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Archive for August 22nd, 2020

Quotes from INDIANAPOLIS 500 MILLER LITE CARB DAY

 

FERNANDO ALONSO (No. 66 Ruoff Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “It was the last opportunity to test the last few items we had on our list. Some of them were OK, and some of them we will not be keeping for the race. Now we have a more or less clear idea of what we want. Sunday is a completely different thing, and it’s supposed to be a bit hotter, so we will try to adapt to the conditions. There’s nothing more to test on the table, so it’s race time.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): “Today we found a few things we didn’t like in the car, which is good and bad because we found it out before Sunday. We ticked a lot of boxes on a semi-difficult day, but I think we are still in a good position for the race on Sunday.“

OLIVER ASKEW (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “It was good. Probably the best I have felt in traffic. I think we are really going in the right direction and made the right changes over the mid-week break. The No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet felt good throughout the stint, and I passed a few different people. Race Day is going to be a different animal, but I’m sure we are ready to react to the challenges and have a good day.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 United States Space Force Chevrolet): “It’s finally here. It’s time to race. We definitely have some work cut out for us with where we are starting. It’s going to take a lot of hard work with a balance of aggression and patience. Passing is a possibility, but it is a lot harder than in the past. We’re going to have to be opportunities. I am still confident that we’ll find out way to the front, but it’s going to be a battle out there. I am looking forward to the drop of the green, getting everyone on equal footing, on the same tires and running full stints. We’ll see where we are in the U.S. Space Force Chevrolet.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): “Good strong finish for the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet for Team Penske here at Carb Day. We definitely have great pit stops. Everybody seemed to be in sync, and right now we just have to play the game, stay clean and go to the front.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “We just finished up our last practice of the week heading into the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, and I’d say that the Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet feels pretty good in race trim. The track has changed quite a bit since practice last Sunday, so we spent most of today’s practice fine-tuning some things with the car and working on our in and out laps, trying to find some time there. The guys did a great job during pit stop practice getting me in and out quickly. I’m really looking forward to the green flag on Sunday and hopefully working my way up through the field quickly.”

CONOR DALY (No. 47 United States Air Force Chevrolet): “I am definitely excited for the race. This is what we work all of these day for. The guys have done a good job putting together the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet. Hopefully, we can put all the right pieces together for a long 500 miles. We’ll see what happens in the end.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “We had to go through our front wings today just to make sure they’re all close in case we need one in the race. We lost some front grip, and we’re trying to see if the teammates had the same situation. Apart from that, the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda felt really good and really fast. It pulls up wicked fast. Hopefully that’s true when it comes to the race. It definitely looks like there are some good cars out there and some not so good cars, so hopefully we’re on the right end of the grid. I think there has always been, especially these last few years, an underlying tone of ‘it’s hard to pass,’ which it was in that camp last year. This year’s been a lot easier for us. I think a lot of credit goes out to HPD and Honda. We’re proud to be powered by them. They have done a lot to help that, but also I think we’ve made a lot of changes on the team and the car and that’s helped that, as well. It’s good to see.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think it was a really good last practice session. We focused on trying to be in traffic all the time and for me to get the best feeling in the car going into the race. I felt like we made some good improvements throughout the session. We really pushed on and tried to do as many laps as possible. I think we did two full-tank stints, so that’s really good for Sunday to know how the car behaves. Overall, I’m really happy, and the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda is feeling good. We’re ready to go racing.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “We tried a few things today with the SealMaster Honda and made a big improvement over practice last Sunday. I’m a lot more comfortable behind the wheel, and we can actually pass some cars. I believe we have a good car for the race Sunday.”

JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda): “Today we really tried to work on our car in traffic. It was a big improvement from where we were, and if we take that car into the race on Sunday, then I think we’re going to be where we hoped to be. Naturally a big thanks to everybody – Meyer Shank Racing and Honda for continuing to work hard this week. It would have been easy for us to take a chill week, but we worked hard and hopefully that will pay dividends on Sunday.”

