Indy 500 Update
Practice sessions for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 are well underway, and it’s been a rollercoaster week for Andretti Autosport’s stable of drivers. Working towards defending the team’s reign as Indianapolis 500 Champions, five Honda-powered machines took to the track Monday afternoon to begin a week’s worth of testing, trimming and trials with the new HPD Super Speedway Aero Kits.
“Obviously a few things haven’t gone our way this week,” said team owner Michael Andretti, undoubtedly referring to two of Tuesday’s on-track issues – a fuel leak causing the car of Simona de Silvestro to engulf in flames, followed by the engine in Justin Wilson’s No. 25 entry expiring on track.
Despite any setbacks or ranking on the time charts, Andretti remains optimistic, “It doesn't matter what our speed is (now) or in qualifying. I still think we can win the 500,” the open-wheel racing legend told IndyStar.com.
The Swiss TE Connectivity driver escaped the incident unscathed. The aptly dubbed Iron Maiden remained cool under fire but sat out Wednesday’s practice session as her No. 29 ride returned to the team’s Indianapolis headquarters for the rebuild process.
Third-generation racer and Indy 500 standout Marco Andretti was the first of the team’s drivers to break the 227-barrier with a speed of 227.320 mph turned in today’s session, his fastest lap of the day in the Snapple Honda.
While Marco was first to the 227 mark, it was Colombian Carlos Muñoz setting the month’s fastest lap thus far, and the only driver to exceed 230mph this May.
The newest member to the Andretti stable, Justin Wilson has blended with the team and is off to a strong start, despite engine troubles yesterday. “We had the fresh engine in during today’s run and everything feels good so far for the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda. We had a reasonable no-tow lap, so I felt pretty good with how things were looking.”
Defending Indy 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, is reveling in being back in Indianapolis. The DHL driver and the iconic Borg Warner Trophy recently made a tour of the Indianapolis television networks to relive some of the 2014 memories. “It’s good to be reminded – with all the stress (of racing), you do have to enjoy it. The finish to the (2014) race was just spectacular… there was no real playbook, it was just go for it,” the American winner told local media.
In true Month of May fashion, more high and lows are sure to come for the 34 hopeful drivers working for their place in the field of 33. Three sessions of practice remain prior to qualifying kicking off this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. ET with broadcast windows at 4 p.m. ET Saturday and 1 p.m. ET Sunday on ABC.