Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud set the fastest time on the fourth day of practice for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The Frenchman was fastest overall in his Chevrolet-powered #22 machine, and also was fastest of the drivers who set laps without a tow around the legendary 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Today was a really good day for the Avaya car,” said Pagenaud, who’s best lap was 228.793mph. “We’ve been focusing on understanding what the car does in qualifying runs.
“Very happy to see the preparation from Penske and how fast the 22 car is. So far, so good. We’re happy but we can be happier.
“At the end of the day we did some pack running and once again we’re very happy so far. What’s difficult is it’s really cold right now, so you get more downforce because the air is so thick. We know it’s going to be warmer in the race, that’s what makes it tricky.
“You’re trying to understand what the car’s going to do in the race. It’s definitely going to be warmer.”
Carlos Munoz continued his strong month of May by posting the second fastest lap of the day at 228.126mph for the Honda-powered Andretti Autosport machine, while Chip Ganassi Racing filled third to fifth, with Sage Karam ahead of Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan.
Juan Pablo Montoya was sixth fastest for Team Penske ahead of Ed Carpenter of CFH Racing, while Sebastien Bourdais was eighth quickest for KV Racing Technology. Marco Andretti ended ninth for Andretti Autosport, while Charlie Kimball completed the top ten for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Simona de Silvestro was back on track for the first time since her car caught fire on Tuesday, and ran laps in excess of 225mph, while Tristan Vautier took over the #19 Dale Coyne Racing entry of James Davison as he prepares to attempt to qualify the car for Davison who is racing in Canada this weekend in the Pirelli World Challenge.
“It is an interesting trade-off,” said Vautier. “Obviously, we’re not going to get out there trying to break records but work toward the qualifying.
“It’s an interesting task to be in an Indy car and qualifying it for another driver, but I’m approaching it like I would any other race.”
Thursday also saw Buddy Lazier finally take to the track in the #91 Lazier Partners Racing entry, running ten laps towards the end of the day.
The day saw Josef Newgarden crash heavily during the final hour, with the CFH Racing machine hitting the SAFER barrier at turn one and getting airborne, although the American driver was able to extract himself from the car.
“I got around pretty quick in Turn 1; it definitely surprised me,” said Newgarden. “I knew it happened when it did, so I’m just lucky that everything’s good. The Dallara tub held up pretty well.
“I just want to get back to my guys and see what the damage is. I’m sure it’s bad but we’ll see what we can do going forward. It was a hard bit, (but) I feel fine.”
Indianapolis 500 Practice 4 Result
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