SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Dodging intermittent sprinkles on a mostly overcast day, it was a productive opening day of practice for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Five different teams occupied the top five spots on the speed chart with Team Penske’s Will Power setting the early pace with a lap at 226.470.
“I felt more comfortable than I have for a while today,” said Power. “It was promising! I think the cool conditions can make things feel pretty good. Obviously, when the heat comes that will change everything.”
The second fastest on the day, Ryan Hunter-Reay, concurs that a lot more things will be figured out once temperatures rise later in the week.
“The car was good today, just got through a checklist of first-day stuff,” Hunter-Reay said. “The car seemed good in traffic. Good start, but these conditions are really nice now and, you know, the heat’s coming later in the week which will make things harder on all of us.”
Some showers are possible for Wednesday morning and high’s could reach the upper 70’s. Then we’re looking at temps in the upper 80’s by Sunday.
Every driver was in race trim Tuesday and with race day horsepower onboard their respective machines, so it’s too early to gauge how fast qualifying speeds will be come Saturday.
Four drivers under the age of 28 were in the Top 10 on the speed chart in Conor Daly, Ed Jones, Sage Karam, and Pato O’Ward. Eight different teams were represented in the Top 10 also.
Hunter-Reay isn’t worried about any kind of young driver revolution brewing.
“There’s a lot of talent in the field, and a lot of new talent coming up,” he said. “This place definitely pays tribute to the veterans, but I have no doubt they will all be there very strong and challenging for the race win. We’ll see. That’s the great thing about IndyCar, you never really know who is going to win.”
Sebastien Bourdais’ day was marred by engine trouble and he had to retire early in the second practice session of the day.
J.R. Hildebrand and Stefan Wilson completed veteran refresher courses in a special practice session Tuesday held from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Rookie RC Enerson, with the brand new Top Gun Racing team, was breezing through his rookie orientation program (ROP), but was forced to retire for the day with some issues in the car’s rear suspension. Enerson did not seem worried about getting the car repaired to continue practice tomorrow.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be opening the track to the Top Gun Racing entry at 11:00 a.m. in order for him to complete his rookie orientation program, weather permitting.