Penske gets back out, banks 320 laps in first significant Indy 500 practice time

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Team Penske finally got down to business on Tuesday.

After three of its four cars only did install runs on Monday (Simon Pagenaud ran 31 laps then), the team took to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for their first real practice efforts for the Indianapolis 500 since the aero kit test day on May 3.

Penske claimed the two fastest speeds of the day with Helio Castroneves (227.514 mph) and Simon Pagenaud (227.382). Will Power was sixth (226.393) and Juan Pablo Montoya brought up the end of the Penske quartet all the way in 20th (224.440).

Together, the four drivers totaled 320 circuits of around the 2.5-mile oval.

As the road course kits have, the new aero superspeedway kits are showing off faster speeds than their predecessors’.

Castroneves’ first lap of the third practice session was already faster than any lap through the first five practice sessions at IMS in 2014. The three-time Indy 500 winner claimed both the best overall speed and the best speed without a tow.

“It was a good day. The Shell V-Power Nitro+ car was super strong, super solid, felt comfortable,” Castroneves said. “Now we’ve got to just keep working with this new aero kit. Today was basically the second day that we’ve been working constantly, but I like what I see.

“Things are looking in the right direction. We’re not focused on just the lap, we’re focused on the performance of it all.”

Power, who ran 86 laps, put up his P6 speed in his first real track time since winning the second annual Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday.

“It was definitely a productive day, and we found some speed in the No. 1 Verizon Chevy,” Power said. “We also got some running done in traffic and I feel great about the last change we made to the car. We’re in a good spot as we get closer to qualifying this weekend.”