Thursday Practice Wrap-up

Practice Two for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is in the books. It was another glorious day at the track. After a cool start to the day (46° when I woke up), the bright sunshine warmed things up quickly. I don’t think there was a single cloud in the sky all day, as the temperature reached a very pleasant 77° this afternoon.

From a fan’s perspective, I’m not sure we learned a whole lot more except that we know that the Ganassi cars are fast. After occupying three of the top four spots on Wednesday, they backed that up the top two spots today. Reigning champion Marcus Ericsson paced the field with a 229.607 mph lap. Scott Dixon was second-quick today with a quick lap of 229.186 mph.

Later in the day, Simon Pagenaud celebrated his birthday with a lap of 228.681 mph, which was good enough for third-quick. That made for a happy birthday, because up to that point the Meyer Shank cars had been underwhelming. Team Penske finally showed some speed with Will Power turning the fourth-quickest time of the day with a 228.577 mph lap. Colton Herta made the Top-Five with a lap of 228.240 mph. Conor Daly, Takuma Sato, Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou and Alexander Rossi rounded out the Top-Ten.

Yesterday’s slowest car was Callum Ilott. He didn’t improve too much, but he did move out of the cellar, by posting the thirty-second fastest time of the day. You only have to be better than one car to make the field. Once you’re in – anything can happen. When the day was done, the slowest car belonged to Katherine Legge, who posted a quick lap of only 223.934 mph.

Legge drives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR). All of the RLLR cars were slow most of the day. RLLR driver Christian Lundgaard was occupying the last spot for much of the late afternoon, but he finally turned a lap of 225.170 mph, which was good for twenty-seventh quick. Jack Harvey was twenty-first on the scoring pylon and Graham Rahal finally found speed (or a tow) in the last twenty minutes of the day to lock him in the twelfth spot. If I’m in a Rahal car, I may be worried about right now.

Aside from Will Power, the other two Penske drivers were notably absent from the top of the pylon. Josef Newgarden posted a fast lap good enough for only twentieth, and Scott McLaughlin was twenty-fourth on the day. I don’t think they are in danger of making the race, but you have to wonder if this will be the fourth straight year they will not be a factor for the pole.

Stefan Wilson can’t be happy being just one spot in front of Katherine Legge, especially since his teammate was eleven spots ahead of him for the day. Ed Carpenter and Rinus VeeKay were both thirty-first and thirtieth respectively. That’s got to be frustrating with Teammate Conor Daly having the sixth fastest lap of the day.

Other notables were Tony Kanaan thirteenth quick, Kyle Kirkwood fourteenth on the day, Marco Andretti a quiet seventeenth and Helio Castroneves was eighteenth fastest on the day. Santino Ferrucci continued to impress in the Foyt car, by being a very respectable eleventh quickest on the day.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Susan is flying up tonight. But as flights go these days, she is having to fly though Atlanta from Nashville to get to Indianapolis. Her flight was to leave Nashville at 5:45 pm and she was to arrive in Indianapolis at 10:10 tonight. As I have been typing, she texted me saying her flight is just sitting on the ground in Nashville because the Atlanta airport has been shut down due to weather. Something tells me she is going to miss her connection in Atlanta. This could be a long night.

I’ll close with a series of random pictures I took today at the track. Hopefully, Susan will get in tonight and I can use her photos, instead of pictures I took with my phone today. I never claimed to be a photographer. I’ll be back here tomorrow morning with a preview of Qualifying weekend, and of course, we will be posting through the weekend.

George Phillips















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