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Penske Team 1-2 on Fast Friday at Indy
Helio Castroneves paced a frantic "Fast Friday" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as IZOD IndyCar Series teams fine-tuned their setups in advance of Pole Day.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time Indy 500 pole sitter Castroneves recorded a lap of 39.7250 seconds (226.558 mph) in the No. 3 Team Penske car. Thirty cars were within a half-second of Castroneves, with 10 different teams represented in the top 15.

Castroneves' teammate Will Power was second at 226.429, with FAZZT Race Team's Alex Tagliani third at 226.153. 2008 winner Scott Dixon was fourth at 225.828 in a Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, with KV Racing Technology's Mario Moraes rounding out the top five at 225.806.

The top 24 spots in the 33-car starting field will be filled through traditional four-lap attempts. The times of the top nine cars based on time from Segment 1 will advance to Segment 2 for a 90-minute shootout for the PEAK Performance Pole Award presented by AutoZone and bonus points that could impact the season-long driver championship race.

Enticements include a $175,000 payout to the pole winner along with significant paydays for the other front-row starters, championship bonus points and, of course, the No. 1 position for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 30.


VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "I think today was good. Yesterday we tried some things that didn't work, came back today and everything worked fine, so I think it was a good day. We were not as aggressive as some other teams that are out there now because tomorrow is going to be different weather-wise. We felt we should wait until tomorrow, so we'll know the conditions we are dealing with before we start changing those details for qualifying. I'm encouraged."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/DRR): "It was not bad. We had a slight tow, not a great one. We went a bit quicker than what we went the other day, and that was with a big more downforce. When we trimmed it out, we thought we could do a pretty good lap time, but it didn't come. We've been a little bit slower, a little bit slower. The Z-Line Designs car has been pretty quick, and we put a few more go-faster parts on it and it's not quite having it right now. We'll get it worked out, though."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 30 The Quick Trim/RLR Special): "I think we made a lot of progress today with the car. We've always been pretty happy with our pace, but we were struggling to maintain that speed throughout a full run. But we've made gains over the day, and now we're consistent to within two-tenths of a second through the run, and that's an encouraging sign. I think we're awfully competitive now, and we should have a pretty good shot to do well this weekend."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 41 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): "It's been an interesting day for us. We struggled a bit earlier in the day just trying to find a balance, and we made quite a few changes. We ended the day well, so that's what counts and that's important going into qualifying tomorrow. We have a pretty balanced car, and we can still trim out more tomorrow, so we'll just have to wait to see what we can do."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team): "I feel like I'm sounding like a broken record, but it was another perfect day. It's been a dream week so far. The B & W boys have done such a great job. Last night I was in the garage by myself waiting for an interview and looking at the car, just going around and looking at every detail. I had to write my boys a note and tell them, 'Thank you so much for building this baby,' because just looking at the car makes me speechless. I know that here, in this particular place, where every tenth of a mile per hour counts and all the little bits and pieces on the car are so important, so what we are doing here (being fast) is because of way the crew has built the car. So I wanted to show them my appreciation. We know we have a chance to be in the fast nine tomorrow, and if we have a clear run, we should be OK. Hopefully, that is what happens in qualifying tomorrow, and at the end of the day, we'll see how far we can push the car to be on the front row and maybe even the pole."

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 Herbalife Ganassi/Schmidt Racing): "We're comfortable but not as fast as we want to be. But the balance is good. The engineers and mechanics are doing a great job. We made some changes and improved the car; then we made a change that wasn't so good. Then we were able to fix it, which is important. It's always good to have the ability to fix things that don't feel right. I'm quite pleased with all of that, and tomorrow, maybe if we put an extra coat of wax on it, we can have a go." (Do you worry about your qualifying draw?): "I just show up tomorrow morning and just listen to what the engineers have to say. You can't control it anyway. It is what it is."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): "It was another good day. Both cars are running well, and we learned a lot between the two cars. We were able to trim the car out to a place we wanted and ran quite a few laps on qualifying (simulation). I'm quite happy. We'll study the data from today so that we can make the right decisions for tomorrow."

MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 Conquest Racing): "We focused mainly on the qualifying trim today and learned some good things for this weekend. We probably could have been even more aggressive on the setup, but we will leave that for the morning. After this week, I think we have a good chance of qualifying, and we will do our best to be in the top 24 tomorrow."

BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 36 Conquest Racing RACB): "We were able to improve our speed once again today, which is positive for tomorrow. We worked solely on our qualifying trim and went quite quick, especially on one lap, but still need to find more consistency. We continue moving in the right direction daily, giving us a bit more confidence before qualifications this weekend."

JAY HOWARD (No. 66 Service Central/Sarah Fisher Racing): "The weather was actually good to us today. Don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing, but we will find out tomorrow. We made changes throughout the day to the car and feel good about our progress during this week of practice. Fingers crossed I can get the Service Central car in the show on the first day of qualifying."

SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing): "We're really working hard to get the Dollar General car to where we need to it to be. I'm thankful that the weather held off today, and we weren't under a yellow too much because of rain. We really needed that extra time in the car to figure some things out. I'm hoping tomorrow goes well for not only myself, but also for my teammate."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): "We've done most of what we can do right now to get the speed out of the car. We're really trimmed, and I'm pretty happy with the balance. The IZOD car is pretty neutral. We're just going to do the best we can tomorrow. Hopefully, it will grease up a little bit tomorrow and get slick. I think that will fall into our favor because we might have a better balance than some out there. I would just love to qualify tomorrow and go race."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "It was a good day for the 7-Eleven team, I think. I had a realistic speed in mind today for a goal, and I think we achieved that. Now we'll just have to see how things go tomorrow. As a team, I think we did what we could. I'm obviously concentrating on tomorrow, but the real thing is a week from Sunday."

JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Team Window World): "We didn't think we'd even get on track today. The weather seemed to hold off. We're still struggling to find speed, to be honest. We're working at it and taking downforce off the car. We've been working with teammates and following a lot of different things. Hopefully by tomorrow we'll find our speed so when we go to qualify, we'll put her in the show."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "I think we made some progress today with the Venom car, but it can be hard to know for sure. Things here can change so fast from one run to the next - sometimes without even making any changes to the car. The field is really tight this year, and there are a number of cars posting quick speeds. We had pretty consistent times today and were able to stay inside the top nine, so let's hope we can do the same tomorrow."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): "It was a big day for us. We tried different cars, changed engines and we found some good speed. The No. 6 Team Penske car is getting better every time I go on track. I feel really good with the car that I have going into tomorrow, and I am excited about having a fast car on Pole Day here at Indy."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "Long day for the Target team. Speed is hiding from us at the moment."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "I seemed like we ran more laps today than we had in any previous day so far this month. We are just missing a bit on our qualifying setup. Hopefully we can get it sorted out tonight in our qualifying meeting and be ready to go do the job we need to do tomorrow. This morning a few people picked up some tows. We worked on the car as much as possible. We were struggling with balance and fuel. I wasn't real comfortable with the car to trim out to the degree we need to. We did a lot of laps. We didn't go through a whole lot of tires. All in all, we got the car a little bit better but still not where we need to be. We were going to have another crack at it right at the end, but the rain started to come."

ALEX LLOYD (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America): "We finally got to trim out a little. The weather held us back the last couple of days. The speed's pretty good. It's certainly where we thought we would be. We certainly have more on the table with regards to downforce. We're still a little on the conservative side. We're feeling pretty happy. We finally got to show the speed we felt we had in the car. We'll try to increase that. There's definitely a little bit left." (About Pole Day): "There are a lot of quick cars. We would have to nail it perfectly to get in the top nine. A realistic goal for us would be the top 15; we'd be pretty happy. That's a very achievable goal."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Panasonic Formula Dream): "Today we did a qualifying trim run all day. We did a 225 (mph lap) consistently. So I am very happy. I think we are in good shape to get in the top nine tomorrow." (On the possibility of having nicer weather tomorrow and that changing the setup): "For sure, especially the out lap and the first lap is very difficult with cold conditions to get up to speed. So if the track gets warmer, I think it will be good for all the drivers. I think that will mean more speed. It's going to be very interesting." (Are you surprised how well you've done so far this year?): "Well, yes I am, definitely. Last year I struggled a lot. I'm looking more forward to the race day. I have a good car; I think a good strategy, as well."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 23 Mona Vie/DRR): "The session went all right for us. We just worked on qualifying stuff today. We are looking for a little bit more speed, but we think the car is coming to us, so hopefully we will peak at the right time, and that is tomorrow."

MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dad's Root Beer/DRR): "Today we ran a lot of race trim stuff and just got the car ready for the race, making sure that we have the car nice and comfortable. So far it looks pretty good and we got some good speed out of the car and we can run pretty close to the cars in front of us, and that's the main thing. We have been keeping the car consistent, as well, a long run is important and we have been working hard on that. This afternoon we worked on more qualifying runs, too, and fingers crossed we will have some good speed in the car. We need to do the same thing for qualifying tomorrow. We will just put the car on track and make sure the speed is there again and then line up and do a good time, and hopefully we will be up there."

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Ipiranga/DRR): "Today the weather forecast was kind of wrong. It was supposed to rain all day, and I'm very happy that it wasn't right because we were able to do some laps. In the first session, we worked on the race setup, and in the afternoon we worked on qualifying to see what it was like. It was another productive day, and I'm very happy about it. Tomorrow is another big day, and we are getting ready for it."

MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "Today was a good day for the KV Racing Technology team. We ran some qualifying setups, and the car felt pretty good. We still have some setups to try tomorrow, but I think we have a good car for qualifying, and I hope we can be in the top nine tomorrow."

PAUL TRACY (No. 15 GEICO - KV Racing Technology): "We had an OK day. We trimmed out for the first time today, and we had the car a little too loose. The car was a little bit of a handful. We didn't get as much running as we would like today. I had a bit of a moment when the car got oversteer, and I chased the car up the track. So I ended up brushing the wall. We checked over the car and had to go through the tech line again for Saturday's qualifying runs. We didn't get a chance to go back because the tech line was long. In the morning, we'll go hard at it in qualifying trim."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology): "Today the Lotus - KV Racing Technology team concentrated on the qualifying setup. We didn't do a lot of running, but we completed the program we wanted to do. The weather once again was cooler than expected, which is a reason why we finished earlier, but I feel comfortable with the car and am looking forward to my first Indy 500 qualifying tomorrow."

E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KV Racing Technology): "The PDVSA - KV Racing Technology team were playing catch-up today after a couple of days behind from my accident, but it's a good feeling to know that things are getting back to normal. Today we started trimming the car. We still need to change a few things to reach the speeds we need, but I think we made some good progress with my 'T' (backup) car. Tomorrow we will be in a much better position to finish our work on our qualifying setup."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "Today was another great day, the best it's been all week. The Verizon car feels great out on track, whether I'm in the draft or out on my own. I think we're prepared for Pole Day, and I know I'm anxious to get out there and give it a go. Helio got the fast lap again today, so I know all the Team Penske cars are capable of being on top tomorrow. I'm just hoping it'll be the No. 12 Verizon car."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): "Today's practice session was a great improvement from yesterday, for sure. The GoDaddy car is dialed in, but we still have some work to do before Pole Day. But I feel really confident on where we are at."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport): "It was quite a hard day for us. We were at a good point in our learning curve and setting up the car, but today was a bit different. We tried several new things from yesterday and lost quite a bit of momentum on the progress we were making speed-wise. As soon as we located the problem we were having, I started to feel comfortable again and to search for speed, but by then the day was over. However, I am very positive for tomorrow as we found our mistakes and we will be putting into practice what we know has worked for us."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "Certainly with the conditions we had today, we put all of our focus on qualifying. You want to make sure you get a clean run in and try to simulate a qualifying run as closely as possible. We're fast and we're pushing to the limit and trying to make sure that we're comfortable for tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a little different than past years because we may not have had as much practice time, but we're happy and we're right there." (On the goals of the team): "Every team that comes here wants to be the fastest and get the triple crown of the pole, the pit stop competition and the race. We've been running well, but we've found that there's a lot of other good cars out there that might surprise a lot of people. We're going to continue working and try and squeeze a little bit more out of the car before we go into the real deal." (On the difficulty of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500): "Oh, boy. Today's fast lap was just the one time. I couldn't get three more. It just shows that when you push to that area, it is very difficult. The conditions change all the time. Tomorrow will be different, and the new format is going to be very interesting." (Comparing this year to last year): "Last year, after the trial, everything was a bonus. We didn't change anything, and it was a good result. This year, we have the same mentality, and we've got to keep pushing. I don't feel any of the pressure; I just feel that you've got to always go to limit, and you can't play around here." (On the drivers who have won four times): "I always saw them as the gods of racing. You always talk about them. For me, Rick Mears, A.J. Foyt, and Al Unser Sr. are the icons of motorsports. When people mention that I have the possibility of joining them, I just feel honored. I'm going to work four times as hard so that I can get close to them."



