By: Tanner Watkins
May 16, 2019 | 4:30 PM
After starting the week with fabulous weather for Tuesday and Wednesday Indianapolis 500 practice, Thursday’s proceedings have been prematurely flagged due to thunderstorms.
At 4:30 PM, INDYCAR Race Control called a caution period of impending weather – proceeding from the northwest end of the track, which is Turn 4. The storms came with a severe thunderstorm watch and teams scrambled to get their cars off of pit lane and into the garage area before the wild stuff rolled in.
The practice session has not been officially ruled complete by INDYCAR, though.
Ed Jones was quickest on the day in both the overall leaderboard as well as the no-tow leaderboard in a good day for Ed Carpenter Racing. Jones went 227.843 miles per hour in a draft-aided lap and 224.957 miles per hour in a no-tow lap to lead the field.
35 drivers made it to the track today, but one car was noticeably absent – the No. 66 McLaren Chevrolet of Fernando Alonso. After crashing around Noon Eastern yesterday, the team was unable to get the backup car on track before the rain came on Thursday afternoon.
The car has its engine installed and was even on the setup pad late this afternoon but was never cleared to pit road. As long as weather plays nice on Fast Friday, Alonso should be on the track tomorrow.
Thursday’s proceedings did involve one accident – the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet of rookie Patricio O’Ward. The Mexico native was following Helio Castroneves through Turn 2 when he lost the rear end of the No. 31 car and did a 180-degree spin into the SAFER barrier.
It was the hardest hit of the last two days – which have seen three crashes – but O’Ward thankfully walked away without assistance.
A total of 1717 laps were turned before the yellow flag for weather. Sage Karam completed 86 laps to become the busiest driver on the track today. Karam was sixth-quickest on the overall leaderboard this afternoon, though his no-tow speed was only good for 28th out of 35 cars.
Speaking of that no-tow leaderboard, here are the top five speeds without a draft from Thursday:
- Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, 224.957 MPH
- Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, 224.887 MPH
- Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet, 224.868 MPH
- Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, 224.858 MPH
- Charlie Kimball, Carlin Chevrolet, 224.797 MPH
Friday’s practice – which begins at 11:00 AM and ends again at 6:00 PM – will feature increased engine boost to go along with qualifying weekend. Teams will be testing out qualifying setups all day long and speeds will approach 230 miles per hour.
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels for further updates from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Header image by James Black/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.