The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis practice on Thursday was led by none other than the defending Verizon IndyCar series champion, Scott Dixon. The Kiwi barely edged out Simon Pagenaud for the top spot, and both drivers were very pleased with the new course. They noted that the width of the track should allow the drivers plenty of room to maneuver around, even entering the tight corners. The entire IndyCar field was separated by less than a second.
It was a hot day for practice, easily the hottest day in Indiana this year. Tomorrow will be a different story, however. After practicing all day in the sun with mid-80 degree temperatures, teams and drivers will have to adjust for qualifications, which begin at 2 PM ET on Friday. There are storms and heavy rain in the forecast, with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees. The weather on race day (Saturday) looks more like today, but qualifying in the rain tomorrow is going to be a curve ball for all involved.
Team Penske unveiled the livery on Helio Castroneves’ ride for the Indianapolis 500 today, a throwback to the days of Rick Mears. Helio’s car will carry the famed yellow Pennzoil colors, as Mears did 30 years ago this month. Even the helmet that Helio will wear resembles the one that his mentor had in 1984, when he won his second of four Indy titles.
Qualifying for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis begin on Friday afternoon at 2:00. The race will air live on ABC at 3:30 PM on Saturday. The race will feature a standing start.
Below are highlights from today’s practice sessions, courtesy of IndyCar.
This post also appears on OpenWheelNow, with more IndyCar content from Thursday.