Today was practice and qualifying for the Freedom 100 and the on track debut of the new color scheme. And it went really well! I had the fastest lap of the day in practice 1. The car was really good and felt awesome, especially running in traffic which will be very important for tomorrow's race. I could put the car wherever I wanted and run closely behind other cars at speed. Also, other people were having issues with tire wear on the right rear. But not me! We ran a full race distance on a set of tires and had no wear issues. I had a big tow to do the quick lap, but the fact I could run so close and keep the throttle wide open bodes well for the race. On my fastest lap, the lap time was 46.78 seconds, an average speed of 192.4mph. On that lap headed into Turn 3, I saw a top speed of 202mph!!!! I was telling everyone we had repainted the car into a 'fast' color, and sure enough!
Then we had qualifying in the afternoon. It went well, but wasn't without drama. I had drawn 21st in the order for qualifying out of 22 cars. So when I was ready to warm up the engine, the starter wouldn't work. So the crew guys said they thought they could push me. Well the first attempt- nothing. Second attempt with some engine starter fluid- it kicked over, but didn't start. The third attempt (with one mechanic fully out of breath, the spotter wheezing from an asthma attack and the other mechanic convinced he hadn't run that far since High School!) it finally caught. I kept the revs on the engine up to make sure it stayed alive. Then when it was time for me to take to the track, the crew helped push me to make sure I didn't stall it. I kept it running and had a solid qualifying effort. Two laps full throttle at the limit around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is definitely a great feeling. My times put me seventh on the grid. From there, I can have a really good race. I think that the last 10-15 laps is when it will really show who has a good car and who doesn't. That is when people will start moving forward hard or going backwards hard. It should be a great race and lots of fun!
I then went to a dinner with some people from my sponsor, Novo Nordisk. They launched the new livery of the car and it is great to have them on hand to show them the atmosphere of the Indy 500 up close. And the food was fantastic in downtown Indianapolis. Now I am ready for a good night's sleep and a great race tomorrow.
TV Reminder: The Freedom 100 will be shown live on Versus TV at 12:30PM Eastern (9:30 Pacific) as part of the Carb Day TV coverage.