Fast Friday Indianapolis 500 Practice

Fast Friday at Indianapolis is a day that drivers, teams, and fans all look forward to. The big reason why is the extra boost of horsepower that increases speeds well above the 230 mph mark. Scott Dixon obliterated that benchmark on Friday, turning the fastest lap of the month at 233.302 mph in the final day of practice before qualifications. Dixon also had the fastest lap on Wednesday, as he and the Chip Ganassi Racing team continue to flex their muscle.

Dixon’s teammate Marcus Ericsson had the fastest four-lap average simulation on Friday. His average speed of 231.949 mph was particularly impressive considering the hot temperatures in the late afternoon. The track conditions were good though, as qualifying this weekend will have a similar look and feel to it. Drivers were mixed on how it affected the balance of their cars, and what their teams were trying to do with the car setups.

Fast Friday Indianapolis 500 Practice Results

Honda seems to have the edge on Chevrolet, but the real truth will play out on Saturday. Honda drivers represented 12 of the top 14 in today’s practice session. Ganassi is leading the charge, as they had all four cars inside the top five on Friday. “The team was really fast,” said Dixon. “I think any time one of the Ganassi cars went out, they improved and improved in a big way. It was really tough out there today. Just really tough to get a clear track. I know it’s difficult. I know everybody wants to try to get a qualifying simulation run.”

The additional boost for today added between 80 and 90 horsepower and increased speeds 8 mph from Thursday. As far as the no-tow speeds, it was Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi who held the top spot. “I only I think (I got) just one four-lap (qualifying simulation) run because people kept jumping out or whatever,” Rossi said. “It’s always interesting on days like this when you have an unfriendly wind in Turn 2. For whatever reason, Turn 2 is hard. I don’t know if the air is different over there.”

Rossi’s Andretti Autosport teammate Colton Herta was also quite fast today, although he had himself a moment late in the day passing through tricky Turn 2.

There were a few surprises on Friday, with all four cars from Team Penske failing to get inside the top 20 on the overall speed chart. The only Chevrolet drivers that seem to have solid pace are Pato O’Ward and the trio of drivers from Ed Carpenter Racing. Top Gun Racing continued to show improvement as they aim to get into the field and Stefan Wilson had an outstanding run late in the day that placed him inside the top five of the best four-lap runs.

Santino Ferrucci also got back on track today less than 24 hours after his hard crash into the Turn 2 wall. The RLL Racing crew worked into the night to prepare the No. 45 Honda, which finished 14th fastest overall on Friday. Both of his teammates finished inside the top five in terms of the best no-tow single laps.

The qualification draw took place following the conclusion of practice, and Dixon once again found himself on the right side of lady luck. He will be the first driver to qualify tomorrow, which should provide advantageous track conditions. As qualifying moves along, the track will get hotter and more slick, making it more difficult for drivers that are set to go out late in the day. Here is the order for qualifying on Saturday:

  1. Scott Dixon
  2. Marco Andretti
  3. Ryan Hunter‐Reay
  4. Helio Castroneves
  5. Ed Jones
  6. James Hinchcliffe
  7. Stefan Wilson
  8. Tony Kanaan
  9. Josef Newgarden
  10. Rinus VeeKay
  11. Scott McLaughlin
  12. Takuma Sato
  13. Santino Ferrucci
  14. Sage Karam
  15. Pietro Fittipaldi
  16. Juan Pablo Montoya
  17. JR Hildebrand
  18. Will Power
  19. Ed Carpenter
  20. Pato O’Ward
  21. Felix Rosenqvist
  22. Max Chilton
  23. Dalton Kellett
  24. Conor Daly
  25. Graham Rahal
  26. Jack Harvey
  27. RC Enerson
  28. Alex Palou
  29. Simon Pagenaud
  30. Colton Herta
  31. Alexander Rossi
  32. Marcus Ericsson
  33. Simona De Silvestro
  34. Charlie Kimball
  35. Sebastien Bourdais

Qualifying will run from Noon-5:50 PM with positions 1-30 in the field fully set. On Sunday, the Fast Nine Shootout will determine the pole sitter for the race, as well as the order of the first three rows, and Last Chance Qualifying will determine which three of the five remaining cars will complete the starting field for the May 30 race.

A one-hour pre-qualifying practice, with the field separated into two 30-minute groups will take place from 9:30-10:30 AM on Peacock. NBC will provide coverage from 2-3 PM while NBC Sports Network carries the final three hours. The entire six-hour session is also available on Peacock.

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