Marco Andretti fastest on Day 1 at Indy

Marco Andretti
Marco Andretti

His new teammate may be grabbing worldwide attention for his appearance in the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, but it was Marco Andretti who snatched speed honors on the opening day of practice for the 101st running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Andretti set the pace in the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda with a lap of 226.338 mph as 32 cars turned 1,306 laps on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in preparation for the world's largest single-day sporting event May 28. It is the second straight year that Andretti has been fastest on the first day of Indy 500 practice.

"Speed is always good," said the 12th-year Verizon IndyCar Series driver, who finished second at the Indy 500 in his rookie year of 2006 and third three times since. "That's the first thing you always want here because then you can really put more focus on just getting a comfortable race car, which is obviously my plan the rest of the week.

"They give points for qualifying now, so we can't just totally ignore it, but my goal is to win the race. It's good to know that we're rolling off with some sort of speed. From there we just need some comfort."

Scott Dixon, the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner, was the only other driver to top 225 mph with a lap of 225.296 in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Two-time Indy 500 pole sitter Ed Carpenter ran third with a lap of 224.969 mph in the No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet.

The six-hour practice session started with two hours set aside for the rookie orientation program and refresher tests for veteran drivers who have been out of the cockpit for a while. Dale Coyne Racing's Ed Jones (No. 18 Boy Scouts of America Honda) was the lone rookie to complete the three phases of rookie orientation, while Jay Howard (No. 77 Lucas Oil/Team One Cure Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda), Sebastian Saavedra (No. 17 AFS Juncos Racing Chevrolet) and Oriol Servia (No. 16 Manitowoc Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) finished both phases of the veteran refresher.

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, the two-time Formula One champion making his Verizon IndyCar Series and oval track debut at this year's Indianapolis 500, completed his rookie orientation in a private test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 3. The 35-year-old Spaniard, a teammate to Marco Andretti in one of six Andretti Autosport entries, began the methodical process of getting up to speed by completing 55 laps in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda with a best circuit of 223.025 mph.

"Everything went very smooth," Alonso said. "We had some issues with the rear suspension and we could not complete the program that we were planning to run a little bit in traffic at the end of the day, so we missed that part, but overall it was an amazing day.

"Happier than the first day (May 3) with the car because I was able to feel some of the setup changes that we were planning in the morning. Yeah, I feel good. … No big issues, no dramas, so a very, very positive day."

The only incident of the day came with two hours left in the session, when rookie Jack Harvey's No. 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. Harvey, who had completed the first of the three phases of rookie orientation, was uninjured but the car sustained right-side damage and did not return to the track.

"It's been a pretty challenging day for what was meant to be an easy process," Harvey said. "We had some issues this morning, but we had managed to work through them. I don't know what did happen apart from I went to turn in and it went straight. I was coming out of the pits, I wasn't even going fast. I was probably not even going 100 mph – so bizarre."

Monday Results

Pos No Name FTime Diff Gap Laps FSpeed Engine
1 27 Marco Andretti 39.764 0.000 0.000 46 226.338 Honda
2 9 Scott Dixon 39.947 0.1839 0.1839 41 225.296 Honda
3 20 Ed Carpenter 40.006 0.2420 0.0581 48 224.969 Chevy
4 18 Sebastien Bourdais 40.040 0.2764 0.0344 50 224.775 Honda
5 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 40.075 0.3119 0.0355 44 224.576 Honda
6 15 Graham Rahal 40.106 0.3421 0.0302 35 224.407 Honda
7 12 Will Power 40.160 0.3959 0.0538 34 224.106 Chevy
8 10 Tony Kanaan 40.190 0.4264 0.0305 34 223.936 Honda
9 7 Mikhail Aleshin 40.230 0.4661 0.0397 43 223.715 Honda
10 26 Takuma Sato 40.253 0.4891 0.0230 54 223.587 Honda
11 16 Oriol Servia 40.260 0.4964 0.0073 34 223.547 Honda
12 22 Juan Pablo Montoya 40.267 0.5034 0.0070 26 223.508 Chevy
13 98 Alexander Rossi 40.272 0.5083 0.0049 51 223.481 Honda
14 24 Sage Karam 40.287 0.5233 0.0150 47 223.398 Chevy
15 8 Max Chilton 40.316 0.5527 0.0294 52 223.235 Honda
16 1 Simon Pagenaud 40.323 0.5598 0.0071 38 223.195 Chevy
17 21 JR Hildebrand 40.324 0.5600 0.0002 74 223.194 Chevy
18 83 Charlie Kimball 40.329 0.5654 0.0054 75 223.164 Honda
19 29 Fernando Alonso 40.354 0.5907 0.0253 20 223.025 Honda
20 14 Carlos Munoz 40.397 0.6333 0.0426 49 222.789 Chevy
21 17 Sebastian Saavedra 40.432 0.6689 0.0356 39 222.593 Chevy
22 19 Ed Jones 40.443 0.6798 0.0109 46 222.533 Honda
23 77 Jay Howard 40.448 0.6843 0.0045 64 222.508 Honda
24 2 Josef Newgarden 40.451 0.6873 0.0030 25 222.492 Chevy
25 5 James Hinchcliffe 40.675 0.9109 0.2236 33 221.269 Honda
26 3 Helio Castroneves 40.778 1.0142 0.1033 33 220.708 Chevy
27 63 Pippa Mann 40.861 1.0977 0.0835 39 220.257 Honda
28 4 Conor Daly 40.873 1.1099 0.0122 49 220.192 Chevy
29 11 Spencer Pigot 41.272 1.5085 0.3986 36 218.065 Chevy
30 40 Zach Veach 41.687 1.9229 0.4144 21 215.897 Chevy
31 50 Jack Harvey 41.963 2.1998 0.2769 14 214.473 Honda
32 88 Gabby Chaves 43.338 3.5740 1.3742 6 207.672 Chevy

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