2014 Carb Day at Indianapolis 500 full of fun, fast racing
Ganassi Racing last lap, top pit crew before Sunday's race.
By Rick Yencer
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (SPORTS) - As one veteran fan of the Indianapolis 500 said Friday, you never know what to expect on Carb Day.
And that held true as Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing turned the fastest time of 227 miles an hour in the final practice as team mate Scott Dixon finished with the top pit crew in that longstanding competition.
And youthful Gabby Chaves came out of nowhere on the final lap of the Freedom 100 race to edge out Matthew Brabham who led much of the race.
The sunny day, and warm temperatures brought more than 80,000 people to the fabled track that produces the greatest spectacle in racing. that general pulls more than 450,000 fans.'
The last practice before Sunday's race went well except a a bump to the wall by Sage Karem who kept control of the car.
Kanaan, defending champion, talked about having great conditions and a car dialed in to race for Sunday's main event.
There has not been much news from Ganassi's team as Hoosier Ed Carpenter, son-in-law of former Indy 500 President Tony George, claimed the pole while Penske driver Will Power and Andretti driver James Hinchcliffe also sit on the first row.
Dixon said said his pit crew had turned in some fast times during practices, and Friday's performance was a second less than last year's winner.
And Dixon finished second fastest in practice, showing that Ganassi could compete with Penske and Andretti teams.
Carpenter turned in a 224 average in the middle of the pack as he offered few comments after practice. His team mate, JR Hildebrand, was signing autographs outside the garage and talking about how his car was ready for the big event on Sunday.
The Indy Lights race was a spoiler from the standpoint that Matthew Brabham led much of the race until the final lap when three other drivers made a dash for the checked flag.
Chaves pushed ahead by barely inches and a one thousandth of a second to win.
The love of racing was how Chaves explained his narrow victory as he talked to reporters. He is among the youngest of the Indy Lights drivers.
There were plenty of predictions for Sunday's winner as sports radio announcer Dan Dakich talked about Dixon and Power having the speed and experience to win.
Jim Morrison, who edits the Hawkeye Racing News, talked about "Special Ed" or Ed Carpenter who grew up racing dirt and sprint cars and evolved to Indy cars with help of his father-in-law, George.
Morrison has been around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 40 years and his first race was an rain soaked 1976 event where Johnny Rutherford won.
Other fans roaming the speedway Friday talked about Helio Casterneves and Juan Pablo Montoya who turned from fast laps this week.
Sunday's event promises to make history with the fastest finish with speeds in the 230s and the last time Jim Nabors sings Back Home in Indiana before the race crowd. Country western superstar LeAnn Rimes will sing the National Anthem for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.