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Honda): “Practice today was all right. We made some good changes. I’ve felt confident with the car over the past two weeks, just want to look through the data again and see if we need to make a few changes. I’m looking forward to Sunday and getting the Gleaners Food Bank Honda up front.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 67 DRR Salesforce Chevrolet): “We worked hard today on in and out laps and pit stops, as those will help us gain spots in the race. We are getting closer to what will work best on the car on Race Day. We would like to have a car that is in our window to make adjustments throughout the race. Today were great track conditions. I’m not sure that Sunday will be this cool. We have run in track temps over 120 and 125 degrees. So, we know what our cars can do in that heat. If Sunday is hotter, it doesn’t concern me since we ran well in the hotter condition. I hope some guys are overly-confident with their cars today because a hotter track could affect them more than us. Overall, we learned more again today with our race car.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 29 Genesys Honda): “A solid day for the 29 Genesys Honda. We weren’t super happy in race trim during practice on Sunday after qualifying, so we leaned on our teammates a little bit and came up with a setup that really worked well for us. It’s always nerve-wracking knowing that it’s the last chance to tune it before the big race, but it’s the best the car’s felt in traffic, so I’m cautiously optimistic.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “The 28 DHL boys got a lot done on this Carb Day. I think everybody understands now that it’s pretty difficult running in heavy traffic. We got through our list, and we’ll try to piece it together from here. We’ll make the changes on the car and let her set sail.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Pretty good day, I mean, beautiful day out here. Typical Carb Day. We ran through some tires, pit stops with the guys, checked if everything in the car was OK. The ABC Supply Chevy feels as good as it did last Sunday, so showtime in 48 hours.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet): “We rolled out with a bit more understeer than we had on Sunday. We just overshot our setups this morning. We went back to the garage then and put on last Sunday’s setup and felt a lot better at the end of the practice. I was able to run up on people and stay with them. Toward the end, I got in the gray and skimmed the wall in Turn 4. It didn’t do much to the car. We ran through some fuel settings and different mixtures to prepare for Sunday. We practiced in and out laps and had some excellent pit stops from the WIX Filters crew. As usual, they will help me pick up spots in the pits. They are always able to gain two or three positions on pit stops. I felt comfortable getting into the pit box, and the crew is fast and consistent. I’m sure that will be the case Sunday, too.”

DALTON KELLETT (No. 41 K-Line USA / AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “That’s a wrap on Carb Day. We just finished up our two-hour practice—the last practice before the big race. The car feels really good. We did some balance checks and two really long runs. On the first long run, we felt pretty competitive; we did an aero sweep on the second run and came out a bit shy on our COP (center of pressure) and we were struggling a bit, so it’s important that we keep on top of that for the race and adapt as the conditions change. Even today at 11 o’clock it was quite a bit cooler than when we finished up at 1. So, we’re going to have to adapt the car and make changes during the stops, and that’s going to be key to being fast at the finish. I can’t thank the A.J. Foyt Racing crew enough — they gave me a great car. The No. 41 K-Line USA Chevy feels great, and I’m excited for 11 rows of three going into Turn 1 in a couple days!”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 4 Tresiba AJ Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet): “Well firstly, I just want to say we miss the best fans in racing. It’s not the same. It’s a very different energy here on Carb Day. It was nice to get a good two hours of running. The No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet came out pretty good this morning. We kept making it better, making it better. I’m pretty happy with the race car. I think we’re going to clean it and let her sleep until Sunday because we’ve got a lot of work to do on Sunday starting 29th , but there are 500 miles. The guys did some practice pit stops, and the guys have been great in pit lane all year, and they were good today. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s race. There’s something special about being in those 11 rows of three starting ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ being a part of the 104th Running. It’s just an incredible feeling even if the energy is very different.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Shell V-Power Nitro Team Penske Chevrolet): “I think the Shell V-Power Nitro Chevrolet is pretty good, to be honest with you. You don’t want to be overconfident, but I feel cautiously optimistic. It’s been fast in traffic and felt really fast today. I think Team Chevy has a really good package for us for the race. So, feeling very confident with what they are bringing. Carb Day is one of those days if you need it, you use it all. If you don’t, you take it easy and not use the car up. It felt like the second of those for us. I’m optimistic. I think we have a shot. It would be amazing to win this race. It is so special; you just grow to love it more. I’ve been so fortunate. This is my ninth ‘500.’ I would love to win this race. But you can’t force her. If it is going to happen, it is going to happen. But to win one for The Captain in these trying times, we are going to do our best to make it a great race.”

