Race Weekend Central

Takuma Sato Fastest in Carb Day Practice

Takuma Sato threw some feel-good momentum behind his Indianapolis 500 campaign by topping the charts in Friday’s (May 26) final practice session, colloquially known as Carb Day – named for the day that teams would make final adjustments to their carburetors before the race.

The last chance for entrants to dial in their cars and practice the intricacies of race craft such as pit road entrance and conserving the tires in the draft, Carb Day has come to represent something of a preview of race day in the world of IndyCar. At least on paper, the presence of Sato, Scott Dixon and Will Power atop the pylon at the end of the session confirms their intention and ability to challenge for the win during Sunday’s (May 28) race.

Speeds for the session hovered in the mid 220 miles-per-hour range, with Sato posting a best speed of 227.855 mph during his 86 laps turned on the day. Dixon followed the two-time winner with a 227.285 over 83 laps, just ahead of Power’s 226.953 over 82 laps.

Polesitter Alex Palou ended the session in fourth with a 226.945. Rinus VeeKay, who will start second alongside Palou on Sunday, ended the session in 33rd and last place, only managing a 222.166 mph top speed over 89 laps.

Agustin Canapino heads into his first Indy 500 lined up 27th, on the outside of the third-to-last row. However, the Argentinian found some pace in his Juncos Hollinger Racing Machine on Friday and placed his No. 78 machine sixth-highest on the pylon.

Graham Rahal, partaking in the 500 off the back of a shock deal which will allow him to drive Stefan Wilson‘s No. 24 entry while the latter recovers from a back injury suffered during Monday’s (May 22) practice session, placed himself in 30th with a best speed of 223.491 mph, clocking 77 laps on the day.

Rahal had previously been bumped from the field by teammate Jack Harvey, the day before Wilson’s injury presented an opportunity for the Ohioan to race on Sunday after all.

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The session passed without major incident, though not everyone will be happy with the day’s results when they lie down to sleep tonight.

Katherine Legge brought about the first caution of the session when her No. 44 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing entry stopped on track after a wheel nut came detached itself from the car.

Later, Devlin DeFrancesco picked up a right-front puncture. His Andretti Autosport Honda bottomed out in visually spectacular fashion as the Canadian came through turn 2. DeFrancesco gingerly nursed his car around to the pits for service, though that did little to undo the fact that the car will have some doctoring to undergo in order to be ready for race day.

Santino Ferrucci provided the eye-widening moment of the day when he took to the grass to pass Alexander Rossi on pit exit. Rossi returned the gesture to Ferrucci moments later, making the two even in the department of unusual close calls.

With Carb Day complete, the field will take a break from on track action on Saturday (May 27). The 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 will kick off on Sunday, May 28, at 11 a.m. ET with coverage on NBC and Peacock.

About the author

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Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.

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