Indianapolis 500 Practice, May 18

Today was Fast Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a familiar name topped the speed chart.

For the second time this week, Marco Andretti recorded the fastest lap of the day. Today’s speed, 231.802 mph was helped with the additional boost normally given to the engines on the Friday before qualifications. Robert Wickens was second fastest on Friday, leading the Honda cars in his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry. Ed Carpenter was third quick, as the top seven drivers were represented by seven different teams.

Andretti was awarded a $10,000 check from Harding Group for turning the fastest lap on Friday. Those fast laps came early with a tow, but as the day wore on, the action quieted down. For most of the day, drivers were taking turns making qualifying runs. Although the temperatures were much cooler today, all of the rain stayed away from the speedway.

Indianapolis 500 Practice Results

There were a total of 1,260 laps turned by the 35 drivers on Friday, down significantly from the previous days of practice. There weren’t many delays during the seven-hour session, but teams were taking turns making runs, instead of running together. Unfortunately the first significant crash happened in the afternoon when James Davison lost control of his No. 33 car in Turn 2. Davison slammed the outside wall and got off the ground after the impact. He was treated and released, and the Foyt/Byrd/Belardi Racing team immediately began work on repairing the car.

Looking at the non-tow results, it was Team Penske 1-2-3 as Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Simon Pagenaud paced the field. Carpenter was fourth on that list, followed by Sebastien Bourdais. There were some surprising names at the bottom of that list, including Sage Karam, Jay Howard, and Graham Rahal. While the 225.375 mph that Rahal posted was second slowest, he is confident that his RLL Racing team will have things turned around by tomorrow.

Qualifications are up next, beginning at 11 AM on Saturday. There will be plenty of practice before that, with two different groups each getting about 45 minutes of practice time from 8 until 9:30 in the morning. The drawing to determine qualifying order was done this evening, with Zachary Claman De Melo being the first driver to make his qualifying attempt for the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

There have been many questions regarding the qualifying process this year. In simple terms, Saturday is bump day, and Sunday is pole day. The 35 cars will be trimmed to 33 tomorrow, with two teams/drivers being left out of the show. The Fast Nine spots will be determined and they will battle for the pole on Sunday. That is the day that all of the positions (1-33) will be set. The forecast for the weekend doesn’t look great, but this is Indiana.


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