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Speed Limit Climbs as Bourdais Leads at 233 mph on Fast Friday

Sebastien Bourdais emerged as a candidate for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil pole, ripping off a lap of 233.116 mph – the fastest of the month – as speeds climbed dramatically on Fast Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

All 33 cars received extra engine boost for the final practice, adding horsepower that also will be available for both days of qualifying Saturday and Sunday on Crown Royal Armed Forces Weekend. Bourdais put it to best use with his top speed in the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda, which came before a mid-afternoon rain delay that halted activity for two hours, 36 minutes.

View Fast Friday Results | View Combined Practice Results

“It's pretty exciting just to be in the mix knowing that we seemingly have a chance to do well in qualifying,” Bourdais said. “Every other time I've been here, I've never been in contention to really be any kind of factor, and that's just boring. When you're in that position where you know there's going to be something you can do to actually play at the front, then hopefully it happens, because it's a heck of a lot more fun.”

The first day of qualifying takes place from 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m. Saturday. The nine fastest drivers are locked into the Fast Nine Shootout for the pole at 5 p.m. Sunday. The remaining 24 drivers will re-qualify for spots 10 through 33 from 2:45-5:45 p.m. Sunday.

Qualifying Saturday will be broadcast on WatchESPN from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and on ABC from 4-6 p.m.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was second fastest in practice Friday at 232.132 in the No. 28 DHL Honda. 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Hunter-Reay also is eyeing the pole after turning the fastest lap Friday without an aerodynamic tow, 231.273.

Takuma Sato was third overall at 231.969 in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda.

Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso continued to show he is a fast learner about finding speed on ovals, as he was fourth overall at 231.827 in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda. Alonso was the fastest rookie driver today.

2000 and 2015 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya was fifth overall and the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver at 231.682 in the No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet.

Spencer Pigot and Zach Veach both were unhurt and cleared to drive after separate, late-afternoon crashes when practice resumed after the rain delay. Both of their cars suffered heavy damage.

Pigot did a 360-degree spin in Turn 2 and made heavy front and right-side contact with the SAFER Barrier. His No. 11 Juncos Racing Chevrolet then made secondary contact with the outside wall on the backstretch before sliding to a stop.

Veach’s No. 40 Indy Women in Tech Championship Chevrolet wiggled in Turn 1 and made hard right-side contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1. The car slid through the short chute and made secondary contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2.

The 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil is scheduled for noon (ET) Sunday, May 28.

Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28 and for more information on the complete Month or May schedule at IMS.

The race also will be televised live on ABC, with the pre-race show starting at 11 a.m. (ET). Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio will provide live coverage of the race to its affiliates and on Sirius 212, XM 209 and SXM 970.

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