Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan led the way in the two speed categories during Wednesday’s Indy 500 practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Andretti, in the Andretti Autosport Honda, threw down the fastest lap of the month at 227.053mph early in the seven-hour session and it held up as all 35 driver/car combinations practiced on a mostly overcast day.
“Just checking off boxes right now and a lot of test items,” said Andretti, who has finished second, third (three times) and fourth during his 12 starts. “We got through a ton of stuff today and it was pretty productive. We got the car to almost there in traffic but we’re not there yet.
“I’m sure everyone’s dealing with a similar thing. But we have a direction, which is positive.”
Kanaan, driving AJ Foyt’s ABC Supply Chevrolet, had the quickest lap of 223.048mph without the assist of a tow on a day when 3,349 laps were turned. Teammate and rookie Matheus Leist was fifth fastest without a tow at 222.098mph.
“I tried to run by myself as much as possible,” said the 2013 Indy winner. “I don’t know how many guys are trying qualifying setups but I made one run today and it wasn’t trimmed out as much as I would if I was qualifying.
“Just trying to get a feel for what we’ve got and I’m pleased where we’re at.”
Four-time IndyCar champ Scott Dixon was second-best overall at 226.329mph in the Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, and 2017 race winner Takuma Sato checked in with the third-fastest lap of 226.108mph in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda as part of a 19-car train in the closing 30 minutes.
Ed Carpenter continued to shine in both categories – eighth-best overall at 225.164mph, and second on the no-tow list with 222.754mph. Sage Karam, making his first appearance since last year’s Indy 500, was 10th overall at 224.887mph in DRR Chevy, while teammate J.R. Hildebrand was 20th at 224.128mph.
“I’m excited to have a teammate again this year,” said Karam. “I think the last time I was able to compare steering traces or anything like that was in 2015. That’s always good to come back to the garage and bounce ideas off another guy. We got more engineers in the room this year.
“It’s definitely a good situation. Me and JR are working well together. The cars have been great. The refresher went well for me a couple weeks ago. We just picked up right where we left off.”
The only caution of the day came for a tow-in for Kanaan, who suffered a throttle-linkage problem.