Honda Gains On Chevy During Carb Day
“It was a good session,” Hunter-Reay said. “We tried quite a few different things in a short amount of time. I think some of the biggest observations was that it was cold, so the car handled a bit different; different wind direction than what we’ve been used to most of the week. The Hondas turned up the power, which we were expecting. It’s going to be a pretty hard-fought race
“It’s Carb Day. It was a warm-up. It doesn’t really mean anything. You get a feeling for what your car does, and that’s about what it’s good for. We see some people out there running more trim than they will be on Sunday and some that are running a little bit heavier than they will on Sunday. You don’t really have an idea of where you stand. This stuff is just how big a tow you’ve got. It doesn’t really mean anything. I expect surprises. We had surprises last year with (Takuma) Sato contending for the win. I think, just seeing how that Carb Day ran and how tight everybody was, anybody could be up front. If you have a good day with no real issues in the pits and you keep dialing on your car a little bit, I think we could have any combination of 15 drivers up there challenging for the win. It’s good news because it’s going to be a heck of a show. I certainly think that any of the Andretti Autosport cars have a shot at winning. But you have to put the whole day together. It’s not just about the car that has the best balance and is fastest on the charts. You have to have the right pit stops. You have to have the entire picture come together to win the Indy 500.”
Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner and two-time IndyCar champion, was the next Honda as he was fourth at 224.870 mph. Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top-five in a Dallara/Chevrolet at 224.848 mph and was followed by three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti’s 224.688 mph in a Dallara/Honda.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver James Jakes of England was seventh at 224.622 mph in a Dallara/Honda.
“We’ve got a great car,” Jakes said. “The car has been good all through the latter part of the testing week here, and we’re excited about the race. I’d be happy to go out and race right now, to be honest. We’ll see what happens on Race Day. The Honda guys have been back in the shop last week working very hard. We’ve worked hard since we got here, and now there are no more setup changes needed. We knew that going in. We may make a slight adjustment here and there, but nothing big.”
Katherine Legge also had an impressive run when she was eighth in a Honda at 224.409 mph.
“I’m just really fortunate that Schmidt Peterson Motorsport gave me a brilliant car,” Legge said. “They made my life easy. It’s been a dream. Jumping in that and it’s fast and I’m super happy with the car. It’s awesome. From the get-go I could run right up behind people and not have an issue, which a lot of people can’t do right now.
“So assuming the weather in Indiana stays the same for five minutes, then we are going to have a good day Sunday.”
“It felt like exactly what we’re going to need to challenge on Sunday,” Franchitti said of his car setup and power. “Honda did a great job as well with the racing specs of the engine which I think at least puts us on a level playing field with the Chevys.
“Obviously we’ll turn it up for race day, but I’m feeling a lot more confident.”
“The Honda mentality is to build engines to go racing, and that is exactly what they are doing,” Simon Pagenaud said after his Honda engine pushed him to the top of the speed chart yesterday in front of a crowd estimated at 70,000 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “They have clearly provided us with an engine that is a lot better.”