Castroneves bumps top Indy speed to 227 mph

Helio Castroneves

Driving the yellow submarine Pennzoil car, Helio Castroneves cracked the 227 mph barrier on Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as practice continued for the Indy 500.

Ed Carpenter was second quick at over 226 mph and he was followed by Will Power in third just below 226 mph.

Townsend Bell was 4th to make it a Chevy 1-2-3-4 on this day.

Thirty-three drivers, including the debut this month of first-year participant James Davison and 1996 winner Buddy Lazier, logged 2,516 laps. James Hinchcliffe, who was diagnosed with a concussion resulting from an incident during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10, was cleared by INDYCAR to resume driving. The No. 27 United Fiber & Data car underwent a mid-afternoon engine change, which limited Hinchcliffe to one installation lap late in the session.

Four different teams were represented in the top five as drivers and teams began ramping up for "Fast Friday," when lap speeds are expected to as engine boost levels are increased for all competitors.

Ed Carpenter, the 2013 Indy 500 pole sitter, was second (226.257 mph) in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka car, while Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Will Power was third (225.899 mph) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. Davison's KV Racing Technology teammate, Townsend Bell, was fourth (225.484) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (225.340) was fifth in the No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.

Castroneves' bright yellow No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske car is one of many that has or will receive fresh Chevrolet or Honda engines for May 17-18 qualifications, which will be televised by ABC. The race is May 25. Full-season Verizon IndyCar Series entries are allotted four 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engines to cover the 18-race season, with a threshold of 2,500 miles between changes.

Davison, who competed in two Verizon IndyCar Series races last year, completed two of the three phases of the formal Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program in the No. 33 KV Racing Technology entry. Lazier, driving the No. 91 Lazier Partners Racing car, registered 11 laps (best of 218.277 mph.)

DAY 5 NOTEBOOK:

Takuma Sato is offering an opportunity for race fans and serious collectors to own his Indianapolis 500 helmet. Sato, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda, will put his race-worn helmet especially designed for the 500, up for auction to raise money for the "With you Japan" charity, which Sato founded to help the victims of the 2011 tsunami that wreaked havoc on the island country.

The helmet's red, white and blue scheme echoes Sato's distinctive helmet but also integrates elements from Japan's only IndyCar race winner and the Speedway's first four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, who owns the No. 14 IndyCar Sato will drive May 25. In addition to Sato's name and the Japanese flag, the helmet will feature Sato's car number (14) plus bricks to represent the historic Speedway nicknamed 'The Brickyard.' The four white stars atop the helmet were included as a tribute to Foyt's four Indy victories as a driver.

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "I think this helmet design is really cool, so I am looking forward to challenging in the Indy 500 with it. To develop the design concept, I had several discussions with the designer, who has also designed our TS official goods (including my driver's cap). He came up with this wonderful design, which represents my wishes and challenging spirit. I will do my best to win a new star for my fans, A.J. and the team. This helmet will be auctioned off for charity and I hope many people will join in the auction."

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Helio Castroneves says that viewers of the May 27 episode of "Celebrity Wife Swap" on ABC "will see who wears the pants in my family."

As the show's title implies, the mothers in two celebrity families move into the other's home for a week and adopt that family's lifestyle. They agree to follow a manual written by the departing mother that sets out the rules of their new household – how they parent, manage their social life, do house work, unwind, etc.

Adriana Henao, the mother of Castroneves' 4-year-old daughter, Mikaella, moved into the home of Larry Birkhead in December, while the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion opened his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home for Birkhead.

"It came about in June last year and I when told Adrianna I didn't think she would do it because normally she doesn't like the red carpet and things like that," Castroneves said. "But she decided to do it, and I think it was a great experience for Adriana to try a different family, and myself, too. The whole Zodiac Production (company) did a great job and I'm looking forward to it. I have no idea how the piece is going to come out; I haven't seen it. It turned out to be some interesting scenes in our (house)."

The show airs at 10 p.m. (ET). ABC, which will televise the Indianapolis 500 for the 50th consecutive year on May 25, also will televise qualifications on May 17 (4-6:30 p.m. ET) and May 18 (1-3 p.m.).

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Former Indy car driver and team owner Robbie Buhl will join chief announcer Paul Page and Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson as an analyst for the IMS Radio Network broadcasts of Indy 500 qualifying and the race.

