Team Penske sweeps first day of 500 practice

Team Penske swept the top three spots on the speed chart as practice for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race opened at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Twenty-four car/driver combinations ran a total of 731 laps without incident during the six-hour session.

Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Will Power was fastest with a lap of 223.057 mph (40.3485 seconds) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. He totaled 82 laps.

Juan Pablo Montoya, returning to compete in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since winning in 2000, was second (222.502 mph) in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske car, and three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves was third (222.373 mph) in the No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske car.

JR Hildebrand, runner-up in the 2011 race as a rookie, was fourth fastest (222.200) in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer/Ed Carpenter Racing car. Ryan Hunter-Reay, runner-up in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, was fifth fastest (222.134) in the No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.

Kurt Busch, who will attempt to compete in the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Concord, N.C., the same day, got in his first laps with other cars on the Speedway.

Practice continues May 12 (noon-6 p.m. ET). Qualifications on May 17-18.

Results

Rank Car Driver C/E/T Time Speed Diff Gap Laps
1 12 Power, Will D/C/F 00:40.3485 223.057 –.—- –.—- 82
2 2 Montoya, Juan Pablo D/C/F 00:40.4490 222.502 0.1005 0.1005 32
3 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F 00:40.4726 222.373 0.1241 0.0236 83
4 21 Hildebrand, JR D/C/F 00:40.5040 222.200 0.1555 0.0314 24
5 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F 00:40.5160 222.134 0.1675 0.0120 47
6 27 Viso, EJ D/H/F 00:40.5214 222.105 0.1729 0.0054 28
7 83T Kimball, Charlie D/C/F 00:40.5689 221.845 0.2204 0.0475 12
8 20 Carpenter, Ed D/C/F 00:40.5822 221.772 0.2337 0.0133 47
9 6 Bell, Townsend D/C/F 00:40.7534 220.840 0.4049 0.1712 19
10 10T Kanaan, Tony D/C/F 00:40.7691 220.755 0.4206 0.0157 12
11 34 Munoz, Carlos(R) D/H/F 00:40.8013 220.581 0.4528 0.0322 36
12 26 Busch, Kurt(R) D/H/F 00:40.8437 220.352 0.4952 0.0424 31
13 9T Dixon, Scott D/C/F 00:40.8671 220.226 0.5186 0.0234 11
14 5 Villeneuve, Jacques D/H/F 00:40.8960 220.070 0.5475 0.0289 70
15 21 Carpenter, Ed D/C/F 00:40.9278 219.899 0.5793 0.0318 5
16 8T Briscoe, Ryan D/C/F 00:40.9566 219.745 0.6081 0.0288 15
17 68 Tagliani, Alex D/H/F 00:40.9917 219.557 0.6432 0.0351 25
18 16 Servia, Oriol D/H/F 00:41.0678 219.150 0.7193 0.0761 5
19 25 Andretti, Marco D/H/F 00:41.2000 218.447 0.8515 0.1322 6
20 14 Sato, Takuma D/H/F 00:41.3147 217.840 0.9662 0.1147 13
21 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/F 00:41.3881 217.454 1.0396 0.0734 16
22 22 Karam, Sage(R) D/C/F 00:41.4154 217.310 1.0669 0.0273 77
23 67 Newgarden, Josef D/H/F 00:41.6172 216.257 1.2687 0.2018 5
24 41 Plowman, Martin(R) D/H/F 00:41.6348 216.165 1.2863 0.0176 30

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe did not undergo a medical evaluation today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and no time for that evaluation has been set.

***

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti visited the track today, turning laps in the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: "My seat in the Target car (he drove to his three 500 victories) was very comfortable. I spent several years perfecting it, but this pace car is a nice car and has a nice seat in it. I'm looking forward to taking it for a few laps here this morning. And I'm looking forward to leading the cars to the green flag on Memorial Day Sunday. I'll get to do that up to the green flag, then (three-time Indianapolis 500 winner) Johnny Rutherford is going to take over and do his in usual time and I'm making the most of it. We're going to work very hard with all the Ganassi cars and try to get one of those guys into Victory Lane. And it's a neat way for me to get back to the Speedway."

