Scott Dixon, the polesitter for the 105th Indianapolis 500, went fastest in the final practice session ahead of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”, while Team Penske finally showed race pace after their qualifying struggles with all four cars in the top ten.
“Carb Day”, as it’s known, was delayed due to rain, but when it got going teams immediately hit the track in the newly-extended two hour session. Track conditions were congested as teams practiced race pace and tested the strength of their cars in traffic. Dixon hit the track early, and twenty minutes into the session he blitzed the field with a lap of 228.323 mph, four miles per hour faster than the rest of the field. IndyCar’s “Iceman” packed the car up early with forty-five minutes left, showing the incredible confidence he has in his Chip Ganassi Racing machine.
Team Penske left a lot to be desired during qualifying, but showed that they have competitive cars at race pace. In last Sunday’s post-qualifying practice session Simon Pagenaud said that he still thought he had a “hot rod” after blowing a motor, and he backed it up going second fastest on Carb Day coming within one mile per hour of Dixon at a speed of 227.157 mph. Right behind him was Josef Newgarden in third, while Will Power and Scott McLaughlin finished sixth and seventh respectively. This has been the most competitive Penske’s cars have looked, and they will have their work cut out for them come Sunday to tear through the field.
Splitting the Penske machines were Conor Daly of Ed Carpenter Racing in fourth place and Marco Andretti of Andretti Herta-Haupert with Marco and Curb-Agajanian in fifth place. This marks yet another session that Daly has been consistently quick in, while Andretti continues to grow confidence in his car after fixing a broken floor that the team found before the post-qualifying practice session last Sunday. The floor has been replaced with one from a road course car, but Andretti stated that he felt more confident in this car than the car that he put on pole position for last year’s Indy 500.
Tony Kanaan finished the session eighth fastest and, like his teammate Dixon, finished up his day early, satisfied with the data gathered and confident that he has a potentially race-winning car for Sunday. Defending Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato finished the session ninth fastest for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, followed by another strong effort by Sage Karam and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing in tenth. Karam complained about a lack of power during the session, saying it felt like he was driving and Indy Lights car, but his car still looks much more comfortable in race conditions as opposed to qualifying.
Andretti Autosport‘s Colton Herta proved today that lap speeds don’t mean everything today, as many drivers felt like he had the pace and was difficult to overtake in the pack. Yet with all of these rave reviews from his competition, he only went twenty-eighth fastest in the session. Herta made a believer out of many drivers and fans today, and could possibly bring the fight to Dixon for the victory this weekend. Herta will start the race in second place.
Another noteworthy effort today was that of the Carlin team and driver Max Chilton. Chilton finished the session twelfth fastest, and said that he felt like this was the best car he’s ever had at the 500 with the team, so look for him to move through the midfield for a strong finish. He will start the race in twenty-ninth.
All that’s left now is to run the Indianapolis 500, which will get under way this Sunday, 30 May, at 1200 EST / 1700 BST.
2021 Indianapolis 500 “Carb Day” Final Practice Results
|1||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||228.323|
|2||22||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||227.157|
|3||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||226.856|
|4||47||Conor Daly||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||226.399|
|5||98||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Herta-Haupert w/ Marco & Curb-Agajanian||226.396|
|6||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||226.223|
|7||3||Scott McLaughlin (R)||NZL||Team Penske||226.192|
|8||48||Tony Kanaan||BRA||Chip Ganassi Racing||225.929|
|9||30||Takuma Sato||JPN||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||225.701|
|10||24||Sage Karam||USA||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||225.542|
|11||5||Pato O’Ward||MEX||Arrow McLaren SP||225.511|
|13||27||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Autosport||225.324|
|14||14||Sebastien Bourdais||FRA||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||225.163|
|15||6||Helio Castroneves||BRA||Meyer Shank Racing||225.161|
|16||86||Juan Pablo Montoya||COL||Arrow McLaren SP||225.149|
|17||1||JR Hildebrand||USA||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||224.945|
|18||18||Ed Jones||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan||224.91|
|19||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||224.872|
|20||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||224.719|
|21||29||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Andretti Autosport||224.546|
|22||10||Alex Palou||ESP||Chip Ganassi Racing||224.5|
|23||8||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||224.468|
|24||7||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Arrow McLaren SP||224.428|
|25||4||Dalton Kellett||CAN||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||224.051|
|26||25||Stefan Wilson||GBR||Andretti Autosport||224.047|
|27||45||Santino Ferrucci||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||223.884|
|28||26||Colton Herta||USA||Andretti Autosport||223.67|
|29||60||Jack Harvey||GBR||Meyer Shank Racing||223.664|
|30||20||Ed Carpenter||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||223.654|
|31||21||Rinus VeeKay||NED||Ed Carpenter Racing||223.068|
|32||16||Simona De Silvestro||SUI||Paretta Autosport||223.023|
|33||51||Pietro Fittipaldi||BRA||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing||222.173|