“Fast Friday” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway lived up to its name in spite of a portion of the day being hampered by thunderstorms. The cars all received a boost in horsepower in anticipation of Saturday and Sunday’s qualifying session.
Ten minutes into the practice session, former Indy 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay logged the fastest solo lap run at 232 MPH. Hunter-Reay’s speed was 6 MPH faster than Sam Schmidt Racing’s Jay Howard had achieved the day before.
With 22 drivers exceeding 230 MPH after only having 2 to top 226 MPH all week that made practice a spectacle in and of itself. Plenty of blazing hot laps were made in the roughly three hours the drivers had on track. The only thing slowing drivers down was mother nature.
Storms rolled into the Central Indiana area around 1:30 and put a halt to Fast Friday practice for a two and a half hour period until the track officials could dry off the track. This put many teams into a bind of what they needed to work on for qualifying on Saturday.
Juncos Racing’s Spencer Pigot made heavy contact with the Turn 2 wall after the delay ended, causing significant damage to the No. 11 Chevrolet. Pigot was uninjured and quickly cleared to drive after a visit to the infield care center at the track.
“I’m not really sure what happened,” said the 2015 Indy Lights champion. “Entered Turn 2, it had not been an issue for us all week. Before I knew it, I was backwards. We’ll have to go back and look and see what happened.”
At the conclusion of practice this week Andretti Autosport looks like a forced to be reckoned with after having their cars dominate practice charts all week. Three of the top 5 drivers in practice Friday were Andretti drivers (Hunter-Reay, Alonso, Sato).
It will be interesting to see who can try to top the Andretti team come qualifying Saturday, but I see no one coming close to breaking the momentum they’ve built over this week of practice.