For the third and final practice before qualifying for Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the top top ten Verizon IndyCar drivers were faster than in previous sessions. Helio Castroneves/No.3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was on top with a lap of 1:10.3756/124.765 mph.
The weather was 81 degrees F with a light breeze and partly cloudy skies. Humidity was less than 50 per cent. The mercurial Indianapolis weather has continued to hold out well. Although the weather forecast for the afternoon showed 30 to 40 percent chances of thunderstorms, so far it looks good. But, as they say in Indy … if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. Or … all four seasons can be experienced in one day.
It was the usual suspects on top again Friday morning: Castroneves, Sebastien Bourdais/No.11 Team Mistic E-Cigs KBSH Racing, Simon Pagenaud/No.22 DeVilbiss Team Penske, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske, Scott Dion/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing, Rahal, Charlie Kimball/No.83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, and top Rookie, Stefano Coletti/No.3 KV Racing Technology.
The only Honda driver in the top ten Friday morning was Graham Rahal/No15 Steak n’ Shake, in eighth place. He also was the fastest Honda driver so far this weekend at 1:11.0405/123597 mph.
Allen Miller, Honda Performance Department’s Race Team Leader, met with the media after practice. He said Honda is ‘cautiously optimistic’ after Sunday’s open test with the new speedway aero kit, and is hoping it even more by the end of the month.”
At that test, in Rookie Practice, the top driver was Simona de Silvestro/No.29 Andretti Autosport Honda. In the ROP test, six cars were Honda and four were Chevrolets. In Practice One, the top four drivers were in Hondas – Justin Wilson/No.25 Andretti Autosport, Takuma Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing, Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.28 Andretti Autosport, and Marco Andretti/No.27 Andretti Autosport. In the second practice, the top Honda was Andretti in third, behind Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 and Helio Castroneves/No.3.
One of, if not the most consistent drivers all weekend has been Rookie Francesco Dracone/No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. He has been last of all 25 drivers in all three sessions so far. He is improving and Friday’s time of 1:12.6831 is his best to date.
Three INDYCAR drivers’ best time was in Practice One, with five going faster in Practice Two. The rest were faster Friday.
Friday after final practice, the Dreyer & Reinbold team unveiled its Indianapolis 500 car, with driver Townsend Bell – who is currently a TV analyst for some INDYCAR races, as well as a full-time IMSA TUDOR Series driver. Bell missed the Sunday INDYCAR speedway test as he was racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. His sponsorship comes from Robert Graham – high-end luxury apparel.
Bell, who was given a selection of available numbers to run, chose No.24 to run on his Chevrolet-powered car, as he’s always looked up to Gordon, who was born in California like Bell, raised in Indiana, and raced at the Brickyard. The 99th Running of the Indy 500 occurs on 5-24 and NASCAR Cup driver Gordon has won the BY400 five times in his No.24 Chevrolet.
In homage to Gordon, the cockpit area of Bell’s car is devoted to iconic images of Gordon’s car. When Bell selected No.24, he didn’t know that Jeff Gordon would be the Pace Car Driver for the Indy 500. Bell said it was Serendipity when he heard the news.
On hand for the unveiling of Bell’s car was owner Dennis Reinbold along with the a 1930’s historic race car build and owned by Floyd “Pop” Dreyer.