O’Ward Crashes, Jones (227.843 MPH) Leads Rain Shortened Day 3 Of Indy 500 Practice

INDIANAPOLIS – We saw the third crash of the month, two of which coming in Turn 2, as rookie Pato O’Ward lost control of his No. 31 Chevrolet while running behind Helio Castroneves and crashed head on into the SAFER barrier at the exit of the second corner. The Carlin Racing driver saw his car briefly get airborne, nearly rolling over, before coming to rest on all four wheels on the backstretch.

Luckily, O’Ward was able to walk away with just some bumps are bruises but he will have to use Max Chilton’s road course car as his primary for Fast Friday.

For the on track action, rain and lightning ended the day about 90 minutes early as Ed Jones topped the speed charts on Day 3 of Indianapolis 500 practice on Thursday. Jones, circled the track with a speed of 227.843 mph in his No. 63 Chevrolet as he’s now been in the top 10 of the overall speed charts on all three days.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver was also quickest on the no tow report, a day after being third on Wednesday’s report, as he certainly has to become one of the favorites to land on the pole on Sunday afternoon.

2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato was P2 in his No. 30 Honda. Sato, turned in a lap of 226.699 mph. He was quick on the no tow too chiming in P7 on that report.

Zach Veach (226.070 mph), Sebastien Bourdais (225.996 mph) and Colton Herta (225.458 mph) rounded out the top five.

Here are the main takeaways from Thursday’s action.

Marco Andretti leads Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site

A Diverse Day Of Practice Plans

You would think that most of the running on Thursday would have been in race trim. Instead, due to three cars being bumped this weekend, qualifying still has everyone’s attention.

So, while some cars elected to run still on race trim, a majority of the teams went on Q-trim early to give themselves a little preview of what to expect when the boost levels get turned up on Friday.

Most would think it would be counterproductive to put the cars on qualifying setups due to the horsepower gains that will be on these cars this weekend. With no race running for these guys past tonight until Sunday afternoon, why not get the cars fully dialed in?

Well, the Penske’s, Andretti’s and several other teams elected to start the day off on qualifying setups. They wanted a head start on Friday. At the end of the day, the same cars you saw on qual sims in the early hours of practice, ran in a group on race setups.

We saw 7-10 cars running in a tow before the track activity was canceled early.

While this was one group, some of the others ran race trim early and never had time to go on q trim later.

It’s been a weird week of practice because of that.

Josef Newgarden practices ahead of his Team Penske teammate Will Power at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site

Honda’s Fast, But Chevy Still Happy

Four of the top five speeds overall belong to Honda drivers. They also have five of the top nine in fact. But, the no tow report tells a different story.

The top five speeds on the no tow were all Chevy drivers. The top two belong to Ed Carpenter Racing. Furthermore, seven of the top nine laps without a tow were from the bowties, which would lead us to think that we could see a 7-2 advantage in the Fast Nine for Chevy drivers this weekend.

Spencer Pigot practices ahead of his teammate Ed Carpenter at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site

Ed Carpenter Racing Stealing The Show

If anyone is not only the favorites for the pole this weekend, but the race win next weekend, it has to be ECR. They have been fast in not only group running but also the no tow report all week as well.

On Thursday, ECR had 1-8-13 on the overall speed chart but 1-2-8 on the no tow list as well. With the organization putting all three of their cars in the Fast Nine last year, they look to be Fast Nine contenders this year too.

Fernando Alonso’s car being worked on in the garage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site

No Laps For McLaren On Thursday

The original goal for McLaren Racing was to have Fernando Alonso out on the race track by 2 p.m. ET. See, the team not only elected to repair the crashed No. 66 Chevrolet from yesterday, but they also wanted to setup the backup to run today. Unfortunately, they ran out of time.

The team was able to get the engine fired around 3 p.m. locally but with practice being cut short 90 minutes early, they never got on the track.

That’s not good for them as they’ve turned less than 100 laps this week. By comparison, heading into Thursday, seven cars have already exceeded the 200 lap mark run. Most of the cars have doubled the amount of on track time as McLaren.

Ed Jones leads Fernando Alonso during practice early this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – INDYCAR Media Site

Big Names Shut Out Up Front

Just look at the speed chart on Thursday and find the big names up front. Ed Carpenter Racing, Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing, Andretti Autosport, Dale Coyne Racing, Harding Steinbrenner Racing, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Juncos, Ed Carpenter Racing. That’s 1-8 on the speed chart.

Yes, there’s one Andretti car but that’s Zach Veach who oh by the way is having a fantastic week so far. He was seventh on the speed charts in the first two days of practice too.

It just goes to show you that race running is still very much wide open.

Day 3 Speeds

  1. 63 Jones 227.843

  2. 30 Sato 226.699

  3. 26 Veach 226.070

  4. 18 Bourdais 225.996

  5. 88 Herta R 225.458

  6. 24 Karam 225.401

  7. 32 Kaiser 225.396

  8. 21 Pigot 225.335

  9.  9 Dixon 225.300

  10. 22 Pagenaud 225.256

  11.  3 Castroneves 225.142

  12. 33 Davison 225.064

  13. 20 Carpenter 225.038

  14. 12 Power 224.858

  15. 59 Chilton 224.802

  16. 23 Kimball 224.797

  17. 98 Andretti 224.771

  18. 48 Hildebrand 224.481

  19. 25 Daly 224.480

  20.  7 Ericsson R 224.405

  21.  2 Newgarden 224.343

  22. 27 Rossi 224.220

  23. 31 O’Ward 224.170

  24. 15 Rahal 224.133

  25.  5 Hinchcliffe 223.984

  26. 60 Harvey 223.983

  27. 39 Mann 223.819

  28. 77 Servia 223.284

  29. 42 King R 223.173

  30. 28 Hunter-Reay 223.074

  31.  4 Leist 222.969

  32. 14 Kanaan 222.831

  33. 81 Hanley R 222.364

  34. 10 Rosenqvist R 221. 697

  35. 19 Ferrucci R 220.457

No Tow Report

  1. 63 Jones 224.957

  2. 21 Pigot 224.887

  3. 22 Pagenaud 224.868

  4. 12 Power 224.858

  5. 23 Kimball 224.797

  6. 98 Andretti 224.431

  7. 30 Sato 224.428

  8. 20 Carpenter 223.820

  9.  2 Newgarden 223.635

  10.  7 Ericsson R 223.568

  11. 27 Rossi 223.464

  12. 15 Rahal 223.141

  13.  5 Hinchcliffe 223.132

  14. 28 Hunter-Reay 223.074

  15. 25 Daly 223.038

  16. 26 Veach 222.998

  17. 81 Hanley R 222.364

  18. 60 Harvey 222.277

  19. 42 King R 222.276

  20. 32 Kaiser 222.190

  21. 48 Hildebrand 222.152

  22. 59 Chilton 221.978

  23.  9 Dixon 221.830

  24.  4 Leist 221.339

  25. 14 Kanaan 221.269

  26. 39 Mann 221.288

  27. 88 Herta R 221.263

  28. 24 Karam 221.253

  29.  3 Castroneves 221.195

  30. 77 Servia 220.557

  31. 19 Ferrucci R 220.457

  32. 18 Bourdais 220.294

  33. 31 OWard R 219.509

  34. 10 Rosenqvist R 217.377

  35. 33 Davison 215.225

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