SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Thunderstorms cut Indy 500 practice short yesterday.
Still, drivers turned 1,717 laps as they try to get dialed in for race day. That’s a task that Dale Coyne driver Sebastien Bourdais (BOR-day) has found to be difficult this year.
“You’re seeing not a lot of legit passes in practice because you’ve got guys that don’t really want to lead so they just back off,” Bourdais said. “That creates a bit more dynamic that it would be in actual race scenario.”
Bourdais noted that Thursday was the hottest track temperature they had seen all month long, which made things a little slick out on track. He’s hoping conditions will be a bit cooler and lesser windy on race day. Otherwise, he said every driver will be “struggling somewhat.”
Ed Jones was the fastest driver in practice Thursday turning a top time of 227.853 mph. He also had the best “no tow” lap at 224.9. That’s the fastest unassisted lap we’ve seen so far this month.
Jones said the speed is coming thanks to his ability to tap into the expertise of his boss, Ed Carpenter.
“It’s the first time I’ve been part of a team where the owner is also a driver,” Jones said. “It’s quite a different concept.”
It’s a concept he said is extremely beneficial.
Fernando Alonso was the only driver not to get any practice laps in Thursday. He crashed his McLaren Chevy in Turn 3 Wednesday. The crash forced McLaren to bring out the back up car, which they spent all day Thursday getting track-ready.
Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing was able to get back out on course in a back up car, but he was well off the pace. Rookie Pato O’Ward crashed in Turn 2 Thursday, almost identical to how Rosenqvist crashed on Wednesday. He was able to walk away from the crash.
Today, drivers will be allowed an extra boost of horsepower as many will be focusing solely on getting the car ready for qualifying tomorrow. Many drivers are predicting speeds to got slightly north of 230 mph.
Last year’s pole speed was 229.618 by Ed Carpenter.
(PHOTO: Mike Harding/IndyCar)