PATO O’WARD (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “I think we are ready for the challenge ahead. It was a very positive day in terms of how we were feeling in traffic, passing cars, and playing around in five-, 10-, and 15-car trains. I think it is going to be very interesting to see how the cars will behave on Sunday in 10-15 degree hotter temps. I think we are ready, and we ended the day very happy with how everything fell and felt. So, we are looking forward to Race Day and going forward.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s always going to be about balance. Chevy has got it tremendous in race trim. We are equal to the competition, and we have plenty of speed in race trim. It’s going to be all about finding the balance in your race car the entire day. The wind might change, and when the wind shifts, you might find yourself good in (Turn) 2 and bad in (Turn) 4. The cars are very sensitive this year, much more than last year. So, balance is going to be everything. It’s also going to be about downforce, no question. We are going to have to run close to people, and we need downforce. So, the question is going to be how much. For me, it is going to be about balance. We are going to have to be aggressive from the start to pass people to get clean air.”

ALEX PALOU (No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda): “My first Carb Day felt awesome. I was missing being in the car. We had a full week of practice last week and then we had all these days off, so I was ready to get back in the car. Practice went well. The car felt even better than last week, which is crazy to think because last week I was super happy and now I’m even happier. I was able to do more overtakes today in a single run than last week in all the free practices. I think we’re looking strong. I’m feeling really comfortable with the car. We were able to practice a lot of pit stops, not just for the crew but also for me to practice coming in and going out and stopping on the marks. We checked all the boxes of what we wanted to do. Everything looks positive, so now we’ll try our best to win the race on Sunday.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 45 Hy-Vee RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport Honda): “The final session before the big race was pretty tricky. At the beginning, the car was a little bit different than we expected. I don’t know if the track just changed a lot since Sunday or what, but by the end of the session we definitely got our Hy-Vee / Embrace Pittsburgh Honda feeling a lot better, so we will take a look at what our teammates did and see what they found and put together a great car for Sunday hopefully.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon 5G Edge Team Penske Chevrolet): “We were quite far off at the beginning of today. I was worried that we weren’t going to find anything. Then we found some stuff late in the session, and hopefully we have the Verizon 5G Edge Chevrolet in the window where it needs to be. Obviously, we are starting back in the pack, so I tried to run around cars and see how it is going to be. We have really good pit stops, great guys on the car. I think that is going to be our game, with strategy and our pit stops is where we are going to make time up. But it’s every man for himself. It is the Indy 500, but if we can be mistake-free, we can get ourself to the top five.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “It was an interesting day for us in the United Rentals car. When we started off, it was a pretty big struggle for us, but our guys stayed extremely focused and committed, and we found a really good race car at the end. It’s going to be interesting. There is a lot of different downforce levels and a lot of different things to watch for this race. I think it’s going to be a tricky one. There were a lot of guys close to hitting the fence each and every lap, so buckle up: This is definitely going to be an exciting one. But we feel good about the No. 15 car, so let’s see how we do.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was a difficult session. I didn’t feel the same confidence as I had on Sunday in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda. We’re starting over a little bit, so hopefully we can just nail it on Race Day. That was a tough session. There was a lot of weird moments, both loose and pushy. We just have to sit and really think about what happened there because that’s not where we want to start the race.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Auto Nation Honda): “It was a pretty good day. We got through everything we wanted to, and I think we are in a decent place with the car. This place is tricky -the track conditions change from day to day. I think from where we ended Sunday afternoon to today, we kept a pretty similar car, so if we can do there here in 48 hours, I think we will be pretty happy.“

