Helio Castroneves was plagued by electronic issues during a large chunk of the opening two-hour veteran session of the Indy 500 Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but he still ended up logging 26 laps and set the second-best speed at 224.280 mph, which was just .050 of a mph off the top speed by reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Marcus Ericsson.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Castroneves ended up 19th overall in the combined results with that speed when the day’s running came to a close.
During a midday media availability, Castroneves confirmed this year’s car is the same car that he drove to his record-tying fourth Indy 500 victory in 2021, which also marked the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES win for Meyer Shank Racing.
“This is the ‘500’ car,” Castroneves said. “So, we’re trying to get everything we can to understand what we need.”
The special chassis did not run at Texas Motor Speedway earlier in the month. In fact, it has only logged laps at IMS.
“Yeah, it has low mileage,” the 47-year-old Brazilian said. “We feel like it’s good enough to win. For sure, it’s still a good car.”
Rossi ‘Honored’ To Run Special ‘500’ Livery
Count Alexander Rossi as someone full of excitement and respect for running special livery that pays tribute to Johnny Rutherford’s 1974 win in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Arrow McLaren revealed its Triple Crown liveries to celebrate McLaren’s 60th anniversary for this year’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 28. Rossi’s No. 7 Chevrolet will feature primary colors of papaya with blue trimmed accents, the same iconic livery that Rutherford charged from 25th to lead 122 of 200 laps en route to victory.
2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi has yet to talk with “Lone Star JR” about the retro look, but he will and hopes to replicate similar success May 28.
“I've talked to him before but not specifically about the livery,” Rossi said. “It's just amazing to be able to represent his legacy and also McLaren's history with the Triple Crown and their 60th anniversary of being a race team. (I’m) just looking forward to hopefully adding a piece of history to what is already very iconic.”
Rossi also believes it will “be a very special” for Rutherford when he sees it in person for the first time.
“I think, because it just shows how much his history means to the team, to INDYCAR and really the fan base here at IMS,” he said. “Just to be a part of it is a big honor.”
Grosjean’s Indy 500 Livery Revealed
Andretti Autosport confirmed the #DeliveredWithPride livery will be on its No. 28 DHL Honda-powered entry driven by Romain Grosjean for next month's Indy 500.
The effort is part of a supportive effort by DHL to show its alliance to the LGBTQ+ community. Grosjean drove in the same livery in his first Indianapolis 500 start last May.
Odds & Ends
- Katherine Legge put in three hours of simulator time on Wednesday before getting behind the wheel of her No. 44 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda for today’s Open Test. In total, she has put in a total of 10 hours on the simulator in addition to a full day of testing at Texas Motor Speedway earlier in the month as part of the preparation in her Indy 500 effort.
- During the early part of the Peacock broadcast, Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will drive the No. 23 Chevrolet for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, admitted to being “better fit” athletically than “race car fit” currently. Part of that is the off time that allows for a more fundamental workout plan, which lately includes martial arts, among other activities.
- Alex Palou, the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion, was the first driver to charge into Turn 1 in anger to officially kick off the day’s running. On his second lap, there was no burp in the throttle of his No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda as he kept it flat out going through the daunting corner.
- Andretti Autosport, Arrow McLaren, Ed Carpenter Racing, Meyer Shank Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Team Penske were all running their respective Indy 500 chassis of the full-time entries.
- Chip Ganassi Racing was running its Indy 500 cars “for the most part,” according to a team representative.
- AJ Foyt Racing was not running its “500” challengers, and neither was Dale Coyne Racing.
- Juncos Hollinger Racing had a split situation with its cars. Callum Ilott was running his Indy 500 challenger, which made its first-ever laps at today’s Open Test. Agustín Canapino was running the same car he raced at Texas, where he made his oval debut. Team co-owner Ricardo Juncos confirmed Canapino’s “500” car is not ready yet, but will be by the time the INDYCAR SERIES returns to the 2.5-mile superspeedway in May.
- Although Stefan Wilson is a four-time starter in the Indy 500, he has never had an opportunity to be part of the Open Test in April until now.
- Ryan Hunter-Reay, who did not race in the “500” last year, said it was odd completing the series’ required refresher program. “I didn’t like that,” he said. “It was like eating your vegetables as a kid.” The vegetable he didn’t enjoy as a youngster: “Definitely broccoli.”
- Josef Newgarden, who led the day’s running at 227.686 mph, found himself in a predicament in the post-practice group media interview session. While answering questions, his phone rang twice: The first was one of his bosses, Penske Corporation President Bud Denker, the second was his ultimate boss, Roger Penske. “I should probably answer that,” Newgarden said, sheepishly. For the record, he didn’t answer either call. “I’ll have to call them back,” he told the media.