100th Indy 500 practice officially kicks off today

Photo: IndyCar

INDIANAPOLIS – Opening day of practice for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil takes place today, in two phases.

First up is the rookie orientation and refresher programs, which run from 12 to 2 p.m.

The five rookies entered – Max Chilton and Alexander Rossi plus Spencer Pigot, Matthew Brabham and Stefan Wilson – will have to complete three phases of running once on track:

  • 10 laps of 210 to 215 mph
  • 15 laps of 215 to 220 mph
  • 15-plus laps of 220-plus mph

Others listed by INDYCAR who are eligible to participate in the refresher program includes those remaining non full-time drivers. Those seven drivers include Townsend Bell, Bryan Clauson, JR Hildebrand, Sage Karam, Buddy Lazier, Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani.

Servia, Tagliani and Hildebrand have a start apiece this year while the other four drivers will make their first laps in an IndyCar since last May.

Practice for all cars runs from 2 to 6 p.m. ET.

It’s already warmed up from the high 30s ambient temperature to the low 50s, with a projected high of 64 degrees ambient this afternoon.

Running updates will follow in this post depending on how the day progresses.

10:50 a.m.: One new number and one new livery to report on, as well as a formal unveil of the Indianapolis 500 entry list.

Formal confirmation has come of Charlie Kimball’s new number, 42, for the rest of the month of May. Kimball was joined by Kyle Larson, who among other things teased Chip Ganassi about wanting to run the Indianapolis 500 someday but said he’d have needed Ganassi to ask about it first. More here from NASCAR TALK.

Munoz500_16Meanwhile Carlos Munoz is another in the new livery department, with United Fiber & Data set to serve as primary sponsor of his No. 26 Honda at Andretti Autosport. From a release: “Music and fast cars go hand-in-hand and nothing says rock n’ roll more than the Indy 500,” said multi-platinum guitarist Chad Taylor of the band LIVE. “It’s going to be fun to see what Carlos can do, he’s proven to be a strong competitor on ovals, and having already won an Indy 500 ring with Ryan Hunter Reay… I’m thirsty for some more milk. No doubt this sport is addictive and having the band LIVE on the car is an honor.”

2:10 p.m.: The first couple hours of practice are over, with rookie orientation and refresher programs underway and 505 laps completed.

However the original target speeds for ROP would be lowered: they’re now 10 laps in the range of 205-210 mph, 15 laps between 210-215 mph and 15 laps at 215-plus mph.

Chilton, Rossi and Pigot completed all three phases of ROP, with Wilson and Brabham completing the first two phases.

Brabham’s No. 61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet was delayed going out until 90 minutes into the session with the crew back working on the car in Gasoline Alley. The time was extended to allow Brabham to complete the second phase.

Townsend Bell in the No. 29 California Pizza Kitchen/Robert Graham Honda for Andretti Autosport posted the best speed of the first two hours at 224.179 mph.

Others besides Bell who participated in the refresher portion of the program included Bryan Clauson, Sage Karam, JR Hildebrand and Oriol Servia.

Seven cars (Carlos Munoz, Ed Carpenter, Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud) went out in the opening five minutes of the session with installation laps.

Helio Castroneves attempted an installation lap of his own but slowed on the front straight, which brought out the only five minutes of yellow flag time during the session.

Here were speeds after the first two hours of practice.


Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III