Today, the Verizon IndyCar Series returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After more than a month-long postponement due to inclement weather, a three-day testing period kicked off on Monday. First on the docket was 21-car test for all full-time drivers who have competed in the Indianapolis 500 before.
The first session of Day 1 saw all 21 cars run during the two-hour period. Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti led the way with a best lap speed of 223.997 MPH in his Dallara-Honda, with Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato rounding out a 1-2-3 for the engine manufacturer.
Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves led the way for the Chevrolet-powered teams in fourth, posting a best speed of 222.838 MPH.Andretti Autosport rounded out the top five with Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Among the 21 participants in the test, the most anticipated was arguably Helio Castroneves. The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner stepped away from full-time competition after last year. Castroneves was first out on track Monday morning and finished up the first session of the day in 15th at a best lap speed of 220.748 MPH.
In the afternoon session, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan topped the charts, with a best lap speed of 226.181 MPH, the fastest in either session. Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske made it a Chevrolet 1-2, with Andretti, Chaves and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon rounding out the top five. By day’s end, all drivers had topped 220 MPH.
After the test sessions, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden went out on track to test the new aero screen. This was the first test for the screen, which is set to debut next year at the earliest, on a superspeedway. Scott Dixon had previously tested the screen at ISM Raceway in February.
Newgarden’s primary concern during the test was visibility, as he changed to a clear visor during the test to compensate for the issue.
The Verizon IndyCar Series will be back on track for two more days at the famed 2.5-mile oval this week.
Tuesday will see just seven drivers take to the track. Sage Karam (Dreyer and Reinbold Racing), Jay Howard (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) and Danica Patrick (Ed Carpenter Racing) will run refresher courses. Matheus Leist (A.J. Foyt Racing), Robert Wickens (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Pietro Fittipaldi (Dale Coyne Racing) and Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) will begin their Rookie Orientation Program.
Wednesday will be a manufacturer test for Chevrolet and Honda. Scheduled participants for the day are Ed Carpenter, Gabby Chaves, Max Chilton, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Matheus Leist, Danica Patrick and Spencer Pigot for Chevrolet. Honda will have Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe, Ed Jones and Robert Wickens take part.
Continue to follow Open-Wheels for the latest coverage from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as teams prepare for the month of May.
Images courtesy of INDYCAR.