Penske Heads To Pole Day On A High

| , RacinToday.com Friday, May 8 2009

Ryan Briscoe

Ryan Briscoe


Roger Penske could be in line for his record 15th pole at the Indianapolis 500. On the final practice day before Pole Day, Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves recorded the fastest laps on the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Briscoe was fastest with a lap at 39.8263 seconds, 225.981 mph, while Castroneves was second with a lap at 225.438 mph. Briscoe earned $10,000 from F.E. Harding Asphalt Companies for the fastest lap on Fast Friday.

The past two race winners, Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Dario Franchitti (2007) and Scott Dixon (2008), were third and fourth, respectively, while Andretti Green Racing’s Danica Patrick was fifth.

“It’s hard to tell on the test days, because there’s lot of traffic on the circuit,” Briscoe said when asked about his chances on Pole Day Saturday. “We just have to wait until qualifying when you are the only car on the track. I’m feeling good, though. I think the car is running very solid. We’ve done some non-drafting laps, and the car’s been fast. Tomorrow is another day, and everyone is going to be going for it. Hopefully, there won’t be any surprises and we can stay at the top.”

Asked what he thought the pole speed would be, Briscoe said, “I’m not sure. It depends on conditions. Around this track, with just some humidity or wind change you can lose or gain 2 mph. We’ve gotten in the high 225’s. That will be a good target for tomorrow.” 

The top 11 positions in the 33-car starting field will be determined Saturday. The pole winner has gone on to win two of the last three “500s.” Positions 12-22 will be filled Sunday. The remainder of the field will be filled May 16, and Bump Day is scheduled for May 17.

“It was a great day today,” Castroneves said. “Team Penske is looking really strong, but tomorrow is what counts. It’s all about getting those four consistent laps together – the four most important laps in motorsports. Hopefully we’ll get a good starting position and we can begin to work on our race car.”

Robert Doornbos and Scott Sharp were uninjured in the only two incidents of the day. Doornbos completed only 12 laps before his car made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. He returned to the track late in the afternoon in a back-up car. Sharp recorded 25 laps before his car spun exiting Turn 1 and slid into the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2.


Practice speeds on Friday:

1. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 225.981

2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 225.438

3. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 224.984

4. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 224.822

5. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 224.755

6. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 224.724

7. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 224.588

8. (4) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 224.357

9. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 224.222

10. (99) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 224.219

11. (02) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 224.144

12. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 224.033

13. (06) Robert Doornbos, Dallara-Honda, 223.955

14. (5) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 223.575

15. (14) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 223.562

16. (15) Paul Tracy, Dallara-Honda, 223.372

17. (2) Raphael Matos, Dallara-Honda, 222.660

18. (67) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 222.444

19. (43) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 222.079

20. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 222.021

21. (44) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 221.981

22. (16) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda, 221.739

23. (18) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 221.738

24. (34) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 221.538

25. (41) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 220.845

26. (13) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 220.837

27. (21) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 220.616

28. (24) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 220.500

29. (00) Nelson Philippe, Dallara-Honda, 219.847

30. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 219.669

31. (98) Stanton Barrett, Dallara-Honda, 218.709

| , RacinToday.com Friday, May 8 2009
No Comment

Comments are closed.