After a wild weekend of qualifying, the 33-car field for Sunday’s 102nd Indianapolis 500 took to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Check out our practice recap below, followed by the headlines from the eighth day of on-track activity for the race.
Practice Recap and Headlines
Monday’s post-qualifying practice session is cited as one of the most exciting of the month. It is also frequently viewed as the session most similar to what race conditions will be like for the Indianapolis 500. After inclement weather delayed the start of the penultimate practice for more than 30 minutes, cars were off and running.
Shortly after the session began, the second major incident of the month occurred. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Robert Wickens made hard contact with the wall in Turn 2 multiple times before stopping near the infield grass on the backstretch. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year leader was checked, cleared to drive and released from the infield care center shortly after the crash.
The No. 6 Dallara-Honda sustained heavy damage to the front of the car, but the SPM crew seems optimistic that it can be repaired. With just three laps on the board, Wickens posted the 25th-best speed of the day at 222.325 MPH.
When all was said and done for the day, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing’s Sage Karam put up the fastest time in Monday’s session. The fifth-year driver, who will start Sunday’s race in 24th, ran a lap of 226.461 MPH in his Dallara-Chevrolet.
A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan made it a Chevrolet 1-2 late in the running. The 2013 winner and Karam were the only drivers to run above 225 MPH, as the Brazilian clocked a lap at 225.123. Kanaan will line up tenth on Sunday
2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay clocked the third-best lap and was the fastest Honda-powered entry, at 224.820 MPH in his Andretti Autosport machine and he will start 14th on Sunday. Carlin Racing’s Charlie Kimball and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five.
Fastest among the four rookies in the field was Dale Coyne Racing driver Zachary Claman De Melo, who ended the day in 9th with a best speed of 224.091 MPH. Another impressive rookie today was Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser. After qualifying 17th yesterday, the 2017 Indy Lights champion topped the no-tow speed charts with a best lap of 221.107 MPH.
Polesitter and Ed Carpenter Racing Owner/Driver Ed Carpenter was second on that list with a 220.600 MPH lap, with Charlie Kimball ending the 1-2-3 sweep for Chevrolet at 220.463. Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti was the fastest Honda in no-tow speed, with Team Penske’s Will Power giving Chevrolet four of the top five drivers on that chart.
Overall, the day was expectedly busy and productive for several drivers in the field. Power ran 120 laps, the most of anyone in the field and was one of eight drivers to top the century mark in laps run. Wickens, whose practice was cut short by the accident, ran the fewest (3).
Sunday’s race will be hotly contested, as all cars were within 1.0002 seconds of each other and each car posted a lap over 220 MPH during the day.
Indy Lights Testing Recap and Headlines
Monday also marked the beginning of preparations for the Indy Lights’ Freedom 100. Andretti Autosport’s Dalton Kellett led the way in no-tow and overall speed. The Canadian driver recorded a best lap of 198.005 MPH in the 90-minute morning session.Rookie Pato O’Ward made it an Andretti Autosport 1-2 on the speed charts (196.190).
Juncos Racing rookie Victor Franzoni (195.910) edged out another Andretti Autosport entry for third, this one belonging to Ryan Norman ( 194.793).
Unfortunately, the session did have a major accident during the running. Belardi Auto Racing’s Santi Urrutia tangled with teammate Chris Windom, who’s entry is in conjunction with Byrd Racing and Baldwin Brothers Racing.
Monday afternoon, Belardi Auto Racing announced that Windom will not be able to compete in Friday’s race due to the damage his car sustained. The second 90-minute test session, which was scheduled for 4:30 Eastern on Monday afternoon was cancelled as rain came in.
Thursday, the Indy Lights teams will be on track for a 45-minute practice (10:00 a.m. Eastern) and qualifying (1:30 p.m. Eastern).
Friday, teams from both the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights will be back in action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Carb Day, including the final Indianapolis 500 practice followed by the Indy Lights Freedom 100.
Final Practice begins at 11:00 a.m. Eastern and will run until 12:00 p.m. Eastern. The Freedom 100 will begin at 12:30. The annual Verizon IndyCar Series Pit Strop Competition is scheduled for 1:30.
Gates will be open for Carb Day at 8:00 a.m.
Those who would like to watch from home can do so on NBCSN, and can also catch timing and scoring of the event at RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels for the latest from Indianapolis as we prepare for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27.
Top Image courtesy of Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.