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IndyCar Indy 500

Indy 500: Kanaan sets best four-lap average on Fast Friday

Chip Ganassi Racing's Tony Kanaan went to the top of the four-lap average speeds in the final five minutes of Fast Friday, as drivers dealt with horrendously windy conditions.

Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

As the wind started to drop, and track temperature went down, the 2013 Indy 500 winner embarked on a qualifying simulation run and turned laps of 231.392mph, 230.419mph, 230.668mph and 229.589mph.

That meant an average of 230.517mph which vaulted him to the top ahead of by far the quickest rookie, David Malukas.

Twice he completed brave four-lap runs with averages over 230 in the Dale Coyne Racing with HMD-Honda, a 230.286mph average being his best effort.

His team-mate Takuma Sato produced the fastest single lap of the day – a 232.789mph effort – but he felt too much downforce had been taken off and had to back off at Turn 3 on Lap 3, dropping his average to fifth best.

Sage Karam produced the best time for a Chevrolet driver, setting an average of 230.114 in the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, just a hair ahead of Pato O’Ward’s early effort for Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy.

Jimmie Johnson’s second qualifying sim came while the wind was still gusting exceedingly hard, and he excelled himself with sixth best average, 229.093mph, considering that mentally he was bouncing back from a big smack against the wall in the opening hour of the session 

Meyer Shank Racing-Honda’s Indy 500 winners Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves were sixth and seventh on quali sims but were down in the mid-227s.

Marcus Ericsson was eight ahead of the three Team Penske-Chevrolets which didn’t go out in the second half of the session.

Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

Sato’s fastest lap was almost one second faster than Rossi’s albeit in very different conditions.

Meanwhile, it was notable that Kanaan’s best lap put him only eighth fastest on the single-lap times, and it was his consistency that earned him top spot in qualifying times.

Fast Friday sees the BorgWarner turbos on the Chevrolet and Honda engines turned up from 1.3-to 1.5-bar, an increase of approximately 80bhp, to enable the teams to strip off drag-inducing downforce and check out their qualifying potential for this weekend.

But today, wind gusts of up to 38mph were registered, which gave the cars a headwind down the front straight, pinning the nose and provoking oversteer at Turn 1, and then pushing the cars into a drift through Turn 2 before heading down the back straight with a tail-wind.

Qualifying on Saturday will start an hour earlier at 11am local time than originally planned due to potential weather disruption. 

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