After rain cancelled all on-track activity yesterday, the Verizon IndyCar Series took advantage of perfect weather on Wednesday at IMS. All 33 cars once again turned laps, with Andretti Autosport once again at the top of the speed charts. The 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner had the fastest lap of the day, at 228.202 mph. He was followed by teammate Carlos Munoz, Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Gabby Chaves. The track was busy all day long, with a total of as a total of 2,779 laps were completed.
Wednesday Indianapolis 500 Practice Results
Rookie Spencer Pigot suffered the first incident of the month, as his RLL machine spun exiting Turn 1 a couple of hours into practice. Pigot believes they ran over something on the track, causing right tire failures. “After we looked at the data, we found that the right front tire went down followed immediately by the right rear, so I must have run over something that cut the tires and caused the spin.” He was checked and released from the medical center, but his car would not be okay. The crew decided they would have to bring out the backup car, and put in a new engine. According to the team’s press release, they are hoping to be ready for practice on Friday. Video of the incident is below.
There were a couple of news items announced on Wednesday. Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee has a new company, which will be the primary sponsor for Conor Daly’s car. His business that was created three days ago (ShirtsForAmerica.com) is not only helping Conor, but also military families in need. In not so great news, Grace Autosport officially announced today that they will not be competing in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Practice on Thursday will run from Noon until 6 PM once again. The weather forecast looks excellent, with sunshine and temperatures at 70 degrees.
Juan Montoya: “It was a good day. I drove the Verizon Chevy a lot. We’re still a little behind the Hondas, but overall, I’m pretty happy.”
Helio Castroneves: “The Shell-Pennzoil Chevy was good. We made some really good progress. We struggled a little in the beginning, but at the end we felt we had a much better balance and I was quite happy with the car. So far, the speed is not quite there yet. Hopefully, tomorrow, we start looking for a little bit of qualifying and see what happens.”
Buddy Lazier: “Electrical issues slowed us down today. Our team is small but everyone is doing a great job, and when we did run the car was fantastic.”
JR Hildebrand: “It was good to get a full day in. With Monday having refresher practice and that kind of stuff it was a little choppy. So we’re just getting with the program. I felt like we made a lot of progress with the car. Ed (Carpenter), Josef (Newgarden) and I were all trying a bunch of different stuff. I think at this point we’ve just got to be able to go back and see what we’ve got so we can take the best from everything and get with the program again tomorrow. Qualifying will be here before we know it. I think we all made progress today.”
Max Chilton: “I’m learning something new every day here at the Speedway. Today was a solid day and I’m just easing my way into this and not rushing or putting myself in a bad position. I think the Gallagher team is working well together and we’re working step-by-step toward our plan for qualifying this weekend.”
Scott Dixon: “Today we didn’t do that much running in the Target Chevy. We used two sets of tires and the changes took a little while in between runs. We did some race trim running and it seems like some of the other cars have trimmed out a little bit more. I’m not real happy with the car middle-off, as it has some washout and some understeer. We have some work to do but I’m confident we’ll get there.”
Tony Kanaan: “It was really good for us to get a full day of practice in today after losing an entire day yesterday to rain. The No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet felt pretty good today, especially on our qualifying runs. We spent the early part of the session working through some qualifying simulations and then came out later in the afternoon to get some full tank runs in and some time working with our teammates out on track. We’re still working through some tweaks and trying to get some speed, but overall it was a good day today at the track.”
Sebastien Bourdais: “It was an interesting day for the Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing team. We tried a lot of things and as usual you think you have made a step forward and then you think was that really better. It is one of those things where you have one car in front, it’s OK, two cars in front, it’s still pretty good and then I get four, five, 10 cars in front, there is no air on the car and it gets really tricky. It’s like you are looking and searching for the impossible. You want a car that handles perfect even in a big train of cars. We’ll see. I think the Hydroxycut machine is in the ballpark. We just need to keep ticking things off the list and try and make it better.”
Will Power: “Yeah, I mean, the tow is worth about six miles an hour, so (the current speeds) are not really representative. But yeah, it’s just a matter of finding good traffic and understanding your car and seeing what works and what doesn’t work. I think the cars are a little slower this year for sure, and the Hondas look strong, very strong.”