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Panasonic/PeopleReady Honda): “I think it was a nice Carb Day. We tried a couple of things we wanted to double-check, and we got what we want. I believe we now are ready. The three of us will now debrief and check the data. The guys did a great job. I can’t wait until Sunday.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “Luckily, we resolved the speed issue that hurt us during qualifying, so that’s not a concern. We had a really, really good car on Sunday and we didn’t change much, but the track definitely was a little dirty today. At the beginning of the session, we were a little worried, but by the end, we had it all sorted out. I can’t wait to get the 26 Gainbridge car back out on track for the race Sunday!”

RINUS VEEKAY ( No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet): “We have a really strong car going into the race. I found out that passing is going to be tough. Track position is going to be important, but I think have the right people around to guide me through the race. With this car, we have a shot at winning! That’s a lot to say as a rookie, but it’s exciting!”

 

 

QUOTES COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Indy 500 Fans Can Show Racing Spirit through Fun, Exciting Digital Opportunities

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020 – Race fans will have a virtual presence at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge through a series of interactive opportunities announced today.

Submitted photographs showing fans’ racing spirit at home will be showcased in a Virtual Fan Mosaic, displayed with an image of the Borg-Warner Trophy. The mosaic will be shown on NBC’s broadcast, the IMS big screens and various social media platforms.

The mosaic will show that fans of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES were “there in spirit” for the 104th Running. Submissions may be shared at IMS.com/500InSpirit or using the hashtag #500InSpirit on Twitter and Instagram.

NBC will air Sunday’s race at 1 p.m. (ET), with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

NBC is collecting notes from drivers and fans to be included in its “Message in a Milk Bottle” time capsule, to be opened next May prior to the 105th Running. The 33 drivers have written notes that have been secured in individual milk bottles that will be opened prior to the 2021 Indianapolis 500. The messages focus on the people drivers will race for Sunday and why the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is special to them.

Fan submissions will be put in a giant milk bottle and can be submitted using the hashtag #MessageInAMilkBottle on Twitter.

Advance Auto Parts is calling on fans to celebrate DieHard powering most of the “500” field in 1970 — 50 years ago — by submitting videos of themselves doing their best rendition of the iconic “Start Your Engines” command for use on social media and at IMS on Sunday. Enter at www.CallingAllDieHards.com. Entrants will be eligible for a random drawing for 50 winners to receive a $200 gift card good toward the purchase of a DieHard battery or any other items sold by Advance.

Finally, fans can create and share #Indy500 branded selfies using the new photo wall feature of the IMS Mobile App, available now on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store for Android.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF IMS COMMUNICATIONS

 

INDYCAR News: ’5 Things To Look For’ Heading into the 104th Indianapolis 500

 

INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Aug. 21, 2020) – After more than a year of waiting, one of the cornerstones of the American sporting landscape roars back to life. The 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pits 33 of the best racing athletes in the world against each other in a 500-mile quest for immortality. Some of racing’s legendary drivers made their names at Indianapolis. Who will join them Sunday, Aug. 23?

Here are 5 Things to Look For at the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

 

Curse? What Curse?

Does the Andretti Curse exist in August?

Marco Andretti doesn’t seem to think it does.

The third-generation driver from one of racing’s most storied families has been one of the fastest drivers in the lead-up to the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Last Sunday he became the first member of his famed racing family to win the Indy 500 pole in more than 30 years, joining his grandfather Mario as an Indianapolis 500 pole winner. 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti won the last of his three Indy 500 poles in 1987.

Now he seeks to join his grandfather on the Borg-Warner Trophy, by capping a perfect August with a win in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday.

