Today was the last day of on-track activity for the Verizon IndyCar teams before Sunday’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Better known as “Carb Day” at the Speedway, fans came in waves to see a little bit of everything on display during the afternoon. The first bit of action was the final practice for the teams and drivers, a one-hour session that had everyone’s eye’s glued to the track.
Tony Kanaan, the 2013 race winner, was the fastest during the session, with a speed of 226.280 mph. Carlos Munoz was second fastest, with Kanaan’s teammate Scott Dixon in third. Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top five as all 33 cars took to the course, completing 1,368 total laps. Unfortunately they weren’t all clean, as Pippa Mann backed her Dale Coyne Racing Honda into the outside wall of Turn 4. The good news is that the team believes the damage was mostly cosmetic.
Carb Day Indianapolis 500 Practice Results
Kanaan was fastest today, as Chip Ganassi’s top two drivers have shown speed in traffic during practice. Still, he knows that there is a lot of luck involved in winning this race. “I think this track will pick the winner,” Kanaan said. “So if I massage her and talk to her nicely, maybe she’ll pick me on Sunday.” Both he and Dixon are searching for their second Indianapolis 500 wins. Graham Rahal is seeking his first, 30 years after his father won, and believes his car is much better than it has been.
The Pit Stop Competition was won by Team Penske and Helio Castroneves. It’s the 8th win for Helio, and the 16th for the team, where they earned a $50,000 prize. The winner of the Pit Stop Competition has gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 six times, with Helio’s win in 2009 being the most recent time. Castroneves climbed the fence behind pit lane after defeating Mikhail Aleshin and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
There’s nothing left to do but run the race. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place this Sunday. Public gates open at 6 AM, with The Parade of Bands getting festivities started at 8:00, which is also when the Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Bricks begins. Driver Introductions are at 11:35, with “Taps” scheduled to play at 11:57. The National Anthem will be performed by Darius Rucker at 12:00, with “Back Home Again in Indiana” at approximately 12:12. The command to start engines is at 12:15, with the green flag expected to wave around 12:19 on Sunday. ABC will have the television coverage, which can also be seen live in the Indianapolis area for the first time since 1950.
Practice Photos via IndyCar
Buddy Lazier: “We’re glad that this was Carb Day, because we certainly wouldn’t want this to have happened on race day. After rebuilding the car, running here today we had a front wing issue. An adjuster on the front wings failed. Whatever angle was set in the pits, out on the racetrack the wing wouldn’t hold. So, we have zero data from this run. It’s frustrating, but I have a lot of faith in my guys, and we’ll have this problem solved by race day. We’re going to race them hard on Sunday, and I’m confident that we’re going to be very competitive.”
JR Hildebrand: “It’s tough, it’s going to be hard on race day I think. We accomplished what we wanted to as far as figuring out what we have and understanding a little more about how we can adjust it. I think that between the three of us we got through a bunch of different (setups). Now it’s just about making the right call for the conditions on race day. That’s really the biggest factor at this point.”
Tony Kanaan: “I’m happy. I’m happy with my car. Obviously I have to pass 17 people before I get really happy with my car. But, you know, after the struggle in qualifying, we really focused, me and Dixon, on the race and I think you can see both of us up there. You know, anybody count us out, it’s a big mistake. But it will be more exciting for the fans. I’m amazed how many people are here today. It’s really – I thought all of my 15 years I had seen it all here, and clearly I didn’t. So I can’t wait until Sunday.”
Will Power: “Final practice went well today and the Verizon Chevy did really well in traffic. We made a couple changes and I think we felt good in the end. Hopefully the weather conditions will work in our favor on Sunday, but I’m really excited about the race.”
Takuma Sato: “The conditions were a bit different, the wind direction was different and it was a warmer temperature which is good because we expect to have a warmer Sunday race. We need to work on the car a little bit-it washes out and was a bit unstable in traffic – I’m a little nervous about that. We need to understand where that came from but I’m confident we can go back to where we were. I think that’s the way to go. We got some good data to confirm a few things but still we need to check with the other two cars.”
Graham Rahal: “I’m extremely happy with the Steak ‘n Shake race car, that’s why we didn’t run that much. We ran through some of our race sets of tires to try to check for vibration which is something we struggled with this week. We were building vibrations over the run. This is the best race car I have ever had going into the Indy 500. I’m really pleased. We ran pretty old tires the whole session and I know a lot of guys ran stickers and put up good times but for our tire life, I’m pretty pleased. This Steak ‘n Shake team has a pretty good chance of winning this thing.”
