Sunday practice for pole qualifying for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil featured two practices, one for drivers ranked 10-33 after Saturday qualifying and one for the drivers competing in the Fast Nine Shootout for the pole.
In combined practice, Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones turned the fastest lap at 233.008 mph. The only driver to break the 233 mph mark, Jones beat out Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Jack Harvey.
The best of the Fast Nine group was Fernando Alonso, who was sixth in the combined practice, with Will Power the next best of that group in tenth. Marco Andretti, Alexander Rossi, and Takuma Sato completed the top five in the Fast Nine group. Of note: No entries from Ed Carpenter Racing (Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand) and Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, and Max Chilton) turned laps during the morning practice.
The fastest no-tow speed went to the aforementioned Rahal, with a lap at 231.733 mph. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Juan Pablo Montoya were second and third, with Alonso and Power again leading the way for the Fast Nine group. They ended the combined session fourth and fifth on the no-tow charts.
Qualifying resumes at 2:45 p.m. ET with the Fast Nine Shootout beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”