Story Credit: INDYCAR PR
Photo Credit: INDYCAR Photo
INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, April 8, 2021) – Sebastien Bourdais of AJ Foyt Racing was the fastest among 32 drivers who turned laps Thursday at the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Open Test, which included a rain delay of more than five hours at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Frenchman Bourdais was among a group of 11 drivers who took to the 2.5-mile oval in the final 70 minutes of track activity for veteran refresher tests and the Rookie Orientation Program, and he turned a top lap of 224.427 mph in the famous No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet fielded by legendary four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt.
Bourdais turned his top lap in the last few minutes of the final session, which resembled the “Happy Hour” of an Indy 500 practice day with cars running in aerodynamic packs. He was among the veterans who needed to complete the two-phase refresher test since he didn’t race in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2020.
“Pretty good refresher for the A.J. Foyt No. 14,” Bourdais said. “That ROKiT car was pretty good. It always feels a little different when you start at low speeds and the car’s never really settled, but we got through both phases and are ready to go tomorrow and start working properly. It’s all good.”
Rain halted the opening veterans-only session at 12:30 p.m. (ET). A second heavy shower around 3:15 p.m. delayed track activity until the track reopened at 6:03 p.m. under blue skies and sunshine.
Track activity will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Friday, with live broadcast coverage on Peacock. Rookie Orientation and refresher tests will take place from 9-10 a.m., with veterans back on track from 10-11 a.m. The track will open for all drivers from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Conor Daly was the second-fastest driver overall and the fastest in the morning session of 90 minutes before heavy rain arrived in Indianapolis. Daly’s top lap was 222.714 in the No. 47 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing, also with the help of an aerodynamic tow.
Sage Karam was third overall at 222.408, with his best lap in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet also coming during the final session after the rain left town.
Three-time Indy 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter was fourth at 221.296 in the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five at 221.097 in the No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing Honda.
2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Rinus VeeKay suffered a broken finger in a crash in Turn 1 just 11 minutes into track activity in his No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet fielded by ECR. He was cleared to drive.
VeeKay’s car dipped low into the grass inside Turn 1 and did nearly a full clockwise spin before hitting the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 with the right front and right side of the car. The car then spun twice and slid through the short chute before stopping at the entrance of Turn 2 with heavy damage.
“I wanted to do as many laps as possible to be successful,” VeeKay said. “I’m very sorry. It was a weird moment.”
The 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 30. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opens April 17-18 with the Honda Indy Grand Prix presented by AmFirst at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.