Here’s What Drivers Said after Friday’s Carb Day final practice for the Indy 500

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Many of the drivers that took part in Friday’s Carb Day, the final day of practice for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, weren’t very talkative afterward.

But we still have more than half the field who did have something to say afterward.

Check out What Drivers Said (courtesy IndyCar PR):

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda): “We were just running through the program. We had to do an install first lap, then we did some pit stops. Then we got into our test program trying different things. There wasn’t anything wrong. We have some work to do, for sure. Today was pretty good for track conditions compared to where we have been. We have to make some adjustments. By no means are we in no-man’s land.” (About James Hinchcliffe being in his pit box): “He was just listening, nothing crazy. It’s not like he’s coaching me from in there. He was giving his opinion and talking with the engineers, just trying to lend a hand in any way he can.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I don’t really know if today told us too much about what the race will bring in the PNC Bank car. It’s really warm today and we think it could be even warmer on race day. The track temp was way up there today as well. I’m not really sure what you can learn from the times today. There were a lot of people throwing tires at it out there. Overall, the car felt good and we were comfortable. You just never know exactly what you’re going to have until you get into the race.”

ED JONES (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think we had a very positive end to practice here at Indianapolis. The NTT DATA car felt really good and I was very happy with the direction and changes we made. I was also pretty happy with how the car handled in traffic, which is important for the race.”

DANICA PATRICK (No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet): “Today we had a little bit of an electrical issue, but our team was able to get me back out there before practice was over. At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done. I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “At the end of the session, the United Rentals Honda was pretty good. We definitely, at the very tail end of the session, got it into a decent window. We just ran used tires from the start and I know a lot of guys were running stickers (new tires), but we wanted to save a lot of stickers for the race and I think we just ran them too long, initially, and probably made our lives a little tough, but for sure we got the car much better in the end. We’ll be OK (in traffic). We don’t have the quickest outright pace, which has kind of been the case all month, but at the end of the session in heavy traffic I felt pretty good. Obviously, tire life and stuff plays a role, so we’ll have to see how we are on Sunday.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): “The month has been great. It speaks volumes about the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Team. They really gave me a great car, a fast car, which showed what it was capable of on Saturday and Sunday in qualifying. We have worked very hard in traffic scenarios and race conditions and we definitely made some improvements on Monday, so I’m looking forward to a great race.”


ZACHARY CLAMAN DE MELO (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): “It was a tough session today. The Paysafe car wasn’t exactly how we wanted and it didn’t feel like Monday. But, I’m still feeling confident going into the race. I’m sure we’ll figure out the problem and that we’ll be really strong going into Sunday. You can’t count anyone out here, so it should be interesting on race day. The build up to this race is huge, it feels like we’ve been here a long time but it’s been fun. I can’t wait for race day.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 pole winner): “We ran through a couple of things we wanted to try after looking at the data from Monday’s practice. Carb Days are hard, though. It’s only one hour, then you have a couple more days to agonize over exactly how we start the race. The conditions are pretty similar right now to what we’ll have come race time, so the session was good for that. I wouldn’t say today was our best day by any means, but for me, we can rely on the work we have done over the previous week and a half. I’ve felt calm all week and I feel good going into the race. We’ll look through the data from today and the rest of practice, see what we like the best and go from there.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “Today was a good day. We made some solid progress throughout the session since we came in knowing what we needed from the car based on Monday. We needed to accomplish some of that, so I’m feeling happy with our Preferred Freezer Services Chevy, and I’m excited about the race.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Fiasp Chevrolet): “It was a ready good final practice. The hour on Carb Day is all about checking the boxes and making sure we are ready to go for Sunday. Reliability in the car has been rock solid all month. That didn’t change today. The speed is really good in the car. If we get clean air and get out front, we’re going to be pretty solid. The guys did a lot of pit stop practice this week and we’re pretty happy with that. Overall, we tuned on it, and right at the end of the session when the track was the hottest and probably the slickest, we felt like we had the best car of the week. That’s the right time to peak heading into the race on Sunday. Excited to show off what this Carlin team has done this whole month of May and this year so far. Everyone from Novo Nordisk to Chevy and Firestone are great partners. It’s been a great month. We’ve done an incredible job as a team and it’s been fun to watch this team enjoy the Indy 500 experience. I can’t wait to see their faces on race day.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda): “It was a relatively short session today for Carb Day. We went through a run plan and checked various things. In traffic, I was reasonably happy. We still need to work on it, but now race day is approaching and I think we are ready.”