“I don’t think it (the curse) exists in August, so we are good,” Andretti said in an interview this week. “As a family we would talk that we are blessed, not cursed, but it is a cool media story, and we have been running with it.

“Results-wise, yeah, maybe there is something to it because, man, the three of us have been so dominant here. We have a bunch of podiums, but this is one place where that doesn’t matter.”

 

Team Penske chases The Captain’s 19th Indy 500 win from mid-pack

If Team Penske is to claim its third Indianapolis 500 win in a row, it will have to do it from further back in the starting field than normal.

The highest-placed Team Penske driver is Josef Newgarden, who starts 13th in the Indianapolis 500, while defending champion Simon Pagenaud starts 25th, one row behind 2018 winner Will Power, who starts 22nd. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves starts even further back, in 28th.

But luck may be in Team Penske’s favor. The last time the team failed to place a car in the first three rows of an Indianapolis 500 was 2002, when Castroneves and Gil de Ferran started 13th and 14th. Castroneves went on to win the race.

 

 

Fernando’s Final Chance at Triple Crown?

Fernando Alonso will start his second Indianapolis 500, but the two-time Formula One World Champion knows it may be his final chance to earn the “Triple Crown of Motorsports,” at least for the near future.

The Spanish driver, who has wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Monaco Grand Prix, qualified 26th in the No. 66 Ruoff Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. But he is due to return to Formula One in 2021 with Renault, so he won’t be able to race at Indianapolis next May due to conflicting events.

“I agree with you, the team has the potential to have a competitive package here,” Alonso told INDYCAR. “They have the experience, they have the talent, and they have the personnel. It’s up to us now to have a good event, clean days like we had today with no issues. We are trying to improve the car step by step, small set of changes but always trying to have 100 percent answers, positive or negative while not getting lost.”

Graham Hill is the only driver to complete the Triple Crown, while two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, the only other active driver with two wins, would complete the feat with a win at Le Mans.

 

 

No first-time jitters

Five rookie drivers will make their Indianapolis 500 debut Sunday, but two have shown no first-time jitters. Dutchman Rinus VeeKay, 19, qualified fourth, the best performance for a teenager in Indy 500 history. He was honored as the fastest rookie by the American Dairy Association on Tuesday. Another rookie, Spain’s Alex Palou, qualified seventh.

 

 

Chasing History

Eight former winners qualified for the Indy 500, the most former winners to start the race since a record 10 former winners started the 1992 race.

Helio Castroneves is the only multi-time winner who will compete in the race as he seeks to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500.

If one of the other seven former winners – Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan or Scott Dixon — win on Sunday, they would join the exclusive club of 19 multi-time winners of the race.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honda’s Fastest Seat in Sports To Lead Andretti Family into History before Indy 500 Sunday

 

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020 – For the first time in its storied history, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) will host three generations of racing royalty on track together just before the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, Aug. 23. Legendary racer Mario Andretti will take his son Michael on a thrill ride in Honda’s Fastest Seat in Sports, before Mario’s grandson and Michael’s son, pole winner Marco Andretti, leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES field to the green flag in the 104th Running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Though an Andretti has been competing at IMS since 1965, Sunday will mark the first time that all three generations of the accomplished racing family will run together on the iconic 2.5-mile oval. Mario Andretti, who ranks second on the all-time INDYCAR win list with 52 career victories, won the 1969 Indianapolis 500. Michael Andretti posted 42 wins in his distinguished career and led more laps (431) than any driver that has raced in the Indy 500 without producing a victory. Marco became the first Andretti in 33 years to win the Indianapolis 500 pole position when he proved to be the fastest driver in qualifying last weekend, earning the NTT P1 Award in his Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda-powered entry.

