On Friday, May 23, cars and trucks took to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the annual Coors Carb Day. During the action-packed event, teams from the Indy Lights series, IndyCar series, and SPEED® Energy Formula Off-Road presented by Traxxas series took turns on the track, each trying to outperform the other. The activity also included live concerts from Sublime with Rome and Sammy Hagar and the Wabos.
During the final chance for Verizon IndyCar Series drivers to hit the track before the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, rookie Mikhail Aleshin turned the fifth-fastest lap during Carb Day practice. Aleshin's fastest lap of 39.8150 seconds, 226.045 mph vaulted him near the top of the speed charts and made him the fastest rookie in the 60-minute practice session.
"My car was really good today," Aleshin said. "I think Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is working hard right now, and it's helping me feel prepared for my first Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. We were very fast in traffic today during practice. I think we'll have a good chance during the race. We're just going to have to be ready to fight and stay out of trouble."
Simon Pagenaud was 18th in Carb Day practice at 40.0909, 224.490, but he believes the No. 77 Lucas Oil Dallara/Honda/Firestone car has more speed than it showed.
"We weren't at the top of the charts today, but we have a great setup for Race Day," Pagenaud said. "We managed to get a lot of pit stop practice in, as well. That's going to be important for a race like the Indianapolis 500 when we stop four or more times for fuel and tires."
Jacques Villeneuve's fastest lap around the 2.5-mile oval in Carb Day practice was 40.3365, 223.123. Focusing on a calculated approach to the practice session, 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Villeneuve finished 30th on the speed chart.
"The car handled well, but today is like a warm-up," Villeneuve said. "I saw some guys out there taking big risks. We didn't do that, and the car is handling better than it has been all week. We're happy right now, which is a good place to be heading into the race on Sunday."
In the Menards at the Brickyard by TRAXXAS event for the SPEED® Energy Formula Off-Road presented by Traxxas, Apdaly Lopez of Tecate, B.C. Mexico entered racing’s history books by winning the second of two races of the day and securing the overall win with the highest average finish in the two races. It marked the first time in the 105-year history of the famed Brickyard that trucks raced on the property.
Lopez, 19, driving the VisitMexico.com/RPM Off-Road truck was making his eighth start in the Formula Off-Road Presented by TRAXXAS series. He is second-generation off-road specialist and is an up-and-coming star in the TRAXXAS series and the deserts of Baja.
Robby Gordon won the first of the two races at Indianapolis in the Menards/SPEED Energy truck and finished fourth in the overall standings given his sixth-place finish in the second race. Lopez finished third in race one before winning race two.
“I just kept looking in my mirror and would see the guys behind me start racing,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t going to make a mistake and when they got close I just gave it a little more and pulled away. What an honor to win a race at Indianapolis.”
Keegan Kincaid driving the blue TRAXXAS truck and Jerett Brooks in the Synergy Electric truck took home second and third-place honors, followed by Gordon and Sheldon Creed in the Red TRAXXAS truck. Arie Luyendyk Jr. in the Relief OTC/Harding Asphalt truck finished sixth, Scotty Steele’s Steele Racing machine finished seventh with series newcomers Burt Jenner in the Gladiator truck and Robbie Pierce in the Mastercraft/IMPACT truck finishing eighth and ninth.
The track was quiet on Saturday in anticipation of the drop of the green flag on the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 at 12:17 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.