The extra boost that the IZOD IndyCar series gave the thirty-three Indianapolis 500 drivers has done its job. Two and a half hours into the Fast Friday session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, twenty-three cars were already faster than the fast time set Thursday by Rookie CARLOS MUNOZ/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.
At the noon start of the Friday session, it was 81 degrees F, with the track temperature pegged at 105 F. An hour later, it was down to 80 degrees and 104 degrees, respectively. Perhaps that southwest gray cloud mass moving in has something to do with it. Thunderstorm alerts were given before the second hour ended.
For most of the first two hours of the six-hour session the Andretti drivers have dominated the session, after SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/Dragon Racing Chevrolet topped the charts at the beginning. Teams have been concerned about the incoming weather so all but one of the thirty-three drivers have been on course for at least a few laps. Nearing the end of the second hour, everyone had pitted and/or garaged.
The Top driver at the end of Hour Two was EJ VISO/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet at 229.537 mph. Second and third were his teammates, MARCO ANDRETTI and Rookie CARLOS MUNOZ. Fourth through seventh were WILL POWER/Team Penske, JR HILDEBRAND/Panther Racing, ORIOL SERVIA/Panther DRR Racing, and A.J. ALLMENDINGER/Team Penske – all Chevrolets.
The top Hondas were three-time Indy 500 winner DARIO FRANCHITTI/Target Chip Ganassi Racing and TAKUMA SATO/A.J. Foyt Enterprises, running eighth and ninth. Tenth was HELIO CASTRONEVES/Team Penske.
Again, SIMONA DE SILVESTRO/KV Racing Technology Chevrolet was the top female driver, at P21.
The Yellow Flag came out a few minutes into the Third Hour, for weather. No real rain drops, but lightning is seen. Several minutes later came the thunder. Stay tuned.
CONOR DALY/A.J.Foyt Enterprises Honda is the only driver who hadn’t been on course so far Friday afternoon. His crew was still working away on the car, and he hopes it to be soon. When I caught up with him in the first hour, he was in the ‘back room’ of the garage, with his beloved ice cream cooler and the TV monitor. At that point MARCO ANDRETTI/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet was leading. Andretti had earlier in the week loaned his HANS device to Daly until Daly’s missing luggage turned up. His helmet has and always has had a lucky leprechaun as part of the design.