Honda Strong Again During “Fast Friday” at Indianapolis

5/19/2017 10:32:00 PM

  • Honda drivers, teams claim top four positions Friday, and 11 of top 12
  • Fernando Alonso ends practice fourth overall, fastest rookie
  • Qualifying to set the 33-car field takes place this weekend

"Fast Friday" lived up to its name today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as Honda drivers dominated the speed chart in the final day of practice before qualifying begins Saturday for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

With turbocharger boost turned up to the higher, qualifying levels permitted by series rules, Honda drivers led by Dale Coyne Racing's Sebastien Bourdais claimed the top four speeds after five days of practice.  Honda drivers and teams also claimed 11 of the top 12 positions today, despite mid-afternoon rain that caused a halt in the action for approximately two and a half hours of the six-hour session.

Following Bourdais in second through fourth were Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato and two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso.  The 2016 pole winner, James Hinchcliffe, made a big jump in speed on Friday to end practice sixth fastest for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, followed by teammates Mikhail Aleshin and Jay Howard, in seventh and eighth, respectively. 

Another Honda rookie, Ed Jones, ended the week ninth overall, followed by the defending race winner, Alexander Rossi.  Chip Ganassi Racing teammates – and previous "500" winners – Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon round out the top 12 for Honda.

First-round qualifying on Saturday will determine the contenders for the pole in Sunday's "Fast Nine" shootout, with final qualifying then setting the field for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28.

Sebastien Bourdais (#18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) fastest in Indianapolis 500 practice: "Yeah, there's never a bad day when you're at the front. Definitely happy with the way things turned out for us this week.  The car felt good. We tried a couple of [changes] and finished the session really happy with the speed and the car balance. Hopefully, it stays that way.  Indianapolis is a tricky place. When you get any sense of consistency through different conditions – sunny, shade, different track temps, humidity, wind – it always gives you confidence. You never know what's going to come at you the next day. I think tomorrow's [qualifying] is going to be another example of that. We'll just hopefully be able to deal with those conditions very well and, you know, make it happen when it matters, 'cause this is obviously awesome."

Indianapolis 500 Day 5 "Fast Friday" Practice
Circuit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval), Indianapolis, IN
2016 Winner: Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport Honda) 166.634 mph average
Weather: Mostly cloudy, mid-afternoon rain, mild, humid, 78 degrees F

Indianapolis 500 Practice Results (Combined Monday-Friday):

Ps.

Driver      

Team

Manufacturer

Best Speed

Day Set

  1.

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Honda

233.116

Friday

  2.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Honda

232.132

Friday

  3.

Takuma Sato

Andretti Autosport

Honda

231.969

Friday

  4.

Fernando Alonso-R

McLaren Honda-Andretti

Honda

231.827

Friday

  5.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Team Penske

Chevrolet

231.682

Friday

  6.

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Honda

231.517

Friday

  7.

Mikhail Aleshin

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Honda

231.446

Friday

  8.

Jay Howard

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Honda

231.255

Friday

  9.

Ed Jones-R

Dale Coyne Racing                

Honda

231.252

Friday

10.

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Honda

231.191

Friday

11.

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

231.054

Friday

12.

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

231.016

Friday

13.

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Chevrolet

230.982

Friday

14.

Oriol Servia

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

230.887

Friday

15.

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Honda

230.769

Friday

16.

Will Power

Team Penske

Chevrolet

230.717

Friday

17.

Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter Racing

Chevrolet

230.712

Friday

18.

Max Chilton

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

230.636

Friday

19.

JR Hildebrand

Ed Carpenter Racing

Chevrolet

230.627

Friday

20.

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Honda

230.335

Friday

21.

Pippa Mann

Dale Coyne Racing                

Honda

230.103

Friday

22.

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Honda

230.007

Friday

23.

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Chevrolet

229.973

Friday

24.

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Chevrolet

228.624

Friday

25.

Jack Harvey-R

Michael Shank-Andretti

Honda

228.426

Friday

26.

Sage Karem

Dryer & Reinbold Racing

Chevrolet

228.159

Friday

27.

Carlos Munoz

A.J. Foyt Racing

Chevrolet

227.956

Friday

28.

Conor Daly

A.J. Foyt Racing

Chevrolet

227.225

Friday

29.

Gabby Chaves

Harding Racing

Chevrolet

227.168

Friday

30.

Zach Veach-R

A.J. Foyt Racing

Chevrolet

227.082

Friday

31.

Sebastian Saavedra

Juncos Racing

Chevrolet

226.224

Friday

32.

Spencer Pigot

Juncos Racing

Chevrolet

226.170

Friday

33.

Buddy Lazier

Lazier Racing

Chevrolet

219.640

Friday