Team Penske has topped the time-sheets for the second day running in practice for the 2019 Indianapolis 500. This time, NTT IndyCar Series championship leader Josef Newgarden topped the leaderboard, whilst Fernando Alonso and Felix Rosenqvist crashed.
Average lap speeds were once again high as the thirty-six drivers who will attempt to qualify for the race continued to put in vital milage in an attempt to gather as much confidence in and information about their cars. The day started with a number of drivers making some qualifying simulations without the help of slipstream. Later in the day, track action would pick up, as drivers ran in large packs to complete race runs.
Yesterday, whilst his three Penske team-mates were up in the top five, Newgarden was outside of the top twelve. Today, roles were reversed. Josef would end the day with the fastest lap of the session, taking his #2 Chevrolet to an average lap speed of 228.856-mph. Newgarden would comment at the end of the day that it was nice to be at the top of the scoring pylon, but that he knew that it did not really mean anything heading into qualifying this weekend.
Just three-thousandths of a second slower than Newgarden was Chip Ganassi Racing‘s, Scott Dixon; thus putting the top two in the championship standings in the top two at the end of the day. Third-fastest would go to Ed Carpenter Racing‘s Spencer Pigot, with the Ed Carpenter Racing cars once again showing that they are among the fastest in the field for another year.
The fastest rookie of the day was Dale Coyne Racing‘s, Santino Ferrucci. The American was fourth-fastest with a fastest lap of 228.561-mph. Helio Castroneves was fifth-fastest, putting himself in the top five for the second day in a row, with sixth-placed Sebastien Bourdais and seventh-placed Zach Veach rounding out the drivers that lapped in the 228-mph range.
Carlin made a decent step up in speed compared to the opening day of practice. Charlie Kimball set the eighth-fastest lap with an average speed of 227.472-mph. His team-mates, Patricio O’Ward and Max Chilton, were further back in twenty-second and thirtieth respectively; but with only eight-tenths of a second separating the entire field, the speed was still there. Additionally, O’Ward got out on track very early in the day to successfully pass his rookie orientation after failing to do so yesterday due to mechanical gremlins.
Completing the top ten on the time-sheets were the remaining two Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolets, with Ed Jones just ahead of Ed Carpenter; underlining the pace of all three ECR cars.
Juncos Racing‘s Kyle Kaiser made a great step up, completing seventy-nine laps as opposed to only ten yesterday. There was decent speed in the #32 Chevrolet as well, with Kaiser setting a best lap speed of 227.079-mph.
The major talking points at the end of the day’s running were the two crashes out on the speedway. Relatively early in the session, McLaren Racing‘s Fernando Alonso would understeer into the wall on the exit of turn three, with the contact sending his car back across the circuit and into the inside wall. He would then be sent back up across the track once more, hitting the wall one more time at turn four.
Despite the heavy impacts, Alonso would walk away from the accident unscathed, but his #66 Chevrolet was heavily damaged. All four corners of the car took damage, with the team electing to use parts from his back-up car to help repair the car ready for tomorrow’s third practice session.
Alonso would not get back out on the track for the rest of the day, ending the session twenty-ninth fastest with forty-six laps on the board. McLaren will be hoping for a more productive day tomorrow, with no on-track incidents and no repetition of the electrical issues that have hampered them so far.
The second crash of the day would take place just inside the final hour of the session. The culprit was Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist, who lost control of his #10 Honda whilst running a very low line through turn two. He would spin into the outside wall and spin back across the circuit, with Penske’s Will Power and Meyer Shank Racing‘s Jack Harvey doing well to avoid collecting him.
Rosenqvist would end up hitting a tyre barrier on the inside of the circuit, with heavy damage being sustained to the car in the process. Felix would walk away from the wreck unhurt, but Ganassi would confirm soon after the incident that they would be going to their back-up car. Felix would end the day with the sixteenth-fastest time.
Whilst Newgarden would end the session with the fastest lap, perhaps the more important run came from Andretti Autosport‘s Alexander Rossi early in the session. Despite ending the day thirty-fourth fastest out of thirty-six drivers, with a comparatively small forty-six laps completed, Rossi’s lap of 224.648-mph would see him as the fastest driver unaided by the slipstream of another car. Rossi would sit out much of the rest of the day’s running, thus insinuating that he is very happy with his #27 Honda.
For the second day running, DragonSpeed‘s Ben Hanley and Clauson-Marshall Racing‘s Pippa Mann were toward the bottom of the time-sheets. The pair may be starting to worry about making it into the race, with the slowest three drivers being eliminated from the field after this weekend’s qualifying sessions. Both will be hoping to find some more speed tomorrow and, in particular, on Friday; when the boost of all the cars will be turned up to replicate how the cars will be set up for qualifying on Saturday and Sunday.
2019 NTT IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500 – Practice two top twelve results:
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Full results of practice two can be found by clicking the following link: http://www.imscdn.com/INDYCAR/Documents/5560/2019-05-15/indycar-results-p2.pdf