“Turn up the boost and turn ’em loose!” So it went on Fast Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today as teams spent the last full day of practice trimming out their cars in search of speed. The engine manufacturers gave the teams a slight increase in boost which saw 12 cars top 230 mph including Tony Kanaan in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet.
Tony Kanaan: “It was an okay day, this day is always nerve-wracking. You try to judge what you’re going to have for tomorrow. You’re on the edge because you have to run qualifying runs but at the same time you don’t want to crash the car because you don’t want to give the guys extra work. To me this is the worst day, A.J. didn’t even show up today, that’s how nervous he was. I’m glad we went okay. We’re decent and I believe with the early draw, we have a pretty good chance. If we’re top four rows, I’ll be extremely pleased because I think we can win from there.”
Total Laps Run: 21
Top Speed: 230.011
No Tow Speed/Rank: 228.481/17
Matheus Leist: “Busy day here at the track. A lot of stuff going on most of the day. Just getting as comfortable with the car as I can for tomorrow. We did a lot of changes through the day and the last two runs I felt way more comfortable with the car than I did earlier. I think we had a pretty decent day. I think we are in the mix and we just have to go through qualifying tomorrow and do a clean, smooth run and see where we qualify.”
Total Laps Run: 29
Top Speed: 228.741
No Tow Speed/Rank: 227.233mph/28
Team President Larry Foyt: “Well the week really has flown by, I can’t believe it’s already qualifying tomorrow. We haven’t run as much as maybe we’d like to but we just had little things that we’ve been tidying up. Here you just want to make sure everything’s perfect before qualifying. The cars I think are pretty fast. Tony’s really happy with his car and Matheus has just been working up his confidence, so I think we can qualify really well. It’s going to be super close. I think how a guy manages his run and uses his tools to keep the car balanced during the whole run is going to be really important. You’ll see some people with really fast laps early but they may fall off more than some who have a consistent run. It’s the four-lap average that counts. It’s going to be an interesting day. We got a good draw with Tony which is great but Matheus, well it looks like he’ll have to go out when it’s hot in the afternoon, but that’s just the luck of the draw. I just want to get both cars in solidly and hopefully have one of them fighting for that Fast Nine.”
The team does not plan to participate in the morning practice. Qualifying begins at 11 AM ET on Saturday. According to the qualification starting order drawn, Tony Kanaan is slated to go out ninth (in reality about sixth when backup cars are discounted) while Matheus Leist is slated to go out 54th (about 30th when backup cars are discounted). The advantage goes to Kanaan as the track surface won’t be as hot as it will be during Leist’s qualifying attempt. While he won’t be praying for rain, the 20-year-old Brazilian may be praying for cloud cover.
When qualifying ends at 5:50 PM ET among the 36 cars vying for a starting berth (which they may do multiple times during the day time permitting), the fastest 30 cars will be locked into the 33-car starting grid. Only the top nine will requalify on Sunday (each driver gets one attempt) to re-set the first three rows and determine the pole winner. Those cars that qualify 31st through 36th will have to re-qualify on Sunday (one attempt each) with the fastest three cars filling out the last row. The starting field will then have practice from 3:15 until 6 PM Sunday.
Should Sunday rain out (as is predicted), then the Fast Nine will be set according to Saturday’s qualifying runs. The Last Row qualifying will take place on the next clear day. There is a final warmup scheduled for Monday from 12 noon to 2 PM ET.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!