Rain continues to be a major storyline this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), causing Indianapolis 500 practice time to be significantly cut short for Verizon IndyCar Series teams.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) drivers Josef Newgarden and Alex Tagliani ran a combined 10 total laps during “Fast Friday” practice, during which cars were on track for less than 20 minutes due to rain.
Newgarden, driving the No. 67 Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry, finished the day fifth fastest after turning a lap of 229.276 mph. He ran six total laps.
“Today was very short; there was not much to it, to be honest,” Newgarden said. “The weather ruined it, which was a shame because there were a ton of fans that came out to see us go fast. Fortunately we were able to get an install check in for our new engine that we put in last night. We were able to get in one run, so it was better than nothing, but we still have some work to do tomorrow morning before qualifying.”
Alex Tagliani, driving the No. 68 Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, finished “Fast Friday” 17th overall at 227.394 mph.
“We only ran a few laps, but I’m fairly happy with where we are,” Tagliani said. “It’s difficult to really evaluate what we can do by ourselves, but I’m confident that we’ll have a good qualifying run.”
Qualifications for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 have been revamped this year, allowing fans to witness two full days of teams fighting for grid position and championship points. The coveted pole will be decided Sunday, May 18.
“With two days of qualifying now, you have to be prepared to qualify on both days,” Newgarden said. “Tomorrow is really important for points, and getting into the Fast 9 is crucial for us points-wise. I think it’s very possible, and that’s our aim tomorrow.”
Said Alex Tagliani: “I think the new qualifying format is going to be good for the fans because there’s so much incentive for the drivers who are competing in the season championship. It makes the risk versus the reward big because the points that you can accumulate with qualifying and the race makes it almost like two events.
“You can make up a lot of points with this particular qualifying format. You can’t underestimate that, and because of that, I think guys are going to go for it and that it’s going to be very intense. It should be a good show.”
Qualifications will be televised on ABC from 4-6 p.m. (ET) May 17 and 1-3 p.m. May 18. To keep up with the latest news from the No. 67 and No. 68 SFHR cars, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter and Instagram and like Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing on Facebook.