Good afternoon and welcome from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on Day 9 of practice. Five hours of race setup and drafting work has started. Also cars will be practicing pitting off Turn 4 rather than using that achingly long slow-down lane from Turn 3 that is used throughout practice during the build-up to qualifying.
12:15 30 of the 33 starters have made it out on track. And, as in the past two years, cars that are close in the draft through Turn 4 are easily able to pass before the start/finish line. Just sayin’…
12:25 YELLOW for track inspection.
12:41 Mikhail Aleshin of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, who set the fastest time of month at 232.917mph, currently tops the times – in race setup with race boost – at 226.371mph. Defending race-winner Tony Kanaan and rookie Sage Karam are second and third. All three have already done more than 30 laps.
12:43 YELLOW for debris.
12:59 Team Penske’s Juan Montoya goes P1 with a 226.532mph lap. Also notable improvements from Chip Ganassi Racing cars today. Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon lie third, fifth and seventh. And Ganassi-affiliated Karam is fourth.
1:20 Dixon improves to fourth, CGR teammate Kimball to sixth
1:22 YELLOW for debris
1:33 Josef Newgarden goes top for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing with a 227.105mph lap.
1:34 Kurt Busch hits the wall in Turn 2. The fastest rookie in qualifying appeared to overcorrect a tail-slide on corner entry which pitched him up into the gray and into the wall. The 2004 champion stepped out unaided: at least two corners of the No. 26 Suretone Andretti Autosport car look heavily damaged but repairable.
1:50 Busch is checked and released by the IMS medical care center. Cleared to drive.
2:00 Three hours to go, here are the top 15 times:
2:45 YELLOW Track inspection.
Teammates have been doing a lot of running together, but the order on the speed charts hasn’t changed much. Will Power of Team Penske is now sixth and all 33 cars have hit the track. The two yellow cars of Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) and Helio Castroneves (Penske) have turned the most laps, at 84 and 82 respectively.
3:07 Dixon improves to P3 with a 226.433mph lap
4:19 YELLOW for track inspection
4:27 GREEN Little more than half-hour to go.
4:35 25mins to go, these were the times:
5:00 CHECKERED FLAG. Top 15 remain in the order seen above.