KYLE KAISER (No. 32 NFP / Juncos Racing Chevrolet): “Our last day of practice went very well. We got to improve the car a little bit and get a better idea of the conditions for race day on Sunday. I think we ended with a pretty good car. I still think we have a few more changes to make before the race. I am really happy with the team. We brought the car back clean for the end of the day and I am ready to go racing now. I am looking forward to the start of the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): “It might not have shown on the overall speeds, but the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet had really good race pace. This final practice always goes by so fast trying to work through everything before race day, but we are really happy with where we ended the day. We’re feeling good heading into the race on Sunday.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): “We got through Carb Day cleanly. There are some things we’d like to change and hopefully improve on. So, we’ll take a look at our data and make a decision on what’s the best way to move forward for the race and hopefully have a great race car.”

After thrilling ‘Evel Live,’ Travis Pastrana back in action this weekend

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It’s been 2 ½ months since Travis Pastrana channeled his inner Evel Knievel in “Evel Live” in Las Vegas on July 8.

The legendary motorcycle stunt rider and rallycross driver successfully replicated three of Knievel’s most infamous career motorcycle jumps, capped off by jumping – some would call it flying – over the fountain at Caesar’s Palace.

All without a scratch or any type of malfunction.

“It was awesome,” Pastrana told NBC Sports’ MotorSportsTalk in an exclusive interview. “Obviously, to do something live, a live stunt which hasn’t been done, is cool.

“And just the nostalgia, to live a day in Evel Knievel’s boots, literally, was awesome. To have the whole Knievel family out there, his three kids, and my mom and dad all out there, it was just a real awesome day.

“And to have the chance to jump the Caeser’s (Palace) fountain, probably the most infamous and iconic stunt location in the world. All that added up to be a really, really great event and I think it came off really well.”

MORE: Travis Pastrana successfully completes all three of Evel Knievel’s most famous jumps

MORE: Travis Pastrana’s goal to replicate 3 of Evel Knievel’s most famous jumps: ‘Try not to die’

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 08: Travis Pastrana peforms during HISTORY’s Live Event “Evel Live” on July 8, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for HISTORY)

Pastrana spoke at length about the logistics of setting up the three jumps in two different venues, getting from Point A in one part of Las Vegas to Point B (Caesar’s), and dealing with potential weather concerns.

“That’s the greatest part about Nitro Circus (Pastrana’s company) is having an amazing team so that when an idea like this comes up, we can make it turn into fruition and a possibility,” Pastrana said. “The idea came up less than a year before it was pulled off.

“I couldn’t have been more proud of my team and all the guys there. When we called Caesar’s, we thought for sure they were going to say no. Then they said yes.

“Then we talked to the Knievel family and they said, ‘this is going to be great. Go ahead.’ It was like, be careful for what you ask for because it just happened. And then we had a bike just like Evel’s, although a more modern day (version).”

While Pastrana and his team pulled off everything seamlessly, there was a lot of worry and concern, especially on Pastrana’s part, since he was the focal point of the stunt, which was televised live.

“I didn’t sleep at all the night before,” he said. “And then everything just worked out. It’s what you hope for, for sure. But with every race, every event, everything, there’s always something like a $5 part break in a half-million dollar vehicle. Something always goes wrong.

“The fact that everything went as well as it could – I mean, they were calling for 80 percent chance of rain with wind gusts up to 60 mph (on the day of the event).

