Munoz breaks 230mph to end day 3 on top

Colombian Carlos Munoz posted the best lap seen so far this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to end an eventful day of practice at the famed 2.5-mile oval on top.

The Andretti Autosport was the first driver to break through the 230mph barrier, and put Honda on top of the timing screens for the first time this week.

“Really, we were not looking for a tow, we just made a change and said, ‘OK let’s go in the group and see if we can just cop a tow and feel the car in traffic a little bit,” said Munoz.

“I went back to the pack and it’s practice, so whoever gets the best tow is the one who is going to finish first. The positive thing is that I feel really comfortable with the car; the car feels OK.

“In traffic and by my own, I feel fast. We have to continue working, we have still two days of testing so we have to try some stuff.”

The six-hour session was halted twice for big crashes to both Helio Castroneves and Pippa Mann, although both drivers were able to walk away from their wrecked machines.

Munoz’s effort late in the day meant Townsend Bell of Dreyer and Reinbold Racing was forced to settle for second, but the American, competing in a single seater event for the first time since last year’s Indy 500, was happy to sit second on day three.

“We’re staying in a tight little box, being a single-car program, only event of the year so far with the team,” said Bell. “Trying to be pragmatic and just stay focused on the fundamentals. So far, so good.

“We hit the track pretty reasonable, thanks to (team managing director and former Indy car driver) Davey Hamilton for shaking down the car (on opening day May 3), I was in Monterey for a (sports car) race. Davey did a nice job to just work out the bugs for us and we were able to hit the ground running when we got here.”

Tony Kanaan ended third fastest on the day for Chip Ganassi Racing, ahead of James Davison of Dale Coyne Racing who after being confirmed late for the race was quickly up to speed, also getting above 228mph on Wednesday.

Day one pacesetter Sage Karam completed the top five for Chip Ganassi Racing, ahead of the sister car of Scott Dixon, who had the best lap of the day without tow of just over 226mph.

Simon Pagenaud ended seventh for Team Penske after being at the top of the list for most of the day, with his Team Penske team-mate Will Power eighth ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti, while Schmidt Peterson Racing’s James Hinchcliffe completing the top ten on a day 25 cars exceeded 226mph, one of which was Castroneves, who managed to get back out on track in the last twenty minutes of the session in his back-up Team Penske car.

Indianapolis 500 Practice 3 Times

126Carlos MunozCOLAndretti Autosport230.121
224Townsend BellUSADreyer & Reinbold Racing228.969
310Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing228.172
419James DavisonAUSDale Coyne Racing228.043
58Sage KaramUSAChip Ganassi Racing227.822
69Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing227.525
722Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske227.478
81Will PowerAUSTeam Penske227.350
927Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport227.320
105James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Racing227.313
1128Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport227.164
1298Gabby ChavesCOLBryan Herta Autosport227.094
136JR HildebrandUSACFH Racing226.844
1420Ed CarpenterUSACFH Racing226.673
153Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske226.670
1615Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing226.661
172Juan Pablo MontoyaCOLTeam Penske226.660
1843Conor DalyUSASchmidt Peterson Racing226.615
1925Justin WilsonGBRAndretti Autosport226.560
2083Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing226.450
2163Pippa MannGBRDale Coyne Racing226.301
2217Sebastian SaavedraCOLAFS Chip Ganassi Racing226.285
2314Takuma SatoJAPAJ Foyt Enterprises226.144
247James JakesGBRSchmidt Peterson Racing226.045
2541Jack HawksworthGBRAJ Foyt Enterprises226.002
2621Josef NewgardenUSACFH Racing225.652
2732Oriol ServiaESPRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing225.284
2811Sebastien BourdaisFRAKVSH Racing224.792
294Stefano ColettiMONKV Racing Technology224.361
3018Carlos HuertasCOLDale Coyne Racing223.740
3188Bryan ClausonUSAKVSH Racing222.846
3288Sebastien BourdaisFRAKVSH Racing220.606
3348Alex TaglianiCANAJ Foyt Enterprises220.553