Ed Carpenter turned the fastest practice lap since 2003, as rain-shortened "Fast Friday" preparations for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Carpenter's lap of 230.522 mph, turned less than 15 minutes into the abbreviated "Fast Friday" session set the tone for a run at a 230 mph four-lap average speed in the May 17-18 qualifications. The last driver to top 230 mph in a practice session was Scott Dixon, who recorded a lap at more than 233 mph in the pre-Pole Day session in 2003.
"The car is definitely up to speed this year," Carpenter said. "When it comes to predicting the pole, I think a lot of it will be figuring out what the weather is. If it warms up enough and the air gets a little thinner, certainly I think 230s are realistic, even up to 232 and 233."
The session was halted after 19 minutes because of rain. The first round of qualifications will take place from 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m. (ET), with the 33 starting positions, including the Verizon P1 Award, determined May 18.
Four different teams were represented in the top five, seven entries posted a lap speed above 229 mph, and 10 more bettered the month's previous best of 227.166 mph set a day earlier by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Chevrolet.
Castroneves was second fast (229.843 mph) in the session. Marco Andretti was third (229.419) in the No. 25 Snapple Honda for Andretti Autosport, while Carpenter's teammate, JR Hildebrand, was fourth (229.384) in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet and Josef Newgarden of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing was fifth (229.276).
Carpenter earned the Verizon P1 Award last May with a four-lap average speed of 228.762 mph in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car with a top speed of 229.347 mph on Lap 1. It was the best four-lap average since 2006 when Sam Hornish Jr. won the pole with a four-lap average of 228.985 mph.
DAY 6 NOTEBOOK:
Simon Pagenaud will honor his racing hero Ayrton Senna by wearing a specially-designed helmet in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 25 as a tribute to the three-time World Champion, who died 20 years ago this month in a Formula One race in Italy. Pagenaud was joined by Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran in unveiling the helmet, which will be auctioned off to benefit the Instituto Ayrton Senna, which aids children in need in Brazil.
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda): "Ayrton Senna has been my lifelong hero. When I heard, when he explained that special lap at Monaco in 1988. When I began racing, I found myself feeling what Ayrton was describing. Those were very intriguing moments for me. I had a role model, a big example for me in my life. Even though I never met him, I inspired my whole life after him, understanding what it was all about, what he was thinking, his approach to racing — focused and dedicated — and that strength he had about concentrating. It was just understanding what he was saying that led me to understanding myself. To me, this is a way to continue his legacy somehow and this is the only way I could find to do something and show my passion for what he did. I started thinking about it about two months ago."
GIL DE FERRAN (2003 Indianapolis 500 winner): "This is not just for me, it is the whole racing community for what (Senna) did for racing. He elevated the sport, which is one of the reasons he stands out. He did much for Brazil, for the kids in Brazil and for the world in general. He was an athlete the people could recognize. He inspired a whole generation His helmet, the one we have here today (that Pagenaud will wear in the 500) is something very personal. I remember designing my racing helmet in a history class when I was 14 years old.
HELIO CASTRONEVES (Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner): "I have memories of the first time I met Ayrton, and the influence he has on me. He was the first driver I heard who talked about physical conditioning and concentration. Really special to me was what he did for Brazil. Here, 20 years after his passing, he is revered as a hero, still remembers for carting the Brazilian flag around the race course."
TONY KANAAN (2013 Indianapolis 500 winner): "I owe a lot to Ayrton for where I am today. When I was young and just getting onto racing, I remember before the last race in the contract I had, Ayrton told me he would help me any way he could. He told my car owner that he would be smart to keep me. And he did. Ayrton was a hero to almost everyone in Brazil and I was amazed at how he was received all over the world.. It was not just about what he had done, but more about what it had led to. We have won 500s (referring to Castroneves and de Ferran) and we're still not as great as he was."
The Verizon IndyCar Series' mandated boost level was increased from 130 kPa to 140 kPa for "Fast Friday" practice and for qualifications Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18.
