Monday Indy 500 Practice Fast Three

RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.28 Andretti Autosport Honda was the fastest Verizon IndyCar driver Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second day of practice for the 2014 Indianapolis 500. His time was 39.9995/225.025 mph/362.14263 kph. He’s the first and only driver to top 225 mph … so far.

Second fastest was RHR’s teammate, MARCO ANDRETTI/No.2, with HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet coming in third.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Marco Andretti

Helio Castroneves

Weather was a factor Monday, with almost all kinds of weather thrown at the drivers. It was hot, humid, muggy, very windy, and there were three cautions for moisture in Turns One and Two. Five more cautions were for Track Inspections, and the last one was for ED CARPENTER/No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet trailing smoke on the backstretch. He said later “There were some issues with the car.” He also went out in his Indy 500 teammate’s car, No.21 driven by J.R.HILDEBRAND.

Hildebrand’s car is the one in which team owner Carpenter won the 2013 pole and finished second in last year’s Fontana race.

Carpenter is driving a brand new Dallara chassis with the Chevrolet engine from Carpenter’s co-driver’s 2014 road race car. MIKE CONWAY drove that engine all this season including winning the 2014 Long Beach Grand Prix, after starting seventeenth. Depending on when the IndyCar dictated engine mileage (2500 miles) is reached, Carpenter will be getting a new engine near the end of this week, certainly before qualifying.

Thirty cars turned laps Monday, with six of them being driven by Rookies. Among those not on track were two drivers from the same team. The No.17 KVAFS Racing Chevrolet of SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA is being rebuilt after his big accident on the start of Saturday’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He is one of the drivers who are running the same car in both races. Rookie JAMES DAVISON’s No.33 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet is still being built. He expects to be on course early Thursday morning to complete his Rookie Orientation Program, and start practicing with the rest of the field in the afternoon. His schedule has always been for the ‘short’ program – fewer days on course due to budgetary constraints.

The top Rookie was MIKHAIL ALESHIN/No.7 SMP Racing Honda, in seventh position for the day and overall. He’s run all four IndyCar races this season. The second fastest Rookie – a real Rookie to not just the Indy 500 but to IndyCar in general – was KURT BUSCH/No.26 Andretti Autosport Honda. The NASCAR Sprint Cup driver was ninth Monday and tenth overall, with a speed of 222.770 mph/358.51356 kph, and he was in a reconfigured race car. It had been raced, and crashed Saturday with FRANCK MONTAGNY.

Busch’s Andretti Autosport teammates are impressed with how quickly he’s come up to speed, asking questions, and soaking it all up. They joshed about them all being separated by a common language. Busch speaks stock cars and the gang speaks open wheelers. So you have tow vs draft, transporter vs hauler, etc. Busch is trying hard to catch on.

The Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet drivers were the only ones to run both their primary and T cars. There’s no mistaking the two cars of SCOTT DIXON/No.9. The primary has a new red and silver livery. The backup is the traditional red Target car, with a big T by the number.

No.9 Chevrolet Primary Car

Special Indy 500-branded Firestone Tire

No.9T Chevrolet Alternate Car

Nine drivers were faster Sunday than Monday. The rest were quicker the second day, despite the weather changes. Many were trying to get in as much track time as possible, to beat the expected bad weather, perhaps starting as soon as Tuesday. Indycar does not run oval courses in the wet.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard

Indianapolis Mayor, GREG BALLARD, was in Pit Lane near the bricks for the standing start of Saturday’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He was hit by a piece of flying debris from the stalled car accident, probably a connecting rod, he said. The Mayor suffered ‘a minor soft tissue injury’ on the inside of his left elbow. It’s not that big, and he admitted he didn’t know he was hit right away and it didn’t hurt until half an hour later. Pain medication eased the discomfort and now he’s fine.

Monday the Mayor stopped by the Media Center for a Meet and Greet, Show and Tell with the local TV and Radio stations. He said he loves cars, will be at the track as much as he can between now and race day, and will be “happy to come out anytime to wave the green flag.”

Holmatro Track Service Vehicle