Alonso's vital Indy 500 weapon

Honda's disastrous start to the 2017 Formula One campaign paved the way for Alonso's entry into the event and his decision to miss the Monaco Grand Prix. On the windy Wednesday, Alonso focused on pit stop practice and turned the fourth-fastest lap on a day when less than half the field chose to practice.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso was fifth at 231.549 before rain doused the 2.5-mile oval, stopping practice.

The fastest nine drivers from Saturday's first day of qualifying will then battle for the pole on Sunday, starting at 5 p.m. on ABC.

"Gil de Ferran, my coach, my mentor, told me the four laps in qualifying will be the most frightful you've ever done because the vehicle is very on the limit", said two-time F1 world champion Alonso, 35.

"I'm going to try and enjoy my time outside the auto as much as I can. Here I am, a veteran driver, but it's all brand new to me".

"I think it's very impressive, though it's kind of what we expected", said Takuma Sato, another of Andretti's drivers who was third-fastest Friday at 231.969. I think we expected him to be up to speed very quickly.

Writing a column for The Players Tribune, the Spaniard admitted that his appearance at The Brickyard was not a vanity project.

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Alonso has endured a miserable F1 season with McLaren, who have struggled with an unreliable and uncompetitive Honda engine and are the only team on the grid yet to score a point after five races.

Bourdais put in an early effort of 233.116 miles per hour that was good enough for P1 come the end of the day, giving Dale Coyne Racing another boost after an impressive start to the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Four-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon is convinced that Alonso will live up to the hype he has generated when race day rolls around.

The vehicle driven by Spencer Pigot hits the wall in the second turn during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Friday, May 19, 2017 in Indianapolis. I still can't believe we're top of the charts; feels good.

"I have been thinking about Indy for four or five years now".

Fernando Alonso, of Spain, sits in his vehicle during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tuesday, May 16, 2017 in Indianapolis.

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