Briscoe Paces Frenetic Practice
May 15, 2008 | 7:42 P.M. EST
Thursday's session was the first significant practice time since May 9. Rain washed out all activity on May 11, including Second Day Qualifying, and limited green flag time to 30 minutes on May 14. The track was closed May 12-13.
Briscoe, who qualified third in the No. 6 Team Penske machine May 10, lapped the 2.5-mile oval in 40.2311 seconds, 223.708 mph. His teammate, Helio Castroneves, was second-fastest at 223.284 mph, and pole sitter Scott Dixon was third (223.192 mph).
"Tomorrow might be different, and we may run just as much (downforce), so we might have to change the car," Briscoe said. "We'll see what it looks like on Race Day and try to put to use what we have learned over these couple of days."
Among the 24 drivers who have not yet qualified for the 22 remaining starting positions, Will Power topped the chart (sixth overall). Power's best lap was 222.657 mph.
"I guess we made a little bit of progress from Saturday," Power said. "Now our focus has gone more toward the race because I'm pretty confident that we'll get in that 22 somewhere, that we'll qualify. Now we're focusing on long runs and figuring out what kind of downforce we can run and how close behind people."
With an uncertain forecast for the scheduled six-hour practice, teams wasted no time getting in their work. Twenty-six cars were on track within the first 10 minutes of the green flag. A light rain began falling late in the afternoon, ending practice 18 minutes early.
Thirty-five cars were on track today, turning 2,628 laps, most of any day this month and 31 percent of the month's total. Previously, the most laps on a single day was 1,471 by 32 cars on Saturday, May 10.