After a slight delay for rain, the stars of the NTT IndyCar series were able to hit the track one more time in preparation for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday. All 33 drivers took to the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, turning a combined 2,353 laps that were incident-free. Much like practice and qualifying, everyone was chasing Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing team.
Dixon turned a top lap of 228.323 mph during the nearly two-hour session, further cementing himself as the favorite to win this Sunday as he starts from pole position. Oddly enough, the last time Carb Day was altered due to rain was 2008, when Dixon won the race from pole. Should history repeat itself, Dixon would be well on his way to a seventh series championship as double points are awarded to the winner.
Friday “Carb Day” Indianapolis 500 Practice Results
The cooler temperatures and green race track made for ideal conditions for the drivers. “Everybody felt like King Kong out there with the weather conditions,” Dixon said. “That may give you an indication of how the race will be. If it’s like this, it’s going to be mentally draining. There’s going to be a lot of action going on.” The forecast for Sunday is sunny, but with temperatures in the high 60’s in the afternoon.
While Team Penske’s struggles in qualifying trim were well documented, their cars look dialed in for the race. Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden were 2nd and 3rd fastest on Friday, with another Chevrolet-powered car just behind them in Conor Daly. Fan favorite Marco Andretti rounded out the top five on Friday, in what was a wild week for the third-generation driver.
All eyes will be on Will Power at the start of the race. He starts from the last row, but like his teammates, has shown to be fast in race trim. Power was 6th fastest on Friday, just ahead of his rookie teammate Scott McLaughlin. Veterans Tony Kanaan and defending winner Takuma Sato were 8th and 9th overall with Sage Karam rounding out the top ten.
Several contenders that are starting up front were further down on the chart on Friday, including Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson, Colton Herta, Ed Carpenter, and Rinus VeeKay. Teams were seeking to cross off different checklists throughout the session.
The day was not without drama as Daly and Santino Ferrucci had a moment on the track late in the session. The two could be considered rivals at this point and will be one of the many storylines to watch on Sunday.
The cars will now rest in Gasoline Alley until the morning of the race. The goal for them will be to complete all 500 miles, while the goal for each driver is to drink the milk in victory lane. Gates open at 6 AM on Sunday. Around 8:30 cars will head to pit lane, followed by driver introductions just before Noon. Prerace ceremonies will begin at 12:25 with the green flag set to wave at 12:45 on Sunday. Live coverage begins at 11:00 on NBC and the IndyCar Radio Network.