What We Learned From Day 1 of Indy 500 Practice

Turns out fast teams are just fast.

Chevy powered cars paced the first day of practice for the Indy 500. Defending race winner Will Power started his 2019 500 campaign right where he left off, at the top. A 229.745 mph lap separated he and Simon Pagenaud by .0072 seconds. Ed Carpenter was third on the charts as he tries to win his first Indy 500 and Helio Castroneves rounded out the bowtie party at the top in 4th.

Behind the Chevys were 5 Honda-powered cars led by Colton Herta in 5th who will be making his first Indy 500 start and had a nice little spin Monday. Sebastian Bourdais who said after the Indy GP that he felt Honda was going to bring some power this month was 6th. Following him was the Andretti Autosport clan of Zach Veach, Alexander Rossi, and Marco Andretti. This is his year. Ed Jones rounded out the Top-10 for Ed Carpenter Racing.

The name everyone will be looking for on the speed charts, Fernando Alonso, was far down the charts. So far you keep reading and wondering “did they turn a lap?” McLaren did turn laps, 50 in fact, but they only hit 32nd on the speed charts. A few things here, they could have been running a program on the first day where they just wanted to shake down the car. This is a brand new team after all. McLaren also encountered some electrical problems which cut their running short. And they didn’t appear to be getting in on the tow game like others at the top. Definitely not time to panic, yet.

James Hinchcliffe climbed into four SPM cars on Tuesday because why the hell not? His fastest time came in Marcus Ericsson’s #7 car. SPM really struggled for speed on Tuesday. After Hinch missed the 500 last year this isn’t exactly how you want to start the month.

Overall the first day was uneventful and that’s a good thing. Pato O’Ward wasn’t able to complete his rookie test. He’ll do that Wednesday morning. Uneventful is good on the opening day of practice. Teams are back on track Wednesday from 11AM-6PM.

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