Chaves Tops Day 4 Indy 500 Practice

Photo Credit: motorsport.com

Dale Coyne Racing’s Gabby Chaves, who did not have a ride in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 until last week, topped the 3rd Indianapolis 500 practice session (Tuesday’s practice was rained out) with a best lap speed of 227.961 miles per hour. He led a 2 out of the top 4 and 3 out of the top 10 Dale Coyne Racing sweep, with Conor Daly having the 4th quickest speed of the day with a lap at 227.524 miles per hour, and Pippa Man having the 10th quickest speed of the day with a lap at 226.552 miles per hour.

Andretti Autosport once again had all 5 of their cars among the top 15 quickest drivers of the day, with Townsend Bell, Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Alexander Rossi coming in at 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 11th, and 15th quickest, respectively.

Team Penske, the team that has dominated this Verizon Indycar Series thus far this season and that won the Indianapolis 500 a year ago with Juan Pablo Montoya, had the 6th fastest (Juan Pablo Montoya), 8th fastest (Helio Castroneves), 19th fastest (Simon Pagenaud, current Verizon Indycar Series championship points leader), and 23rd fastest (Will Power) drivers in the 3rd practice session in Chevrolet-powered race cars.

Chip Ganassi Racing, the team that has won 6 of the last 8 Verizon Indycar Series championships, had the 5th fastest (Charlie Kimball), 7th fastest (Scott Dixon), 20th fastest (Tony Kanaan), and 22nd fastest (Max Chilton) drivers in the 3rd practice session in Chevrolet-powered race cars.

Overall, the day showed more great promise for the teams and drivers of the Honda-powered cars, as they took 11 of the top 15 spots on the speed charts, including a sweep o the top 4. The fastest driver of a Honda-powered car (Gabby Chaves, 1st place, 227.961 miles per hour) was over 4-tenths of a mile per hour quicker of the fastest driver of a Chevrolet-powered car (Charlie Kimball, 5th place, 227.477 miles per hour).

However, even after 3 practices, it is still too early to assume that the Honda cars will dominate this month like the Chevrolet cars did a year ago. Not only are we 10 days away from the race itself, and not only are we talking about practice, but we are talking about just the 3rd practice of an event whose outcome has to do with what happens over a 500 mile race on Sunday, May 29th, and nothing else. Today was simply yet another good indicator that Honda’s should be a lot more competitive this season that they were a year ago, when Chevrolet won the Indianapolis 500 and swept the top 4 spots after having 6 drivers qualify for the race in the top 7.

Today’s practice was also another indicator that the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be a very exciting race with lots of passing come race day. Much of the session when multiple cars were out on the track, there were groups of roughly 5-6 cars running together, and passes were happening for each of the top positions pretty much once or twice every lap, among both Chevrolet and Honda-powered cars.

Practice for the 100th running of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway resumes tomorrow from 12:00 PM ET to 6:00 PM ET for “Fast Friday”, when the horsepower in all of the cars gets boosted as teams prepare to test out what they’ll roll out for qualifications this upcoming weekend. Qualifications for the race are on Saturday, May 21st, and Sunday, May 22nd.

-Asher Fair