Indy 500 Wednesday halfway practice report

Scott Dixon fired the first shot of the month within the first 10 minutes of the green flag waving over the opening practice session for the Indianapolis 500 by posting a flying lap of 229.174mph in the No. 9 Honda. The 2008 Indy 500 winner’s lap stood through the halfway point of the six-hour outing from 12-6pm run under light skies and warm temperatures.

Drawing extra speed provided from being in a tow, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver was joined by teammate Alex Palou with a 226.411mph lap in the No. 10 Honda to hold a 1-2 for CGR for most of the first two hours, but they were split by Team Penske’s Will Power who, like Dixon and Palou, made use of a tow to hold P2 with a 226.866mph lap in the No. 12 Chevy.

As the session neared 2h20m complete, we had a CGR 1-3 and a Penske 2-4 as Scott McLaughlin motored to P4 with a tow lap of 226.336 in the No. 3 Chevy. Two nice surprises were tucked in behind the yellow machine as Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports’ David Malukas sat in P5 with the No. 18 Honda which delivered a tow lap of 226.061mph, and close behind in P6, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Ryan Hunter-Reay used the draft to post a 226.011mph tour in the No. 23 Chevy.

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On the no-tow list at the 2h26m mark, Power led the 33 drivers who’d turned practice laps — RC Enerson in the N0. 50 Abel Motorsports Chevy successfully completed his Rookie Orientation Program but had yet to venture out with the rest of the field — with a 221.803mph lap. At 2h27m down, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay took the top no-tow spot with a 223.212mph blast around the 2.5-mile oval in the No. 21 Chevy; he was P13 at the time on the overall speed chart with a tow-assisted 224.265mph.

Of the 33 drivers in action, Marco Andretti was the least active, turning seven laps by 2:30pm. Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott, who went into great length about the handling problems encountered with the No. 77 Chevy at the Indy Open Test, completed 15 laps across a few stints and was no happier than before, posting the slowest lap of the first 2h30m with a 215.749mph.

Running in the wake of teammate Takuma Sato, Palou improved to P2 with a lap of 227.760mph just past 2:30pm and it held until 3pm with Dixon, Palou, Power, McLaughlin, Malukas and Hunter-Reay holding fast as the top six and VeeKay also retained his honor as the best no-tow driver through three hours.

Other than a few caution periods to retrieve debris on the racetrack, there were no incidents during the first half of Wednesday’s running, with the mild exception of Graham Rahal, who clipped the wall exiting Turn 3 after admitting to having his eyes focused on somewhere other than the track in front of him. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan team took the No. 15 Honda back to the garage to inspect the right-side suspension and ensure the car was ready to return to action for the rest of the day.

Story originally appeared on Racer