The change in pressure adds about a 40-horsepower boost to the engines produced by Chevrolet (twin-turbocharged Chevy IndyCar V6) and Honda (twin turbo-charged Honda HI14TT). The boost level will return to 130 kPa for final practice on Coors Light Carb Day on Friday, May 23 and the 500-mile race Sunday, May 25.
The 48th annual BorgWarner Louis Schwitzer Award was presented to Andrea
Toso, head of research and development and U.S. Racing Leader for Dallara for the Dallara Racing Simulator during a ceremony this morning in the IMS Media Center.
Presented by engineers to engineers, the BorgWarner Louis Schwitzer Award recognizes individuals for innovation and engineering excellence in race car design associated with the annual Indianapolis 500. The winners are honored at an awards banquet, and their names are immortalized on the Schwitzer trophy on permanent display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The $10,000 award is sponsored by BorgWarner and presented to the winning engineer(s) by the Indiana Section of SAE International.
Initiated in 1967, the award memorializes automotive pioneer, engineer and professional race car driver Louis Schwitzer. In 1909, Schwitzer won the first auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also designed the "Marmon Yellow Jacket" engine that powered the Marmon Wasp to victory at the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
After working in the automotive industry for many years, Schwitzer founded the Schwitzer Corporation, which produced innovative cooling fans, water pumps and turbochargers. In 1999, the Schwitzer Corporation joined BorgWarner. Throughout his career, Schwitzer enjoyed numerous technological accomplishments, supported higher education, led the IMS technical committee and maintained a strong association with SAE.
The IMS Public Address can be heard within the grounds on 100.1 FM.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is back at the Speedway as a driver coach for KV Racing Technology.
AL UNSER JR: "It feels great to be here, it is really hard to put into words really. Indy means an awful lot to me and my family, and to come back here and know that you have been successful, and really it's the fans that make it very special." (About the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational): " I am looking for to the vintage weekend here I think it is the first time they have ever had one here in Indy and I think Toney Parella is doing a great job organizing it. I think it is going to be exciting. (What kind of car will you drive) I don't know yet but it will be a late 1960's or early 1970's muscle car, either a Mustang, Camaro or a Corvette. (Are you free to let it rip) Yes we are free to let it rip and that will feel great." (Would you have liked to have ran the Grand Prix) I would have really enjoyed it. And really because it is the race right before the Indy 500 and it was at IMS so really whoever wins carries a lot of momentum into the 500, for the entire team, the sponsor all that kind of stuff. It would be a race I would really have wanted to win."
ABC will conduct a media conference call at noon (ET) Tuesday, May 20 with members of the team for its broadcast of the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25. This is ABC's 50th consecutive year of broadcasting "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
Guests will include Allen Bestwick, lap-by-lap announcer; Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever, analysts; and Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports, production.
Accredited media can call 888-430-8691 to participate. Media are requested to call by 11:55 a.m. (ET). Contact Andy Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm participation.
1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier talked about his return to the track for practice on Thursday.
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Wynn Institute for Vision Research Chevrolet): "It is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway of course I'm excited. We have some of the key guys on the team from last year and we have some new guys but honestly it would have been really, really good if we could have started on time. But we missed four or five days of practice so you are never really going to catch up from that but we are going to work really hard to make a best of it. (Is the car much different) It is different. There are just a few small adjustments in the car, but you know a full year has gone by and there are a few characteristics that make it different. (You look in great shape) I feel in great shape."
American motorsports broadcaster Paul Page was walking the garage area during the Fast Friday rain delay. Page was the lead announcer for coverage of Indy car racing from 1979-2004 and the NHRA Drag Racing Series from 2006 to 2012. Page has returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the lead radio voice for the 2014 Indianapolis 500.
