Newgarden tops post qualy Indy 500 practice
Josef Newgarden set the pace in Monday’s post qualifying practice as teams upped their preparations for this weekend’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The 33 car field took to the 4km oval for three and a half hours of practice which saw the Ed Carpenter Racing driver clock the fastest speed at 227.414 mph (365.987 km/h) when the chequered flag flew.
Newgarden’s pace was 3 mph (4.8km/h) slower than his four lap average set in qualifying which secured second spot on the grid.
“I think today is the most representative day that we’re going to get going into Sunday, which was great,” said Newgarden.
“Everyone was in a pack together, which was great, because that’s what we need to see.
“To me, some guys looked good at certain points and then they looked really bad at other points. I think that’s how it’s going to be on race day.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan was second fastest having posted a 226.393 (364.344) ahead of team-mate Scott Dixon, with fellow Chevrolet runner Sage Karam in fourth.
Britain’s Pippa Mann was the top Honda driver in fifth for Dale Coyne Racing.
Charlie Kimball, Mikhail Aleshin, JR Hildebrand, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top 10.
With the field now set for Sunday’s race, practice saw drivers work on their race set-ups and pack drafting.
The session ran without incident although AJ Foyt Racing’s Jack Hawksworth came to a halt on track due to an engine failure.
Australia’s Will Power (Team Penske) ended the session in 18th spot just one position behind pole-sitter James Hinchcliffe (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports).
Pirtek Team Murray’s Matt Brabham continued his race preparations as he clocked up 98 laps, ending the day in 29th position.
The Indy 500 rookie will start Sunday’s race from 27th on the grid for Team Murray which was conceived by Speedcafe.com owner Brett Murray and is being run by the KV Racing operation.
Brabham was happy with his efforts having spent the majority of the session simulating racing in traffic.
“Today was good out there in the traffic, the car felt really solid,” said Brabham.
“The more experience I get running with people, the better I am going to get. The Pirtek Team Murray crew had a good solid session working on the race setup getting ready for race day.
“I felt quite good in the pack, but it’s never perfect. You have to keep working hard at it so when you go out for the race you’re as best prepared as possible, knowing that you’ve worked hard to get to the point you’re at.
“We made some improvements and are progressing, I felt way more comfortable.
“We have to keep pushing now to ensure those improvements continue and we are still heading down that direction.”
The field will return to the track for a further one hour practice during Carb Day on Friday.
Result: Indianapolis 500 Practice 8