GRAHAM RAHAL/Rahal Letterman Lannigan Racing Honda was the fastest of eleven drivers who took to the course Sunday morning for IZOD IndyCar practice. It was a warm and sunny 74 degrees F. The track was only three degrees warmer. The session had no drama.
This was the last chance to sort out and tweak the car before the six-hour Bump Day qualifying for the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at The Brickyard.
The running order wasn’t so much about who was fastest. There’s no reward for being fastest in morning practice beside the knowledge that your car is doing well
The tweaking was evident, that there would be periods when there were no cars on course at all, or most of them, or just one or two. Lots of time in Pit Lane working on the car, trying this and that.
DARIO FRANCHITTI/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda turned the most laps-30, and the second slowest time – 219.466 mph.
Rahal ran 226.564 mph and ran 22 laps. His words – “The session was good.” He always calls his cars female, said “She’s better today. She was moody yesterday.” He didn’t know yet what the name is for his Indy 500 primary car, which was new last week. The crew usually names the cars. The T/backup car is ‘Ole Betsy’ and used for the streets and road courses. Streets and roads – reminds me of the old kindergarten primer. You had to be there.
Rahal said, about yesterday’s qualifying: “We had a good time running old tires. So we strapped on new ones thinking we’d go faster. Didn’t.” Rahal said the warmer ambient temperature could have had something to do with the drop in speed, but not that much. “Look at Sato. He went faster.”
CONOR DALY/A.J.Foyt Enterprises Honda was all smiles. “It’s better now that we’ve got the full horsepower program.” He was fourth overall and the only Rookie on course. He ran 25 laps.
“I’ve always wanted to do the Indy 500” said KATHERINE LEGGE/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. She ran mid-pack, at 223.191 mph during 24 laps. She said she didn’t need any Refresher Program as she ran the 2012 season’s finale race at Auto Club Speedway and last year’s Indy 500. When asked by someone else about her feelings and comments about the problems with her former team, Dragon Racing, basically she said “I’m still bitter” and left it at that.
Legge’s deal came together Saturday morning, and work began on the car, which was ready for Sunday morning’s practice.
MICHEL JOURDAIN, Jr/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda said his session went well. “We have all afternoon to work on race setup.”
Turning just one lap of 116.030 mph at the very end of the 60-minute session was CHARLIE KIMBALL/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in his T/backup car. “We did an engine install last night, so we’ll run it today to see if it’s alright.”
The Bump Day Qualifying Draw was done by blind draw Saturday after Pole Day Qualifying. Each car will get two warm-up laps before the four timed qualify8ing laps.
Once the starting field of 33 cars is set, any qualifying attempt that is faster than a qualified entrant in the starting field will bump the slowest qualifier, regardless of which day of qualification. The ‘bumpee’ is at the end of the grid, while the ‘bumped’ is removed from the field, but has the chance to bump its way back into the starting field as time allows. Each car is allowed three attempts.
The final Sunday morning practice order was:
GRAHAM RAHAL/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda/ 226.584 mph -22 laps
JOSEF NEWGARDEN/Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda/ 225.279 mph – 17 laps
BUDDY LAZIER/Lazier Partners Chevrolet/ 225.167 mph -25 laps
CONOR DALY/A.J.Foyt Enterprises Honda/ 224.764 mph -19 laps
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA/Dragon Racing Chevrolet/ 224.698 mph -25 laps
KATHERINE LEGGE/Schmidt Peterson Mtrsprts Honda/ 223.191 mph -24 laps
SCOTT DIXON/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda/ 220.464 mph -29 laps
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/Dragon Racing Chevrolet/ 220.145 mph -21 laps
MICHEL JOURDAIN Jr/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda/ 219.843 mph -18 laps
DARIO FRANCHITTI/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda/ 219.466 mph -30 laps
CHARLIE KIMBALL/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda/ 116.030 mph -1 lap