It’s Fast Friday! The real Fast Friday. For those who don’t know, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the final day before the first day of qualifications (aka, Pole Day) is traditionally known as Fast Friday. This is the final chance for the teams to make a statement about how fast their car really is, to start playing some of the mind games that goes into the unique qualifying format for the 500.
This year has an added twist: With the new V6 twin turbos, they decided to allow extra boost for today and qualifying only. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, they predict it might be good for up to another 5 mph, which is good, but why not have that in place all week? So far the top two speeds (Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon) have been in the 223 bracket. Will we see 228? That seems high to me. I’d say 225, maybe 226. I’d feel pretty good with one of those speeds, I think. Might even take pole. It’s also supposed to warm up considerably this weekend, which makes a difference. The final dash for the pole during Happy Hour could be interesting indeed.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Slowtus. In the end after much wrangling, only two cars have this anchor, er, I mean engine: Jean Alesi and Simona de Silvestro. Can you say 32 and 33? Too bad, those two deserve better. They’ve both been struggling to get to 210. In fact, they were allowed the extra boost early just to get there. It’s been a while since there has been that big of a discrepancy between the front and back of the field.
Anyway, pictured today is Josef Newgarden in the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car. He’s been fast all week, tops a couple days. He also has the only incident, a spin and brush of the wall on the front straight. Still, pretty impressive thus far for a rookie. A lot of his speeds have been with tows, I hear, so we’ll see what happens when he gets out alone for his four laps. If I had to guess, I’d say one of the Penske or Ganassi guys on pole. But the race, you never know…