Car Driver Team Laps Time Gap To 1st Speed
1. 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske 17 39.7250 - - 226.558
2. 12 Will Power Team Penske 15 39.7476 0.0226 0.0226 226.429
3. 77 Alex Tagliani FAZZT Race Team 21 39.7960 0.0484 0.0710 226.153
4. 9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 65 39.8533 0.0573 0.1283 225.828
5. 32 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology 13 39.8573 0.0040 0.1323 225.806
6. 11 Tony Kanaan Andretti Autosport 35 39.8906 0.0333 0.1656 225.617
7. 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 19 39.9467 0.0561 0.2217 225.300
8. 26 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 39 39.9475 0.0008 0.2225 225.296
9. 10T Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 49 39.9501 0.0026 0.2251 225.281
10. 99 Townsend Bell CGR/Sam Schmidt Motorsports 28 39.9685 0.0184 0.2435 225.177
11. 30 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Racing 54 39.9749 0.0064 0.2499 225.141
12. 19 Alex Lloyd Dale Coyne Racing 30 39.9817 0.0068 0.2567 225.103
13. 06 Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas Racing 18 39.9823 0.0006 0.2573 225.100
14. 24 Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 54 39.9894 0.0071 0.2644 225.060
15. 6T Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 24 39.9901 0.0007 0.2651 225.056
16. 41 A.J. Foyt IV A.J. Foyt Racing 49 40.0280 0.0379 0.3030 224.843
17. 15 Paul Tracy KV Racing Technology 14 40.0386 0.0106 0.3136 224.783
18. 21 Davey Hamilton de Ferran Dragon Racing 46 40.0483 0.0097 0.3233 224.729
19. 2 Raphael Matos de Ferran Dragon Racing 42 40.0508 0.0025 0.3258 224.715
20. 14 Vitor Meira A.J. Foyt Racing 36 40.0781 0.0273 0.3531 224.562
21. 22 Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 36 40.0861 0.0080 0.3611 224.517
22. 5 Takuma Sato* KV Racing Technology 24 40.1017 0.0156 0.3767 224.429
23. 36 Bertrand Baguette* Conquest Racing 34 40.1049 0.0032 0.3799 224.411
24. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 22 40.1095 0.0046 0.3845 224.386
25. 20 Ed Carpenter Panther/Vision Racing 17 40.1108 0.0013 0.3858 224.378
26. 78 Simona De Silvestro* Stargate/HVM Racing 36 40.1123 0.0015 0.3873 224.370
27. 23 Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 19 40.1470 0.0347 0.4220 224.176
28. 7 Danica Patrick Andretti Autosport 39 40.1535 0.0065 0.4285 224.140
29. 66 Jay Howard* Sarah Fisher Racing 53 40.1756 0.0221 0.4506 224.017
30. 34 Mario Romancini* Conquest Racing 49 40.1942 0.0186 0.4692 223.913
31. 43 John Andretti R.Petty/Andretti Autosport 34 40.2926 0.0984 0.5676 223.366
32. 8T E.J. Viso KV Racing Technology 51 40.2931 0.0005 0.5681 223.363
33. 18 Milka Duno Dale Coyne Racing 34 40.2966 0.0035 0.5716 223.344
34. 67 Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher Racing 59 40.4435 0.1469 0.7185 222.533
35. 29 Sebastian Saavedra* Bryan Herta Autosport 74 40.4958 0.0523 0.7708 222.245
36. 25 Ana Beatriz* Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 59 40.4995 0.0037 0.7745 222.225

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