Auto racing: Bourdais posts fastest lap of week in Indy 500 practice


Honda, however, have dominated at the Brickyard powering 11 of the top 12 cars on Fast Friday, including the top four.

Fernando Alonso is prepared for what he expects will be "the most disgusting laps" of his career as he takes part in qualifying for the Indy 500 this weekend.

Absent from Indy vehicle racing for six years, Howard emerged atop the speed chart after Thursday's fourth day of practice for the 101st Indianapolis 500. "My engineer loves to run and run, but with the limit yesterday, it helped us to be precise, to think clearly, and I liked it".

Alonso has spent hours chatting informally with Indycar and F1 legend Mario Andretti and he is also taking advantage of the knowledge of Indycar champion (and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner) Gil de Ferran, who has been retained by Honda and Andretti Autosport to mentor the most famous rookie driver to race at Indianapolis since Nigel Mansell in 1993.

"Fast Friday" sees the drivers and teams get one final chance to dial in their cars prior to qualifying across Saturday and Sunday, and it certainly lived up to its name as average lap speeds escalated. That explains why de Ferran might just be Alonso's key Indy 500 weapon, given that motorsport is a world where all too often the benefits of coaching are overlooked or even derided.

That lap now stands as fastest of the week heading into "Fast Friday". Temperatures were up, speeds were down, and the tension that usually hangs over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the lead-up to Indy 500 qualifying weekend was generally less intense than usual.

Saturday determines the order of running on "Pole Day", which is Sunday.

Each driver can make three attempts at qualifying but by starting a new attempt, it automatically forfeits their previous time. When formally named to the position Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Penske took a more active than honorary role, committing to a $100,000 donation to the foundation that initially will support the RRDC's SAFEisFast initiative of producing free tutorial videos for aspiring young racers. "It's not one instance on the lap that you reach 220, 230 miles like we do (in Formula One)".

"We'd like to leave an imprint ourselves and we do that with our arms around Mark in this particular situation".

"So thanks to those big opportunities and the luck I have to be able to participate in those, winning is the next target".

Rahal added that the foundation will carry on Donohue's memory. 'The engine was not good enough, ' he said.