PAUL PAGE – (What's it like to return to the world famous 2.5 mile oval?) "For me, it's like coming home. It was my passion. I wanted to be a part of this when I was in high school. To get invited back and be working a great job, if you didn't notice – I'm smiling. I've been smiling for months." (What's your greatest memory of working here?) "My favorite, with our broadcast team, was 1982 with (Gordon) Johncock and (Rick) Mears. We were all prepared for that finish. We talked to one another on the intercom system. We knew what was coming. It was predictable. So we said, 'Let's play this to the hilt' and we did. It was great. (Are you excited about calling the 2014 Indy 500?) "If last year's race is any indication, it's going to be another barn burner. The cars are good. They're safe. We've had a fairly safe year too, so the drivers have their wits about them. When I looked late yesterday (Thursday), I think there was one second difference between 29 cars. That tells you something right there. It's anybody's deal." (Are you excited to be calling the race from the radio booth?) "When I went to television, I used to make them angry, but I always said, 'A 21-inch screen limits you to 21 inches.' In radio, the mind is limitless. It's a joy. It's a true theatric. It's a sportscast and a newscast all rolled into one."
Jonathan Byrd's Racing announced that the Byrd family would return to the Indianapolis 500 in 2015 by partnering with a race team to field an entry for two-time USAC National Sprint Car and Midget Car champion Bryan Clauson. Ginny Byrd, widow of the late team founder Jonathan Byrd who died in 2009, and sons David and Jonathan Byrd II plus Clauson were on hand for the special announcement. Clauson raced in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.
JONATHAN BYRD II: "Our short track roots go back to the early '80s and the Indianapolis Speedrome (USAC Midgets) and how much we looked forward to racing at the Indianapolis 500. Bryan Clauson was our first and only choice. Our second announcement is that we were aiming at the 2016 Indianapolis 500 but with the enthusiasm we were receiving that Jonathan Byrd (family) would be back at the 500, in fact, we are saying that in 2015 we will be back at the Indianapolis 500. We love this place so much. The 500 means so much to us and our business. We have missed being a part of it. We're not here just to be here. We want to be here to win."
DAVID BYRD: "When we decided that it was time for us to return to Indy, Bryan was the first, last, and only driver we even considered. We went to him a couple of months ago, told him our plans, and said 'we want you, are you in?' Not only does his resume speak for itself, but everybody knows that Bryan was extremely fast right out of the box when he ran the 500 as a rookie in 2012. It's an honor to have him drive for us, and I'm very happy that we're not going to have to wait another two years to see him in action. We fully expect him to be quick again, and we're going to give him all of the resources that he needs to run up front and compete to win. We'll be ready to compete on the opening day of practice in 2015, as we have entered into an exciting partnership with an existing IndyCar team to create the Jonathan Byrd's Racing Indy 500 entry for BC. We will be making a joint announcement in regards to that partnership in the very near future."
BRYAN CLAUSON: "I'm extremely excited to be headed back to the Indy 500. Getting back on track at IMS is something I've been working toward since the end of the 2012 race, and I can't thank the Byrd family enough for giving me this opportunity. The Byrd family has a tremendous history not only at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but also among the short track community as well. To add my name to an impressive list of Jonathan Byrd's Racing drivers that includes guys like Rich Vogler and Stan Fox is an honor. With what I learned from my previous Indy 500 experience, along with a full year to prepare, I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together."
GINNY BYRD: "We started racing in 1982 and 1985 was the first year at the 500 (Rich Vogler). They have grown up in racing. Their dad had the passion and gave that to them (sons). We have always wanted to come back to the 500. Next year will be our 30th anniversary of our first entry and the 10th anniversary since we last fielded a car (Buddy Lazier in 2005) here. David sent me Bryan's resume. I am reading it and reading it. How old is this driver? He said 24. I have purses older than that. We love the fact that he has a short track racing background and that goes to our roots. This is full circle, full circle, and I'm excited."
INDIANAPOLIS 500 FAST FRIDAY PRACTICE:
At noon, the ambient temperature was 53 degrees with a relative humidity of 55 percent and variable winds at 3 mph. Skies were mostly cloudy. The track temperature was 70 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
2:50 p.m. – GREEN. #27 Hinchcliffe first on track.
2:59 p.m. – #3 Castroneves fastest at 229.798 mph.
3:08 p.m. – #20 Carpenter fastest at 230.522 mph. Carpenter's lap is first 230 mph lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2003.
3:08 p.m. – YELLOW. Rain falling over parts of the Speedway.
4:20 p.m. – CHECKERED. Track is closed due to weather.
