|Saturday, May 20, 2017 5:40AM|
Indianapolis, IN - May 20, 2017 - The 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 is almost a week away, and on Friday, reigning champion Alexander Rossi wrapped up a week of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Known as “Fast Friday,” teams specifically work on set-ups for qualifications, which take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 20 and 21. Rossi rounded out the top 10 with a quick speed of 231.191 mph, but more importantly, that speed was third on the “no-tow charts (laps when cars are traveling alone and not in packs).
“We used the rain delay to our advantage and found some speed in the NAPA car,” Rossi said. "I feel like we may be 95% of the way there. So, we just need to really make sure get everything right tomorrow with there being a very good shot that it will just be one run due to weather. So, we have to really do our homework overnight and make sure all the pieces are put together because we have a car to be at the front.”
Each day this week, on-track practice was available to teams from 12:00-6:00pm. Much of that time is also spent in the garage or in pit lane, as drivers work with their crews to fine-tune car set-ups for race conditions. Time is also spent in “group runs,” as teammates work together to practice running in traffic.
"At the conclusion of each day, we became more and more comfortable with the NAPA car and comfortable in group running, and that is the most important thing,” said Rossi. “It’s 500 miles with 33 cars on track. So you have to feel good in that environment. Working with my teammates is always helpful.”
Rossi’s teammates for the Indianapolis 500 include 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, multiple-time top-ten finisher Marco Andretti, veteran Takuma Sato, rookie Jack Harvey, and Formula One Champion Fernando Alonso, who will be making his first start in an IndyCar.
After qualifying and locking in the field of 33 on Saturday, the top nine advance to a “Fast Nine Shootout” on Sunday, May 21. Complete qualifying rules can be found HERE.