Newgarden leads Day 2 at Indy, but really Rossi did

Rossi fastest without a tow
Rossi fastest without a tow

Josef Newgarden turned the fastest lap in his #2 Penske Chevy on Wednesday at 228.865mph, but that speed was set with a big tow and is not indicative of real speed. #9 Scott Dixon was 2nd quick and close behind at 228.835mph. It's nice to get all the glory, but you won't be qualifying this weekend with a tow.

However, the real fastest man on Wednesday was Alexander Rossi. He turned zero laps with a tow, so in the first table he was a lowly 34th quick, but in the 2nd table below, the no-tow speed table, he was fastest on the day at 224.648mph in his #98 Andretti Honda.

How confident is Rossi? He ran very few laps all day, turned the fastest lap and then parked it and told the team don't touch anything.

Fernando Alonso, Felix Rosenqvist and their respective crews have work to do after separate incidents Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"I think we need to be a bit better in traffic," said Newgarden, the 2017 series champion. "Still trying to figure out exactly what we need on the race car, that was kind of our focus today. We didn't really do much qualifying sims or anything like that.

"I think the Shell car feels OK. It's not a bad start. I'm trying to stay careful with it. I always try and respect this place at the beginning. I never try and push until it's time."

Scott Dixon, last year's series champion who trails Newgarden by six points heading into the Indy 500 on May 26, was second on the speed chart at 228.835 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Rossi logged the best lap without the tow of a leading car, at 224.648 mph in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda for Andretti Autosport. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner said the speed was "irrelevant" this early in the week, but he was pleased his team worked through its practice checklist efficiently enough that he was able to sit out the closing hours of the afternoon.

Newgarden fastest with a tow
Newgarden fastest with a tow

"It was a good day," Rossi said. "Any day out here is a good day, for sure. Just running through a checklist of things to try and understand everything that we learned over the offseason and applying it to kind of all five (Andretti Autosport) cars in different ways and compiling as much information as we can.

"That's the advantage about being on a big team for this event. When you have this much practice, you can really kind of divide and conquer, and I think we're doing that well so far."

At the other end of the spectrum, Alonso and Rosenqvist were uninjured but had their days end abruptly in single-car crashes. Alonso's No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet made contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier some 95 minutes into the seven-hour practice. His car slid into the inside barrier on the short chute and then up the track to the outside barrier in Turn 4 before coming to rest.

Alonso exited the car without assistance but disappointed. The McLaren crew spent the afternoon preparing Alonso's backup car for practice on Thursday.

"It was understeer on the car, and even if I lifted the throttle on the entry of the corner, it was not enough, and I lost completely the front aero," said Alonso, the two-time Formula 1 champion and 2017 Indy 500 rookie of the year. "The wall came too close and too quickly. Unfortunately, it happened today.

"I'm sorry for the team, but we will learn and hopefully we will come back stronger tomorrow. I'm disappointed and sad for the team and for the guys. We worked quite a lot on the car and definitely now it's quite damaged, so I feel sorry for the team and for my mistake."

With just less than an hour remaining in practice, Rosenqvist made hard contact with the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 2 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Rosenqvist was also uninjured and team officials said he will move to a backup car as well.

"I was behind Colton (Herta) and just trying to run the car in traffic, and I just felt a very sudden change of having a bit of push, and it went very loose, very fast," Rosenqvist said. "I couldn't react to it.

"A shame, but that's how it is."

Day 2 Results (Tow Speeds)

