More than 1,000 laps got turned within the first two hours of Indianapolis 500 practice on Tuesday morning, as Verizon IndyCar Series teams sought to beat heavy thunderstorms headed for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
As the time of the yellow just before 2 p.m. ET, as heavy storms bucketed IMS, Andretti Autosport had its second straight 1-2 with James Hinchcliffe’s fill-in EJ Viso first and Kurt Busch second on the time sheets, two of three thus far over 224 mph on the day. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti were fastest on Monday.
In third was Juan Pablo Montoya, at 224.115. But an electrical problem caused him to stop on track on the grass at entry to Turn 4 before the storms hit, and his No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet for Penske Motorsports entry was taken back on a flatbed to the garage.
Here’s how the track looked after the rain fell, per Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Thirty drivers turned laps before the rain with the only three not doing so rookie Jack Hawksworth and the two who haven’t yet been out this week, Buddy Lazier and James Davison. Sebastian Saavedra did make it out for seven laps in the No. 17 KV/AFS Racing Chevrolet after missing Sunday and Monday.
UPDATED, 2:50 p.m. ET: Due to the heavy rains, track activity was canceled for the remainder of the day, and the track closed.
Here’s the times from the truncated day.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.