Moraes on top as practice resumes
Mario Moraes was fastest for KV Racing as practice resumed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the final two days of Indy 500 qualifying this weekend.
After a pre-dawn storm that packed wind gusts of 70mph which did minor damage to some team equipment the weather cleared to partly cloudy conditions with temperatures in the mid-70s and light winds. There were no accidents during the six full hours of running.
Moraes took advantage of the good conditions to bolster KV Racing's hopes with a lap of 222.739mph early in the session that held up as the day's fastest, eclipsing the Penske and Ganassi cars that dominated Pole Day qualifying last weekend. Moraes put in 103 laps on the day, second only to Dale Coyne driver Justin Wilson's 120.
Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe was second-fastest overall at 222.406mph, ahead of his team-mate, pole winner Helio Castroneves, Ganassi's Scott Dixon, and Andretti Green's Tony Kanaan, who also put in some laps in team-mate Danica Patrick's car before lapping faster in his own back-up machine.
Rahal Letterman Racing's Oriol Servia, appearing on track for the first time this month in the team's #17 Dallara, was fastest of the yet-to-qualify
cars at 221.353, good for seventh overall.
Townsend Bell, also making his 2009 Indy debut today in KV Racing's #8, was next up in this group at 220.938mph. At the opposite end, rookie Nelson Philippe managed only a 205mph lap in HVM's rebuilt #00.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Vision team-mate Ed Carpenter shared the former's #21T back-up car, as the team sought the already-qualified Carpenter's opinion of its struggling #21 chassis.
Vision reported that Carpenter affirmed Hunter-Reay's concerns about the car after posting a best lap of 217.785 in #21T, 1.5mph off his best lap of the day with his own #20, while Hunter-Reay set a best of 218.894.
Practice continues tomorrow. The final 11 places on the 33-car grid will be available in Saturday's qualifying session, with Sunday's Bump Day then providing opportunity for faster cars to bump out slower qualifiers.
Currently, Davey Hamilton the only one of Dreyer & Reinbold's four entries to have completed a qualifying run is the slowest qualifier at 221.956mph.