By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS– Wednesday’s practice session for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 had some surprises in store around the 2.5 mile oval for many competitors and the fates struck a couple of talented drivers with incidents.
While Josef Newgarden posted the fastest lap of the day at 228.856 mph, Fernando Alonso and Felix Rosenqvist learned that the Brickyard plays no favorites as both had contact with the Speedway’s unforgiving walls.
Alonso’s incident came around 12:35 in the afternoon as the Spaniard brushed the Turn 3 wall, slid into the infield wall between Turns 3 and 4 and slid again and hit the Turn 4 outside wall. The damage to the No. 66 McLaren entry meant that the team will revert to the backup car Alonso used when he tested at Texas Motor Speedway in April.
Rosenqvist spun coming through Turn 2, hit the outside wall and then slid into the tire barrier lining the inside barrier coming onto the backstretch. The Swede was evaluated from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center and cleared to drive.
— NTT IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) May 15, 2019
— Christopher DeHarde (@CDeHarde) May 15, 2019
One of the more significant speed reports on the day is the no tow list for drivers turning laps without a car within seven seconds in front of them. Many drivers are on the upper half of the report that are showing nicely for smaller teams. Kyle Kaiser was fifth with a lap of 223.744 mph in the No. 32 sponsor-strapped entry for Juncos Racing while Jack Harvey was sixth fastest in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda for Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at 223.523 mph.
Harvey is fresh off of his first NTT IndyCar Series podium at last Saturday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and is happy to be back on the oval.
“I think we had a pretty good day,” said Harvey. “We had a little bit of pace today in our single car runs which was good. We had to go back to the paddock a few times just to try to get all that going and get that right and we may have lost a little too much of the day but I think in the end I thought that we had some decent pace and we’ve just got to keep working on the race car a little bit.”
Harvey was running second last year on Lap 195 before stopping late for fuel. Another driver with a good day on the no tow report was Pippa Mann. The Clauson-Marshall Racing driver is looking to avenge last year’s Bump Day heartbreak and was 12th fastest on the no tow report with a lap of 223.025 mph. That bodes well for the 2010 Freedom 100 Polesitter.
“I think from the time sheets and the no-tow sheets it’s fairly obvious where our focus is right now and what we’re trying to accomplish out here,” said Mann. “I feel that for a new team and for my first time back in the car for a year, I feel that both of the previous two days we’re doing an extremely good job setting out to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish in the the Clauson-Marshall Racing Driven 2 Life/Save Lives Chevrolet.”
On the overall speed charts, Kaiser was 11th, Harvey was 23rd and Mann was 35th out of 36 cars. However, those fastest laps were set with the assistance of a draft from the cars in front of them and all Indianapolis 500 qualifying is four lap single car runs.
There were 35 cars that posted no-tow laps. James Davison was 34th while Rosenqvist was 35th. Marco Andretti was the sole car to not set a fast lap without drafting help.