Will Power began his bid to become the 6th driver to earn consecutive Indianapolis 500 victories by topping today’s opening practice for the 103rd Running.
The 38-year-old from Australia led a 1-2 run for Team Penske, posting a lap of 229.745 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. Following him was INDYCAR Grand Prix winner Simon Pagenaud, whose best lap was just .0072 of a second off Power’s pace (229.703 mph).
Indianapolis native Ed Carpenter, always a threat at his hometown Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was third-fastest (228.653 mph), followed by 3-time ‘500’ winner Helio Castroneves (228.441 mph) and 19-year-old rookie Colton Herta (228.284 mph) to complete Tuesday’s Top-5 speeds. Herta brought out the lone caution period of the day that came from an on-track incident, when he suffered a tire failure and spun at pit exit during the final hour.
In regards to no-tow speeds, however, it was Carpenter’s teammate Ed Jones that was quickest in the session. His best lap of 224.542 mph in the No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing/Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet was good for 10th overall. The third Ed Carpenter Racing driver, Spencer Pigot, logged the most laps of any driver with 128.
As for the race’s biggest global draw, Fernando Alonso and his McLaren Racing team suffered through a tough opening day. The 2-time Formula One World Champion completed his refresher test, but later suffered mechanical problems. He only posted the 32nd-fastest lap (224.162 mph), turning 50 laps in total.
Practice resumes tomorrow from 11am-6pm ET at the Speedway, with coverage on NBC Sports Gold INDYCAR Pass.