Simon Pagenaud led Penske-Chevrolet in a 1-2-3 after the first two hours of practice for the 102nd running of the Indy 500, but it was Graham Rahal’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda that headed up speeds set without the aid of a tow.
Pagenaud’s top lap came as he sat in the hole created by teammate Will Power, and he slingshotted past the yard of bricks to set a 225.787mph lap of the iconic 2.5-mile course.
That was 2.3mph faster than another teammate, Helio Castroneves, who finished the session in second, just ahead of Josef Newgarden.
Fourth fastest was Marco Andretti in the top Honda-powered entry, while fifth was Ed Carpenter in his #20 ECR-Chevrolet. Like Castroneves and Newgarden, these two also got into the 223mph bracket.
Penske’s Will Power and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, last weekend’s top two finishers on the IMS road course, were sixth and seventh, while series returnee Carlos Munoz went eighth, just ahead of his Andretti Autosport teammate Zach Veach, and another former IndyCar fulltimer, the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing-Chevy of JR Hildebrand.
However, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Hondas of Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato were top of the no-tow speeds – Graham in the 221mph bracket – followed by Dixon, Power, Carpenter and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi.
For the next two hours the track is turned over to rookies – featuring Zachary Claman De Melo’s Rookie Orientation program – and refreshers such as Stefan Wilson and Jack Harvey.