”
Chip Ganassi Racing were second and third quickest, with Scott Dixon ahead of Tony Kanaan, while Marco Andretti was the leading Andretti Autosport and Honda-powered machine in fourth, ahead of Will Power of Team Penske.
“It was hard to tell with the conditions changing so much out there today,” said Dixon afterwards. “It was hot and slippery in the late afternoon but better in the early afternoon. I was happy with the speed in the Target car but I think there is more in it.
“We have go look over everything tonight and look at where we can make improvements. Qualifying here at Indy is always a challenge and you never know what the weather will throw at you.”
Sage Karam continued his very strong week in a third Chip Ganassi Racing entry, finishing ahead of the impressive rookie Gabby Chaves in the sole Bryan Herta Autosport entry, while Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya were eighth and tenth in the final two Team Penske entries, either side of the AJ Foyt Enterprises machine of Takuma Sato.
For the first time all week, all thirty-four drivers turned laps, with Pippa Mann getting back on track in the final moments of the day for the first time since her crash on Wednesday.
“Words cannot describe how proud I am of the Dale Coyne Racing crew for getting this car built and getting us back out on track today for an install lap and a shakedown,” said Mann, who managed to get up to 225.457mph during her late six-lap run.
“I’m so thankful to them for all the work that went into this and it is so great for us to have that baseline going into tomorrow for the qualifying effort. I am hopeful going into tomorrow that I’ll have a strong qualifying effort in my Dale Coyne Racing car supporting Susan G. Komen.”
Whereas the discrepancy isn’t noticeable between Chevrolet and Honda power in the lap times with tow, it is more revealing with laps without a tow, with eight of the top ten all using Chevrolet power, with Dixon leading the way with a lap of 230.655mph.
Indianapolis 500 Fast Friday Practice Times
|1||22||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||230.698|
|2||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||230.655|
|3||10||Tony Kanaan||BRZ||Chip Ganassi Racing||230.457|
|4||27||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Autosport||230.312|
|5||1||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||230.206|
|6||8||Sage Karam||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||230.166|
|7||98||Gabby Chaves||COL||Bryan Herta Autosport||229.891|
|8||3||Helio Castroneves||BRZ||Team Penske||229.852|
|9||14||Takuma Sato||JAP||AJ Foyt Enterprises||229.808|
|10||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||COL||Team Penske||229.714|
|11||41||Jack Hawksworth||GBR||AJ Foyt Enterprises||229.495|
|12||24||Townsend Bell||USA||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||229.381|
|13||6||JR Hildebrand||USA||CFH Racing||229.353|
|14||26||Carlos Munoz||COL||Andretti Autosport||229.106|
|15||83||Charlie Kimball||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||229.024|
|16||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||229.023|
|17||5||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Schmidt Peterson Racing||229.021|
|18||4||Stefano Coletti||MON||KV Racing Technology||229.018|
|19||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||228.977|
|20||20||Ed Carpenter||USA||CFH Racing||228.885|
|21||32||Oriol Servia||ESP||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||228.878|
|22||25||Justin Wilson||GBR||Andretti Autosport||228.722|
|23||17||Sebastian Saavedra||COL||AFS Chip Ganassi Racing||228.691|
|24||29||Simona de Silvestro||SWI||Andretti Autosport||228.640|
|25||48||Alex Tagliani||CAN||AJ Foyt Enterprises||228.621|
|26||18||Carlos Huertas||COL||Dale Coyne Racing||228.555|
|27||43||Conor Daly||USA||Schmidt Peterson Racing||228.306|
|28||21||Josef Newgarden||USA||CFH Racing||227.855|
|29||7||James Jakes||GBR||Schmidt Peterson Racing||227.588|
|30||11||Sebastien Bourdais||FRA||KVSH Racing||227.424|
|31||88||Bryan Clauson||USA||KVSH Racing||226.909|
|32||19||Tristan Vautier||FRA||Dale Coyne Racing||226.860|
|33||63||Pippa Mann||GBR||Dale Coyne Racing||225.457|
|34||91||Buddy Lazier||USA||Lazier Partners Racing||216.103|