Andretti Tops Fast Friday
May 18, 2012 | 8:30 P.M. EST
It was the second time this month that Andretti's No. 26 Team RC Cola car was quickest in practice. (Photo: Getty Images)
Marco Andretti believes he has a car capable of winning the 96th Indianapolis 500 no matter where he qualifies for the race.
But winning the pole for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" could go a long way to making the goal a reality.
The third-generation driver from one of racing's most famous families topped the timesheets on Fast Friday with a lap of 39.5535 seconds (227.540 mph) mph, the fastest lap of the Month of May.
"I think, now all the sudden, today was a big day for us," Andretti said. "I thought we were at a bit of deficit to my teammates to start the month, but we just kept rubbing on it, we never gave up, and you know we kind of woke the car up and obviously with this added boost today it woke my car up, in particular, as well. But you know we've been working really hard, too, and finding that every couple of tenths of a mile an hour, and it all adds up. So it's going to come down to a couple of a tenths of a mile an hour, I really believe that, And the four-lap average, I've been really working specifically hard on the consistency over the four laps that I think is going to make a difference tomorrow."
It was the second time this month that Andretti's No. 26 Team RC Cola car was quickest in practice. He topped the speed chart on May 16 on the 2.5-mile oval (40.2367 seconds; 223.676 mph).
Thirty-two drivers recorded 1,206 laps without incident in a precursor to Pole Day time trials May 19 (11 a.m.-6 p.m.). All drivers were aided by a bump in the turbocharger boost of 10 kPa—which equals about 40 horsepower and 4-5 mph per lap—that will be utilized in qualifications.
Ryan Briscoe, driving the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car, was second quick (39.6764 seconds; 226.835 mph) and teammate Helio Castroneves was third (39.6973; 226.716) in the No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske car.
Three of Andretti's four Andretti Autosport teammates, all using Chevrolet power, wound up in the top 10 on a warm and cloudless day. Ryan Hunter-Reay (226.400) was fourth, James Hinchcliffe (225.974) was sixth and Ana Beatriz (225.653) was seventh. Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, was the top Honda driver in fifth (226.224). Teammate Dario Franchitti, a two-time race winner, was 10th.
The initial 24 car/driver combinations will be set on Pole Day, with the remainder of the 33 spots being filled on Bump Day, May 20.