The sun escaped its cloud prison and the Indycar series team got in a four hour practice at IMS today. The session saw cars running in groups and practicing passing. Teams ran together to get a feel for the draft..
Just two caution periods for track inspections interrupted today’s practice period.
Josef Newgarden led today’s session with lap at 229.519 mph. Takuma Sato also had a lap over 229 mph, just 0.0157 seconds slower. The next five drivers had speeds in the 228 mph range.
Newgarden has won the last two races and feels good about his chances in the 500. After the test ended, he told the media<
“I can’t deny things feel really good on the 2 car. They’re just progressing. It’s not like two steps forward, two steps back, or vice versa. I feel like it’s going forward every single time, and we’re just getting better.
We’ve been on a good trajectory at the moment. I don’t want to see it flatten too much; I want to see it go the other way. I feel confident with what we’ve got, feel good at showing up anywhere. Being at Team Penske makes that easier. I always feel confident in our group.”
Unlike Wednesday’s string of yellows for incidents, today was issue free. Drivers completed 3,267 laps. Marcus Ericsson completed he most laps, 148.
The top 10 had three Chevys and seven Hondas. All five cars from Chip Ganassi Racing were in the top 10. Tony Kanaan was the fastest from the team at third place with a lap of 228.767.
Helio Castroneves did not run today. He is uninjured, but his car was not repaired in time from yesterday’s crash.
Marco Andretti was the only Andretti Autosport driver in the top 15 in sixth place. Romain Grosjean finished 16th. Alexander Rossi was 23rd and Colton Herta was 28th. Puzzling results for a team that used to be really good at IMS.
Sato was not driving the car he will drive in the 500 this week. The team did not want to risk damage to their speedway car.
Santino Ferrucci showed some speed . he finished twelfth today but was in the top 10 for a good chunk of the session. I don’t understand why he doesn’t have a full time ride.
Callum Ilott again led the pure rookies. Keep an eye on him next month.
Will Power pointed out at the end of the day that today’s results mean nothing for qualifying. The cars ran without their qualifying boost, and qualifying is one car on track, not several that can give the trailing car a tow.
“You need (extra boost for qualifying), with everyone going on single runs on exactly the same fuel load with no draft, all that. That’s the only way you’ll know,” Power said.
Thanks for following along these two days. It was great to be back at IMS with cars running on the oval.
Today’s time sheet