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Castroneves fastest in final practice.


Helio Castroneves enjoyed a successful final practice day ahead of Sunday's Indianapolis 500, adding to success in the annual pit-stop challenge and in the closing of his recent court case by topping Carb Day practice.

The Brazilian paced the final day with a lap of 40.1929secs to edge out the man he replaced in the second Team Penske entry a couple of races ago, Will Power, with Mario Moraes, Dan Wheldon and Ryan Briscoe completing the top five.

"It felt really good, it felt awesome," Castroneves said, "I'm very confident and comfortable in the car, and it was nice to have that right before the race. The weather on Race Day is going to be very similar to what it was today. It was important for us to run today. I feel very confident. I can't wait for Sunday, I'll tell you that. It's going to be a long race and a lot of things can happen, but I can't wait for Sunday."

The 33 starters in the field for the 500 combined for 1224 incident-free laps on the 2.5-mile oval, with Power pleased to have been on the pace despite continuing to learn the nuances of the Brickyard.

"I came here last year with no experience, as the [KVRT] team did, and we were learning on the job," he reflected, "This year, I was a bit more composed because I knew what to expect, but, if I come here again next year, we would do things differently again. It's just a process where you learn and you experience from everything going on around you. This has been a more comfortable month for me this year, for sure."

Despite being fourth fastest, Wheldon admitted that he still wasn't fully happy with the #4 National Guard/Panther Racing Dallara.

"We have a few things that we can fix, but we're certainly in a better spot from where we were," the Briton reported, "My car felt nice. This is the closest field in Indianapolis 500 history - ever - so I expect it to be close. I expect there to be some surprises too. The weather conditions will change some stuff."

Briscoe underlined Penske's challenge for race success by putting his car - and the team's third - into the top five.

"The Team Penske car felt good out there this morning, everything feels like it did in the T-car when we left it last week," the Australian reported, "I think we're in good shape - I'm excited about Sunday, and we're ready to go racing."

The third front row starter, Dario Franchitti, was sixth fastest on the day, the best of the two Ganassi entries by a fraction over Scott Dixon, while Graham Rahal, Townsend Bell and Davey Hamilton rounded out the top ten.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Indy Racing League. 9 May 2009. Pole Day. Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapois, Indiana. Helio Castroneves, pole winner.
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Will Power - Penske  [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar/Bret Kelly]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar/Bret Kelly]
Simon Pagenaud - Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar Series]
Simon Pagenaud - Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar Series]

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