Palou curious what VeeKay was doing on Carb Day, I think VeeKay instead, made a statement, details on how a practice pack was a start of the race preview on Friday

INDIANAPOLIS — At one point in Friday’s Miller Lite Carb Day practice session, the final dress rehearsal for Sunday’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network), the top qualifiers were running up front in a pack together.

50-minutes in, Rinus VeeKay let Alex Palou by him on the straightaway. Scott Dixon rode behind VeeKay’s No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet. They were joined by Alexander Rossi (starting 7th), Conor Daly (starting 16th), Pato O’Ward (starting 5th), Santino Ferrucci (starting 4th), Marcus Ericsson (starting 10th) and a cast of other NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers running in a pack.

It was almost a practice session in and of itself to see how the cars would react around each other at the beginning of the race on Sunday.

The drivers all note that passing up front is going to be as easier as ever before. With that said and how fuel saving is a massive must, especially at the beginning of the race as drivers settle in to hit a fuel number, one way to save fuel is to swap the lead lap-after-lap.

Palou starts on the pole. VeeKay rolls off next to him. He was hopeful that the two could play together early and swap the lead. What better way to practice this than up front on Friday morning?

Alex Palou and Josef Newgarden practice on Miller Lite Carb Day for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

“I think it’s pretty hard when you are fourth, fifth and behind that. And it’s too easy when your first, second,” Palou said on passing. “So we’ll see what we get. It’s the same for everybody. Hopefully when we start it’s going to change a little bit, but I think it’s too easy now to pass from second to first, which we didn’t have the past two years. But yeah, it’s all right. Same for everybody.”

VeeKay instead tucked in behind Palou and just stayed there. He even let Dixon by at one point and remained behind Dixon after.

“I do really know because he didn’t want to pass today,” Palou said of VeeKay. “He just wanted to save fuel on Carb Day and I didn’t really understand what he was doing on track. But if he drives normal, yeah, we’re going to be exchanging a lot. I don’t know if it’s going to be me or somebody else, but yeah, I think when you are second, it’s easy to pass, and when you are first, you cannot really do much.

“I just hope that they don’t go crazy on the guy that is leading, trying to save fuel while you’re leading because that doesn’t work and then it’s crazy behind. So yeah, if I’m in control, if I’m leading, I’ll try and just go and try and play with somebody, and if they don’t want to, like Rinus didn’t want to today, so yeah, we’ll see what happens.”

VeeKay has been open that his plan is to save fuel for the first few stints. He doesn’t want to lead because the more you’re up front leading, the more fuel that you’re also burning while doing so. That’s why VeeKay wants to remain in the top three or four, but not be leading.

Palou doesn’t want to be leading either but wants to swap in and out with someone.

That’s where Santino Ferrucci comes into play. His approach is to be aggressive but cautiously aggressive in the process. He knows that he has a good race car and knows that he can win this thing on Sunday. In order to do so, he feels like he needs to lead early to see how his car reacts not only in a pack, but what it does while also leading the pack too.

So with such a good starting spot (Inside of Row 2), he has a prime opportunity to get to the front early and with VeeKay not wanting to lead and Palou looking for a partner, I think he has one just one row behind.

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