Rossi leads final practice before Indy 500 qualifying; Chilton unhurt in crash

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INDIANAPOLIS – The stage is finally set for qualifications at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Overnight and morning rain left the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval saturated, delaying final practice today before the start of qualifications until 12:37 p.m. ET. Alexander Rossi, rookie driver of the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian led the session with a lap of 231.249 mph, followed by Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 28 DHL Honda at 231.107. Twenty-one of the 33 cars entered turned laps in the session.

CLICK HERE: Practice 6 results; Combined practice results; Indianapolis 500 qualifying order

The lone incident in the practice occurred when Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Max Chilton spun in the No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and made hard contact with the Turn 2 wall. Chilton was uninjured and cleared to drive, but his car sustained extensive damage to the front and rear.

“I’m fine, a bit battered and bruised,” Chilton said. “Your first accident on an oval is never a great one. The timing is pretty bad, but that’s the issue with practice before qualifying. You just want to make sure the car is right. I felt like it was a little bit strong in the front, but I don’t have the experience to know what’s too much. Now I know, for future reference.

“It went down to line pretty quickly. I was cautious of the rear and before you have time to react, it had gone and you’re just a passenger from then on.”

First-day qualifying is scheduled to begin at 2:20 p.m. and has been extended to finish at 7 p.m. Live streaming on ESPN3 runs from 2-4 p.m. before coverage switches to ABC from 4-6 p.m., then to ESPN News and ESPN3 from 6-7 p.m.

The nine drivers posting the fastest four-lap qualification runs today secure a slot in Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout to determine the starting order of the first three rows for the May 29 race, including the Verizon P1 Award pole winner who receives a $100,000 prize.

Those qualifying outside the top nine today move on to Group 1 qualifying Sunday, where race starting positions 10-33 are decided.

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