If they do, then they will take a ten-place grid penalty for the race, as Oriol Servia will do after Dreyer & Reinbold were forced to swap out a Lotus engine in the late afternoon practice 2 session, with Servia pulling in to the pits on just his second lap. "The Lotus guys plugged in and said we'd need to change the motor," confirmed team co-owner Dennis Reinbold.
With the track wet from the start from a thunderstorm that passed over the area in the interval there was little chance of anyone doing any serious running. Sato set the fastest time of 1:18.8684s for the records, but only risked three laps out in the tricky conditions before calling it an early day given that the conditions are not expected to be representative of the rest of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend.
"It was a dryer condition to begin with, which was relative," he said, although to put that in context he was still out on the wet Firestone tyres and was over seven seconds slower than Power's earlier fastest lap in practice 1.
The rain soon picked up again and the track became fully wet with rooster tails much in evidence even before the rain became a full downpour and forced the race officials to throw a red flag early to curtail the session. No one took any chances and there were no incidents; six drivers - Power, Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Simon Pagenaud, Mike Conway, Ed Carpenter - never even considered it worthwhile turning a wheel, along with the incapacitated Justin Wilson.
"By the weather forecast, it sounds like we're going to have a dry qualifying tomorrow and for Sunday it seems even better, so there is no point for us to go out there and take any chances at all," explained Castroneves. "We just wanted to do some stuff, but at the end of the day, the rain was getting a little bit too much."
"I think with the rain qualifying will be mixed up tomorrow and if the track has weepers there will be wet patches," added Power.
Full Friday practice session times