Speeds and Andretti Autosport’s expectations for the pole position for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge climbed arguably in equal measure Aug. 14, as Marco Andretti posted the fastest lap on “Fast Friday” since 1996.
Andretti led the final practice before Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a top lap of 38.5454 seconds, 233.491 mph in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda. He was one of 23 drivers who posted top speeds of 230 mph or higher, as added turbocharger boost today through Sunday added approximately 50 to 75 more horsepower to the Honda and Chevrolet engines.
That was the top “Fast Friday” speed since Arie Luyendyk ripped off the fastest practice lap in Indy 500 history, 239.260, on May 10, 1996.
“Fast Friday was good, especially with the top speed of the day,” Andretti said. “We seem to be looking good on no-tow speeds, as well. Although I wanted to end the day with runs better than we did, and we have a few things to work out. But we just need to nail tomorrow, and the No. 98 car has enough speed for the Fast Nine.”
Conor Daly was second fastest today at 232.337 in the No. 47 United States Air Force Chevrolet. NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon, fastest Thursday, was third at 232.290 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was fourth at 232.124 in the No. 28 DHL Honda, the best lap of the day without an aerodynamic tow under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80s on the 2.5-mile oval. Spencer Pigot rounded out the top five at 232.116 in the No. 45 Hy-Vee/Embrace Pittsburgh Honda.