Sato fastest on the first day of Indy 500 practice, VeeKay quickest of no-tow runners

Spread the love

Day 1 of practice for the Indy 500 was called off due to inclement weather on Tuesday.

Luckily for the drivers and teams, Wednesday was a beautiful one at Indianapolis and things got going at IMS.

First up in the morning was the Rookie Orientation Program for RC Enerson in the late 34th entry for Abel Motorsports.

The program consists of the following over 1 hour and 45 minutes if required:

Phase 1 – 10 laps at 205-210mph

Phase 2 – 15 laps at 210-215mph

Phase 3 – 15 laps at over 215mph.

The Floridian completed the first two phases very comfortably. That means he was able to run in the afternoon with the rest of the field and could complete phase three then. He fell just a lap short of doing it on his own in the morning.

Enerson returned to the circuit with under three hours to go of full practice for all drivers and would complete the program, ensuring that one car will be bumped out of the Indy 500 in qualifying.

When everyone was allowed to hit the track from midday onwards, Ed Carpenter posted a 224.739 early doors to lead Newgarden (224.583) and Palou (223.822).

Scott Dixon used the massive tow he got from CGR teammates Alex Palou and Marcus Ericsson to do a staggering 229.174 less than ten minutes in, followed by his Spanish stablemate (226.411) and Carpenter (224.739).

Problems from the open day test continued for Callum Ilott and Juncos as the Brit could only manage a 215.511 in clean air, over 3 miles an hour slower than rookie teammate Canapino.

The RLL of Graham Rahal touched the wall at turn 3 with his right front and front rear as he got a little wide. The American said he was looking down at his dash and drifted towards a place you never want to go.

Dixon led Palou, McLaughlin, Hunter-Reay, Kirkwood, Carpenter, Newgarden, Ericsson, Rosenqvist and Robb with an hour gone.

In regards to no-tow laps, the Andretti Autosport of Kyle Kirkwood led that chart on a 221.266.

2 hours into the day, Dixon’s 229.174 kept him on top, with another former winner Will Power moving into 2nd on a 226.866. Palou, McLaughlin, Malukas, Hunter-Reay, Ericsson, Kirkwood, Carpenter and Newgarden rounded out the top 10.

In the third hour, Palou moved back into P2 ahead of Power thanks to a 227.760. Wilson and Daly moved up to P7 and P8, displacing Carpenter and Newgarden from the top 10.

Things got a little bit better for Ilott as he managed to do a 219.159, although still slower than Canapino.

Three cautions had to be thrown in the first half of the day due to various pieces of debris on the track.

Into the fourth hour, things improved for Callum Ilott and Juncos as he finally reached over 220mph and did a 220.461.

The second half of practice was very much about drivers learning about the handling of their machinery in the dirty air of multiple cars in front.

Dixon continued to lead the fast lap chart, followed by Palou, Power, McLaughlin, Malukas, Hunter-Reay, Daly, Herta, Wilson and Pedersen.

The no-tow order showed very encouraging signs for Ed Carpenter Racing. Their young Dutch driver Rinus VeeKay did a 223.212, followed by his team owner with a 222.341.

Will Power, Scott McLaughlin, Conor Daly, Josef Newgarden, Kyle Kirkwood and Scott Dixon were all in the 221mph bracket.

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato jumped to the top of the charts ahead of CGR teammate Scott Dixon in the penultimate hour as he put in a 229.439. Only the Japanese and Kiwi reached over 229mph.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski

Reigning race winner Marcus Ericsson then vaulted up to P4 to make it a CGR 1-2-3-4 on the fast lap leaderboard.

Andretti, Power, McLaughlin, Harvey, Malukas and Hunter-Reay completed the top 10 at that point. Agustin Canapino moved up to P15 thanks to a large tow.

As they got into the last hour, aka happy hour, the order changed around quite a bit behind Sato and Dixon on the fast lap leaderboard.

AJ Foyt Racing driver Santino Ferrucci moved himself into P3. He pumped in a 228.977. Penske’s Scott McLaughlin and Andretti’s Colton Herta went 5th and 6th as they did a 228.258 and 228.057 respectively.

The order in the top 10 of the fast lap speed was Sato, Dixon, Ferrucci, Palou, McLaughlin, Herta, Ericsson, Hunter-Reay, Newgarden and Andretti.

Arrow McLaren had a pretty quiet day, with Alexander Rossi the lead car in P18, one place ahead of Pato O’Ward.

Juncos’ Callum Ilott was last of all as his difficulties with the car from the open test last month continued.

On the no-tow chart, VeeKay led team boss Ed Carpenter in an Ed Carpenter Racing 1-2. Power, McLaughlin, Daly and Newgarden rounded out the top 6. All six of those drivers are Chevy-powered.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Travis Hinkle

Kirkwood, Dixon, Palou and Herta completed the top 10.

It was a remarkably clean day of action as no drivers crashed. The five cautions were required for debris and track inspections.