Friday, the day before the INDY500 qualifying, is called "Fast Friday". This is because the machines of participating teams will jump up the speed by about 90 horsepower from turbo boost for qualifying, and they will repeat the simulation with the powered-up machine.
This year's Fast Friday was a very limited day due to strong winds. Takuma Sato (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR), who has recorded the fastest laps in a row in the past two days of practice, jumped to the top with a lap of 38.6616 second = average speed of 232.789 mph in the evening. It was an amazing speed for a strong wind, and a huge cheer was sent to Sato who marked the fastest lap in all three days.
2016 INDY500 winner Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) topped the list with an average speed of 21.883 mph = 38.8127 second in the early stages of practice, finishing Fast Friday second.
Even in Practice 5 where 33 entries ran in qualifying mode, Honda occupies 1st and 2nd place, and 6 drivers were in the top 10.
The practice that started at noon continued until 6 pm. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which was blessed with fine weather, was packed with fans from the morning, as it was expected to be a very busy day with 33 cars taking turns on the course and qualifying simulation. However, strong winds continued to blow in Indianapolis throughout the afternoon, making it extremely difficult to lap at high speeds of 230 mph (= 370 kmh or more).
The team which was waiting in the garage hoping that the wind would calm down heard the forecast that the conditions would be almost the same on Saturday, the first day of qualifying, and more machines were running on the course after the middle of the session. However, many teams avoided risk and minimized driving. It was clear that breaking the car would make it impossible to run in qualifying or adversely affect handling, so every team was extremely careful in setting and driving the car.
Sato worked with his teammate David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) to try to overcome difficult conditions. The two ran on machines with different settings and tried to collect information. In the midst of the two harsh conditions of heat and strong winds, they daringly ran with the result that Sato was the top time and Marcus was 7th in 38.8913 second = 231.414 mph.
In addition to Sato, Marcus and Rossi, Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing) is 38.8226 second = 4th at an average speed of 231.782 mph, and 2008 INDY500 winner Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) is 38.8718 second = average. 2013 INDY500 winner Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi Racing) was 5th at 231.530 mph and 8th at an average speed of 231.392 mph, with 6 Hondas in the top 10.
Saturday's qualifying will start at 11:00 am, one hour earlier due to the possibility of bad weather in the afternoon. In this year's INDY500, new rules have been adopted for qualifying, and the fastest 12 people on the first day of qualifying will play a two-stage battle for pole positions on the second day of qualifying.