Honda Strong Again During “Fast Friday” at Indianapolis
• Honda drivers, teams claim top four positions Friday, and 11 of top 12
• Fernando Alonso ends practice fourth overall, fastest rookie
• Qualifying to set the 33-car field takes place this weekend
SPEEDWAY, Ind., (May 19, 2017) – “Fast Friday” lived up to its name today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as Honda drivers dominated the speed chart in the final day of practice before qualifying begins Saturday for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.
With turbocharger boost turned up to the higher, qualifying levels permitted by series rules, Honda drivers led by Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais claimed the top four speeds after five days of practice. Honda drivers and teams also claimed 11 of the top 12 positions today, despite mid-afternoon rain that caused a halt in the action for approximately two and a half hours of the six-hour session.
Following Bourdais in second through fourth were Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato and two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso. The 2016 pole winner, James Hinchcliffe, made a big jump in speed on Friday to end practice sixth fastest for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, followed by teammates Mikhail Aleshin and Jay Howard, in seventh and eighth, respectively.
Another Honda rookie, Ed Jones, ended the week ninth overall, followed by the defending race winner, Alexander Rossi. Chip Ganassi Racing teammates – and previous “500” winners – Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon round out the top 12 for Honda.
First-round qualifying on Saturday will determine the contenders for the pole in Sunday’s “Fast Nine” shootout, with final qualifying then setting the field for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 28.
Sebastien Bourdais (#18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) fastest in Indianapolis 500 practice: “Yeah, there’s never a bad day when you’re at the front. Definitely happy with the way things turned out for us this week. The car felt good. We tried a couple of [changes] and finished the session really happy with the speed and the car balance. Hopefully, it stays that way. Indianapolis is a tricky place. When you get any sense of consistency through different conditions – sunny, shade, different track temps, humidity, wind – it always gives you confidence. You never know what’s going to come at you the next day. I think tomorrow’s [qualifying] is going to be another example of that. We’ll just hopefully be able to deal with those conditions very well and, you know, make it happen when it matters, ’cause this is obviously awesome.”