INDIANAPOLIS, IN - After two days of entertaining but hectic qualifications, the 33 starters for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 turned their attention to Race Day car set-up during a five-hour session on the 2.5-mile oval.
"I feel good about where our cars are in race trim, (but) you can always use one more solid day of practice just to tune on things, get a little better, make sure both myself and (teammate) J.R. (Hildebrand) are happy," said Verizon P1 Award winner Ed Carpenter, who logged 49 laps with a fastest of 224.492 mph in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car.
All 33 starters turned a cumulative total of 2,329. Josef Newgarden, who qualified eighth in the No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car, was fastest with a lap of 227.105 mph (39.6292 seconds). Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified 10th, was second (226.532 mph) in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske car. Drivers will have a 60-minute race tune-up May 23.
An incident involving Kurt Busch brought out a yellow flag 95 minutes into the session when the No. 26 Suretone car for Andretti Autosport made right-side contact with the turn 2 SAFER Barrier. Busch was checked at the IU Health Infield Medical Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and cleared to drive.
"I was starting to feel comfortable," said Busch, who had just completed a lap of 223.433 mph (his 56th). "That's when I made the mistake of just letting my guard down or settling into that long run-type mentality whereas with an Indy car you have to be on edge. I was trying to find that rhythm and pace myself as I would on (race day, May 25) and I just got behind on the adjustments on the car."
Busch, who qualified 12th, will be the fourth driver to attempt the feat of competing in the Indianapolis 500 and a NASCAR race in Concord, NC, on the same day (and the first since Tony Stewart, who in 2001 completed all 1,100 miles).