Indy Practice Wrap-Up

Tomas Scheckter posted the fastest lap of the month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Friday’s final practice before pole qualifying, while Sam Hornish Jr. was cleared to drive following a frightening crash.

Scheckter led the rain-shortened session with a lap of 227.804 mph in the Pennzoil Panther, followed by Tony Kanaan, Danica Patrick and Hornish.

“We knew we had something, but I don’t think we knew we had that much,” Scheckter said. “It’s always good to have a little bit more than you expect. We still think we’ve got some more stuff for tomorrow.”

Running without a tow, Scheckter’s lap came during a four-lap simulated qualifying run.

“I just have to take my hat off to Chevrolet,” he said. “They’ve kept at it, they’ve worked hard and it means a lot to everybody here, and all the Chevrolet fans out there as well.”

Two hours into the session, Paul Dana backed the No. 91T Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Toyota Dallara into the Turn 2 wall. Hornish, driving his backup No. 6T Marlboro Team Penske Toyota Dallara, hit what was believed to be Dana’s gearbox and did a backward flip, landing on his left side and winding upside-down. Hornish crawled from his car, unassisted, while Dana was taken from his car.

Both drivers were taken to the Clarian Infield Care Center, where Hornish was examined and cleared to drive by Dr. Henry Bock, IMS senior director of medical services. Dana was alert but complaining of back pain, and was taken to Methodist Hospital for further observation.

Speedway senior medical director Dr. Henry Bock announced late Friday that Paul Dana – involved in a practice crash on Friday – has been admitted to Methodist Hospital with a spinal fracture and a concussion.

“We were working on a qualifying run, and I went into Turn 2 as the yellow light came on,” Hornish said. “I started to get out of the throttle because I was close to the No. 91 car (Dana) as it hit the wall. I tried to drive between the debris and the wall, and I think I ran over a large piece of his gearbox. It’s a shame, because the Marlboro Team Penske car was running really well. It was our backup car, and we were thinking about qualifying it tomorrow. Now we’ll have to go back to our primary car and try and get it ready. Hopefully we’ll be close to where we were with the 6T this afternoon and put it in a good spot during qualifying.”

After the incident, Speedway crews repaired the SAFER Barrier, while rain and lightning led to an early cancellation of the day’s activities.

Twenty-four cars took part in the session.

Opening qualifying to set the top 11 positions for the 89th Indianapolis 500 will be from noon-6 p.m. (CDT) Saturday. Positions 12-22 will be determined Sunday. The remainder of the 33-car field to be set Saturday, May 21, with the opportunity for qualified teams to bump their way into the field on final qualifying May 22.

Under the new format, drivers can make three qualifying runs per day; and teams may opt to withdraw a qualified car to requalify the same car in a bid to improve position. Times set in one session by unqualified cars do not carry over to the following day.

Scott Sharp, driver of the No. 8 Delphi Honda, will be at the head of the line when qualifying opens Saturday, while Hornish drew the No. 2 position.

The 89th Indianapolis 500 will take the green flag at noon (CDT) on May 29.

Race Center

Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
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