Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Carb Day Prepares Drivers and Fans for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500

By Corey Elliot

The final day of track activity before Sunday’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 was almost as busy as the traffic getting into the track on Friday morning.

Carb Day is the second biggest day of the month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the day everyone marks on their calendar and requests off from work weeks, if not months, in advance.

“I told the rookie (teammate Matheus Leist) this morning, ‘today, you’re going to start experiencing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,’” Kanaan said with a laugh during his post-practice press conference. This day is always really busy. The crowd that comes in – it’s really busy to move (and) sign autographs for everyone.”

Kanaan had little to complain about, though. After qualifying 10th for Sunday’s race, Kanaan logged Friday’s fastest lap with a speed of 227.791 during the final practice, a favorite event among fans who make it out to the track. Each of the 33 cars in Sunday’s race are active for the last hour of practice, working out different strategies and set-ups and even practicing pit stops to simulate the race.

Graham Rahal turned the most laps on Friday with a total of 51, however the veteran continues to struggle to find speed as he topped out his day with a best lap of 222.526.

Alexander Rossi, who almost hit the wall during Fast Nine qualifying and cost himself serious track position, starts 32nd on Sunday. On Friday, the 2016 winner of the Indy 500 turned a lap of 221.374 in his quest for more speed.

Rossi’s teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, also couldn’t find the necessary quickness to feel competitive for Sunday’s race. His fastest lap of 221.916 was 26th fastest. Danica Patrick was sixth fastest on the speed charts during the final hour of practice when she had to turn her car in to the garage to fix an issue with her engine. The most successful female driver in Indy 500 history had issue with power, but was able to get her Ed Carpenter Racing Machine back onto the track to finish practice and even complete some practice pit stops. She was eighth fastest at the end of practice with a top speed of 223.653 mph.

What most team’s look for on this final day of practice isn’t necessarily the perfect set-up or a top speed, but rather it’s about preparing for different scenarios and situations that might occur during the race. On Friday, Kanaan was pleased with his team and his car and happy with how his AJ Foyt Racing team took advantage of the final day of practice.

“If you haven’t figured out (your car) by today, you’re in trouble,” Kanaan said. “I think this is the closest we’re going to get, as far as weather, for Sunday. (Today) we’re trying different (race strategies). We went through some exercises, gave the boys some pit stops, and tried to gage the fuel strategy.”

Kanaan said he’s happy to finish the day fast, especially knowing he goes into Sunday rolling off 10th on the grid. But as a veteran of the Indy 500, Kanaan has started from the front and back of the field and knows a driver can only control what he has control over.

“It can be a good day, it can be a very bad day (on race day),” Kanaan said. “You just have to be happy that you’re part of it. Anything can happen. On my end, I try to make the right moves and try not to regret (anything).”