INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 9, 2008) – After two days of sitting in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garages under rainy conditions, today cars were finally able to take to the track for the fourth day of practice for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500.
A total of 33 cars practiced on the storied 2.5-mile oval, with some Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe posting competitive lap times and speeds - Briscoe posting a fourth-fastest lap (39.7978 seconds, 226.143 mph) in his No. 6 Dallara/Honda and Castroneves eleventh fastest (40.1757 seconds, 224.016 mph) in the No. 3 machine. Bad weather did not completely stay away, as the scheduled six hour session ended at approximately the 3 ½ hour mark due to rainy conditions.
Qualifications for the 2008 Indianapolis 500 start Saturday, May 10, from noon to 6 p.m. ET. The qualifying procedure is unique at Indianapolis, with positions 1 through 11 set on Saturday, 12 through 22 set on Sunday, while positions 23 through 33 are set on Saturday, May 17th. Sunday May 18th is “Bump Day” where some of the previous qualifiers may end up out of the race.
The most important qualifying day for Team Penske will be Saturday, known as “Pole Day” – the only day that the prestigious pole position and front row will be set. Castroneves has a record four pole positions in his seven previous starts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2001, 2002, 2003, 2007) and Team Penske newcomer Briscoe is looking to improve on his previous best starting place of seventh (2007) in his two tries at the speedway.
The weather prediction for Saturday looks promising at mostly sunny and 68 degrees and both Team Penske drivers look forward to an exciting qualifying day. The event will be broacast on ABC/ESPN2 television networks at the following times (ET): Noon to 2 p.m. – ESPN2; 3 to 6 p.m. – ABC; 6 to 7 p.m. – ESPN2
Quotes from Friay’s practice session and predictions on pole speeds for Saturday:
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda: “I guess Mother Nature is just not cooperating with us this week. It's too bad we couldn't run more today. I would have liked to have done a few more things out there, but I still think we're in good shape for tomorrow. I'm not concerned with the other drivers' speeds today, because I think a lot of them were getting tows; it'll be interesting to see who has what during qualifying tomorrow. It is what it is, and it's the same for everyone. We'll use the short practice session in the morning to our advantage and see what we can do. It would be the best birthday present tomorrow if I could put the No. 3 Team Penske car on the front row!" (Castroneves turns 33 Saturday)
Castroneves predicts the pole speed to be around 225.1 mph.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda: “It was great to get back out on the track today after a couple of days off. We went out to continue working on our qualifying set-up, and we were really happy with the balance and speed of the car. As a result, we didn't want to risk anything by running in traffic too much and called it a day after 24 laps. It will definitely be interesting to see how much everyone gambles tomorrow given the fact that the weather isn't looking so good for Sunday. Overall, we're cautiously optimistic about our chances.”
Briscoe predicts the pole speed to be around 225.3 mph.
Practice Speeds For Day Four of Indianapolis 500 (position, car number, driver, chassis-engine and speed in miles per hour):
1. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 226.968 (39.6531 seconds)
2. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 226.710
3. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 226.688
4. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 226.143 (39.7978 seconds)
5. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 225.990
6. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 225.674
7. (4T) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 224.811
8. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 224.744
9. (12) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 224.712
10. (17) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 224.125
11. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 224.016 (40.1757 seconds)
12. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 223.593
13. (16) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 223.549
14. (99) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 223.518
15. (06) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 223.291
16. (5) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 223.023
17. (2) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 222.980
18. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 222.750
19. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 222.559
20. (02) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 222.459
21. (8) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 222.311
22. (33) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 222.095
23. (67) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 221.978
24. (22) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 221.026
25. (18) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 220.923
26. (44) Max Papis, Dallara-Honda, 220.429
27. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 219.268
28. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 219.030
29. (24) Jay Howard, Dallara-Honda, 218.971
30. (19) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 218.293
31. (96) Mario Dominguez, Dallara-Honda, 217.918
32. (36T) Jaime Camara, Dallara-Honda, 216.138
33. (36) Enrique Bernoldi, Dallara-Honda, 214.808