Sato leads Indy 500 carb day practice.

Takuma Sato paid tribute to Carbon Day as the Indianapolis 500 field completed the final practice session ahead of Sunday’s race.

The drivers were treated to good conditions similar to those forecast for Sunday, but one of the downsides was increased tire wear, with some teams calculating that the duration of the race could be defined more by tire life than fuel capacity.

At least two of Ganassi’s cars – Marcus Ericsson’s and Alex Palu’s – showed ropes on their front-graphs, although the only real tire failure of the day was the result of a wreck. Andretti Autosport’s Devlin DeFrancesco suffered a front-right cut in Turn 2 with more than 20 minutes to go and did a fantastic job of keeping the No. 29 Honda out of the barrier.

By then, many teams had learned all they wanted and kept their cars, including several of DeFrancesco’s teammates.

“I’m very happy with where we got the race car,” said Romain Grosjean, who called it a day after 90 minutes. “You don’t want to take any more risks. We tried everything we wanted to – some good things, some not so good. We were able to get time on the board early without trying too hard, so I’m happy with that.”

Sato’s benchmark lap of 227.855 mph came in the first hour, and Chip Ganassi Racing’s teammate Scott Dixon showed enough strength to finish at 227.285 mph.

“To be honest, I didn’t start well,” Dixon said. “The car was definitely in the balance; we had to do it fairly. But it was fun to run a bit with the No. 21 and Pato (Oward) and then the No. 10. I think where we ended up was a big improvement, but we still have a lot to look for.

“Today’s wind change made it difficult. 2 turn was a bigger advantage than 4, but trying to do 4 seems easy, but today made it difficult. Even trying to prepare 3 for 4 was difficult because of the wind direction, and he thought it would be the same for the race.

Will Power rounded out the top five in the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, Palu and Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood at 226.953 mph.

Graham Rahal’s Carb Day run in the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevy left RLL’s Legge. Jeffrey Miller / Lumen

Graham Rahal’s first “proper” outing in the No. 30 DRR/Cusick Chevrolet ended 30th fastest behind Catherine Legge – who was Rahal’s teammate until Monday at Rahal’s Letterman Langan, a complicated incident in Rahal’s regular no. 15 RLL cars retired from the race, and Rahal was called upon to drive the 30th after Stefan Wilson was injured in a crash with Legge during practice on Monday.

Legge had her own dramas on Friday when her right rear wheel nut decided to go for a spin while driving to the pit exit. Luckily she recognized the problem before putting any power down and pulled the car to the side of the track unscathed.

Another relatively small problem was of great importance to DRR’s Ryan Hunter-Reay. The No. 23 Chevrolet was covered in black marks after 40 minutes as what must have been fluid in the gearbox began to find its way onto the track. The team brought it in and touched up the repair on the seal, only to have the car stall continuously.

“I’m not really sure (what happened),” Hunter-Reay told Peacock. “I know it’s a very small leak on the gearbox side. The guys were shocked because they shut us down. We haven’t had a single issue all month. It’s unfortunate that we lost an hour of practice. But I was very happy with the car – the balance was good. We ran a bit too much power early on so we shortened and Then they shut us down. Not sure what you think of it, but today is better than race day. I hope we can fix it on race day.



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