Daly Tops 231 MPH On Fast Friday, Main Takeaways From Speedy Session

INDIANAPOLIS – For a majority of the day, it appeared that Marco Andretti would be the one in the end of the day press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. See, the quickest driver of the day always joins us at the conclusion of each practice session to talk about not just their quick lap but their overall day too.

But, Andretti was saved of having to do any media obligations due to his Andretti Autosport teammate of Conor Daly upstaging him in the final minutes of Fast Friday.

Andretti, circled the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a lap of 230.851 mph early on in the day, only to see Daly top him with a speed of 231.704 mph in his No. 25 Honda to set quick time of the month.

The lap, was surreal for the young American driver. Just last year, Daly was worried whether he would even be a part of the race. His Dale Coyne Racing car was their road course chassis, which meant the speed just wasn’t there.

That wasn’t anything new to him as he says he’s had some sketchy cars throughout his career here. So much so, he and Josef Newgarden chatted on his bus for about 40 minuts just last night about what it’s like to have a car that goes the speeds Daly was going on Friday.

Daly says that in the past, his car was extremely sketchy at just 224 mph. What would it feel like at 229?

Well, he found out what it was like at 231 and says that it actually felt amazing. This opportunity is something that brought his mom to tear when he was able to tell her in December that he had a ride with Andretti. This was a shot he’s been working on for years to be able to drive for Michael Andretti and here he is leading the speed chart in an Andretti car on Fast Friday.

Marco was naturally P2 while Takuma Sato (230.755 mph), Spencer Pigot (230.471 mph) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (230.466 mph) rounded out the top five.

We saw a third straight day with a crash too when Kyle Kaiser lost control of his No. 32 Chevrolet in Turn 3 and backed his way into the outside SAFER barrier. Kaiser’s car would briefly get airborne before coming to a rest in the short chute on all four wheels.

When you look at the drivers who have crashed this month, we have a rookie spinning on Tuesday, a rookie crashing on Wednesday, a rookie crashing on Thursday and two second year drivers crashing too.

The problem is, Juncos Racing only had a tub as a backup car but not many spare parts. They’re going to be working through the night to get this car ready for qualifying on Saturday.

Here are my main takeaways from Fast Friday.

Ed Jones leaves pit lane during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site


Honda’s Fast On Speed Chart, Chevy’s Quick On No Tow

Four of the top five speeds on Friday went to Honda’s. In fact, three of those four were Andretti Autosport drivers. But, when you look at the no tow list, you’d recognize a lot of Team Penske and Ed Carpenter Racing drivers.

After all, everyone says they’re the favorites for the pole and when you see the report, four of the top five were ECR or Penske cars.

Ed Jones was the only one to top 230 mph on the no tow chart while his teammate and last year’s pole sitter Ed Carpenter was P2 at 229.879 mph. Both Will Power (229.750 mph) and Simon Pagenaud (229.548) started on the front row last year with Carpenter and they were 4-5 on the no tow list respectively.

The only Honda in the top five was Alexander Rossi.

But, we did see eight Honda’s in the top 13 of the no tow, so we could have an intense battle for the back end to get into the Fast Nine on Saturday.

Marco Andretti practices at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site


Speeds Are Tight

From first to 25th on the overall speed chart saw drivers separated by just 4-tenths of a second. The top to bottom was just 8-tenths. Even on the no tow report, 11 cars topped 229 mph with just one getting over 230. Another 14 cars were in the 228 mph bracket.

That means just the slightest bit of a bobble in qualifying could be the difference between being in the top 30 and not.

Pato O’Ward practicing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Radio Network


Carlin, McLaren In Trouble

We know three cars aren’t going to make the race. We know Juncos is in danger of being one of them. But, whom are the other two? Unfortuntaely, McLaren Racing and Carlin Racing are in danger of being among those two.

After Fast Friday, Fernando Alonso sits just 30th on the no tow list. Alonso’s top lap without a tow was 226.869 mph in his No. 66 Chevrolet. That, has the Spaniard worried about even making this race.

“I am, yes. I do,” Alonso said if he’s worried about making the ‘500 this weekend. “I think it’s the same for everyone. Tomorrow, as Conor said now, I think the pick-up order and when you will do the run is going to be a big factor if it’s a hot day. So yeah, if we are in the wrong moment of the day, which it seems that the luck will put us in that moment this week.”

Carlin is on the bubble too with Max Chilton coming in on the no tow report in 31st and his teammate Pato O’Ward who’s in Chilton’s road course car being 34th.

Spencer Pigot never got a real clean no tow lap and was 35th. With his ECR teammates being 1-2, you have to think he’s a Fast Nine favorite. That moves Alonso down to 31st, Chilton 32nd and O’Ward 35th.

Fast Friday Overall Speeds

  1. 25 Daly 231.704

  2. 98 Andretti 230.851

  3. 30 Sato 230.755

  4. 21 Pigot 230.471

  5. 28 Hunter-Reay 230.466

  6. 20 Carpenter 230.358

  7. 22 Pagenaud 230.326

  8. 23 Kimball 230.290

  9.  2 Newgarden 230.281

  10. 63 Jones 230.106

  11. 12 Power 230.061

  12. 14 Kanaan 230.011

  13. 24 Karam 229.932

  14. 27 Rossi 229.878

  15. 18 Bourdais 229.869

  16.  9 Dixon 229.849

  17. 26 Veach 229.811

  18.  3 Castroneves 229.687

  19. 19 Ferrucci R 229.577

  20.  7 Ericsson R 229.512

  21. 60 Harvey 229.466

  22. 15 Rahal 229.449

  23. 33 Davison 229.369

  24. 66 Alonso 229.328

  25. 88 Herta R 229.094

  26. 48 Hildebrand 228.741

  27.  4 Leist 228.664

  28. 77 Servia 228.580

  29.  5 Hinchcliffe 288.560

  30. 10 Rosenqvist R 228.469

  31. 39 Mann 228.269

  32. 42 King R 228.046

  33. 59 Chilton 227.577

  34. 31 O’Ward R 227.513

  35. 81 Hanley R 226.667

  36. 48 Hildebrand 226.538

  37. 32 Kaiser 129.830

Friday’s No Tow Report

1. 63 Jones 230.106

2. 20 Carpenter 229.879

3. 27 Rossi 229.878

4. 12 Power 229.750

5. 22 Pagenaud 229.548

6. 15 Rahal 229.449

7. 98 Andretti 229.382

8. 9 Dixon 229.282

9. 2 Newgarden 229.230

10. 88 Herta R 229.094

11. 26 Veach 229..079

12. 18 Bourdais 228.976

13.  7 Ericsson R 228.754

14. 48 Hildebrand 228.741

15.  3 Castroneves 228.679

16. 30 Sato 228.529

17. 14 Kanaan 228.481

18.  5 Hinchcliffe 228.405

19. 19 Ferrucci R 228.409

20. 33 Davison 228.395

21. 39 Mann 228.269

22. 25 Daly 228.239

23. 60 Harvey 228.103

24. 28 Hunter-Reay 228.089

25. 23 Kimball 228.014

26. 10 Rosenqvist R 227.972

27. 42 King R 227.409

28.  4 Leist 227.232

29. 77 Servia 227.173

30. 66 Alonso 226.869

31. 59 Chilton 226.636

32. 24 Karam 225.533

33. 81 Hanley R 225.492

34. 31 O’Ward R 221.898

35. 21 Pigot 221.733

36. 32 Kaiser No Time

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