SPEEDWAY, Ind. – It had all the makings of living up to its name before “Fast Friday” became a washout.
A severe storm moved through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with heavy rains, strong wind gusts and lightning at 3:15 p.m. Eastern Time before the session was called at 3:42 p.m. So instead of having a chance to top the 230-mile per hour mark the 33 drivers entered for the May 26 Indianapolis 500 will have to wait until Saturday morning’s practice session at 8:30 a.m. to see if one of them can crack the 230 mph mark.
But that’s not the important thing. That begins at 11 a.m., as Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 will run through 4 p.m. The fastest nine drivers will advance out of that session into the “Fast Nine” which begins at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 6 p.m. The Pole Winner will be fastest driver during that session and the starting order for the first three rows will also be determined.
So far, it appears the five-driver Andretti Autosport contingent is in contention to not only make the “Fast Nine” but also could be favored to win the pole. E.J. Viso of Venezuela was the fast driver on “Fast Friday” when he used the extra boost allowance to run a fast lap of 229.537 miles per hour in a Dallara/Chevrolet.
“We went little by little, step by step, trimming the car one step at a time,” Viso said. “Until that point, I believe our realistic time was in the high 227s or low 228s by ourselves. There are so many factors in play when we were running that we really won’t know until all of the factors are the same for everyone. I think that we have evolved as a team and heading into the right direction. Every day we’ve been on the track and testing a number of pieces on the car and, as of today, we have a stronger car than what we started the week with. It’s all about finding as much mechanical grip as possible, and when it comes time to trim it, you should be in a good position if you did your homework.”
“I think we have a strong team, and we will definitely have a good shot for it,” Viso said. “But the Penske guys have showed that they are strong. I think Helio (Castroneves) didn’t put everything he had in his run before it rained. Will (Power) was fast. AJ (Allmendinger) was the first car to go out on the track, and he was not totally trimmed and he was competitive. Those guys are also doing their homework, and that is what we are here for. It is fun. It is a great month, and the more competitive it is makes it better for the series, better for the team. It’s better for everyone, and it’s really what we like.”