Three-time Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner Helio Castroneves liked what he felt and saw from the new Chevrolet engine installed for practice May 15 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Castroneves topped the session, which was delayed 45 minutes at the start as crews dried the 2.5-mile oval from morning drizzle, with a lap 227.166 mph (39.6186 seconds) that was the fastest of the month.
Thirty-three drivers, including the debut this month of first-year participant James Davison and 1996 winner Buddy Lazier, logged 2,516 laps. James Hinchcliffe, who was diagnosed with a concussion resulting from an incident during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10, was cleared by INDYCAR to resume driving. The No. 27 United Fiber & Data car underwent a mid-afternoon engine change, which limited Hinchcliffe to one installation lap late in the session.
Click it: Indianapolis 500 practice results || Combined results
Four different teams were represented in the top five as drivers and teams began ramping up for "Fast Friday," in which lap speeds are expected to climb if track and weather conditions are conducive, as a precursor to qualifying. If you can't be at the track, watch it on www.indycar.com in conjunction with real-time Timing & Scoring.
Ed Carpenter, the 2013 Indy 500 pole sitter, was second fast (226.257 mph) in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car, while Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Will Power was third (225.899 mph) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. Davison's KV Racing Technology teammate, Townsend Bell, was fourth (225.484) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (225.340) was fifth in the No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.
Castroneves' bright yellow No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske car is one of many that has or will receive fresh Chevrolet or Honda engines for May 17-18 qualifications, which will be televised by ABC, and include an increase in turbo boost. The race is May 25. Full-season Verizon IndyCar Series entries are allotted four 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engines to cover the 18-race season, with a threshold of 2,500 miles between changes.
"Certainly the draft counts a lot here and I feel very confident in the Pennzoil No. 3 machine, so right now we will keep going and keep working," Castroneves said.
"I really like what I have, but tomorrow we will go to the boost and you are going to see big numbers up there, too. So we are really looking forward to tomorrow to see those numbers keep going higher.”
Davison, who competed in two Verizon IndyCar Series races last year, completed two of the three phases of the formal Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program in the No. 33 KV Racing Technology entry.
“I can go to bed resting easier knowing we got through our first day at IMS smoothly," Davison said. "We now know what to expect, any anxiety has dried up and I am excited to continue working on our program. In terms of speed, we know where we’re at since we didn’t run in traffic or with a tow."
Lazier, driving the No. 91 Lazier Partners Racing car, registered 11 laps with a best of 218.277 mph.
"For me, it was much easier that being in the car last year," said Lazier, who returned to the Speedway in 2013 after a four-year absence. "I'm enjoying starting the process with our engineering and the race car, and bottom line I'm just thrilled to be here."
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