May 13 practice results || Combined practice results
Speeds continued to climb as Verizon IndyCar Series teams continued preparations for the 99th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
In a fast final 30 minutes, the fastest lap of the day exchanged hands four times among four drivers. When the checkered flag flew at 6 p.m. ET, Carlos Munoz had the fastest lap, 39.1098 seconds, 230.121 mph, in the No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda – the first lap over 230 mph of the month.
“Really, we were not looking for a tow, we just made a change and said, ‘OK let’s go in the group and see if we can just cop a tow and feel the car in traffic a little bit,” said the Andretti Autosport driver, who has finished in the top five in each of his two previous Indianapolis 500 starts. “I went back to the pack and it’s practice, so whoever gets the best tow is the one who is going to finish first. The positive thing is that I feel really comfortable with the car, the car feels OK. In traffic and by my own, I feel fast. We have to continue working, we have still two days of testing so we have to try some stuff.”
Townsend Bell (228.969 mph), Tony Kanaan (228.172 mph) and Sage Karam (227.616) took turns holding the top spot during the Happy Hour in Chevrolets. Bell’s lap ranked second at the end of the day followed by Kanaan, James Davison (228.043) and Karam. Speeds are up this year in great part due to the new aerodynamic bodywork kits developed by Chevrolet and Honda
“We’re staying in a tight little box, being a single-car program, only event of the year so far with the team,” said Bell, driving the No. 24 The Robert Graham Special entered by Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing. “Trying to be pragmatic and just stay focused on the fundamentals. So far, so good. We hit the track pretty reasonable, thanks to (team managing director and former Indy car driver) Davey Hamilton for shaking down the car (on opening day May 3), I was in Monterey for a (sports car) race. Davey did a nice job to just work out the bugs for us and we were able to hit the ground running when we got here.”
The day was marred by a pair of single-car incidents that saw two popular drivers walk away without injury at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves had a spectacular crash in Turn 1 that saw his Team Penske machine hit the SAFER Barrier and become airborne just 45 minutes into the start of the day. Castroneves was able to return to the track just before the track closed and turned a lap of 226.670 mph in a backup car.
Pippa Mann was also uninjured after her Dale Coyne Racing car made contact with the inside SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 and the pit wall attenuator that separates the track from the pit lane.
“I have to (say) thanks (for) all the messages (and encouragement) from the fans, and to Team Penske to put a car together and be back out there again,” Castroneves said. “The car was impressive. You can’t be scared when you go out there. I didn’t want to wait to run until tomorrow, and now we’ll focus on Thursday and Friday.”
Practice continues through Friday at IMS, Friday's session again expected to live up to its nickname of "Fast Friday" because engine manufacturers are allowed to increase turbocharger boost pressure from 130 kPa to 140 kPa, which will generate more horsepower and likely higher speeds.
Two days of qualifying Saturday and Sunday will set the 33-car grid for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." After that, all that's left before the May 24 race is afternoon practice on Monday and the traditional Carb Day one-hour practice on May 22.