Final Indy 500 practice in the books


Tony Kanaan at Carb Day practice (WTTV May 5, 2014).

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An 18-minute weather delay began IndyCar’s final practice before Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, but the field of 33 drivers eventually got on the track and cranked out nearly 1,800 laps in just over an hours worth of time.

2013 Indy 500 champ Tony Kanaan topped the speed chart on the day.

“A good day for us,” said Kanaan. “Obviously, conditions look like pretty similar to what we’re going to see on Sunday hopefully, so you know, it was a pretty easy day for us.”

Friday may have been easy for the No. 14 team, but the week leading up to it was not.

“I wasn’t really happy with my car on Monday,” Kanaan continued, “and I was extremely vocal about it, and I think my engineers heard me, so we made it better today.”

Friday was also a solid day for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing as a pair of their drivers, Takuma Sato and Jordan King finished in the top five on the speed chart.

“I think we have a strong package,” said Sato. “Not the strongest package we’ve had, but I think we made good progress. We will have a look at data and compare the three cars to see if there’s anything we can squeeze out of the speed and stability for Sunday.”

“I think we’ll go back and work on a bit more of our traffic pace,” said King, “but overall I’m reasonably happy. I think if we can just sort a couple things out we’ll be good. I’ll let you know if I’m comfortable about 50 laps into the race.”

The third RLL driver, Graham Rahal, looked a little uncomfortable Friday, brushing the wall coming out of turn two about 30 minutes into practice. However, Rahal didn’t sound flustered at all post practice. Quite the opposite.

“I’m a cautiously optimistic person,” explained Rahal, “so if I tell you it’s good, it’s good. I was able to pass a lot of guys, I was up there with the Penske boys at the end. If it stays like that and we get ourselves into a good position, then I think we have a good chance at this thing.”

The 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to go green around 12:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

“It’s the most competitive field I’ve ever seen in my 18 years here,” said Kanaan. “Qualifying was extremely hard, and it’s really tight. So yeah, I think it’s going to be a difficult race. I do strongly believe that everybody, every single guy starting this race, and girl, they think they can win this race, which is true.”

Ericsson wins Pit Stop Challenge: Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Marcus Ericsson won the Pit Stop Challenge to wrap-up the on-track portion of Carb Day.

The rookie beat Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in a best-of-three final.  The drivers speed to their pit crews for a four-tire change, before racing to the finish line.

“It might be fun and games, but everybody is out there to win.” Ericsson said.  “To see the guys how happy they are and how much it means to everyone, it’s a great way to start the weekend.”

It’s Arrow SPM’s first win in the competition after losing in the final the last three years.

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