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Rain Mars Fast Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS (May 16, 2014) - Rain has been the recurring theme at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500, and "Fast Friday" was no different as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports drivers had only 19 minutes of green-flag practice before rain moved in yet again.

Rain plagued five consecutive days of Verizon IndyCar Series practice at IMS, and drivers were left scratching their heads heading into the first day of qualifying Saturday, May 17.

Jacques Villeneuve, returning to the Indianapolis 500 after a 19-year absence, turned only six laps on the 2.5-mile oval on Fast Friday. 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Villeneuve was 16th fastest with a lap of 39.5288 seconds, 227.682 mph.

"We have no idea what to expect for tomorrow," Villeneuve said. "We were on old tires in the few laps we got, and we hadn't trimmed the car out yet. We haven't even done a practice qualification run."

Villeneuve is not feeling the stress of the new Indianapolis 500 qualifying format that awards more Verizon IndyCar Series championship points than ever over a two-day period. A driver who earns the top spot on both May 17 and 18 would earn 42 points in the season championship.

"We're not under any stress for qualifying because we're not in the points battle," he said. "Qualifying is almost meaningless for us, so there's no point in taking a risk with anything. What matters for us is the race."

Verizon IndyCar Series rookies have suffered the most from a lack of track time, SPM rookie driver Mikhail Aleshin said.

"Unfortunately, I don't even think the practice sessions we have tomorrow morning before the qualifying line opens will help us much because track conditions will change greatly when we make our qualifying run later in the day," Aleshin said. "This week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been good for our experienced drivers, but if you're a rookie like me, it was very bad. No one on our team is going to give up, though. We're going to have the pedal to the metal tomorrow and keep fighting."

Aleshin turned eight laps Fast Friday in the No. 7 SMP Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone car. He was 14th with a lap of 39.5046, 227.822.

Simon Pagenaud has performed fewer practice qualification runs than he would like, but he believes the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car will be ready to contend for a spot in the Fast Nine Shootout.

"We were able to squeeze in a little qualifying practice," Pagenaud said. "We're suffering from a lack of practice time, but everyone's in the same position. We're almost ready, though, and we have some practice tomorrow morning. I'm comfortable with our package, though, and I'm hoping we can make it into the Fast Nine Shootout tomorrow."

Pagenaud was ninth overall on Fast Friday with a lap of 39.3798, 228.544.

The Indianapolis 500 qualifying line opens at 11 a.m. (ET) Saturday, May 17. Drivers will lock themselves into qualifying groups May 17 and then determine final starting spots Sunday, May 18, including the coveted pole. Each driver must complete a qualification attempt on both days.

For the latest qualifying updates from the team for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.