Newgarden Finds Speed on Second ‘500’ Practice Day

While the overall top speed was down during the second practice for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500, Josef Newgarden found the velocity he previously lacked and put his Shell V-Power Nitro Plus car atop the leaderboard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Newgarden’s effort made it two consecutive chart-topping days for Team Penske after Will Power set the fastest lap Tuesday in Practice 1. While no drivers cracked the 229 mph threshold Wednesday, the 2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion managed to eke out a 228.856 mph lap with the assistance of a tow.

The fast lap for Newgarden bumped Scott Dixon off the top of the speed chart — a position he enjoyed for much of the seven-hour session. Dixon’s best lap came on the sixth of 109 total laps for the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda and, at 228.835 mph, remained good enough for second in the final results. The defending series champion placed 13th in Practice 1.

Spencer Pigot improved in Practice 2 with the third-fastest lap, ahead of rookie Santino Ferrucci and consummate veteran Helio Castroneves who completed the top five.

Sebastien Bourdais, Zach Veach, Charlie Kimball, Ed Jones and Ed Carpenter completed the top 10. Notably, all three Ed Carpenter Racing cars were in the group, contributing to a 6-4 advantage for Chevrolet over Honda.

At the bottom end of the speed chart were Alexander Rossi, Pippa Mann and rookie Ben Hanley whose fastest lap at 224.361 mph was the slowest of the day. Despite ranking 34th overall, Rossi’s 224.648 mph lap was without the assistance of a tow and good enough to top the day’s no-tow ranking. Tony Kanaan, Jones, Kimball and Kyle Kaiser completed the no-tow top five.

Practice 2 experienced the first instances of contact during Indianapolis 500 practice week, with two separate single-car incidents bringing out yellow flags.

Fernando Alonso became the first driver to crash in practice when his No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet made right-side contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 3 that ricocheted it into the inside wall then back onto the track where the car came to a stop. Alonso was checked, released and cleared to drive by INDYCAR Medical Director Geoffrey Billows. Unable to continue after the incident, Alonso was 29th fastest at the conclusion of Wednesday’s running.

Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist also had an encounter with the wall when his No. 10 Honda made a complete spin before contacting the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier. The force of the impact sent the car careening toward the tire barrier on the inside of the corner, causing heavy damage to the right side, front and rear. Rosenqvist was also checked, released and cleared to drive.

Indianapolis 500 practice continues Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT with live streaming available via INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinc
Ben's executive editor title is purposefully broad to encompass the bottomless list of roles he fills for The Apex, which includes webmaster, graphic designer, quality consultant and writer. Ben's technical background and progressive media distribution approach set The Apex apart technologically and philosophically.

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