SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 16, 2014) – Fast Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was on track to live up to its billing on Friday before persistent rain showers again forced an early cancellation to the session. Team Penske drivers were able to post laps among the fastest on the final full day of practice before Saturday’s first day of qualifying the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves recorded the second-fastest time of the day -- 39.1571 seconds (229.843 mph) -- in the No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. It marked the fastest practice lap of the week for Team Penske.
“You know, I thought we could approach the 230 miles per hour limit with the added boost today,” said Castroneves. “If the weather had cooperated I really believe we could have seen some amazing speeds today. The rain is the same for everyone, but we know we have a fast Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Chevy.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, preparing to make his first Indy 500 start since he won the 2000 race, posted the sixth-fastest lap -- 220.205 mph -- in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“It can be a little frustrating to have rain on and off all day,” stated Montoya. “But like Rick Mears said this morning, Team Penske is one of the most prepared teams in motorsports. When you have that kind of preparation it makes it easier to deal with delays. The Verizon Chevy is fast. We’ll see what we have tomorrow.”
Will Power, who leads the Verizon IndyCar Series standings, had the 22nd-fastest lap -- 223.202 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“Qualifying is going to be interesting, for sure,” said Power. “We’re like a lot of teams in that we made an engine change early in the week, so we’d already missed some track time. Now we are missing even more with the rain. The No. 12 Verizon Chevy – like all the Team Penske cars – has plenty of speed. We should be fine.”
Team Penske benefitted from an increase in horsepower allowed for Fast Friday and Saturday’s qualifying. Teams will practice again Saturday from 8-10 a.m. ET while qualifying is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
Saturday marks the start of a new qualifying format over a two-day period. All cars will have a chance to qualify on Saturday with the final starting positions determined on Sunday. The fastest nine cars will compete for the pole position on Sunday.
“With any new format, it will be interesting,” said Castroneves. “If the weather gets in the way of the format, we have a lot of different things to do. Certainly, as these guys said today, understanding what your shot is here is really what you have to do.”
ABC-TV’s live coverage of qualifying begins at 4 pm ET.