Late tow sends Munoz to the top in third practice for 99th Indy 500

The second official day of practice for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 gave us high speeds and a reminder of the dangers of auto racing and how lucky we are.

With the help of a tow, Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz bagged the fastest lap of the month so far with an average speed of 230.121 mph (39.1098s). The time came late in the day as drivers were experimenting with the draft.

“Really, we were not looking for a tow, we just made a change and said, ‘OK let’s go in the group and see if we can just cop a tow and feel the car in traffic a little bit,” said Munoz.

“I went back to the pack and it’s practice, so whoever gets the best tow is the one who is going to finish first. The positive thing is that I feel really comfortable with the car, the car feels OK. In traffic and by my own, I feel fast. We have to continue working, we have still two days of testing so we have to try some stuff.”

The Columbian was followed by Townsend Bell at a 228.969 (39.3066s) and 2013 Indy champ Tony Kanaan who logged a lap of 228.172 mph (39.4439s). James Davison competed his first full day of laps in Dale Coyne’s #19 Honda/Dallara and was fourth quickest at 228.043 mph (39.4663s) and Sage Karam rounded out the top 5 at 227.822 mph (39.5046s).

The speeds were overshadowed by the most severe accidents of the month. First, three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves got loose in turn 1 and backed into the wall before his car lifted off the ground and somersaulted in the air before landing upside down.

The car flipped back over before coming to rest in Turn 2. Castroneves walked away shaken, but unhurt and returned to the track late in the session to shakedown his T car and logged the 15th quickest lap at 226.670 mph (39.7053s).

With 55 minutes remaining in the session, Pippa Mann got loose following a quick jump on the brakes as Marco Andretti checked up in front of her. Mann then slid into the inside wall and was bounced into the pit wall attenuator, sending her spinning, abliet gently, into the outside frontstretch wall. Mann walked away from the accident unhurt as well, but did not return to the track.

“Guys in front of me in the big pack checked up and I saw them check up,” Mann said. “I got on the brakes, but unfortunately I just got in the gray and made a mistake. When you’re not in a race car week in and week out, sometimes you make mistakes. It’s a real shame for my guys. The car was running great and now they have to go fix a race car.”

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Josh Farmer joined the media center in 2012 after first discovering his love of IndyCar racing in 2004 at Auto Club Speedway. He has been an accredited member of the IndyCar media center since 2014 and also contributes to IndyCar.com along with The Motorsports Tribune.

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