***

Nine-time Indianapolis 500 racer Sarah Fisher was the honorary starter today, waving the green flag to start the first practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500. Fisher is co-owner of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing which will field cars for Josef Newgarden and Alex Tagliani this month.

SARAH FISHER: "This is really special, not only because I am a mom and expecting and I have my daughter (Zoey) with me, but my mom (Reba Fisher) is here as well. She got to wave the green flag in 2004. So it makes sense for all of us to be out here on Mother's Day and opening day. I'm in trouble; she (Zoey) likes cars. It is really neat." (About expecting her second child on June 19): "I have a lot of patience, and more importantly, I have a wonderful husband. Andy (O'Gara), does a great job off-track and behind the scenes. I have a great family that supports me." (What's the best thing about being a mom?) "You appreciate the small things is what matters the most, and taking your time to enjoy those times. My mom and dad (Reba and Dave Fisher) were very special in my career. I'm real lucky that I have really great parents. Some kids don't have that experience; I'm really lucky that I have such great parents. They were very influential and very supportive the whole time." (About the gifts she received from IMS): "It's so neat that they came out and did that. It's so neat that IMS recognizes mothers on Mother's Day. It's such a long month and there are such a lot of crew guys that are working out here the whole month. They have wives and moms at home. It's so nice that the track recognizes that Mother's Day is important."

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INDYCAR president of competition Derrick Walker talked about the transition the series is making today going from a road course race to an oval event in less than 12 hours.

DERRICK WALKER: "Everybody has been preparing for the quick change-over (. It's all part of the plan. The design of the track (road course) and the way the track was built; they were consciously thinking that overnight it would have to be turned back into an oval. When you look at all the road course lines, most of the lines have been taken off. It's back to oval today just like it always has been. A lot of organization went into the changeover. All the credit goes to the Speedway." (What did the teams have to do to change cars from road course to oval?): "The bigger teams that have more cars have dedicated oval cars. They put a lot more effort into that. Some teams have to use the same car; they have to put the oval suspension and the oval wings on. They like to clean up and make the body work fit nicely and appear clean and slick."

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Integrity Energee Drink will be the primary sponsor of the No. 98 BHA/BBM w/ Curb Agajanian entry driven by Jack Hawksworth for the remainder of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series.

A. AL-AJLUNI (CEO, Integrity Assets Group, Inc.): "Integrity Assets Group was founded with a vision to supply and distribute products and services that make a real difference in the communities we serve. Integrity Energee Drink is our newest offering and we couldn't be more excited to launch this healthy lifestyle energy drink alternative through the fast-paced world of Indy car racing. The question we are asked most is, 'Where do I find Energee?' We will be using our INDYCAR partnership to share the answer to that and a variety of questions with the many racing fans and our Integrity family in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!"

BRYAN HERTA (Co-owner, Bryan Herta Autosport): "Integrity Energee Drink has tapped into the high demand energy drinks marketplace with an exciting product designed to taste great and promote well-being in the human body. INDYCAR provides Integrity the perfect platform to promote and launch their Energee Drink and we are proud they have joined our current partners Castrol Edge, LegalShield, Curb Records and the Collection Auto Group as primary sponsor for the balance of the season. I look forward to celebrating in Victory Lane with Energee."

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Dennis Reinbold, owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, talked about the affiliation his team has with Chip Ganassi Racing to return to the Indianapolis 500 with rookie Sage Karam.

DENNIS REINBOLD: "We had targeted coming back and running the Speedway all along and had worked on it throughout the year. This program came along rather late with Sage (Karam) in alliance with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. It's come together well and we're really excited about it. I'm enjoying the day and being back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I'm elated to be here again. I will be the strategist on race day and call the pit stops. We do have one of the Ganassi guys (engineers) to help us. Dario (Franchitti) came over and gave Sage some advice on some advice on different driving lines early in the practice session today. He (Franchitti) will be working with us a little bit throughout the month. To put together a program for a rookie and have such resources like we have in place, we feel very fortunate and want to give Sage the opportunity of having a great Indianapolis 500. He (Karam) came up through the ranks (Mazda Road to Indy), winning the championship in Indy Lights last year. The ladder system is a good reflection through Sage of what it can do and how it can prepare you for the big cars. This will be our 15th year in a row; we have helped to make sure there were 33 cars in the field all those years. It's a special place; it's fun to be back. This is the biggest race in the world and we really want to win it."

