Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Castroneves Tops Indy 500 Practice 2

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Helio Castroneves laid down the fastest speed in Practice 2 for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, reminding his competitors that while he may not be full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series, he still knows how to go fast at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Castroneves’ best circuit of the 2.5-mile oval came on the fifth of 38 laps turned by the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, clocking in at a tow-assisted 224.665 mph.

Despite being scheduled for a full three hours, the session had a delayed start due to a track inspection following the conclusion of rookie and veteran refresher testing. Race Control initially communicated that the session would still run for its scheduled duration with the checkered flag flying at 6:08 p.m. EDT but later backtracked, leading to a two-hour, 52-minute practice.

At 4:03 p.m., INDYCAR elected to preemptively pause on-track activity due to a weather system approaching the Speedway. The break in action lasted for 47 minutes but green-flag running resumed at 4:50 p.m., leaving teams and drivers with 70 minutes to complete their practice checklists.

Ed Carpenter, who topped the no-tow speed chart with a 221.512 mph lap, came closest to matching Castroneves’ Practice 2 pace with a 224.523 mph tow-assisted speed.

Jay Howard, driving the No. 7 One Cure Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, was third fastest followed by the Hondas of Scott Dixon and Marco Andretti. All three drivers were above the 224 mph threshold and gave the Japanese brand a 3-2 advantage over Chevrolet in the top five.

Scott Dixon practicing for 2018 Indy 500
Scott Dixon went 222.734 mph on his best lap in Practice 1 before reaching 224.353 mph in Practice 2. | Photo: Walter Kuhn / INDYCAR

Sage Karam narrowly missed the 224 mph group with a 223.998 mph lap in the No. 24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing machine. The Chevrolets of Charlie Kimball and Gabby Chaves rounded out the top eight while Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach and Ryan Hunter-Reay were eighth and ninth fastest, respectively.

Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, quickest in Practice 1, had the 14th-fastest speed in Practice 2. His 225.787 mph lap turned in the first session remained the fastest of the day. When combined with Castroneves’ Practice 2 pace, Penske locked out the top two speeds on the combined timesheet.

Danica Patrick’s best speed was 222.728 mph, placing her 18th on the Practice 2 timesheet and 20th on the combined timesheet for all of Tuesday’s running.

Mired at the bottom of the timesheet was Dale Coyne Racing’s Pippa Mann who, at 214.731 mph, ranked 34th out of 34 drivers. Matheus Leist did not appear in the No. 4 Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing on Tuesday, dropping the number of drivers on the timesheet down one from the 35-car entry list.

With Tuesday’s unique split schedule complete, practice will continue for the remainder of the week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT in preparation for qualifying on Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinchttp://www.benhinc.com
Ben Hinc, managing The Apex as executive editor, has frequented media centers at racetracks across North America since 2014. Hinc's multi-decade passion for technology has resulted in a broad skillset that keeps The Apex running fast and without error.

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