Castroneves tops Friday speeds at Indy An exciting "Fast Friday" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway set the stage for Saturday's Pole Day qualifying, with Team Penske's Helio Castroneves setting the pace with a lap of 228.611 mph, the fastest run in four days of practice this week.
Other potential pole contenders include both Alex Tagliani with Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Sarah Fisher Racing's Ed Carpenter, who have been at or near the top of the speed charts all week; Castroneves' teammates, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power; and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing duo of Scott Dixon and defending race winner Dario Franchitti.
All but one of the 40 drivers in the field practiced today. Simona de Silvestro is not yet cleared to drive after suffering burns in a spectacular crash during practice on Thursday. A rear suspension failure sent de Silvestro's HVM Racing Honda Dallara hard into the Turn 3 wall. The car then became airborne and rolled before coming to rest, on fire, in Turn 4.
The 2010 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year was able to get out of her overturned car unassisted, but sustained second-degree burns on her right hand and additional, less serious burns on her left hand. She hopes to return to action in her backup car for qualifying this weekend.
Action at the speedway continues tomorrow with a morning practice session, followed by Pole Day qualifying to set the first 24 starting positions for the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500. Qualifying coverage will be provided by Versus, beginning at 11 a.m. EDT.
Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske Honda) fastest in practice Friday and for the week, will attempt a record-setting third consecutive Indianapolis 500 pole: "There is something more in the car, but I think a lot of others have something more as well. Today was 'Fast Friday' and a lot of people were laying down the [rear] wings and simulating qualifying. We also made several runs in race trim earlier in the day. It is very hard to get a clean lap when there are 40 cars out there, but even by ourselves we were in good shape. We feel very confident and for sure, we're going to go for [the pole]."
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