***

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE:

At 11:55 a.m., the ambient temperature was 74 degrees with a relative humidity of 63 percent and winds from the northeast at 7 mph. Skies were mostly cloudy. The track temperature was 104 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

Noon – GREEN. #3 Helio Castroneves is first car on track. This is the fifth consecutive year in which a Team Penske car was first on track.

FIRST ON TRACK, 1984-2013

Year
Driver
Started
Finished

2013
Helio Castroneves
8th
6th

2012
Ryan Briscoe
1st
5th

2011
Helio Castroneves
16th
17th

2010
Helio Castroneves
1st
9th

2009
Robert Doornbos
23rd
28th

2008
Will Power
23rd
13th

2007
Jaques Lazier
28th
27th

2006
Marco Andretti
9th
2nd

2005
Danica Patrick
4th
4th

2004
Sarah Fisher
19th
24th

2003
Felipe Giaffone
16th
33rd

2002
Billy Boat
23rd
18th

2001
Stephan Gregoire
29th
28th

2000
Stephan Gregoire
20th
7th

1999
Stephan Gregoire
Did Not Qualify

1998
Mike Groff
32nd
15th

1997
Dr. Jack Miller
17th
20th

1996
Michele Alboreto
12th
30th

1995
Eliseo Salazar
24th
4th

1994
Raul Boesel
2nd
21st

1993
Jimmy Vasser
19th
13th

1992
Scott Brayton
7th
22nd

1991
Scott Brayton
19th
17th

1990
Tero Palmroth
16th
12th

1989
Arie Luyendyk
15th
21st

1988
Raul Boesel
7th
20th

1987
Ludwig Heimrath Jr.
10th
30th

1986
Chip Ganassi
26th
25th

1985
Dick Simon
26th
14th

1984
Dick Simon
20th
23rd

12:34 p.m. — #22 Karam on track to complete Phase 3 of the Rookie Orientation Program. The Rookie Orientation Program is designed to provide first-year drivers an informal opportunity to get acquainted with the 2.5-mile oval. The three speed phases, which were set by INDYCAR based on the weather and track conditions, were: Phase 1: 10 laps at 200-205 mph; Phase 2: 15 laps at 205-209 mph; and Phase 3: 15 laps at 210 mph-plus.

1:06 p.m. – #22 Karam has successfully completed the final phase of Rookie Orientation. He is eligible to participate in Indianapolis 500 practice. He turned 20 laps from 12:34-1:06 p.m.

1:54 p.m. – YELLOW. Track Inspection.

2:05 p.m. – GREEN.

At 4 p.m., the ambient temperature was 84 degrees with a relative humidity of 48 percent and winds from the east-northeast at 4 mph. Skies were mostly cloudy. The track temperature was 115 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

4 p.m. – Fastest, so far, is #3 Castroneves at 221.010 mph.

4:12 p.m. – #26 Busch on track for the first time today.

4:22 p.m. – YELLOW. Reports of lightning in the area.

4:48 p.m. – GREEN.

5:11 p.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.

5:24 p.m. – GREEN.

6 p.m. – CHECKERED.

FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF PRACTICE:

Pos. Car Name Time Speed

1. 12 Will Power 40.3485 223.057

2. 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 40.4490 222.502

3. 3 Helio Castroneves 40.4726 222.373

4. 21 JR Hildebrand 40.5040 222.220

5. 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 40.5160 222.134

ENTRY LIST UPDATES:

•The driver for Andretti Autosport's #27 entry is E.J. Viso.

•The car name for BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian #98 entry is now Integrity Energee Drink.

•The car name for KV AFS Racing #17 entry is now KV AFS Racing.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): "Today was pretty basic. We did 11 laps in the T (backup) car and that was the goal today. Everything went as planned for Team Target and we'll move to the primary cars tomorrow. Short day at the track."