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Olympians Dallas Robinson and Abe Morlu are members of the Lazier Partners Racing entry for the No. 91 car driven by 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier. They came on board through their association with race engineer David Cripps, who worked with the U.S. Bobsled & Luge team for the Sochi Games.

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Quotes from James Hinchcliffe, who was medically cleared to resumed racing activities today.

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "Obviously very excited. It's been a long couple of days sitting at home and not even really watching. I was banned from electronics and I was getting little updates and snippets here and there, and that made it tougher because you don't know exactly what's going on. But I knew everyone was running and I was sitting at home. Getting better was the No. 1 goal and the effort we put into that is paying off because we even surprised the doctors with how quickly we've been able to come back. All of the testing has been good and everything we've done is pointing in the right direction, so I'm feeling good." (About his recovery): "I woke up Sunday with a little bit of a headache, but other than that, not bad at all. I did a really intense day of resting, which is kind of an oxymoron, but a lot of sitting around. My girlfriend (Kirsten Dee) and my sister (Rebecca) and my family were there and they took really good care of me and made sure I didn't have to lift a finger. By Monday, I was feeling myself. I felt 100 percent. We knew we needed to take time and make sure. I got permission on Tuesday to get back in the gym and Wednesday just went lightly to make sure my head was fine with the heart rate coming up and yesterday, no sorry, this morning – I swear my memory is fine – I got back in the gym and working a little harder and got that heart rate threshold up to where it would be in the car and everything was great. I did some reaction training and I was on the upper end of average of the previous runs and then came here for the ImPACT Test. That was the toughest thing knowing it was kind of make or break and seeing everyone driving. It was the first time I'd been here for any on-track activity and it was tough to watch but it's all come good. Looking forward to getting out there."

***

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE:

At noon, the ambient temperature was 50 degrees with a relative humidity of 77 percent and winds from the north-northwest at 4 mph. Skies were cloudy. The track temperature was 67 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

12:45 p.m. – GREEN. Session has begun after a delay of 45 minutes. #2 Montoya is first on track.

1:12 p.m. – YELLOW. Tow-in for #63 Mann, who slowed on course on the backstretch. Car is able to continue to pit lane without power.

1:15 p.m. – GREEN.

1:56 p.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.

2:05 p.m. – GREEN.

2:08 p.m. – YELLOW. Smoke trailing from #27 Viso. Driver pulls off course in Turn 1 and climbs out of the car.

2:16 p.m. – GREEN.

2:33 p.m. – YELLOW.

2:42 p.m. – GREEN. Bourdais shaking down #33 car of Davison in preparation for Davison's participation in ROP.

3:02 p.m. – YELLOW. Tow in for #63 Mann, who has pulled off course in the Turn 1 warmup lane.

3:08 p.m. – GREEN.

3:40 p.m. – YELLOW. Track is closed to allow #91 Lazier and #33 Davison to complete Rookie Orientation/Refresher Program

3:42 p.m. – GREEN. Track is open to #91 Lazier and #33 Davison.

3:53 p.m. – #33 Davison has completed Phase 1 of Rookie Orientation Program.

3:57 pm. – Course has reopened to all cars.

4:15 p.m. – YELLOW. Track is closed to allow #91 Lazier and #33 Davison to complete Rookie Orientation/Refresher Program.

4:16 pm. – GREEN. Track is open to #33 Davison to complete Phase 2 of Rookie Orientation Program.

4:27 p.m. – #33 Davison has completed Phase 2 of Rookie Orientation Program. Track is open to all cars.

4:38 p.m. – YELLOW. #7 Aleshin is stopped on course at pit in with smoke and fire under the engine cover.

4:53 p.m. – GREEN.

5:09 p.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.

5:19 p.m. – GREEN.

5:31 p.m. – #20 Carpenter turns lap at 226.257 mph, fastest lap of the month so far.

5:55 p.m. – #3 Castroneves turns lap at 227.166 mph, fastest lap of the month, so far.

5:58 p.m. – #98 Hawksworth back on track for first time since accident nearly 24 hours ago. #27 Hinchcliffe also records first lap of the month.

