Indy 500: Dixon fastest in Practice, Alonso crashes

The second practice session for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 was held Thursday. Yet another six and a half-hour session was held and saw Fernando Alonso crash in the closing minutes with Scott Dixon fastest.

Recap

The second day of track time saw all 33 cars take time one way or another. The session at times had dozens of cars on course at once, or even an empty track at times. Takuma Sato had the fastest lap for a majority of Thursday, but it ended with five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon on top of the pylon.

Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso started the day promising, holding a fourth-place on the speed charts throughout the afternoon, but as the sun started setting over Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Alonso’s good day went bad fast.

Alonso puts McLaren behind, again

For the second straight year, Fernando Alonso is a major talking point. Unfortunately for him and his Arrow McLaren SP team, the world-class superstar found himself in the outside wall yet again this year.

With 45 minutes remaining in the session, Alonso piloted his Chevrolet over a coarse concrete strip next to the grass exiting the fourth turn of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Alonso saved the car from spinning at first but ran out of room to catch the car underneath him. As a result, he slapped the outside SAFER barrier, which sent his car spinning backward into the pit lane.

The car was brought back to the team’s garage stall and surveyed the damage. Alonso told NBC Sports during the session he expects the team to repair the Ruoff Mortgage Chevy.

Above all, Alonso was able to step out of the No. 66 Chevy under his own power and was released from the infield medical center.

His crash was the first accident in 12 and a quarter-hour of practice time between Wednesday and Thursday. Alonso’s speed early in the session officially puts him eighth on the board with a lap averaging 224.363MPH.

Dixon beats Sato for Top Spot

Takuma Sato set a lap averaging 225.693MPH within the first hour of Thursday’s session. That 39.877-second lap around the 2.5-mile brickyard kept him on the top spot of the charts until 5:15 pm local time, when the session had just 15 minutes remaining.

After Alonso’s crash, Scott Dixon was able to pace a 226.102MPH lap to beat Sato’s in the closing minutes. Dixon’s run in the closing minutes was interrupted by a caution flag for track inspection.

Dixon’s lap was 1.576MPH faster than the lap James Hinchcliffe topped the session with on Wednesday.

Marco Andretti, Conor Daly, and rookie Alex Palou rounded out the top five Thursday.

Struggles for Sage

Thursday wasn’t the day Sage Karam and his Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (DRR) team had hoped for. The Nazareth, PA. native ended Wednesday in 17th-position with a 222.061MPH lap. While Thursday’s pace for their No. 24 Chevrolet was just a bit slower with a 221.510MPH, a majority of the field picked up the pace, leaving Karam and DRR scratching their heads.

NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch reported that the DRR team changed the setup on Karam’s WIX Filters Chevy overnight Wednesday, and when on track Thursday, Karam struggled to find any competitive pace. The team spent the majority of the day Thursday back in the paddock trying to put the setup to the original configuration.

When on-track in traffic, Karam kept finding himself losing touch of other drivers, instead of gaining ground as a car should in the wake.

Karam not only fought his car, but he fought his helmet. In the early laps of Thursday’s session, Karam’s air cooling hose was flapping outside of the cockpit, much like the issues Alexander Rossi, James Davison, and others faced on Wednesday. However, Rossi told NBC Sports coverage on Thursday that the Andretti Autosport crew had fixed the hose problems on their fleet.

DragonSpeed back on Track

Elton Julian’s DragonSpeed USA team should be back on track Friday.

The No. 81 was given extra track time Wednesday from 5:30 pm-6:05 pm to help the car with their installation laps. Consequently, they returned Thursday an hour before the track opened, with Ben Hanley getting his first laps from 10 am-11 am.

Unfortunately, the crew fought electrical issues, and Hanley was unable to pass his Refresher Orientation Process (ROP), meaning the team was not permitted to re-enter the course during the six and a half-hour session.

In conclusion, DragonSpeed will able to return to the circuit Friday in normal practice. IndyCar gave the team additional track time again Thursday evening from 5:30 pm-6 pm. Hanley passed his ROP Thursday evening.

Scott Dixon drives the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda on Thursday.

Dixon’s only Indianapolis 500 win was in 2008. (Credit: Chris Jones/IndyCar Media)

Results

Pos.: Driver (No.) Team – Best MPH Average
1: Scott Dixon (9) PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing – 226.102PH

2: Takuma Sato (30) Rahal Letterman Lanigan – 225.693MPH

3: Marco Andretti (98) Andretti Herta Autosport – 225.249MPH

4: Conor Daly (47) Ed Carpenter Racing – 225.106MPH

5: Alex Palou [R](55) Dale Coyne w/ Team Goh – 224.971MPH

6: Colton Herta (88) Andretti Harding Steinbrenner – 224.648MPH

7: Charlie Kimball (4) A.J. Foyt Enterprises – 224.613MPH

8: Fernando Alonso (66) Arrow McLaren SP – 224.363MPH

9: James Davison (51) Dale Coyne w/ Ware, Byrd & Belardi – 224.315MPH

10: Oliver Askew [R](7) Arrow McLaren SP – 224.159MPH

11: Ryan Hunter-Reay (28) Andretti Autosport – 224.154MPH

12: Rinus VeeKay [R](21) Ed Carpenter Racing – 224.068MPH

13: Jack Harvey (60) Meyer Shank Racing – 223.828MPH

14: Tony Kanaan (14) A.J. Foyt Enterprises – 223.676MPH

15: Zach Veach (26) Andretti Autosport – 223.657MPH

16: Helio Castroneves (3) Team Penske – 223.633MPH

17: James Hinchcliffe (29) Andretti Autosport – 223.630MPH

18: Josef Newgarden (1) Team Penske – 223.617MPH

19: Graham Rahal (15) Rahal Letterman Lanigan – 223.297MPH

20: Pato O’Ward [R](5) Arrow McLaren SP – 223.221MPH

21: Santino Ferrucci (18) Dale Coyne w/ Vasser-Sullivan – 223.070MPH

22: Spencer Pigot (45) RLL w/ Citrone-Buhl Autosport – 223.043MPH

23: Will Power (12) Team Penske – 222.978MPH

24: Felix Rosenqvist (10) NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing – 222.645MPH

25: Marcus Ericsson (8) Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing – 222.630MPH

26: Alexander Rossi (27) Andretti Autosport – 222.581MPH

27: Simon Pagenaud (22) Team Penske – 222.216MPH

28: Dalton Kellett (41) A.J. Foyt Enterprises – 221.959MPH

29: J.R. Hildebrand (67) Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – 221.583MPH

30: Ed Carpenter (20) Ed Carpenter Racing – 221.563MPH

31: Sage Karam (24) Dreyer & Reinbold Racing – 221.510MPH

32: Max Chilton (59) Carlin – 220.606MPH

33: Ben Hanley (81) DragonSpeed USA – No Official Speed

Below are the official results from Wednesday’s practice session at Indy:

Official INDYCAR Report (PDF)

Yesterday’s report of practice can be found here.

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Adam Coon

At 17 years old and attending high school, I have spent my weekends and free time covering motorsports on my Instagram page since July 2016. From Upstate New York, I am a devoted racing fan always looking to meet more people who share the same love I do.

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