It’s called Fast Friday, which made perfect sense today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Due to rain and hail (yes, hail) the start of practice was delayed, and it was ended early. Teams and drivers received an extra boost of horsepower to increase the speeds for qualifying this weekend, but there wasn’t much time to play with it. There was only 19 minutes of green flag action, which saw Ed Carpenter complete the first lap over 230 mph since Scott Dixon in 2003. Carpenter posted a lap at 230.522 mph just before the precipitation fell and ended practice.
During the fast and furious 19 minute practice, seven drivers posted a lap speed above 229 mph. Helio Castroneves was second quick at 229.843 mph, with Marco Andretti (229.419 mph) third. Though 26 cars got on track, only a total of 168 laps were turned.
It was also announced today that Bryan Clauson will return to the Indianapolis 500 next year driving for Jonathan Byrd’s Racing. The 24-year old Clauson raced in his first and only Indy 500 in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Racing. Byrd’s team will return to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, where they ran from 1982 to 2005.
Another part of Fast Friday is the Qualification Draw, which took place after 6 PM. Ryan Briscoe drew the first position in his backup (8T) car. Buddy Lazier is second, with Carlos Munoz drawing third. JR Hildebrand and Juan Montoya round out the top five. The last primary car qualification draw went to Sebastien Bourdais in his KV Racing machine.
There will be morning practice before qualifications begin tomorrow. Two groups will each get 30 minutes, from 8-9. Then from 9-10, all cars can practice. The 33-car field will be determined on Saturday, while the Pole will be settled on Sunday, with the Firestone Fast 9 shootout. ESPN3 will have coverage from 11-3 on Saturday, with ABC taking over from 4-6. On Sunday, ESPN3 will have it from 10-12, and ABC from 1-3 for the Pole shootout.
Below are the highlights from Fast Friday practice, courtesy of IndyCar.