By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana- With the turbocharger boost raised for Fast Friday, the final pre-qualifying practice ahead of the 101st Indianapolis 500, Honda let their top chargers run wild as they secured 10 of the first 11 spots on the speed chart before rains came down to delay practice.
Before the rain, Sebastien Bourdais drove his No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda to the fastest lap with 233.116 mph his average around the 2.5 mile oval. The St. Petersburg resident was also fastest on the no-tow chart with an unassisted lap of 231.192 mph.
Behind Bourdais was 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay with his No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda going 232.132 mph. Teammate Takuma Sato went 231.969 mph for third fastest while Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest Chevrolet in fourth place as his No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits car went 231.682 mph before rain came to pause practice.
The track went green shortly after 4:05 P.M and little more than a half hour later, the wall claimed its first victim of the day.
Spencer Pigot’s No. 11 Juncos Racing Chevrolet hit the wall with the right side of the car coming off of Turn 2. Pigot was checked and released from the infield medical center and was cleared to drive. Pigot didn’t know what happened.
“I’m not really sure yet, just went into Turn 2 like I had been and before I knew it I was backward,” Pigot said. “You know that corner really hasn’t been an issue for us all week so it’s [a] pretty surprising place for something like that to happen so we’ll just have to go back and look at everything and see what happened.”
The green flag came back out but with less than 20 minutes to go, another victim met the wall.
Zach Veach’s No. 40 IWIT Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing got loose in Turn 1, hitting the wall with the right side of the car as he was exiting the corner. The car slid along the south short chute before hitting the wall again with the right side of the car.
Veach was checked and released from the infield medical center and was also cleared to drive.
“We’ll have to go back and look and see,” said Veach. “Not exactly sure at this point. We were a little nervous, the run before we took some front wing out and the warmup laps, everything felt fine, just got to the middle of [Turn] 1 and it just turned unexpectedly. I’ve never had a car turn that quickly on me before, so I want to go back and see what happened because at this point I’m not exactly sure.”
Bourdais’s pre-rain lap time held up for the fastest lap of the day but the order behind him changed slightly. Hunter-Reay nad Sato were still behind Bourdais but Fernando Alonso went fourth fastest with a lap of 231.827 mph, dropping Montoya to fifth.
Amazingly enough, Montoya was the only Chevrolet in the top 12 cars while Honda had 13 of the top 15 cars on the speed chart, the only other Chevrolet being Helio Castroneves in 13th.
Alonso did 46 laps, bringing his monthly total to 463 laps which is 1,157.5 miles, or the driving distance from Biloxi, MS to El Paso, Texas. The field did 1,040 laps which is 2,600 miles, or slightly shorter than the driving distance from Daytona Beach, Florida to Boise, Idaho.