Rain Shortens Thursday Indy 500 Testing

Rain interrupted the first of two days of testing ahead of next month’s Indianapolis 500. More than five hours of on-track activity was lost due to pop-up showers in the area, but it could have been much worse, considering the forecast beforehand.

It looked as though Thursday’s test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would not happen. Rinus VeeKay probably wishes that it didn’t.

Moments after the field got the green, the Ed Carpenter Racing driver got up to speed around the 2.5-mile oval. Unfortunately, the wind played tricks on his No. 21 Chevrolet, sending him spinning at the exit of Turn 1. The good news is that VeeKay was able to exit the car and was later cleared to drive. The bad news is that he suffered a broken finger, and the car was done after just four laps.

VeeKay’s car dipped low into the grass inside Turn 1 and did nearly a full clockwise spin before hitting the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 with the right front and right side of the car. The car then spun twice and slid through the short chute before stopping at the entrance of Turn 2 with heavy damage.

“I wanted to do as many laps as possible to be successful,” VeeKay said. “I’m very sorry. It was a weird moment.” The team plans to have the car repaired in time for the second day of testing tomorrow.

Once the track was cleaned up, the field had about another hour of activity before mother nature finally arrived. Rain soaked the speedway, shutting things down for a little more than an hour. With the track nearly dried and ready for action, another shower covered the speedway. The veteran portion of the day’s test was completed, with Conor Daly topping the charts at 222.714 mph. His boss Ed Carpenter was second-fastest in the session.

Thursday Session 1 Practice Results

IndyCar extended the session to 7:15 PM to allow for those drivers needing to complete their Rookie Orientation Program and the veteran refresher tests. Sebastien Bourdais was one of those 11 drivers who took to the 2.5-mile oval in the final 70 minutes of track activity and posted the fastest lap of the day at 224.427 mph. The AJ Foyt Racing driver is making his return to the race after missing out last year.

“Pretty good refresher for the AJ Foyt No. 14,” Bourdais said. “That ROKiT car was pretty good. It always feels a little different when you start at low speeds and the car’s never really settled, but we got through both phases and are ready to go tomorrow and start working properly. It’s all good.”

Friday’s schedule has changed due to today’s limited action. Track activity will now begin at 9 AM and run until 6 PM. Rookie Orientation and refresher tests will take place from 9-10 and veterans from 10-11 on Friday. The track will be open for all drivers between 11-6 PM when the test concludes. Peacock will once again have live broadcast coverage throughout the day.

Photos courtesy of IndyCar

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