Mario will be behind the wheel with Michael riding just behind his father when they turn high-speed laps in a custom-made, two-seater Indy car for Honda’s Fastest Seat in Sports on Sunday. They will ride in front of the 33-car field before Marco Andretti and his fellow drivers race into Turn 1 at the start of the Indianapolis 500 at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday (live, NBC and Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network).

“I’m one of the few that can say I’ve been teammates with both my father and my son – and now to have the opportunity for all three of us to be on track together, on Race Day at IMS, is really special,” Michael Andretti said. “Dad and I are really excited to do this together, but we’re still fighting about who’s going to drive.”

Said IMS President J. Douglas Boles: “The Andretti family has such an incredible history and tradition at the Indianapolis 500. What a great way to celebrate the Andretti legacy with three generations of the family on track together for the first time at IMS, led by the Fastest Seat in Sports.”

Honda’s Fastest Seat in Sports continues to help wave the green flag at NTT INDYCAR SERIES races and is a fan favorite. Mario Andretti has provided memorable rides for Fastest Seat in Sports participants in recent years, including such special guests as Lady Gaga, Channing Tatum, Nick Cannon, Mark Wahlberg and Julian Edelman.

Visit IMS.com for more information on the 104th Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, Aug. 23. Live coverage of the race will start at 1 p.m. (ET) on NBC and the Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF IMS & INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Rookie O’Ward Leads Miller Lite Carb Day; Three ‘500’ Winners Near Top

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Aug. 21, 2020) – Rookie Pato O’Ward turned the fastest lap of Miller Lite Carb Day practice for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Friday, Aug. 21, with winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” looming large in the next three spots on the speed charts.

O’Ward, from Monterrey, Mexico, produced a top lap of 225.355 mph in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet during the two-hour final practice before Race Day this Sunday. O’Ward will start 15th when “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” takes the green flag at 2:30 p.m. (ET), with live coverage starting at 1 p.m. on NBC and the Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network.

RESULTS: Final PracticeCombined (All Sessions)

“I think it’s just been really important to try and get the best car under us for Race Day,” O’Ward said. “I think traffic running is going to be key. It’s going to be my first ‘500.’ From just feeling out practice and everything, it’s so important to have a car that’s able to follow closely and be able to get runs on people, ultimately move forward instead of moving backward.”

2008 Indy 500 winner and five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon was second fastest on the 2.5-mile oval as teams worked on their race setups, with a best lap of 224.646 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Dixon will start second Sunday.

“We had to go through our front wings today just to make sure they’re all close in case we need one in the race,” Dixon said. “We lost some front grip, and we’re trying to see if the teammates had the same situation. Apart from that, the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda felt really good and really fast. It pulls up wicked fast. Hopefully that’s true when it comes to the race.”

2016 “500” winner Alexander Rossi was third overall at 224.599 in the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts/AutoNation Honda. He starts ninth Sunday.

Takuma Sato, winner of the 2017 Indy 500, ended up fourth at 224.580 in the No. 30 Panasonic/PeopleReady Honda. He will start third Sunday, on the front row with Dixon and pole sitter Marco Andretti.

Arrow McLaren SP placed two cars and rookie drivers in the top five, as Oliver Askew was fifth at 224.128 in the team’s No. 7 Chevrolet entry. Askew starts 21st in the 33-car field Sunday.

Pole sitter Andretti has been a fixture near the top of the speed charts in every session since practice opened Wednesday, Aug. 12, but he ended up 28th overall Friday at 221.314 in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda.

Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso was 23rd Friday at 222.680 in the No. 66 Ruoff Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Alonso will start 26th Sunday as he attempts to become just the second driver to win the “Triple Crown” of motorsports with victories in the Indianapolis 500, Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Helio Castroneves ended up 17th at 223.093 in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet as he will try Sunday to become just the fourth four-time winner of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Castroneves will start 28th. If he triumphs, it will tie the all-time race record for the deepest starting spot of the race winner, a mark set by Ray Harroun in the inaugural race in 1911 and matched by Louis Meyer in 1936.

 

 

PRACTICE RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

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