By Allan Brewer, IndyCar correspondent
- Sunshine allowed on track activity
- Canadian Tagliani set fastest time
- Practice continues tomorrow
Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Alex Tagliani posted a fastest lap of 225.878 mph to set the pace for a chilly, breezy, full day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday. Tagliani's mark bested 39 cars and drivers who saw action at The Brickyard as preparations continue for this weekend's Pole Day on Saturday and the 100th anniversary of the 500-Mile Race on Sunday May 29th in Speedway, Indiana.
"We had some speed today," said Tagliani. "This place wants you to pay attention to details and it's nice to start the week this way. Hopefully we can do this well when we roll the car out for qualifying. It's a tough place to get it right."
Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was second-quick at 225.124 mph, followed by teammate Graham Rahal on a mark of 225.071 mph. Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe made a circuit of the 2.5 mile oval at 225.016 mph, while Spaniard Oriol Servia driving for Newman Haas Racing closed out the top five with a lap of 224.903 mph.
Nearly 1400 total laps were turned at the Speedway on Monday as teams began the process of trimming out the race cars for greater speeds. Temperatures in the low sixties Fahrenheit gave engines a power boost and provided adequate aerodynamic substrate for some seriously quick navigation of the racing surface.
Despite the racy conditions no one approached last year's pole-winning speed of 227.970 mph turned in by Helio Castroneves.
Among the notables were 2010 Indianapolis 500 champion and IndyCar season champion Dario Franchitti with a best mark of 224.406 mph; Castroneves on a best lap of 224.348 mph, and current IndyCar season points-leader Will Power tenth-fastest for the day with a lap of 223.984 mph.
Fan favorite Danica Patrick was fifteenth-quick at 223.586 mph.
Practice resumes on Tuesday at Noon PM EDT with a six hour session planned, weather permitting of course. The forecast is for another day of cool temps in the fifties with a 30 percent chance of rain.