6 p.m. – CHECKERED…

POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We worked on logging laps today and knew that we were getting close to maxing out the engine mileage of the Target car. We ran for a few hours this morning and did long runs, then the team did an engine change before finishing out the afternoon on track."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was overcast all day today with the temperature just hovering over 50 degrees. It was cold but we got some good track time in after the engine change [last night]. We mostly worked on aerodynamics today as well as began trimming the Target cars out for qualifying this weekend."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): ““We ran out the miles on our first engine this morning and had an engine change this afternoon. The guys on the No. 2 Verizon Chevy did a really quick job on that to make sure we got as many laps as we could afterwards. Now we are starting to understand a little bit of what we need for qualifying; just trying to get the basics of how the car feels in that trim. We’ll start taking more downforce off to get ready for the weekend."

MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 41 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “We definitely worked on the balance of the car in traffic. I was a lot happier with it today and we're tickling on the edge of it being a little loose right now. That's not a bad thing. We need to get the car solid at the rear again and I think we've got a good race car." (You have one more day of practice. What do you need to get accomplished tomorrow?): “Tomorrow we'll hopefully start working on trimming out the car and seeing what kind of speed we have. We haven't really been thinking about speed all week, just getting extra downforce on the car and working on balance and also allowing me to have extra laps just for experience. There's no point in risking the car to do a quick time early in the week. So I think tomorrow we may start pushing the envelope a bit more and getting closer to where we need to be for qualifying."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was great to finally get in a full day of on-track time here at IMS. It was really important for us to be out there today running as many laps as we could so that we could hit the mileage mark to change our engine. I think it’ll really benefit us to have a fresh engine during qualifying and I was really happy with the way the No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet performed today on the long fuel runs. I’m looking forward to Fast Friday tomorrow and qualifying this weekend."

CHARLIE KIMBALL, No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet: “Today was really good. We got a lot of running in with the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet. We were able to do a lot of race work and do a couple of full-tank runs. We were even able to get in a few runs looking towards qualifying. Overall we’re pretty happy with the day and I think we’re in really good shape for the weekend. We’ll start working towards Fast Friday tomorrow then onto qualifying. Once we get through the weekend, we can really just focus on race-day setup."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): ““I think it was a very productive day. We ran 150 laps and we tried many other things to make the car more stable. I was happy this afternoon with the way the car behaved in traffic—it was better. We made good progress."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “We got a lot done today and made some improvements with the balance of the car, so that feels good. I think we are in reasonable shape for tomorrow. We’ll see how it plays out tomorrow when we get more power. I’m looking forward to it. So far, have been focused on race set up—seeing what the car is like on old tires and on long runs."

JAMES DAVISON (No. 33 KV Racing Technology/Always Evolving Racing Chevrolet): (About completing Rookie Orientation Program today) “I can go to bed resting easier knowing we got through our first day at IMS smoothly and completed ROP. We now know what to expect, any anxiety has dried up and I am excited to continue working on our program. I am pleased with my first laps in an Indy car at IMS. We got up to speed conservatively. In the end, we trimmed the car one stage and I was happy with the balance. In terms of speed, we know where we’re at since we didn’t run in traffic or with a tow. The No. 33 KV Racing Technology/Always Evolving Racing team had a good day and we will build on it tomorrow."

BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Wynn Institute for Vision Research Chevrolet): “For me, (shaking off the rust) was much easier than last year when I had never been in the car. It feels really good. We have some continuity from last year. We have some of the same guys back. I’m enjoying starting the process. I would have liked to start earlier, but I’m enjoying starting the process with our engineers and with the car. Bottom line is that I’m thrilled to be here. Happy to be part of this group of drivers. It’s a great group of drivers and I’m looking forward to advancing our car as quickly as possible."

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Things have been going good. We are improving every day. The first day we couldn't run a lot so it put us a bit behind our plan. Today was the best day so far and the car is improving all the time. I have been getting more comfortable in traffic. The first day was really difficult. Today was the best day in every aspect, by far, the best. Running on your own you get up to speed very quickly but running with other cars is challenging. Sometimes you have to anticipate or you have to be more patient than you think you have to be."

PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Overall it was another extremely positive day in the Susan G. Komen / Dale Coyne Racing car. I've spent the most time I've ever spent outside of a race here running in dirty air today, and it was so great to have the opportunity to go and do that. The direction we found yesterday definitely gave me a car I could go and play with today, and I started to get a lot more comfortable working in the draft, and working out the timing I think I'm going to need to make a pass. I got to do another full-tank run, this time the entire way through without a yellow. I was extremely pleased with how the car handled over the entire stint. The cooler track conditions today mean it would be easy to be overconfident given that cool air and track temp helps everyone, including us, but I'm definitely pleased with where we ended up. Hopefully everything we learned will still translate once we get back into higher ambient temps. We also turned another 78 laps today. I'm thrilled with our month total so far for the pledge site, and that we're getting all of these laps banked before we even get to race day. It’s great for me as a driver to be getting so much track time, and it's great in terms of our pledgers knowing that we really are making those laps, and therefore will be making a difference in the fight against breast cancer."

Results

Rank Car Driver C/E/T Time Speed Diff Gap BLap Laps
1 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F 00:39.6186 227.166 –.—- –.—- 49 50
2 20 Carpenter, Ed D/C/F 00:39.7777 226.257 0.1591 0.1591 51 52
3 12 Power, Will D/C/F 00:39.8408 225.899 0.2222 0.0631 25 35
4 6 Bell, Townsend D/C/F 00:39.9142 225.484 0.2956 0.0734 21 42
5 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F 00:39.9396 225.340 0.3210 0.0254 19 99
6 10 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F 00:40.0292 224.836 0.4106 0.0896 89 90
7 21 Hildebrand, JR D/C/F 00:40.0311 224.825 0.4125 0.0019 84 88
8 2 Montoya, Juan Pablo D/C/F 00:40.0388 224.782 0.4202 0.0077 39 44
9 26 Busch, Kurt (R) D/H/F 00:40.0464 224.739 0.4278 0.0076 30 111
10 77 Pagenaud, Simon D/H/F 00:40.0614 224.655 0.4428 0.0150 43 106
11 11 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/F 00:40.0614 224.655 0.4428 0.0000 20 71
12 25 Andretti, Marco D/H/F 00:40.0636 224.643 0.4450 0.0022 4 49
13 67 Newgarden, Josef D/H/F 00:40.0930 224.478 0.4744 0.0294 120 120
14 8 Briscoe, Ryan D/C/F 00:40.1121 224.371 0.4935 0.0191 92 136
15 18 Huertas, Carlos (R) D/H/F 00:40.1353 224.242 0.5167 0.0232 78 95
16 68 Tagliani, Alex D/H/F 00:40.1665 224.067 0.5479 0.0312 43 94
17 17 Saavedra, Sebastian D/C/F 00:40.1867 223.955 0.5681 0.0202 57 80
18 22 Karam, Sage (R) D/C/F 00:40.1960 223.903 0.5774 0.0093 17 60
19 14 Sato, Takuma D/H/F 00:40.2157 223.793 0.5971 0.0197 105 150
20 9 Dixon, Scott D/C/F 00:40.2172 223.785 0.5986 0.0015 44 52
21 5 Villeneuve, Jacques D/H/F 00:40.2620 223.536 0.6434 0.0448 68 92
22 41 Plowman, Martin (R) D/H/F 00:40.2694 223.495 0.6508 0.0074 68 86
23 19 Wilson, Justin D/H/F 00:40.2700 223.491 0.6514 0.0006 86 97
24 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/F 00:40.2725 223.478 0.6539 0.0025 37 84
25 63 Mann, Pippa D/H/F 00:40.2791 223.441 0.6605 0.0066 78 78
26 7 Aleshin, Mikhail (R) D/H/F 00:40.2912 223.374 0.6726 0.0121 23 53
27 83 Kimball, Charlie D/C/F 00:40.2965 223.344 0.6779 0.0053 76 82
28 27 Viso, EJ D/H/F 00:40.3982 222.782 0.7796 0.1017 34 40
29 34 Munoz, Carlos D/H/F 00:40.4455 222.522 0.8269 0.0473 86 98
30 16 Servia, Oriol D/H/F 00:40.5167 222.131 0.8981 0.0712 50 90
31 33 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/F 00:41.1545 218.688 1.5359 0.6378 6 10
32 91 Lazier, Buddy D/C/F 00:41.2321 218.277 1.6135 0.0776 17 18
33 33 Davison, James (R) D/C/F 00:41.4648 217.052 1.8462 0.2327 61 63
34 98 Hawksworth, Jack (R) D/H/F 03:25.6219 43.770 2:46.0033 2:44.1571 1 1

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