Will Power, Team Penske top Tuesday charts in Indianapolis

(Photo: Mike Harding/INDYCAR)

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

It was a hot, windy day in the midwest, but that didn’t stop the Verizon IndyCar Series from completing an incident-free six hours of track time in Tuesday’s second round of Indianapolis 500 practice.

Two days removed from a win in the INDYCAR Grand Prix, Will Power led the way in the session, besting teammate Helio Castroneves with a 224.656-mph lap in tow. Castroneves followed with a late lap of 224.287 mph to give Penske the top two positions at the closing bell.

“It was pretty good all day, actually,” Power said. “I have to say that it’s made some improvements overnight. The no-tow speed is better for sure, and I feel comfortable in traffic. You know, it’s a long week. Got to keep working at it. Things change. The car goes in and out of being good and bad and this and that. You’ve got to try not to get lost and just keep it simple.”

Gabby Chaves jumped up to third in his second day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the newly-formed Harding Racing, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that the team managed just six laps in Monday’s opening day.

“Obviously, our guys were disappointed that we didn’t really do any laps,” Chaves said. “Today had to kind of bounce back from that and right away work on the car and improve it and show some speed. That’s the direction you want to be heading in.

“We’re happy. Obviously, we’ve still got plenty of work ahead of us, and I think if we just keep doing what we’re doing, we should be able to be in a good spot for the race.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sage Karam rounded out the top five, with Takuma Sato, Mikhail Aleshin, Simon Pagenaud, JR Hildebrand and Josef Newgarden completing the top 10.

Ed Carpenter led the way in terms of no-tow speed, completing a lap at 222.842 mph without the aid of another car.

Despite the unusually warm conditions, the IndyCar paddock completed the session with few issues. Jack Harvey’s No. 50 Honda returned to the racing surface less than 24 hours after his opening day crash, first for a shakedown from Marco Andretti and then for Harvey himself. The rookie was able to complete the Rookie Orientation Program in the late afternoon.

The designation for most laps ran on the afternoon went to Fernando Alonso, who completed 117 laps – more than half of the race’s scheduled 200-lap distance – over the course of six hours. The two-time Formula One World Champion partook in his first bit of pack racing in an indy car during the session, practicing overtaking and running in the draft with his Andretti Autosport teammates.

“It felt OK, it felt as I expected,” Alonso said. “Obviously, here it’s very important to keep close to the car in front of you, to take the benefit from the next straight. It was useful. I’m on the best team for that; we are six cars and we were running together. My teammates were amazing (in) helping me. I knew they were taking care of me in some moments of the run, so that was good and yeah, first time for me.

“(I was) learning every lap here and there, you know, when I follow them, learning what they do, how they attack the next corner or the next lap, how they prepare the overtaking, so, it was very useful and a very productive day.”

The lone driver to taste the wall on Tuesday was Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Mikhail Aleshin, who took a moment to share the damage after the race.

The IndyCar paddock will return for another six-hour practice session from 12-6 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Results, via INDYCAR

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