Max Chilton paces hectic Monday practice for Indy 500

Mike Harding/INDYCAR

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

SPEEDWAY, IND. – In a Month of May filled with Formula One presence, a recent transplant made his presence known to begin race week.

Reigate, England’s Max Chilton posted a top speed of 228.592 mph to lead the way in Monday’s practice session for Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. Chilton, 26, is preparing for his second Indy 500 start, following a 15th-place run in his 2016 debut.

“We just wanted to get the laps in today,” Chilton said. “I don’t think anyone is particularly happy with their car, but that’s why I just wanted to get the laps in because the more laps you do the more you learn.

“We ended up being at the top of the timesheet, which doesn’t really mean anything because I got a pretty nice tow. There was one run where I was in completely clean air and Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing just gave me a great car where I was pretty decent. It’s all boding well for the race.”

Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones continued to impress in the session, setting his No. 19 Honda second on the charts with a speed of 228.116 mph.

“It was a good day,” Jones said. “We set down a good lap,and at the same time, we had a really good car in traffic. We were able to pass and get runs on people, which was the objective of today. I think there’s still some work we can do to make the car better but it’s a great point to be at going into Carb Day.”

Polesitter Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato rounded out the top five, with Helio Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sage Karam, Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti completing the top 10.

With Monday’s session serving as the final opportunity for track time until Friday’s hour-long Carb Day practice, the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock approached the session with the intent of dialing in their cars for the race.

Multiple teams engaged in race runs throughout the day, logging dozens of circuits to see how their cars may handle come Sunday’s ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing.’

After struggling in qualifying, Team Penske made the most of the session, logging a combined 479 laps. Andretti Autosport’s group of six completed 523 circuits, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s quartet tallying 408 laps of their own.

Aussie James Davison completed his first laps of the year on the 2.5-mile Brickyard, driving a No. 18 Honda converted from a road course car following Sebastien Bourdais’ shunt in Saturday’s qualifications. The 30-year-old ended the session in 28th.

“We’re running a road course backup car (that has been transformed to superspeedway configuration),” Davison said. “We knew we weren’t going to be particularly quick, but we just needed to try to get the car to handle well with a lot of cars in front of us obviously. We’re starting 33rd.

“We tried a number of things as the day went on. I would say it wasn’t the right direction, but we’re smarter from it now. We’ll just try and go another step forward with the car on Carb Day.”

With Monday complete, the IndyCar paddock now embarks on the Indy 500 media tour. The group will return on Friday for a Carb Day practice session at 11 a.m. ET.

Results, via INDYCAR

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