Pagenaud tops times as incident headlines fourth day of Indy 500 practice

Simon Pagenaud was the top dog during on Thursday as he paced the time charts both with and without a tow.

The Frenchman turned laps of 228.793 mph and 227.662 mph over Carlos Munoz, the fastest man of the month so far and the Chip Ganassi Racing trio of Sage Karam, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan.

“Today was a really good day for the Avaya car,” Pagenaud said. “We’ve been focusing on understanding what the car does in qualifying runs. Very happy to see the preparation from Penske and how fast the 22 car is. So far, so good.”

Speeds were not the major headline for the second day in a row as another vicious crash occurred in turn 1 involving Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden. Newgarden spun near the exit of turn 1 and hit the wall before the rear of the car lifted off the ground.

During the final hour of the session, the #21 Century 21 Chevrolet/Dallara then landed softly upside down before sliding to a stop in the South Chute. Newgarden escaped without injury, but the accident has drawn safety to a prime concern.

Earlier in the day, IndyCar first made the new nose wickers implemented to keep the car from flipping when in a car spins sideways, optional but then told all of the Chevrolet teams to remove them as research found that it may have attributed to Helio Castroneves’ crash yesterday.

Honda has elected to keep the wickers on their cars.

Following the end of practice, Dave Furst of WRTV-G and IndyCar Radio Tweeted that IndyCar had advised the Chevy teams to not run the new qualifying bodywork until further notice. Castroneves and Newgarden were running the new bodywork when they crashed.

1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier turned a few install laps today, his first of the month while Tristan Vautier turned his first laps in an IndyCar since October 2013 in preparation for qualifying the #19 car for James Davison.

Click here to view day 4 speeds.

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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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