Takuma Sato: “Unfortunately we had some small issues today so we couldn’t learn as much as we wanted while the weather was very good. We made some progress but we need to work on it pretty hard. At the end of the day I had the opportunity to go through heavy traffic and we needed more grip so we have to work on that.”
Graham Rahal: “The day started off really good, we put some great lap times up there early in the day then we seemed to struggle. I’m not 100 percent sure what’s going on here but we’re struggling with mechanical grip. When we follow other cars obviously there is an aero effect but it seems like some others are a lot better than us. It’s a little frustrating because we’ve been working very hard at this the last two days trying to get a bit of a balance out of it but we can’t seem to make a dent but we’re going to keep trying hard. This month is fun, but it’s not. It’s fun because we’re here, the atmosphere is cool but it’s not (fun) because its stressful, there is a lot of work, a lot of commitments but we’re trying hard to stay focused on the task at hand. We love being here, there’s no doubt about that, and we want to win this thing more than anything in the world but we have a lot of work to do.”
Spencer Pigot: (Following crash:) “The car was feeling pretty good, I think we’d been making improvements. We’d just done our quickest lap I think the run before, so everything was feeling good. So not really sure what happened there, so we’ll just have to go and look to see what caused the spin. It’s obviously a big setback for me, for the team, obviously not what you want to happen on just the second day. Like I said, we’ll just try to put everything back together and then pick up where we left off.” (After review) “After we looked at the data, we found that the right front tire went down followed immediately by the right rear, so I must have run over something that cut the tires and caused the spin.”
Gabby Chaves: “Good day. I mean, we had a little bit of running, about 30 minutes of running on Monday, so today was our first full day, and we got through a lot of changes, got through all our program, did some traffic running, and like I say, I’m pretty pleased. I haven’t had any uncomfortable situations out there today, and so I’m honestly just very, very pleased with the way the day has been going.”
Ed Carpenter: “It was a pretty good day. We got through quite a few changes. It wasn’t the flashiest day but we got a lot of work done. We definitely made the car better in traffic which is something that we still needed to do. I feel a lot better about it. We do need to start getting some speed out of the car, but Josef showed he had some speed so we’ll just put our heads down and see what we have tomorrow.”
Josef Newgarden: “Practice here at Indy is so interesting. Everyone’s up and down on the time sheets, and it’s kind of hard to put any stock into what you see on practice days. Everyone’s getting tow laps, some people are in qualifying trim and some aren’t. For us today I think we made the car better in traffic. That’s why we were able to get a better tow lap and go towards the top of the sheets. I still feel like we’ve got a little bit more to go. I think we’re feeling good. Compared to last year I think we’ve made progress with our car and had a good starting package. We’ve had to work on it. It’s been a little different with some of the safety advancements that we’ve had to put on the car but overall I think we’ve got great cars. I think we’re quick, I really think our ECR cars are going to be fast. It’d be great to have the Fuzzy’s car with Ed fast, and JR and I in the Preferred Freezer cars want to be up there too. I feel like we’re going to be quick on qualifying day, hopefully that’s true. The most important thing for us is just trying to make the traffic running good. I feel like we’re going to be in a big pack all race, which is great for the show, but makes it difficult to drive in so we’ve just been working on making that the best as possible.”
Simon Pagenaud: “It was a good day for the Menards Team Penske Chevrolet and the car is getting pretty competitive out there in practice. We had good weather today and so we were able to get a lot of laps in. I think we’re going to be OK and definitely looking forward to the end of the week.”
Sage Karam: “Pretty good day, a productive day for the No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet. We ran a lot more laps today than we did Monday, and it’s good to be out there just feeling the car out. We just worked on race setup today, I think we ended the day P8, so we’re really pleased with that. The car is pretty good in traffic, it’s a lot harder to pass this year compared to years prior, but it looks like that for everyone, not just us. But we seem to be on the better end of getting passes done to other people, so I’d say we have a pretty good race car right now. We just have to keep chipping away at it, keep working at it. We still have a couple more practice days here, and I’m excited to see where we can go with this race car. It’s all about being able to get close to the guy in front of you in the corner and staying flat on the throttle, and that’s how passing is going to get done. It looks like everyone’s struggling with that right now, so hopefully we can eliminate some of those issues and we’ll be good from there.”