Pos No Name FTime Diff Gap Laps Tow-Speed Engine Team
1 2 Josef Newgarden 39.326 –.—- –.—- 82 228.856 Chevy Team Penske
2 9 Scott Dixon 39.330 0.0036 0.0036 109 228.835 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
3 21 Spencer Pigot 39.360 0.0341 0.0305 108 228.658 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
4 19 Santino Ferrucci 39.377 0.0508 0.0167 90 228.561 Honda Dale Coyne Racing
5 3 Helio Castroneves 39.398 0.0715 0.0207 68 228.441 Chevy Team Penske
6 18 Sebastien Bourdais 39.427 0.1008 0.0293 104 228.271 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Vasser-Sullivan
7 26 Zach Veach 39.464 0.1378 0.0370 107 228.057 Honda Andretti Autosport
8 23 Charlie Kimball 39.565 0.2393 0.1015 94 227.472 Chevy Carlin
9 63 Ed Jones 39.594 0.2685 0.0292 91 227.304 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
10 20 Ed Carpenter 39.614 0.2880 0.0195 90 227.192 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
11 32 Kyle Kaiser 39.634 0.3078 0.0198 79 227.079 Chevy Juncos Racing
12 4 Matheus Leist 39.641 0.3150 0.0072 85 227.038 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
13 98 Marco Andretti 39.641 0.3152 0.0002 80 227.037 Honda Andretti Herta Autosport w/Curb-Agaj
14 15 Graham Rahal 39.646 0.3201 0.0049 100 227.008 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
15 22 Simon Pagenaud 39.677 0.3512 0.0311 85 226.831 Chevy Team Penske
16 10 Felix Rosenqvist 39.685 0.3588 0.0076 95 226.787 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
17 30 Takuma Sato 39.689 0.3627 0.0039 120 226.765 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
18 25 Conor Daly 39.703 0.3770 0.0143 112 226.683 Honda Andretti Autosport
19 77 Oriol Servia 39.703 0.3771 0.0001 88 226.683 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
20 48 JR Hildebrand 39.709 0.3835 0.0064 86 226.646 Chevy Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
21 12 Will Power 39.716 0.3899 0.0064 97 226.609 Chevy Team Penske
22 31 Patricio O'Ward 39.745 0.4195 0.0296 70 226.441 Chevy Carlin
23 60 Jack Harvey 39.754 0.4275 0.0080 58 226.395 Honda Meyer Shank Racing w/Arrow SPM
24 14 Tony Kanaan 39.759 0.4330 0.0055 63 226.364 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
25 33 James Davison 39.812 0.4859 0.0529 106 226.063 Honda Dale Coyne with Byrd and Belardi
26 24 Sage Karam 39.849 0.5232 0.0373 37 225.851 Chevy Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
27 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 39.877 0.5507 0.0275 99 225.696 Honda Andretti Autosport
28 7 Marcus Ericsson 39.879 0.5526 0.0019 111 225.685 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
29 66 Fernando Alonso 39.923 0.5971 0.0445 46 225.433 Chevy McLaren Racing
30 59 Max Chilton 39.924 0.5977 0.0006 114 225.430 Chevy Carlin
31 42 Jordan King 39.948 0.6224 0.0247 132 225.291 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
32 5 James Hinchcliffe 39.954 0.6280 0.0056 112 225.259 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
33 88 Colton Herta 40.053 0.7267 0.0987 111 224.704 Honda Harding Steinbrenner Racing
34 27 Alexander Rossi 40.063 0.7367 0.0100 46 224.648 Honda Andretti Autosport
35 39 Pippa Mann 40.098 0.7723 0.0356 54 224.448 Chevy Clauson-Marshall Racing
36 81 Ben Hanley 40.114 0.7879 0.0156 90 224.361 Chevy DragonSpeed

Day 2 Results (Non-Tow Speeds)

Pos No Name Laps No-Tow
Speed
Engine Team
1 98 Alexander Rossi 46 224.648 Honda Andretti Autosport
2 27 Tony Kanaan 63 224.630 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
3 14 Ed Jones 91 224.228 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
4 63 Charlie Kimball 94 224.106 Chevy Carlin
5 23 Kyle Kaiser 79 223.744 Chevy Juncos Racing
6 32 Jack Harvey 58 223.523 Honda Meyer Shank Racing w/Arrow SPM
7 60 Marcus Ericsson 111 223.195 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
8 7 Colton Herta 111 223.184 Honda Harding Steinbrenner Racing
9 88 Scott Dixon 109 223.174 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
10 9 Conor Daly 112 223.112 Honda Andretti Autosport
11 25 Matheus Leist 85 223.060 Chevy AJ Foyt Enterprises
12 4 Pippa Mann 54 223.024 Chevy Clauson-Marshall Racing
13 39 Patricio O'Ward 70 222.938 Chevy Carlin
14 31 Ryan Hunter-Reay 99 222.879 Honda Andretti Autosport
15 28 Ed Carpenter 90 222.861 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
16 20 JR Hildebrand 86 222.736 Chevy Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
17 48 Fernando Alonso 46 222.617 Chevy McLaren Racing
18 66 Max Chilton 114 222.617 Chevy Carlin
19 59 Sebastien Bourdais 104 222.332 Honda Dale Coyne Racing w/Vasser-Sullivan
20 18 Graham Rahal 100 222.295 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
21 15 Simon Pagenaud 85 222.295 Chevy Team Penske
22 22 Takuma Sato 120 222.242 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
23 30 Will Power 97 221.745 Chevy Team Penske
24 12 Jordan King 132 221.606 Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
25 42 Josef Newgarden 82 221.403 Chevy Team Penske
26 2 Oriol Servia 88 221.298 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
27 77 James Hinchcliffe 112 221.293 Honda Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
28 5 Sage Karam 37 221.271 Chevy Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
29 24 Zach Veach 107 221.249 Honda Andretti Autosport
30 26 Spencer Pigot 108 221.071 Chevy Ed Carpenter Racing
31 21 Helio Castroneves 68 221.064 Chevy Team Penske
32 3 Ben Hanley 90 220.532 Chevy DragonSpeed
33 81 Santino Ferrucci 90 219.927 Honda Dale Coyne Racing
34 19 James Davison 106 219.432 Honda Dale Coyne with Byrd and Belardi
35 33 Felix Rosenqvist 95 216.803 Honda Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
36 10 Marco Andretti 80 None Honda Andretti Herta Autosport w/Curb-Agaj

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