INDIANAPOLIS – Its been a great week of Verizon IndyCar Series practice in preparation for next Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network). All three days of action, 21 full hours, were run with limited interruptions. In fact, mother nature only reared her ugly head once all week, but it was for only a half an hour on Tuesday for rain that never came. Friday’s forecast appears to be iffy though, so that and other factors will make the seven hour practice session much different than any we’ve seen this week.
Fast Friday gives the teams and drivers an increase of their boost levels. They go from 130 kPA to 140. All that means, more speed.
Why is it different then? Tuesday through Thursday of practice saw the teams with race day boost levels. So, why got out and do many mock qualifying runs on the 2.5-mile race track when the car is going to feel completely different on Friday when the boost levels go up? With added boost means different setups. So, that’s why we saw so many laps turned this week because this was race day prep. Fast Friday? It’s all about qualifying now.
The boost levels will stay around through Sunday. So, why prepare for race day sims this weekend when you won’t be racing with these levels? Plus, there’s 35 cars going for 33 spots now. You have to first make the race. With the margin for error so small, you need to do all the q-sims you can do in order to be among the fastest 33 in the field. So, you don’t want to get any false readings and get a tow from a car in front, because that could hurt you too. All that group running we’ve seen all week, well that ends. Friday is all about speed and speed only. With rain threatening, whenever we can have cars on track, expect the speedway to be busy.
Last year, Sebastien Bourdais was quickest in an abbreviated session, also interrupted by rain with a speed of 233.116 mph. The pole last year was won by Scott Dixon with a four-lap average of 232.164 mph. What will this year’s best?
This added boost will give you an extra 3-5 mph. So, with the quickest time so far on their own being near 224 or 225, expect speeds to be a bit down this year compared to last.