By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
The second day of practice for the 101st Indianapolis 500 started at noon and lasted until 6:00 P.M. with no hard incidents of wall contact.
The day’s fastest lap went to Will Power with a speed of 224.656 mph ahead of teammate Helio Castroneves’s 224.287 mph lap.
The day started off with 15 minutes reserved for Zach Veach and Jack Harvey to complete their rookie orientation practices. Veach completed his orientation at 1:07 P.M. while Harvey had other problems that delayed him from being able to complete his orientation until 5:18 P.M. local time.
There were 32 cars on track with 33 times posted because Marco Andretti did six laps in Jack Harvey’s car before Harvey was able to finish his rookie orientation program.
The biggest surprise of the day was third place Gabby Chaves with a 223.991 mph lap.
Chaves is driving for Harding Racing, a new team led by team manager Larry Curry and formed by Mike Harding and Dennis Reinbold joining technical forces to make Harding Racing.
Curry has more than three decades of experience at Indianapolis and enlisted the help of two time 500 winner Al Unser Jr. to help Chaves out. Chaves credits both for some of the strength the team has shown.
“I think Larry has really been more of a guidance for the team rather than me so much,” Chaves said. “As you may know, we’re also working with Al Unser, Jr., who’s kind of taken more of that role to work with me and give me his experience, his learning, and everything that he’s learned here, try to give as much as he can of that to me so I can expedite my learning curve, go out there and get right to it.
“But Larry has been really just instrumental in getting together a brand-new team, two brand-new cars. Obviously he’s been the one who’s got the guys involved since I believe the second week of January was when the cars were bought. They came in probably right before February, and ever since then, he’s the one who’s kind of taken the lead on who’s going to be my engineer, who’s going to be my mechanics, and who’s all going to be involved in the team,” Chaves added.
Chaves then elaborated a bit more on working with Curry in a day-to-day setting.
“It’s a little funny because [Larry]’s so nice to me and then if he’s upset about something with someone else it’s like a whole new different person that scares you a little bit but obviously as far as what he’s doing right now in his job, it’s been great and he’s put a pretty good group of guys together for what is now just a one car one off effort which hopefully will grow into more but we’ve kind of laid down the roots for this to grow.”
The fastest rookie was Ed Jones turning a lap of 222.251 mph. Veach was second fastest with a lap of 221.629 mph. Fernando Alonso’s fastest lap was 221.029 mph while Harvey’s fastest lap was 218.943 mph. Alonso turned the most laps today with 117 laps, bringing his month-to-date total to 282 laps and his milage total to 705 miles, or the driving distance from New Orleans, Louisiana to Louisville, Kentucky.
During Tuesday’s practice, 2,404 laps were completed for 6,010 miles, or slightly longer than the driving distance from Marseille, France to Nairobi, Kenya if one were to go across the Strait of Gibraltar.