Alex Palou continues to show speed in the number 10 Honda. (Penske Entertainment/Matt Fraver)
INDIANAPOLIS – The two-hour practice session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway seemed like every day cars have driven on the 2.5-mile oval since the track opened a week ago.
The Chip Ganassi Racing cars are at the top.
On Monday, however, the top two drivers changed their positions from Sunday’s pole qualifying. Alex Palou, who qualified second on Sunday, set the fastest lap on Monday at 229,441 mph in the #10 NTT DATA Honda. Scott Dixon, who won his fifth Indy 500 pole in his career, came in second at 229,000 mph.
Click here for the full results.
Palou ran 31 laps and Dixon 32.
“We went back to race trim like everyone else and went back to the race bike,” Palou said. “It’s my first time in P1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I’m so happy about that. The NTT DATA Honda is super fast.
“As always, there’s room for improvement, especially when you’re driving in traffic. Hopefully we can tune in a little more for Carb Day and get ready to go racing. †
Another CGR driver, Indy 500 rookie Jimmie Johnson, took third with 228.467 mph in the #48 Carvana/American Legion Honda. Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, ran 67 laps.
“Great start to the week, nice to get back into race trim and get a feel for the car,” said Johnson. “Things keep changing. The track continues to develop. It was nice to make some changes and find neutral in the car myself, then put in some good lap times and competitive passes over other cars.
“Every time I’m there, small small wins. I’m learning a little more and putting a better race car under myself every time I’m out on the road.”
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato drove the most laps of all drivers on Monday with 106. His fastest lap was 228,381 mph in the #51 Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda – good enough for fourth.
A fourth Ganassi driver rounded out the top five. It was Marcus Ericsson, with a fast lap of 228.017 mph. He completed 38 laps.
The team’s fifth driver is 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2004 IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan. He placed 22nd out of 33 drivers with a fast lap of 224.517 mph in the #1 American Legion Honda.
Dalton Kellett of AJ Foyt Racing made the first major crash since the track opened for the 106th Indianapolis 500 on Tuesday, May 17.
With 33 minutes to go into the session, Kellett’s No. 4 Chevrolet for AJ Foyt Racing pounded the wall of Turn 1 backwards. The car lifted off the ground on the first impact before landing on its wheels.
Kellett was treated and discharged from the IU Heath Infield Care Center at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kellett’s car was treated but not released from AJ Foyt’s garage in Gasoline Alley as the crew began the arduous process of repairing the damage.
Before that, Kellett had run six laps with a fast lap of 222.856 mph.
“Given the angle it was, it didn’t feel that bad,” Kellett said. “I hit pretty hard so I’m in a bit of pain, but they gave me an X-ray and everything looked good. From the mechanics point of view they will have to reassemble the car so it will take a few days longer than it would have been but we have a good race car and I know we will be there on Sunday. Ready to go.”
Kellett was near Romain Grosjean when the incident happened.
“I’ve looked at the sequence of events in the replay, but I can’t say 100 percent, but from my perspective,” Kellett said. “He was on the outside and I thought he would find out, but he stayed in. That’s right, I’m the passing car, but it’s also practice.
“That’s the best I could do.”
All 33 drivers in the grid took part in the session, which was heavily trafficked. The field combined to run 2,602 laps in just two hours, with Sato leading the completed 106-lap column.