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): "It was a good day overall for the Target team. Scott and I both had time today to shake down the backup cars. I feel like we're in a good position and we had a great start today. The team worked really hard last night changing from the road course cars to the backup oval cars today. There were a lot of long hours put into this last night after the grand prix, and it will continue again on through tonight. But it's worth it after all – it's the Indianapolis 500."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It felt really good to get back out. Kind of a little odd day because it was a little more quiet than what we generally have for the first day on the oval. A lot of guys are still getting their stuff sorted out from yesterday. So just kind of went along with our program and the cars felt pretty good right out of the gate and just started to do a little bit of longer running race-type stuff. Getting J.R. comfortable and getting his feet back on our package. So far so good."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "Today was fine. It was a short day for us. We did a couple of laps, got our install done, so that's always good to get the car out on the first day and check everything over. We found some gremlins already so we are hoping to get the bad luck out of the way and be in full force tomorrow trying to work on our setup. Everything on the car felt good handling wise, so I am encouraged by that. We did a lot of work last year on the handling of the car, so I think we have a good base to start from this year. Going between a road course and an oval that quickly is always strange, but it felt really good. Indianapolis is always amazing when you get up to speed the first time. You get that sensation and I got that today."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 68 SFHR/RW Motorsports): "It was a really nice day. I really love working with the team and they did a great job preparing the car. It was pretty much a problem free day. We were taking it easy and learning things as we were going. For me it was just girding the rust off. It's exciting, I really like being back in the car. We have high expectations so hopefully we can do well this month."

KURT BUSCH (No. 26 Suretone Honda): "Lots of fun. It was nice to have a champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay, take me around, and then with Munoz and E.J. Viso. It's just neat to move to the next step, which is to go out there in dirty air and draft with teammates. (About the huddle with his Andretti Autosport teammates after practice): "Yeah there was three subjects that we talked about in that quick movement, and it was nice to have Marco [Andretti] out of the car to bounce information off of him. So it's just there's a lot of information. There's a lot of speed, too. At 220 things are moving quick, but it's a lot of fun. Today I can draw a checkmark through the day as a successful rookie day in playing with dirty air. The next day we have to advance that, and the next day we have to advance it again. Thursday we're going to look at taking downforce off the car to get into qualifying mode. We'll see how it all pans out. (About the practice days help): "I'm glad I skipped out on Fontana last fall. That would have been like drinking through a funnel, more of a keg stand I think. Because of all the practice days, it's going to help me get comfortable and digest the information. I think with just a one-day practice at Fontana last fall, it wouldn't have been a good idea."

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 6 Robert Graham KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "The Robert Graham – KV Racing Technology crew could not have made it any easier in terms of the preparation of the car. I had a really comfortable starting setup. There are a lot of people here that I have worked with before and I am really pleased with the group of guys we have put together. It is never easy when it is a one-off situation, but right now I don't think it could be any better in terms of the chemistry and the people that are making this all happen."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "I felt really comfortable in the Verizon Chevy today. I did a lot of running by myself and then I ran behind someone just to start getting used to the feel of that; the understeer and how the car feels in traffic. Right now we just want to get comfortable in the car. The first time I was here it took me about three laps to get comfortable. This time it was a few more. One of the great things about being with Team Penske is our cars are so good."

