Marco Andretti’s 225.1 leads Monday practice at Indy

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Marco Andretti and Helio Castroneves led Monday’s practice session for the Indianapolis 500. The two were the only drivers in the field to eclipse the 225mph mark for the day, each tow-assisted.

Andretti again noted how race simulation produced the day’s fastest lap of 225.100mph.

“It helps us now to simulate a mini race,” he said. “I think that’s how the Ganassi team beat us last year. I got too fascinated with how fast can the car go. The car was a handful in the race and it bit me in the end. We knew we needed to make some gains.”

Following the lead two, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and JR Hildebrand completed the top five.

Chevrolets took eight of the top 10 spots with only Takuma Sato (sixth) and Josef Newgarden (tenth) interloping in their Hondas. AJ Allmendinger, James Hinchcliffe and Tony Kanaan filled spots 7-9 on the day.

Thirty-two drivers took laps, James Jakes completing the most on the day (114 with a best of 218.351, 30th quickest) and Townsend Bell the fewest (12, 221.137, 21st).

Also of note, Conor Daly completed his rookie orientation program and Pippa Mann ran her first laps of the month, while Tristan Vautier’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team premiered a plain white car with Lucas Oil sponsorship.

SPM has a second car entered under that umbrella, third as a whole in the Schmidt team, but is unlikely to run it before the weekend. Buddy Lazier is now the only confirmed driver yet to make laps; he’s expected to roll out the No. 91 Lazier Partners Racing Chevrolet on Wednesday, weather pending.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.