Rookie Munoz Fastest At Indy Sunday

Ed Carpenter on track during Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (IndyCar Photo)

E.J. Viso of Andretti Autosport was third at 222.523 mph in a Dallara/Chevrolet followed by teammate Marco Andretti’s 222.485 mph in a Dallara/Chevrolet. Rookie driver A.J. Allmendinger was the first driver to break up the Andretti pack when he ran a lap at 221.279 mph for Team Penske in a Dallara/Chevrolet.

“Another day in the learning process today, and we got a couple different things tested in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet that should be helpful as we move on,” Allmendinger said. “We did a couple of short runs and a full-tank run so I could see how the car would feel, and I am getting more comfortable with it. To a certain degree, I also got to see how the car is going to react in traffic, and I thought that was really good. Obviously, the cold conditions are a little different than what we will probably have for the race. But to do a race run, the car felt pretty good, and I’m happy with the progress we made.”

James Hinchcliffe, who leads the series with two wins in the first four races this season, was sixth on the board with a lap at 220.907 mph in a Dallara/Chevrolet. That was ahead of the fastest Honda of the day – Charlie Kimball’s 219.778 mph for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“The last time we all ran together on an oval was last September, so to get out there with all the other guys was a good starting point,” Hinchcliffe said. “It was really just, more than anything, blowing some of the cobwebs off ourselves as drivers running in a draft at a place as tricky as the Speedway. I think it’s a good starting point. There’s obviously a lot of work to do; we’ve got some things we want to try, and I think you’ll see us running together a lot over the week.

“I think you’ve got to have a lot of respect for each other and the racetrack when you’re here, certainly. Because the speeds we are going are just so much greater than on a road course. Also the nature of the racetrack – it’s just one groove, and it’s a very sensitive place to race. We’re showing each other a lot of respect out there right now, but we’ve got to keep doing it and working to make sure we can be aggressive as we need to be on Sunday (Race Day).”

Last year’s Indy 500 Pole Winner Ryan Briscoe returned to an IndyCar Sunday after he finished second in the LMP2 class to teammate of Marino Franchitti, the younger brother of three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti, in Saturday’s ALMS race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He jumped on a Red-Eye flight from the West Coast and flew all night before landing in Indianapolis at 6:15 a.m. Sunday. After catching a few hours of sleep in an Indianapolis hotel Briscoe was not only first on the track for Saturday’s second day of practice but he was also the last driver off the race course a few minutes before 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

“It was a long 24 hours,” Briscoe said. “Our race last night finished at 10:30 local time in Indianapolis. I’m feeling a bit tired now.”

It was a very long day for Briscoe but he is back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and could be a driver to watch this year in the 500-Mile Race. By starting on the pole in last year’s Indy 500 it gave the driver from Sydney, Australia a new perspective.

“I learned a lot last year,” Briscoe said. “It’s the first year with this car and it’s the same car and engine from last year (although he was in a Chevrolet for Penske in 2012). It was a big learning curve and certainly I’ll carry everything over and try to build on that.

“I feel very lucky to be here.”