SAGE KARAM (No. 22 Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing Chevrolet): "I really enjoyed today and it went well. We finished the Rookie Orientation Program to get those laps out of the way and went on to run 77 laps total. The setup we have on the car right now will not let me go too much faster than what I have shown, but right now the main goal is to get comfortable, and I think that's what we achieved. Later this week we'll start trimming it out and making her faster to get up into the 220s."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "The plan was to do an install check and one run and that's what we did. I have to say the car felt really good. We had a decent speed. Without being too optimistic I have to say this was the best first run I ever had here so I am very encouraged. The car felt really good. Tomorrow we plan to run a little more and start going through the things we want to test for the month and prepare for the race especially seeing that there is some rain coming early this week. We need to get the best out of it tomorrow probably."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): "I think we have a good starting point for the National Guard car. We didn't want to run a lot today. Our plan was just to run an install lap and a couple more and move on. Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day weather-wise and we will run a lot of laps."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske): "Very happy the weather cooperated with us today. The Pennzoil Chevrolet was really quick today. I'm really glad we were able to do so on the first day of Indianapolis 500 practice. That always puts the boss (Roger Penske) in a good mood. I love this month and it feels good to have speed right out of the box. Things are looking good."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): "Today was more or less system check to make sure the car is good, everything is good, make sure all of our cars are the same. I think our work really starts tomorrow. We didn't run a lot of laps today, so it's going to be a long week of testing, but it's been great having so many teammates to work with. It's nice to be back at the 500 after last year… it's one of my greatest memories. But that's in the past; now we're going day by day. I love this track – for sure when you're in a pack, it's completely different than when you're alone – that's why it's always special to be here."

E.J. VISO (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "So far things have been pretty smooth. I love working with these (Andretti Autosport) guys. Last year I had an amazing year, an amazing experience, and I only have positive things to talk about my teammates and my team. This opportunity just showed up overnight. Of course we all know what happened to (James) Hinch(cliffe) – at the same time, he is a great friend of mine, he was my teammate last year. Right now I'm helping him out, putting miles on his car and hoping he comes back soon and jumps back in. It's all credit to the team; we have a very strong car, and I think with the little things we're tuning up, they'll become very important later on in the week when we start trimming the car. As of now we have a good database from last year to start the month off."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "I'm happy to get back on the proper oval here at IMS. It was a good first day; we got in some miles, we want to do as many as possible. Considering what the guys had to do, going from the Grand Prix of Indianapolis where we're running road course car, to switching over to the oval car, it's just unreal. They were here until two in the morning, so hats off to them. The drivers have the easy part; we get to strap in and go have fun, so hats off to the Andretti Autosport crews."

MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 41 ABC Supply/ A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "It was definitely a weird feeling going the right way around the track this time, and going so much quicker into Turn 1. It took me a few laps to adjust back to the speed again. But after about four or five laps I was easy flat and stayed flat all afternoon. I definitely got comfortable with the car, worked on my lines getting a later turn-in, got the car freer, but today the goal was not to increase the speeds, it was to shake the car down, make sure everything was working well and get a direction that me and Taku want to go in the rest of the week. [As a rookie, did it help having gone through a whole race weekend even if it was in a road course car?] I think any kind of seat time helps and I think being in a race car helps train you for whatever comes at you. After the race weekend we had, it would have been nice to have one or two days of rest. I think everyone's just a bit slower today and feeling a bit sore and tired from yesterday but it was still great to be out on the track today. I'm still feeling a bit sore, have a few bruises and a few dark places, but other than that I feel good."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "It was a big change going from the road course yesterday to the oval today. It's almost hard to believe it's the same venue since you're going straight in a 180-degrees opposite way. But you don't feel any weird feeling because you know for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this is the right direction in an Indycar. Being back on an oval for the first time since Fontana last October-we didn't do any winter oval testing-so it's been a long time for me to go over 200 miles per hour. But it was a good feeling so thanks to all the ABC boys for their preparation of this beautiful brand new No. 14 car. I was very pleased to shake down the car today, get it done, and tomorrow we move on to the proper test program."

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Services/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It was a good day despite not running as many laps as we had planned. The main purpose today was to get Ed and myself on the same page with the cars. We wanted to see how we worked with a similar setup. So as we work through the month we can get a good baseline with our cars. Luckily we are looking for the same thing with cars right now. So this was a great start and the cars have some speed in them. I think it's equally important that both of us are hunting for the same things out the race car. Sometimes you have teammates who go different directions on setup. Right now I don't see that happening. I think Ed and I are similar in our approach driving in traffic and other settings. I feel good about how things are going right now."

***

Twenty-four drivers have been on the track to date and turned 731 laps today and 731 laps this month. Helio Castroneves turned 83 laps today, the most of any driver. There were three cautions for a total of 40 minutes today.

***

MONDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):

8 a.m. – Garages open

Noon-6 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice

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