INDIANAPOLIS -- The 2013 winner of the Indianapolis 500 appears ready to defend his title, as Tony Kanaan paced the final practice before Sunday's race.
Running a total of 46 laps Friday in what is known as "Carb Day," Kanaan's top speed of 227.838 mph was just ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon. The Ganassi cars struggled in qualifying, but have since shown speed in race trim and in traffic.
"We feel good," Kanaan said. "We worked pretty hard to make it up for our Sunday qualifying. ... Lap times don't count today, but it feels good to be up there. But that's not what it's all about."
Kanaan will start Sunday from the 16th position. Dixon qualified 11th.
Completing the top five in practice were Townsend Bell, Helio Castroneves and rookie Mikhail Aleshin. A three-time Indy 500 winner, Castroneves is considered one of the prerace favorites, along with Kanaan and Dixon, who won at Indy in 2008.
Carb Day marked the first time Kurt Busch was on the track since a Monday wreck destroyed his primary car. Busch ran a total of 53 laps Friday driving the backup car of Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti, posting the 15th-fastest time. He is attempting to become the fourth driver to compete in the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the same day.
"It felt to get back out there and get comfortable," Busch said. "I would give it a (grade of) B overall. It was a nice feeling of getting settled back in."
The only incident of note saw Sage Karam scrape the Turn 4. The 19-year-old making his first Indy start suffered just minimal damage.