Helio Castroneves topped the speed chart on Carb Day at Indianapolis. [John Wiedemann Photo]
INDIANAPOLIS, May 26, 2017 – It’s Miller Lite Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It’s just one hour and the final chance for Verizon IndyCar teams to practice for the 101st Indianapolis 500. Two weeks of preparation has come down to this final hour. Figuring out the final balance and feel of the race car takes a bit of precedence over speed in this session.
That being said, it is a racetrack and these are drivers in racecars – speed will come in to play.
Rookie Ed Jones was the first to hit 220 mph. And then the action picked up.
Scott Dixon and rookie Fernando Alonso took their turns at the top of the scoring pylon early. But it was Team Penske that shined, placing three of their drivers, led by Helio Castroneves at 227.377mph, in the top ten of the session. This was a turnaround from qualifying where only Will Power put a Team Penske car in the Fast Nine. Penske drivers Josef Newgarden was eighth followed by Juan Pablo Montoya in nineth.
Andretti Autosport was represented well on Carb Day with Takuma Sato finishing up with the second quickest lap of the day and teammates Alonso (5th), defending champion Alexander Rossi (7th) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (10th) joined in the top ten. Ganassi drivers Tony Kanaan and Dixon, the pole sitter for tomorrow’s race, finished third and fourth. Graham Rahal remained confident for the Indianapolis 500 with the sixth fastest lap of the day.
Things went awry for the Schmidt-Peterson #5 Honda driven by James Hinchcliffe. Just after a making a change in the pits and heading back on track with fifteen minutes left in the session, the engine let go on Hinchcliffe’s Honda entering turn three. Hinchcliffe’s earlier lap of just over 225mph had him 14th on the speed chart at that point. Because of the length of the caution and earlier caution periods, an additional five minutes was added to the practice time.
Power, Mikhail Aleshin, Conor Daly, Hinchcliffe, and Series point leader Simon Pagenaud completed the top fifteen.
Australian James Davison, filling in for the injured Sebastien Bourdais, had the sixteenth quickest lap at 225.018mph. Charlie Kimball spent the most time on the track running 41 laps and Oriol Servia spent the least with 20 laps run.
And then the hour (and five minutes) was over, leaving the finale to the month of May – the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.