Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves didn’t need any help to show speed on Tuesday as he led all drivers with and without a tow.
The Brazilian hooked up with his Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud to produce the fastest lap so far this month at 227.514 mph (39.5580s) while Pagenaud was clocked just a tick slower at 227.382 mph (39.5809s). The Penske have been the only two drivers to break into the 227 mph range so far.
Castroneves topped the charts without a tow while practicing with upgraded sidepods on the Chevy oval aero kit (see picture above) with a lap at 225.315 mph. The upgraded look features a single, smooth wheel ramp, much like Honda’s which allows air to flow clean over the rear wheels, as opposed to the initial double element design. (See picture of JR Hildebrand’s traditional Chevrolet oval aero kit below)
“The Shell V-Power Nitro+ car was super strong, super solid, felt comfortable, he said. “Now we’ve got to just keep working with this new aero kit. Today was basically the second day that we’ve been working constantly, but I like what I see. Things are looking in the right direction. We’re not focused on just the lap, we’re focused on the performance of it all.”
Scott Dixon logged the third quickest lap at 226.769 mph (39.6880s) while Justin Wilson led the charge for Honda in fourth place at 226.796 mph (39.7022s). Wilson suffered a blown engine late in the day which brought a slightly early end to the session. Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star reported that Wilson’s engine was near the change-out threshold.
Fellow Honda driver James Jakes also suffered an engine failure with a relatively new engine while Wilson’s Andretti Autosport teammate Simona de Silvestro had the most spectacular incident so far this month as ethanol leaked out of her chassis and ignited a large fire in the right rear of the TE Connectivity Honda/Dallara.
Indy 500 returnee Townsend Bell rounded out the top 5 with a lap of 226.519 mph (39.7317s) in his Robert Graham Chevrolet/Dallara.
Chevrolet continues to hold the upper hand, claiming seven of the top 10 spots while most Honda teams found themselves mired down the order.
2011 500 polesitter Alex Tagliani only made a few install laps, his first of the month.
James Davison also took to the track for 15 laps in Dale Coyne Racing’s #19 Honda/Dallara. The driver of the car is still TBA but Davison looks to be the logical choice despite his Pirelli World Challenge Commitments this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. 2013 Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier is likely to qualify the car with Davison returning for the race.
The Lazier Racing entry was the only car to not take to the track and will not due so until late in the week due to a shortened engine lease.
Click here for the speeds from day 2.