Rookie Josef Newgarden topped the times as preparations began for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Newgarden, who won the Freedom 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at Indianapolis in 2011, posted the quickest lap on the 2.5-mile oval of 220.250mph in the No. 67 Dollar General car for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. The top three cars of the session were driven by American graduates of Firestone Indy Lights.
JR Hildebrand, the 2011 race runner-up and Chase Rookie of the Year, was second quick (219.693 mph) in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet and Newgarden's teammate, Bryan Clauson (219.632) was third in the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing/RW Honda.
Another rookie, James Jakes (218.286), was fourth in the Boy Scouts of America Honda while Tony Kanaan (217.741) completed the top five in the No. 11T GEICO/Mouser Electronics KV Racing Technology Chevrolet.
In all, 26 drivers recorded 693 incident-free laps in the six-hour session.
"The team has done it all year. People have seen before that they can produce a good road/street car, and there's no issues oval-wise," said Newgarden. "They've built really good, reliable, comfortable racecars for me, and they're doing the same for Bryan [Clausen] now.
"That's all it is, really. They make our job really easy, and I think that's what you guys are seeing. It bodes well, if anything, it's not really a big deal to be quick on this day, but it speaks well for the team."
Several drivers among the Penske/Ganassi/Andretti group which will be favourites for victory chose not to run on Saturday, although Marco Andretti shook down the cars of new teammates Ana Beatriz and Sebastian Saavedra.
Drivers will get 36 more hours of track time, weather permitting (and the forecast is favorable), through "Fast Friday" before Pole Day qualifications May 19 in testing the new engine/aero kit package. Gates open at 10 a.m. May 13 for the Mother's Day special of noon-6 p.m. practice.
Pos Driver Team/Car Speed
1. Josef Newgarden Fisher DW12-Honda 220.250
2. JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevrolet 219.693
3. Bryan Clauson Fisher DW12-Honda 219.632
4. James Jakes Coyne DW12-Honda 218.266
5. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevrolet 217.741
6. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda 217.699
7. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevrolet 217.617
8. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt DW12-Honda 217.483
9. Justin Wilson Coyne DW12-Honda 217.429
10. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 217.244
11. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR DW12-Chevrolet 217.199
12. Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda 217.180
13. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda 217.047
14. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevrolet 216.689
15. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevrolet 216.490
16. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevrolet 216.462
17. Sebastian Saavedra Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 216.106
18. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda 215.896
19. Alex Tagliani BHA DW12-Honda 215.344
20. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevrolet 215.340
21. Michel Jourdain Jr. Rahal DW12-Honda 214.871
22. Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevrolet 214.737
23. Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 214.152
24. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevrolet 213.962
25. Jean Alesi Fan Force DW12-Lotus 209.438
26. Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus 200.356