Indy 500 | IndyCar Practice | Newgarden fastest ahead of a very consistent Herta and Power

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment | Chris Jones
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After the drama of Qualifying it’s time for the drivers to focus on their race setup instead in a two hours long Practise session. After the first sets of laps have been put in, fastest is Penske’s Will Power in 224.983mph, but top speed won’t be the main goal for today.

Honda engines are recovering a bit of performance, with Dixon, Herta and Palou in the top 4 after the first ten minutes of the session. The six times IndyCar champion is in provisional P2 with a best speed of 225.5mph, less than a mph behind Power in P1.

Herta takes the provisional lead  in 226.222 mph, while Marcus Armstrong has a front wing issue. The first half hour of track time goes on rather smoothly, with all 33 drivers out on track to work on their race pace and dead set on getting in as many laps as possible.

Andretti and Daly complete the provisional top 5, with Ferrucci, Newgarden, Rasmussen as the best placed rookie, Palou and Lundgaard in the top 10. Herta, still in the lead, has a big wriggle out of Turn 2 and almost came in contact with the wall.

JHR’s Canapino enters the top 5 fastest speeds with a 225.141mph, as McLaren work on a different rear wing specification for O’Ward.

A new engine has been delivered to Dixon’s garage, with the Ganassi driver expected to change yet another time car components in order to find the best feeling ahead of the biggest event in motorsport.

Larson completed a brilliant overtake on Herta at the inside, with the Andretti driver having a moment with ECR’s Rasmussen, as the reigning INDYNXT champion got a bit too close for comfort.

One hour into practise a caution was issued for a track conditions check, suspending the session for around ten minutes. Larson and McLaughlin complete together Turn 1 side by side.

Newest top 10 addition is Arrow McLaren’s Callum Ilott, , but his 224.419mph is bested by Takuma Sato’s effort.

With 45 minutes to go reigning 500 winner Josef Newgarden takes the top spot, improving Herta’s previous best speed by 0.016mph. Temperatures are getting lower, cars are getting lighter, and thus all drivers are improving their earlier benchmarks.

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment | Chris Jones

The fast Penske driver also had a moment, almost spinning after running over the curb, but the American was able to steer away and keep his car on track.

Many moves are seen for a preview of what we will be able to see on Sunday, with Veekay overtaking McLaughlin at Turn 1 and Larson on Dixon. Canapino and O’Ward join the top five, with
Rasmussen, Dixon, Andretti, Castroneves and Daly rounding off the top 10.

Grojean is the latest driver able to improve his speed, joining his teammate in the top 10. Veekay mentions a front tyre vibration. Herta is on a very impressive race simulation, with an incredibly consistent pace as well as a great best speed.

Palou’s car no.10 is wheeled back at the garage for a last minute setup change. Late session drama ensured as Tom Blomqvist spins in the pit lane. The rookie MSR driver accelerated while exiting his stall but immediately looped around.

After a week of shortened testing time packed with crashes and rain delays, it was a quiet, clean and safe two hours of track time and long runs for the 33 drivers involved in the 500. Team Penske are  clearly the ones to watch, but Andretti and especially Colton Herta proved to have a very strong contender.

 Honourable mention goes to the best performing rookie of the day, Rasmussen, who has turned in 100 laps and has the sixth best speed.