Thursday was a repeat of Tuesday’s practice session for the Indianapolis 500, as Scott Dixon sat atop the speed chart for most of the day for Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of Dale Coyne Racing with Rick’s Takuma Sato Ware Racing under power to take the fastest lap of the day. in the final minutes of the six-hour race.
Using the advantage of a tow as nearly half the field spent the final hour on the track, Sato clocked a 227.519 mph lap in the #51 Honda to pass P1, but on gear without a tow ( NTR), it was rated P29. Where most riders spent the middle of the session doing qualifying simulations, Sato and the DCR team opted to work on the races, which accounted for the high towing speed.
For Dixon and the #9 Honda, the day was spent covering both needs as his fastest lap of 227.335 mph was good enough for P2 and was well matched by the P11 race on the NTR. DCR with HMD Motorsports’ David Malukas was P3 after following Sato’s lead in focusing on racing. His #18 Honda clocked a record 226.868 mph and went P21 on the NTR.
“It was a very productive day,” Sato said. “Two cars in the top three. More importantly, we become satisfied with the cars in circulation. We have made tremendous progress.
For the second straight day of Indy 500 practice, Ganassi’s team was strong.
“Interesting day,” Dixon said. “A lot of racing for everyone. For us, running for the majority. Quite happy in some situations. In general, I think all of us at Ganassi had a pretty quiet day.
AJ Foyt Racing’s JR Hildebrand was P4 at 226.846 mph following a great tow; his #11 AJ Foyt Racing Chevy was P30 on the NTR. Dixon’s teammate at Ganassi, Jimmie Johnson, was P5 in the No. 48 Honda with a 226.409 mph that was helped by a draft as the rookie was rated P23 on the NTR.
The top six was completed by Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward, who finished his race day a bit early. His #5 Chevy clocked a best lap of 226.048 mph with a tow that left him P27 on the NTR.
Of the remaining teams and drivers, Andretti Autosport has yet to flex its muscles; Marco Andretti was best among the five-car team in P15, but Alexander Rossi went to P4 on the NTR, which was promising after the 2016 Indy 500 winner set the second-fewest laps of all on Thursday the pilots.
Likewise Team Penske didn’t make much of an attempt at high speeds in a tow as their fastest rider was Scott McLaughlin in P17, but the team’s focus was very clear as Will Power was P1 on the NTR, followed by Josef Newgarden in P4 and McLaughlin in P4. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Penske drivers leading the curve once the high boost is engaged on Fast Friday and qualifying races dominate track activity.
The overcast day started off hot, humid and windy, and saw some cloud cover and temperatures drop over time. No crashes or dramatic moments were experienced, except for a warning for another fox that crossed the track and some heartbreaking laps by Romain Grosjean who found his last race – a qualifying simulation – led to a few tight calls with the exit from turn 2 wall.
NEXT: Quick Friday workout, 12-6 p.m.