Wheldon fastest, Herb crashes
IndyCar Series point leader Dan Wheldon topped the speed charts in the first day of practice for all cars for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500.
Shortly after Happy Hour began at 5 p.m., Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 champion, posted the day's quickest lap of 39.9868 seconds, 225.074 mph in his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indy 500 winner, posted the second-quickest lap - 40.0007, 224.106.
Vision Racing's Tomas Scheckter (224.783 mph), Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan (224.622 mph) and Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon (224.564 mph) rounded out the top five.
Jon Herb (right) had the lone incident of the day, making hard contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. He was uninjured in the accident.
1. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 225.074
2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 224.996
3. (2) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 224.783
4. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 224.622
5. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 224.564
6. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 224.457
7. (12) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 223.676
8. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Honda, 223.670
9. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 223.591
10. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 223.239
11. (4) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 223.022
12. (39) Michael Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 222.646
13. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 222.525
14. (22) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 221.922
15. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 221.701
16. (8) Scott Sharp, Dallara-Honda, 221.131
17. (5) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 220.143
18. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 219.830
19. (02) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 219.180
20. (17T) Jeff Simmons, Dallara-Honda, 219.074
21. (99) Buddy Lazier, Dallara-Honda, 218.808
22. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Dallara-Honda, 218.398
23. (19T) Jon Herb, Dallara-Honda, 218.384
24. (25) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 216.951
25. (50) Al Unser Jr., Dallara-Honda, 206.930
A total of 38 cars are at the Speedway. Thirty-eight have passed technical inspection. Twenty-seven drivers have been on the track to date, turning 1,218 laps today and 1,709 laps this month. Buddy Rice turned 88 laps today, most of any driver. Milka Duno has turned 189 laps this month, most of any driver. A total of 94 IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series drivers have passed physical examinations at the Clarian Medical Center. There were seven cautions today for a total of 1 hour, 13 minutes.
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, second fastest of the day): "Unfortunately, we had some issues with the car early in the day, which caused us to spend a lot of time in the garage. However, we were able to correct the problems and get back out for some quality track time. All in all, it ended up being a pretty good day because we ended up with a well-balanced car and finished the day among the leaders on the speed charts. Hopefully we'll keep heading in the right direction tomorrow."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fourth and 10th fastest of the day): "We were trying some different things today, and the best way to judge is to have one driver driving all the cars. I was chosen to drive the cars because I'm the closest in size to Marco (Andretti) and Danica (Patrick). We had a couple of things we wanted to try, and I think we accomplished them. It's still early, but it was a pretty good day for Team 7-Eleven. For sure, we had a better start than we did last year."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fifth fastest): "It was all right. I think this morning was quite strong. We didn't do many laps. We only used one set of tires, and then we put on another at the end. We made a lot of big changes just trying to take the day to see what we need to do. I don't know if we gained much out of it, but hopefully when we look at the data we can see what we need." (About the forecast of similar weather possible for Pole Day): "This should be good. Hopefully we do get a bit more running through the week. The track's obviously going to change a bit with more rubber going down, and maybe it will cool off. I don't know. I haven't seen the forecast, but this week's always showers and thunderstorms now and then, so it's hard to know what to do. But, we, I think, got the big things that we needed to get through today."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, eighth fastest of the day): "We worked on making the Team Penske car quicker as the day went on. I was hoping we'd be a little faster, but I think we're in decent shape for the first day of practice. We're going to come out tomorrow to see if we can fine-tune the car, and hopefully we can make it a little quicker."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 NYSE Group Dallara/Honda/Firestone, 11th fastest of the day): "Speed-wise, I think the team is showing a lot of promise. We struggled a bit with the back end of the NYSE car today. If we can fix the rear end, I think we'll be quick. It was a very good start to the month."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Canadian Club Dallara/Honda/Firestone, ninth fastest of the day): "It was an OK day, we'll put it that way. It wasn't great. We went out on a different setup than some of our teammates just to find out which was going to work, and ours didn't, so we are going to decide where to go from there. But at least, a couple of cars look reasonably good."
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fastest of the day): "It was a good day to start the opening day of May. Obviously I get a little superstitious, and I've just signed a deal with Ritmo watches, and I was using that today, so I was a little nervous. It's definitely great being back at Indianapolis and to be going around this track. I'm just excited for the rest of the month. (About his confidence heading into the month): "Yeah it is (high), but with what we've seen this year, I'm more concerned with the race. I guess I'm getting old because that doesn't seem like the high priority, but my confidence is really high right now. You know working with (engineer) Andy Brown is a pleasure. The rest of the engineering stuff and everybody at the team, we're right at a nice wave right now, but we understand that it could as soon come to a crashing halt. We're going to try everything in our power to stay as good as we are."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, third fastest of the day): "After the last couple of races, since the beginning of the season, we've had consistent finishes, so my confidence is really high going into this month, and it showed on the track today. Hopefully it shows the rest of this month."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 12 Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, seventh fastest of the day): "The car's been good the whole time. We're just making small changes here and there. It's feeling good. We haven't tried to see how fast we can go. We're just working on tire wear. We're trimming out the car a little bit but nothing where we will be. The track is still really green right now. We're just focusing on making small changes."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, sixth fastest of the day): "Overall, I thought we went backward and forward a little bit all day with the Motorola car. It's too early for us to have a lot of answers right now. We're not super-slow, obviously, but we're not very fast by ourselves yet, either. I don't know why. If I knew, we'd put it on the car. It just feels good to be back at Indy. I look forward to it and always know that we're going to have a lot of ups and downs during the month."
JON HERB (#19T Racing Professionals Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (About his accident):"I went off in the corner, and it turned good. It felt real good down at the bottom, and I guess that's when I needed to pay attention because the next thing I know, I was sideways. It's unfortunate, but luckily we have another car, so we'll be all right. It caught us out there a little bit, and it wasn't what we needed."