Photo: Jim Haines/INDYCAR

Andretti, Kanaan Quickest in Wednesday Practice at Indianapolis

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday practice came and went for the 35 drivers entered to qualify for 33 spots in this year’s Indianapolis 500 and Marco Andretti was on top of the time sheet.

The 2006 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year turned a fastest lap of 227.053 mph in his No. 98 Andretti Autosport Honda but on the unassisted draft chart Andretti was only tenth fastest. Tony Kanaan was fastest on the unassisted lap chart with a lap of 223.048 mph.

“Checking off the boxes right now, a lot of test items,” said Andretti. “We got through a ton of stuff actually today, it was a pretty productive day. We got the car to almost there in traffic. We’re not there yet. But, you know, I’m sure everybody’s dealing with a similar thing.

“But, you know, we think we have a direction, which is positive. We just later in the week need to confirm that hopefully. Yeah, I mean, same as him: just working away, see where we end up.”

Second fastest was Scott Dixon. The 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner has an interesting dynamic this year in that instead of having three teammates, he’s dealing with only one in Indy sophomore Ed Jones.

“It’s been good. [Ed]’s super laid back and good to work with,” said Dixon. “I think on this combination, it’s a little more difficult. Ed is trying to get up to speed with our package and our car. They’ve tried some interesting stuff. So, you know, debrief last night was good. Tonight I’m sure will be, too.

“But, yeah, I think going from the size the team was with four cars down to two is definitely a different dynamic. But, you know, it’s too early to really say. There’s always pros and cons.”

In the overall speed chart, defending 500 champion Takuma Sato was third ahead of rookie sensation Robert Wickens and Carlin’s Charlie Kimball. The interesting part of the top five is that Carlin’s cars were far apart on the time sheet but Max Chilton was 17th on the overall fastest chart.

On the unassisted chart following Kanaan was Ed Carpenter driving for his eponymously-named team, Sebastien Bourdais, Kanaan’s fulltime teammate Matheus Leist and 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi. Kimball and Chilton were sixth and seventh on the unassisted list which was a nice result for the new team.

The field completed 3,349 laps on the day and added to yesterday’s laps added up to 5,257 laps for 13142.5 miles total turned.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.