INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Tony Kanaan may be starting back on the grid for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 but warned he should not be overlooked after posting the top speed in practice on Friday.
The popular Brazilian, who captured his maiden Indy 500 in 2013, flashed the type of speed that could take him to Victory Lane for a second time, posting a top effort of 227.791 mph around the sprawling 2.5 mile oval in the final tuneup for Sunday’s race.
It was an eye-opening display from Kanaan, who will start from Row Four after qualifying 10th in the 33 car field.
“If you haven’t got it figured out by now you’re in trouble,” said Kanaan, who drives for American motorsport icon A.J. Foyt, a four-time winner at the Brickyard.
“I’ve started first and started last so I don’t worry.
“It could be a good day or bad day you just have to be happy you are part of it. Nothing you can do about it, you can’t predict what is going to happen.”
Kanaan and his former team mate, 2008 winner Scott Dixon, dominated what is known as “Carb Day” at the Indianapolis Speedway.
The New Zealander recorded the second best effort of 225.684 just ahead of Marco Andretti, who is trying to end the ‘Andretti Curse’ and become the first member of the clan to win the Indy 500 since his grandfather Mario in 1969.
Takuma Sato, bidding to become the first back-to-back winner since Helio Castroneves in 2002, was sixth best followed by Australian Will Power and Danica Patrick, who will be competing in the final race of her ground-breaking career.
Patrick, the only woman to win an IndyCar race, was out early and put down a fast lap but midway through the one-hour session, her car was pushed back to the garage to deal with an electrical issue.
“If it had been Sunday we would have been done,” said Patrick. “We got the bad luck and issues out of the way early.
“The car felt good. I’m just happy to know it was good when we first took off.”
Ed Carpenter, who will be starting from pole for the third time, put in a modest effort recording the 14th best speed while three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves, who is chasing a record equalling fourth victory was 17th.
Editing by Toby Davis