Rookie Munoz Fastest In Day 6
Drivers will get a boost for the seventh day of practice for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race as they transition from race setup evaluation to mostly qualifying simulations.
“I’m excited for it,” rookie Carlos Munoz said of the 40 horsepower addition to the Chevrolet and Honda engines for “Fast Friday” on May 17, Pole Day qualifications May 18 and Bump Day qualifications May 19.
For the second time, Munoz was atop the speed chart in the No. 26 Unistraw car for Andretti Autosport with a lap of 225.163 mph (39.9711 seconds), which topped the previous best of the month by teammate Marco Andretti (225.100 mph). Andretti, driving the No. 25 RC Cola car, was third on the day (224.882 mph) as Andretti Autosport swept the top three. Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was second (225.006) in the No. 1 DHL car.
“I felt really comfortable each time I went to run behind people and run race simulations,” said Munoz, the Firestone Indy Lights championship points leader who also will compete in the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 24. “We’re improving the car a little bit. From the beginning to now we are really strong.”
Day 6 of on-track activity also featured 33 drivers for the first time as 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier made his maiden appearance in the No. 91 Lazier Partners Racing car. He contributed three install laps to the 2,227 total logged during the humid six-hour session. Lazier will participate in a refresher course before the track opens for practice at noon (ET) May 17.
Rookie Conor Daly brought out the yellow flag for the first incident of the month when the No. 41 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing made contact with the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 1 midway through the session. He was checked at the infield care center and cleared to drive.
“We had just made a change on the springs in the rear,” Daly said. “I was just trying to experience a little bit more with the car and there was a car in front of me. The wind, it feels like it’s been gusting more, and the rear was leaning hard on the outside tire. It just kind of folded over on itself. I just lost it.”
As with the 2012 race, the boost level will be upped from 130 kPa to 140 kPa for “Fast Friday” as drivers/teams focus on qualifying setups and the two days of qualifications. The boost level to the 2.2-liter, turbocharged V-6 engines will return to 130 kPa for the one-hour final practice May 24 and Race Day on May 26.
“With the car performance progressing incrementally through natural development of the chassis and aerodynamics, lap speeds are expected to increase in qualifying,” INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said. “What we had last year worked really well for the full sequence of the Month of May.”