Stefan Wilson: “It was a little bit frustrating this afternoon, we made some changes that were on our test plan and you know we just didn’t find the results that we wanted from those changes. We’re going to try to go back on some and make some different changes for tomorrow and hopefully get the handling back a little bit better. I’m really proud of all of my team, they put in a lot of work today to make those changes and we were able to evaluate them which moves the whole team forward finding out which things don’t quite work.”
Carlos Munoz: “The United Fiber & Data car feels pretty strong. We were trying some stuff today – we were concentrating on our race car. That is our mentality right now, the race car and then trim for qualifying. The good thing is the speed is there. We have been running in front and when we go out for the long runs seem competitive. It is a good point to start as a team, we still have a long way to go.”
Marco Andretti: “Today we spent a lot of time working on race setups. We raked through a lot of test items we had on the list to figure out what worked best and what didn’t. It’s still early, but the Snapple car seems pretty solid so far.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay: “Coming off the year we had here last year, where I couldn’t get the car to do anything I needed it to, it’s nice to have the No. 28 DHL Honda up towards the front, especially here at Indy. This is what we wait for all year – to get back here in Indy and start working on the car and build the energy of the biggest race in the word. We’re working through things with our set up; some qualifying things and some race things – just getting into the mix and getting into traffic. It’s been a fun day – a challenging one at times. When that wind switches around, it certainly throws you for a loop, but I was definitely pretty happy with the car there at the end.”
Townsend Bell: “It was another good day, the California Pizza Kitchen/ Robert Graham car is solid. It’s nice to have five strong cars that can go out and run in a pack like that – I’ve never really had that ability here. It’s good to get race running in two days in a row so I think and hope it will help us a bit come race day.”
Alex Tagliani: “I’m very pleased with the day we had. I think we’re getting closer to the ballpark where our car needs to be, in my opinion, to give us confidence to run strong in race conditions. We had the chance to run up front, and we had the chance to run in the back today. Air was quite dirty, and there was a lot of positive where we got today. The team made a lot of changes in the garage, and we had a fair bit of running. So far, we’re progressing and I like the plan we’re on. I like how we felt in the car today, and it looks very positive.”
Jack Hawksworth: “We went out this morning and were trying to mileage out the old engine. We were trying to get it to the end of its mileage without it blowing up. We only drove a few laps and we were very conservative with the power but then it blew up anyway on pit lane. So we had to take the engine out and we didn’t get back out. But we’ve got the new engine in for tomorrow which I’m happy about, so my Indy 500 starts tomorrow. We’re sitting down now to discuss the plan with the other two guys who did some running so hopefully we can start with what they found was best and go from there.”
Charlie Kimball: “Today went really well for the No. 42 Tresiba Chevrolet. I think a lot of guys were excited to get back out on-track, especially after getting rained out yesterday. It was a beautiful day at IMS and the No. 42 car ran pretty well. We did a lot of work in traffic working on the race setup and I was pretty happy with where we ended the day. We made some changes that made the car better and we made some changes that we decided weren’t the right way to go. Overall I think Chip Ganassi Racing has a solid foundation to learn from heading into the next couple of days. Looking ahead, we’ll probably do a couple of race work runs to start the day and then we’ll start getting a solid eye toward qualifying this weekend.”
Matt Brabham: “It has been fantastic to do so many laps today, I’m feeling more comfortable in the car, which is the biggest thing. I’m enjoying it a lot more and getting further experience each time around here, which is going to be good for when it counts come qualifying day and the race. I’m really happy with how it’s all progressing. Running in the pack is a lot more hairy, but I felt OK, there’s some work to do on my side of just learning how to time things right and run in traffic – and I think there’s a lot we can improve on the car to help that.”
Alexander Rossi: “It was another good day for the team – I think we were two through six on the no-tow list. It’s always tricky around here to look at the overall lap time with how big of a role a tow plays. I think we made good progress – I was quite happy with the car during the group runs. I’m looking forward to seeing what the car can do tomorrow.”