Simon Pagenaud

The Indianapolis 500 Fast Friday at the Brickyard saw six Verizon IndyCar drivers make the 230 mph with a tow, and three did that honor without a tow. For most of the day it was not the most exciting of sessions with most drivers setting their times and then waiting until Happy Hour – saving on tires and engines one would presume.

Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Aveya Team Penske Chevrolet pipped Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet with thirty-minutes to go for the session. His overall lap was 230.698 mph, but a 229.456 mph running alone. He came out late in the session and ran a few laps and pitted.

For his efforts, Pagenaud earned a $10,000 check.

“It was a very good day. Tonight we four drivers are discussing everything for tomorrow. Once we knew Helio was OK, we moved on. His accident didn’t set us back at all.” Castroneves/No.3 was eighth for the day, in and out of the tow.

“Definitely the wind was quite difficult in Turn Two. Very unpredictable sometimes. Turn Four was right on the nose. Unpredictability is sometimes difficult in the car. I had to look at the track wind socks each lap. If it’s colder, we can trim the car more. If it’s this warm tomorrow, it will be 230.6 mph. If it’s colder Saturday, maybe you’ll see a 233 mph. Today was warm, windy and greasy, so I’m not surprised speeds weren’t faster.

“I don’t feel like I’m the favorite. The whole team is doing well. But there are lots of factor tomorrow – temperature, qualifying draw number, which aero number for the temperature. Goal is to be in the Fast Nine, and then try for the pole Sunday.”

Scott Dixon

Dixon had sat on top of the charts for most of the afternoon, with his teammate, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chevrolet close behind.

Dixon’s fastest time was 230.655 mph, with and without a tow. He was 0.0072 seconds behind Pagenaud.

Tony Kanaan

Kanaan’s fastest time was 230.457 mph, and 229.655 mph without a tow. He too sat in position like his Ganassi teammate.

Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Honda was third all afternoon, but finished fourth overall. He was the top Honda at 230.312 mph, and 227.310 without a tow.

Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet rounded out the top five. His lap was 230.206 mph, with and without a tow, the second fastest running alone and one of only three drivers to make it to the 230 mark.

The third driver to break the 230 mark without a tow was Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet. His overall lap was sixth at 230.166 mph, with and without a tow. “We knew the wind mid-day with a hot slippery track, not good for running. The car was very on edge. I come in and take a deep breath. I got my neck stretched out today. The cool thing is coming out of pits and go up the gears, and then see ten more mph on the dash than yesterday; it’s pretty cool. I had to turn it off on the dash, as it was messing with my mind.”

Gabby Chaves/No.98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda was yet again the fastest of the two Rookie drivers, finishing sixth overall at 229.891 mph, both in and out of a tow. He said “The wind makes quite an impact, especially the direction, which can make it good or not. You have to feel comfortable to be uncomfortable. The extra horsepower is felt. The coolest for me is telling my longtime mechanic, looking at my dash only in third of six gears, and it was already 190 mph. Cool. Everything moves quicker in IndyCar compared to Indy Lights.”

The top six drivers set their fastest overall week-long times on Friday.

Josef Newgarden/No.21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet made it through Tech and onto the track by mid-afternoon. He ran twenty-eighth in his backup car.

All drivers were out during the Friday session. Pippa Mann/No.63 Honda made it to Pit Lane with fifteen minutes to go on the clock and was met with a caution for debris. She was thirty-third of thirty-four, only able to turn six laps. Her best lap was 224.831 mph.

Townsend Bell/No.24 Robert Graham Special Chevrolet, an Indy 500-only driver, was twelfth overall. He also was the top driver driving for a single car team.

So much for the weather prognosticators. Thundershowers never happened. It got sunnier and warmer all afternoon, and by Happy Hour it was in the low eighties.

Most drivers set out early, got what they evidently wanted, and then waited most of the afternoon before going out again in Happy Hour.

There were seven cautions during the six-hour session, for 52 minutes – all for track inspections, including two during Happy Hour.

Qualifying begins Saturday morning. In preparation for this auspicious occasion, the Speedway issued a color-coded, legal sized tutorial for the media to better understand the process.

Fast Friday Paycheck