Indy 500: Pagenaud leads no-tow times in final practice
The four Team Penske-Chevrolets were the only Fast Nine contenders on track in final practice before qualifying, and it was Simon Pagenaud’s #22 car that moved to the head of the no-tow speeds with a stout 229.409mph lap.
Pagenaud completed only one qualifying simulation, but it was enough to lead his teammates Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Will Power in that order.
Pagenaud’s top lap was 0.2mph faster than Castroneves’ best, although the four Penskes were covered by just 0.4mph, and all in the 229s.
Judging by Saturday’s pace, their main opposition will come from Ed Carpenter, whose ECR-Chevy was second fastest yesterday, behind Castroneves. Carpenter took pole for Indy in 2013 and ’14, and this year all three of his entries – the others being Spencer Pigot and Danica Patrick – have made it into the Fast Nine shootout.
The only Honda runners to make it through are three-time Indy polesitter Scott Dixon for Chip Ganassi Racing and Sebastien Bourdais for Dale Coyne Racing.
The session to decide the order of grid positions 33-10 starts at 2.45pm local time, with Fast Nine commencing at 5pm. In both sessions, drivers are allowed just one four-lap run, with positions set by the average over those four laps.
Junqueira hopes Schmidt Peterson won’t buy Hinchcliffe a ride
Indy 500: Carpenter beats Penskes, scores third Indy pole