Pagenaud quickest in final Indy 500 practice

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Updated: 5/24/2013 1:46 pm

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Simon Pagenaud drove his Honda-powered Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports car to the top of the charts in Friday's final practice session for the Indianapolis 500.

Known as "Carb Day" at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pagenaud posted a lap at 225.827 mph in the closing minutes of the one-hour session. He made a total of 40 laps around this famed 2.5-mile oval. Pagenaud will start on the outside of row 7 in Sunday's 500-mile race. This will be his second start in this prestigious event. He finished 16th in last year's race here.

"The engine feels really good here on Carb Day, and we'll see during the race," Pagenaud said. "I think the race car is pretty decent."

E.J. Viso placed second in the session with a lap at 225.304 mph. Ryan Hunter- Reay, the defending IndyCar Series champion, was third, followed by Scott Dixon and Sebastian Bourdais.

Dario Franchitti, who won the Indy 500 for the third time in 2012, turned in the sixth fastest lap. Franchitti qualified 17th last Saturday and will share row 6 with Dixon, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, and Takuma Sato, the current points leader.

"The balance of the car is now good, and the Honda engine is a lot better," said Franchitti, who turned 40 years old this past Sunday. "So I'm feeling a lot more confident about it. We're at least in the fight now. I feel we can get up there and mix in."

Franchitti qualified 16th for last year's race.

James Jakes was seventh in practice, while Katherine Legge, Marco Andretti and Alex Tagliani completed the top-10. Legge secured a ride with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports hours before the start of qualifying. She made it into the race, grabbing the 33rd and final starting position.

Andretti, who is making his eighth career start in the Indy 500, is one of the favorites to win the race. In his 2006 rookie year, he finished second to Sam Hornish Jr. in the second-closest finish in Indy 500 history. Andretti has scored three top-three finishes in seven starts here.

"I don't want to get overconfident, but I'm pretty confident," Andretti said. "I think the car is pretty good."

Six Honda drivers finished in the top-10 in practice. Chevrolet dominated in last weekend's qualifying, with its drivers securing all of the top-10 staring spots.

Ed Carpenter, the pole sitter for this race, placed 17th in practice. Carpenter, an Indianapolis native, won the Indy 500 pole for the first time with a four-lap average of 228.762 mph. Carlos Munoz, a rookie in this year's event, and Andretti will share the front row with Carpenter.

There were two incidents that occurred in the last practice.

Halfway into the session, Ana Beatriz sustained front-end damage to her car when she had to brake suddenly to avoid making contact with Munoz's slow- moving car. Beatriz was attempting to come onto pit lane when her incident occurred.

Ryan Briscoe blew an engine and had smoke pluming from the back end of his Ganassi car coming out of turn 2 during his final lap. A small fire erupted on Briscoe's car, but track safety workers quickly extinguished the flames. He won the pole position for last year's Indy 500, driving for Team Penske at the time.

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