Spencer Pigot: “The car was good. I think we definitely made a lot of progress today. I was able to run a lot closer in traffic than I was before. I think the car has gotten better and I have gotten more used to it and improved as well. A big thanks to all the guys for getting us to this point, to all the team and all the sponsors. I’m looking forward to going racing. It was pretty wild out there in practice. Sometimes you’ve got to use the brake, you’ve got to downshift all the way to third gear even. You’ve always got to be on your toes and looking a few cars ahead to see if they’re stacking up because if you’re not, you’re going to be in trouble.”
Conor Daly: “It felt really good out there today. I think we need to work on our gear ratios a bit, it didn’t help us when trying to set an overall lap time, but that’s not what’s it’s about today. It really felt good racing through the pack. I got to fight with (James Hinchcliffe) Hinch and (Ryan) Hunter-Reay, and they’re on the front row so I felt really good about that. I think we’re in good shape for the race.”
Gabby Chaves: “It’s the happiest I’ve been with the car in traffic so that’s definitely a step in the right direction. It’s hard to get a lap time together because we’re mainly focused on trying to set up our car around traffic and not really worried about getting a nice lap there. Although it would have been nice to end up near the top of the charts, it doesn’t mean anything at this point. It was a solid run, I’m happy with where we ended and I think we’ll have a good race.”
Ed Carpenter: “Today was OK. I got in some good groups and some bad groups. I was a little frustrated by that and some of the driving and some of the last group I was in. The car is OK. It seems like everyone is still struggling a little bit when it warms up. It is really hard to know where you stack up this year depending on the group of cars you get in and where they are on tires.”
Josef Newgarden: “I am excited to go on Sunday. I think we are as prepared as we can be. We just have to execute and hopefully have a good day. We have a lot of faith in what we are doing. I think we are going to have three great shots with JR, Ed and myself. Hopefully one of us can be at the top of the step for our team.”
Sage Karam: “We picked up right where we left off from Monday’s practice. The car felt great in traffic just like on Monday. I feel confident. We only ran about 75 percent of the session and parked the car. We didn’t feel any need to run any more laps. I’m very happy with the car for Sunday. Now, it’s the countdown to the 100th Indy 500. I think we have a very good race car. I’m excited for the green flag on Sunday.”
Carlos Munoz: “For me practice was over Monday. After Monday, the car is what it is. Today was just a practice to check the car was good. You know, was running good – the engine, everything just took a little bit to dial stuff. But the conditions are going to be totally different again for the race.”
Alex Tagliani: “I’m super happy and super thankful for all of the guys, and their hard work. They kept pounding at it and we had a mission. We wanted to be in the top 10, we felt we had a car to be there. No one threw in the towel and they built a really good, solid car for the race. The timing is perfect. Everybody is pumped; everybody saw how competitive we were. We were aggressive out there [in final practice], so it’s going to be good to sleep, but at the same time I’m really excited for the race. The car was solid, predictable, and on the safe side. For the way we ran, it’s really positive.”
Jack Hawksworth: “It was an interesting session. The car was not as strong as it was on Monday. I was very happy with it on Monday in terms of balance. I think we need to take a step back to look at why it changed and go back to that happy place. I wasn’t able to follow closely to cars as I was able to on Monday. We’ll need to go back and look at that and go onto Sunday.”
Matt Brabham: “Carb Day final practice was great, I was just getting comfortable in the car and trying a few things and avoiding crashes basically. It was a tight one out there with Pippa, she was right in front of me when she went off, so that was a bit interesting. I was comfortable out there and getting used to everything. Everyone was checking up, I was getting used to how it was – speeding up and working on race craft ahead of Sunday. It was enjoyable. The weather should be similar come race day. We got a really good read on everything. So I will go back with the PIRTEK Team Murray crew, work through the data and everything else and have it sorted out for the race.”
Pippa Mann: “I’m absolutely fine. I just really feel sorry for the crew. I was trying to find some clean air in pack running there. Got a little too low on the inside. Dropped the ball and gave them some work to do overnight. The good news is the damage wasn’t too bad. Hopefully it’s the right rear corner, rear attenuator, rear wing and that’s all we have to fix.”
Bryan Clauson: “I was happy overall with our car today. It felt good. We were trying to figure out what the best trim level is going to be for the race. Compared to our teammates, I think we have a little work to do there to figure out what will be best for passing and such. Overall I’m really happy with our day and can’t wait for Sunday.”