Castroneves quickest on Sunday at the Brickyard

Castroneves quickest on Sunday at the Brickyard

Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves led the way on the rain-shortened second day of practice for the 2010 renewal of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, posting a fastest lap of 227.046 mph on Sunday over the 2.5 mile oval at ...

Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves led the way on the rain-shortened second day of practice for the 2010 renewal of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, posting a fastest lap of 227.046 mph on Sunday over the 2.5 mile oval at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

Helio Castroneves, Team Penske.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon followed, at 226.202 mph. His teammate Dario Franchitti was third quick on a speed of 226.044 mph.

"Today was a good day," said Castroneves. "Despite the weather, with it raining on and off, we were still able to work on some areas to make the car better for the race.

"We learned a lot," he continued, "and we'll be in good shape by the race."

Team Penske's Will Power was fourth on the day at 225.600 mph. Andretti Autosports veteran Tony Kanaan took fifth best with a lap at 225.524 mph.

Mario Moraes, Dan Wheldon, Ryan Briscoe, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal completed the top ten on Sunday for the "veterans" practice on-track time.

"It was a solid day," said Castroneves' Team Penske teammate Briscoe. "We ran a lot of laps (47) and made some good adjustments for our race-day car."

Team Penske, as are other top teams, will switch into serious pursuit of their qualifying set-up on Wednesday or Thursday of the coming week.

Wheldon became the first victim of an incident on the Speedway, losing control in Turn 4 at 4:25 PM EDT and smacking the outside wall at the head of the main straightaway. The Panther Racing No. 4 racecar suffered damage to the front right suspension and bodywork. Wheldon was released from the infield medical center with a bruised right foot. He will be re-evaluated on Monday prior to his return to practice.

"I am not 100 percent sure what happened," Wheldon said. "We'll have to go back and look at the data. It's obviously not how you want to start the second day at Indianapolis."

Of questions to the extent of his injury he replied, "I went into the wall and banged my foot against the side of the tub (chassis). It is just bruised. It's nothing big."

A flip-flop of times for the veteran and rookie sessions put the first-year drivers on the track first on Sunday. Sarah Fisher Racing's Jay Howard was fastest among them with a best lap of 222.789 mph.

Ana Beatriz, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing.
Photo by Indy Racing League.

Howard and six other rookie drivers successfully completed all four phases of the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP) today. Sebastian Saavedra, whose car suffered a mechanical failure after he passed the second of four phases, had his work cut out for him today but did pass the constraints of the ROP. Saavedra was slowest of the day overall on a best lap of 218.916 mph.

Practice opened under cloudy conditions with a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday. The track temperature was a cool 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thirty-three cars saw track time today, enough to fill the field for the Memorial Day classic scheduled for May 30. All of the former Indy 500 drivers undergoing refresher tests prior to qualifications completed their required training.

Ana Beatriz was first around the circuit, nosing onto the Brickyard racing surface at precisely 11AM EDT in the bright yellow and green No. 25 Dreyer & Reinbold racing car.

Purdue University student Justin Penix, winner of the annual Purdue Grand Prix kart race, served as official starter for the day. Penix is majoring in mechanical engineering technology at the Indianapolis campus, IUPUI.

Track activity resumes on Monday with combined rookie and veteran "all-skate" practice for six hours beginning at Noon EDT. The gates of Indianapolis Motor Speedway open to spectators at 9AM EDT.

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Series INDYCAR