Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden in the No.21 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet topped the charts on the final day of practice before Friday’s Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of Sunday’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Newgarden set a fastest lap speed of 227.414mph and speaking following the session where he finished ahead of Tony Kanaan, Newgarden commented by saying:
With the heat today, conditions were difficult with trying to figure out the car, but the good thing is we dealt with conditions similar to what I think we will see on race day and that’s really all you can hope for with practice. I think everyone was battling with it today, trying to figure it out, but I feel confident. We have a pretty strong package with Chevy and our ECR team and we’ll try and put the Preferred Freezer car in victory lane on Sunday.
JR Hildebrand in the No.6 Preferred Freezer Services Fuzzy’s Chevrolet was eighth fastest just ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi and speaking after setting a fastest lap speed of 225.414mph Hildebrand commented by saying:
It was nice to get a good day of practice here. After qualifying, you are totally dedicated to working on the race setup. It is going to be tough. I think it is going to be hotter on race day than it is here today, so that makes it tough to figure out who uses the right downforce and such, at least for the start of the race. That was a lot of what we worked on today. We worked on identifying where we want to be at in the beginning and what we think we can go to under varying circumstances. I feel like we made good progress here and all three of us ECR drivers are starting to hone in on what we need. There is some work still to do to make sure we really optimize what everyone has been up to, but I still feel pretty good about where we ended up today.
Team owner and driver Ed Carpenter ended the session just outside the top ten in eleventh place in the No.20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet and speaking following the session Carpenter stated:
Practice was pretty good. I’m happy with the way the car feels. The track got pretty hot today, so it was a really good day to do race running because the conditions were challenging. It is really hard to gauge how far above average we are with everyone else because it got so hard for a lot of people. Overall, I think we’re in pretty good shape. The hard part is just going to be managing the early part of the race. It is definitely hard when you are deep in a pack, so I’m just going to have to be smart to get through that early and get up to the front a little cleaner where it gets better with less cars in front of you.