RHR leads Andretti train on day two of Indy 500 practice

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INDIANAPOLIS – Race runs and full-tank runs dominated most of Wednesday’s hectic day of running for 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil practice, and again, an Andretti Autosport car topped the timesheets.

Ryan Hunter-Reay led the way on the day in the No. 28 DHL Honda with a best speed of 228.202 mph. Carlos Munoz was second to make it a 1-2 result in the No. 26 United Fiber & Data Honda, in the 228.066 mph.

Josef Newgarden, who was fourth overall in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet, topped the no-tow speed charts at 224.541 mph. He clocked in ahead of four Andretti Autosport drivers, Townsend Bell, Hunter-Reay, Munoz and Alexander Rossi.

The last hour and a half was particularly frantic with big groups of cars all running in formation. It looked similar to a race display, or certainly the Fast Friday sessions when the boost gets turned up.

The other story of the day beyond the speeds at the top of the chart was Spencer Pigot’s accident, which saw the Indy Lights champion and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver crash in Turn 1 and force the team to build a backup car.

Pigot was fine, albeit frustrated with himself to have the crew need to spend extra time to build up a new car. It was later diagnosed that Pigot hit something in Turn 1.

Other quick tidbits of note:

  • There were 2,779 laps turned on Wednesday – nearly double the Monday number – in an insane amount of running. Rookie Matthew Brabham in the No. 61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet led the way with 126 laps while Max Chilton in the No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was only one behind at 125 laps. Jack Hawksworth only ran 31 laps and was slowest on the day at 217.789 mph.
  • Chilton and Pippa Mann ran really close, nose-to-tail, ahead of a big train of cars in the last hour.
  • The Andretti train was fun to watch, albeit briefly interrupted by Helio Castroneves when he came out of the pits in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet.
  • Quick one-or-two-word answers from Oriol Servia and rookie Stefan Wilson on their days: “Not great” and “OK” respectively. Servia ran 59 laps and was only at a 223.373 mph for 32nd overall but was 20th in no-tow at 221 and change. Wilson was 30th, 223.781, overall and 19th on no-tow.
  • James Hinchcliffe ran in both his No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda and the No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, shaking down Mikhail Aleshin’s car. Aleshin later went back out and had a mechanical issue in the last hour.

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

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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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.


QUALIFYING

Results

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