Thirty-four drivers have been on the track to date and turned 168 laps today and 7,611 laps this month. Scott Dixon and Carlos Munoz each turned 11 laps today, the most of any driver. There was 1 caution for a total of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 1 seconds today.
FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF PRACTICE:
Six drivers from four different teams have been the fastest in the six practice days so far this month. Team Penske and Andretti Autosport are the only teams to be fastest more than once. A breakdown:
â€¢ Sunday, May 11: #12 Will Power, 223.057 (Team Penske)
â€¢ Monday, May 12: #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, 225.025 (Andretti Autosport)
â€¢ Tuesday, May 13: #27 E.J. Viso, filling in for James Hinchcliffe 224.488 (Andretti Autosport)
â€¢ Wednesday, May 14: #77 Simon Pagenaud, 224.210 (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)
â€¢ Thursday, May 15: #3 Helio Castroneves, 227.166 (Team Penske)
â€¢ Friday, May 16: #20 Ed Carpenter, 230.522 (Ed Carpenter Racing)
MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda): “Unfortunately I don’t think the practice sessions tomorrow morning will help us very much because it is early and the track conditions will change greatly when we start qualifying. We also don’t know exactly what the weather will be like, and we could get more rain tonight. This week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been good for the experienced drivers, but if you’re a rookie like me it was very bad. No one on our team is going to give up though. We’re going to have the pedal to the medal tomorrow morning and keep fighting."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “It felt good. The car is definitely up-to-speed this year. When it comes to predicting the pole what the pole is going to be, I think a lot of it will be figuring out what the weather is. That 230 I did today, I don’t think that would happen on a clean track. But if it warms up enough and the air gets a little thinner, certainly I think 230s are realistic, even up to 232 and 233."
PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Overall it's been a very positive week for us and I’m definitely the most comfortable I've been in traffic driving the DW12 chassis. We’ve made strides tuning the car to work with my driving style, and I got to spend plenty of time on full tanks and in dirty air – come race day all that stuff is going to be very important. I'm really happy with our race preparation so far, and hopefully the increase in temperature that is forecast for race day won't adversely affect us in terms of the great handling we currently have dialed into the car, for running with other cars and passing. Obviously tomorrow is qualifying, and it would have been great to get out there today and do a few runs in clean air, with low aero and the extra boost. Unfortunately we only got as far as pit lane before it rained again, so we never got the Susan G. Komen / Dale Coyne Racing car out on track during the short green flag window. Originally we hadn't planned to run first thing tomorrow morning before qualifying, but now, despite the very cold forecast for tomorrow, it looks like we will be out there early, trying to get a baseline on our car before we go and get into the qualifying line. It's very much a step into the unknown, but luckily I have been here before, and given how good our car was in the dirty air, I'm hoping that also translates to a good car in clean air tomorrow."
JACQUES VILLENEUVE (No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “We have no idea what to expect for tomorrow. We were on old tires in the few laps we got on Fast Friday and we hadn’t trimmed the car out yet. I also had a little bit of a tow on those laps. We haven’t even done a practice qualification run yet. We’re not under any stress though because we’re not in the points championship. Qualifying is almost meaningless for us, so there’s no point in us taking a risk with anything. What matters for us is the race."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “We did just one install lap, but with the extra power we don’t know what the car will feel like (qualifying). You’re just trying to recall what it was like last year. Hopefully we’ll get some laps in the morning so we can at least have a feel for what to expect. (cool track?) It makes a few differences, just trying to get the tires to heat up, especially on your warm-up lap so your tires are working for the full four laps. On a cold track, you have to be a bit hesitant on your first warm-up lap and that could affect your speed coming to the line for your first (green flag) lap. Once we feel the car out, we’ll have much better understanding of everything that we’ll see tomorrow (Saturday). I just hope that we’re quick."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing Honda): “Our car is pretty good. We did some qualifying practice. We’re suffering from a lack of practice time, but everyone’s in the same position. We’re almost ready though, and we have some practice tomorrow morning, which will be useful. But I think we have a good package, and I’m hoping we can make it into the Fast Nine tomorrow."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “This must be the shortest day I ever had for a practice session at Indy. We installed a new engine last night for qualifying. The car was prepared for a qualifying simulation but we just did an installation lap and then a couple laps to check out the balance. Then the track went yellow for rain. Still, the car felt really comfortable and the engine pulled well. It’s a shame that we couldn’t continue to run today due to the weather but at least we got a really good feel so we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s qualifying."
JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 98 Integrity Energee Drink Honda): “We were quicker than the other day. We have a pretty solid baseline and a good direction. I feel pretty good about the prospects about the weekend. I feel really good about going out (qualifying) because we hit 228. I think we’re not where we should be. It should be quite easy to improve the speed with just a few changes. We can make it quite quickly. I’m quite confident for tomorrow (Saturday)."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “We did look decent on speeds without the tow and were sixth on the no tow list which was decent and at least in the top-10. Its only one run so you can’t really read too much into it but it’s a good start. Unfortunately we didn’t run much more which we all wanted to do. It will be an even interesting qualifying weekend. It’s not what you want. For one, you want to try the high boost because we’re all going to go five or six miles an hour faster than we were yesterday and we all have to trim (aerodynamics) and really feel how the car is going to be but at the end of the day everyone is in the same boat so you just need to think that you want to be just a little bit better than they are in your head because of course you have a lot of unknowns going into qualifying. Tomorrow’s practice, if it stays dry, is supposed to take place in really cold conditions — even colder than it was today. It’s another awkward Month of May weather wise and I’m sure that race day will be really hot and we’ve been running in really cold conditions. We’re going to have to get our engineers punching some numbers to make a good guess on what the cars are going to do when it gets warmer."
MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 41 ABC Supply/ A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "We definitely had a decent run at it today. I don't think we did enough; we only got four or five laps running with the extra boost but we didn't actually trim out today. It was very cool to look down on my steering wheel and see the times that we posted. The first time I saw 228, my eyes just bulged. It didn't feel any different than yesterday other than the fact that we were going eight or nine miles an hour faster. The car felt very balanced. There's a few things we need to work on for tomorrow to trim out the car more, but it was pretty cool to see the speeds that we were posting today. I was confident with the car today. We're pretty happy with the balance of the car. It's not perfect; there's things we can always work on. But it's a stable car. We just need to work on taking some of the scrub out of it to get up to speed. But we're feeling pretty confident about qualifications tomorrow. It would have been nice to have tested what we needed to test today so there won't be any surprises tomorrow, but even if we run like we did today tomorrow then we should be in a decent place. But I think as things shake themselves out tomorrow, we'll learn more."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS KVAFS Racing Chevrolet): "We haven’t been able to have as much track time as we had expected, mainly because of the weather but also with what happened at the race last weekend, which took a couple of days away from us. With that said, we are still happy with how everything is going and feel we have a strong car for this month. Going into qualifying this weekend, everyone is a little uncertain of the outcome because of the temperature changes we have had the last few days effects the trim. We just need to keep focus on our program, knowing that we have a strong car. Tomorrow will be very different from any other day so it will be a challenge not just for us but everyone else. We need to do a good job and focus on having a solid start and good points and hopefully fighting for those top nine spots and then having a different perspective for the race."
|6||2||Montoya, Juan Pablo||D/C/F||Practice||6||00:39.2662||229.205||286|
|10||98||Hawksworth, Jack (R)||D/H/F||Practice||6||00:39.4432||228.176||96|
|12||41||Plowman, Martin (R)||D/H/F||Practice||6||00:39.4675||228.036||224|
|14||7||Aleshin, Mikhail (R)||D/H/F||Practice||6||00:39.5046||227.822||221|
|26||26||Busch, Kurt (R)||D/H/F||Practice||5||00:40.0464||224.739||284|
|29||18||Huertas, Carlos (R)||D/H/F||Practice||5||00:40.1353||224.242||236|
|31||22||Karam, Sage (R)||D/C/F||Practice||5||00:40.1960||223.903||263|
|40||33||Davison, James (R)||D/C/F||Practice||5||00:41.4648||217.052||63|