Power Posts Fastest Team Penske Lap in Friday Practice
May 17, 2013INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 17, 2013) – Team Penske was able to record some fast laps – including its quickest of the week – during the abbreviated Fast Friday, the final full day of practice before Saturday’s pole qualifying for the 97th Indianapolis 500.
Will Power led the way during the rain-shortened session with a fast lap of 228.401 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, the team’s top speed during the seven practice days and the fourth-fastest lap overall on Friday.
“Today was the best our Verizon car has been all week,” said Power, who will attempt to win his first career pole at the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday. “We made a few changes based on what we have been working on during the week and the car is a lot better. It was nice to go out there and finally put a solid time up on the board. We did a mock qualifying run and we feel like it was a respectable effort. We will keep working, but we are in the best shape we’ve been in all week.”
AJ Allmendinger was clocked at 227.199 mph – seventh-best of the day – in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet.
“The IZOD Chevrolet was really fast today and I hate that we had to cut the session short due to the rain,” said Allmendinger, who will experience his first Indianapolis Pole Day on Saturday. “Luckily we were still able to learn a lot in the short amount of practice we had today. It was great driving around with the boost and another wrinkle that I needed to get comfortable with. We are going into tomorrow ready to compete for the pole and hope to make it a big day for Team Penske.”
Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves had a lap of 226.988 mph in the No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Dallara/Chevrolet, the 11th-fastest lap of the day.
“Unfortunately the rain cut our day short because the Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet was having a good day,” said Castroneves, who last won the Indy 500 pole in 2010. “We definitely have some more speed left in the car and I know the guys will help me get it out."
Rain cut the session short about halfway through. Allmendinger completed 20 laps, Castroneves 19 and Power 12. The team will have one more practice session Saturday at 8 a.m. ET before qualifying begins at 11.
Castroneves has won the Indy 500 pole position four times. Former Team Penske driver Rick Mears holds the record with six poles. Should Team Penske win the pole Saturday, it will join 2006-2007 and 2009-2010 as the third time since 2006 that the team will have won the pole in consecutive years.
“Pole Day is always so nerve racking and tense for the drivers,” added Castroneves. “It’s one of the things that makes the Indianapolis 500 so special and I am looking forward to doing the best we can tomorrow."
After qualifying, Castroneves, Power and Allmendinger will attempt to help Team Penske add to its record of 15 Indy 500 wins.
Pole qualifying will be televised live by NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. ET. Live coverage of the Indianapolis 500 will be begin at noon on May 26 on ABC.
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