“And the storm kind of went 20 miles south, it didn’t get that windy, and you have to think to yourself, ‘Man, that was a live event, and representing Evel Knievel, the stunt man of Vegas, you’ve gotta go for it.’”

Pastrana vowed to perform the stunts rain or shine. But if it had rained, he had his doubts that he’d be able to pull it off.

“Successfully, probably not,” the 34-year-old Pastrana said with a laugh. “That was the thing, what I had said coming up to it.

“When Evel got to Wembley Stadium (to do his infamous 13-bus jump in 1975), he said, ‘Look, the busses are bigger than they are in the U.S., I miscalculated the distance, this bike is not going to go as fast as I thought it would go. I’m not going to make it, but I told you guys I was going to put on a show, and I’m going to deliver.’

“That’s why I wanted to be the guy on this particular stunt. I can’t tell someone else when there are bad conditions or the bike is overheating or something else is going wrong to go, but with Nitro Circus and our history, and his family there, it just has to go, no matter what happens. We were just real fortunate and lucky that it all worked out.”

Pastrana jumped the fountain at Caesars Palace to wrap up a night of replicating three of Evel Knievels most infamous career jumps. Photo: Getty Images.

While he certainly enjoyed doing them, the Annapolis, Maryland native said it’s unlikely he’ll have any more Evel-like jumps in his career.

“This was a perfect storm,” he said. “Everything was just lined up on this one. For me, that was not my last hurrah, if you will, but as far as doing a big stunt, I did my biggest stunt I’ve ever done last year with the double back-flip 360 and kind of realized, you know what, I’ve been lucky long enough, let me just focus on my family.

“But then this came up, and I was like, ‘Put me in, coach.’”

Pastrana returns to the track this Saturday and Sunday for the third annual Nitro World Games at the Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park) near Salt Lake City.

Saturday will feature Nitro Rallycross (NRX) Qualifiers and Heat Races, including some of the biggest names in the sport including Pastrana and rival Ken Block having some “unfinished business,” as well as Scott Speed, Tanner Foust, Patrik Sandell, Steve Arpin, Mattias Ekstrom, Chris Atkinson and Timmy Hansen.

Pastrana and Ken Block have some ‘unfinished business’ in this weekend’s Nitro World Games near Salt Lake City. Photo: Nitro Circus.

On Sunday, the action includes the FMX Best Trick Finals, NRX Semi-Finals and Finals and FMX Quarterpipe Finals.

Among FMX Quarterpipe competitors are Colby Raha, Jarryd McNeil, Axell Hodges, Elijah Aldoff, Corey Creed and Kohl Denney.

And among riders and drivers taking part in the Best Trick Finals are defending champ Harry Bink, along with Pat Bowden, Christian Meyer, Josh Sheehan, William Van den Putte, Blake Williams, and Davi Johnson.

“Having the opportunity to kind of reinvent the sport for the American audience and for the drivers – I mean, we have Talladega-sized berms – right and left turns, dirt and pavement, huge jumps, there’s a triple-crossover,” Pastrana said. “World Games is basically the bigger of international sports. We take the most exciting sports, the biggest air, the least technical … and try to make it even bigger.

“I couldn’t be more excited. I think it’s going to be real exciting for the drivers, lots of options. It’s not a track that’s just built for a one-off event, it’s going to be a permanent place here so people can come out here and practice and keep getting better like European tracks do. So it should be good.”

Pastrana said Nitro Circus does over 70 live shows around the world per year, but he’s also excited about preparing for a lengthy residency in Las Vegas beginning next March.

Given all the things he’s accomplished over his career, Pastrana was asked if there’s anything remaining on his bucket list that he still hopes to do.

“I love racing, I love competing and I feel like I’ve competed in almost everything all over the world,” he said. “But the Daytona 500 is something … and I’ve never done a drag race. So those two would be pretty cool, wouldn’t they?”

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