Will Power fastest on first day of Indy 500 practice; Ryan Hunter-Reay second

Indy 500 opening practice
Marc Lebryk/USA TODAY Sports Images

Taking advantage of ideally cool conditions, Will Power turned the fastest lap Tuesday on the opening day of Indy 500 practice.

The Team Penske driver toured the 2.5-mile oval at 226.470 mph in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet ahead of the Dallara-Hondas of Ryan Hunter-Reay (226.371) and two-time and defending race winner Takuma Sato (226.132).

“Definitely happy with the car in traffic,” Power told NBC Sports reporter Dillon Welch during coverage on Peacock. “As far as running behind cars, this is the most comfortable I’ve felt here for a while. I feel good. Cool weather does help a lot. Everyone can run close.”

INDY 500 PRACTICE SPEEDS: Second session l Day 1 combined

With temperatures expected to spike over the weekend, Hunter-Reay said it was important to make laps before the track grew slicker.

“The car was pretty good, but these conditions are really nice,” he said. “When this track temperature goes up, it gets really tricky.”

Sage Karam, who is attempting to make his first IndyCar start of the season, was a surprising fourth.

“When I came across the line, I just screamed when I saw that lap,” Karam, who has a best Indy 500 finish of ninth (as a 2014 rookie) in seven starts, told Welch. “I’m just stoked and so pumped. The last few years I haven’t been happy a lot here. I’ve been struggling. This is the most preparing of a car that I’ve ever had. I couldn’t be happier.

INDY 500 INFO: Start times, schedules, TV, stats, historical details about the race

MONTH OF MAY SCHEDULEWhen cars are on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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“This is probably the best Day One I’ve ever had at the Speedway, and I’ve had some really good cars here.”

Though rain put the speedway under caution for more than two of a scheduled eight hours of track time, there were no crashes Tuesday. There was one incident: a minor fire on Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 14 that brought out a yellow flag for 10 minutes.

In the morning session, Graham Rahal, who is seeking his first Indianapolis 500 victory in his 14th start, turned the fastest lap at 223.449 mph lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during an abbreviated opening practice as Indy 500 warmup sessions began.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver turned a 223.449 mph lap on the 18th of 19 laps in his No. 15 Dallara-Honda on the 2.5-mile oval.

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was second (223.420), followed by Team Penske rookie Scott McLaughlin (223.836), two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya (222.781) and Ed Jones (222.700).

TUESDAY MORNING: Chart from the first practice session at IMS

Driving the No. 86 Dallara-Chevrolet for Arrow McLaren SP, Montoya is making his first Indy 500 start since 2017. Jones, who is in the No. 18 Dallara-Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan, is back at IMS after missing the 2020 Indy 500.

The rest of the top 10: 2018 Indy winner Will Power (222.436), Santino Ferrucci (222.204), Pato O’Ward (222.181), James Hinchcliffe (221.990) and Helio Castroneves (221.861).

Click here to see how the veterans fared on the speed charts in the opening practice.

The track opened at 10 a.m. for a five-minute period of installation laps, and veterans were allowed to make laps starting at 10:07 a.m.

Two-time and defending Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato, Rahal’s teammate, was the first driver on track, per IMS.

The yellow flag flew multiple times for light rain throughout the morning, and the final 15 minutes of the veteran session was cut short by a shower.


Drivers in the Rookie Orientation and Refresher Tests program were scheduled to hit the track at noon, but rain delayed the start until shortly after 2 p.m. IndyCar announced the ROP/Refresher would run for two hours, followed by the track being open to all cars until 6 p.m. ET.

Tuesday was the first of four consecutive days of Indy 500 practice before qualifying Saturday and Sunday.

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale


Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”