Day three of practice proved to be a much better day than the previous, day two being called off just a couple hours after it was scheduled to begin due to constant rain showers throughout the day. The weather today was partly cloudy, and the temperature in the mid-'60s which provided the perfect stage for track activity on day three.
The day started early with a press conference involving Dale Coyne, owner of Dale Coyne Racing, INDYCAR driver Conor Daly, and Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee.
“Today is a gigantic day in history. Jot this one down in the books,” proclaimed McAfee before announcing the formation of Shirts for America and his partnership with Dale Coyne Racing.
This new business venture of McAfee’s: primary sponsor for Daly’s car in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Daly shared in the excitement saying, “I think to raise money for veterans and military families is what the whole race weekend – the Indianapolis 500 race weekend – is all about. I’m a proud American. Pat is a tremendous American and we’re going to have a great time representing America for this whole month. I can’t thank him enough for coming on board.”
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Practice kicked off as scheduled at noon today. This wouldn’t be an incident-free practice session, as Spencer Pigot was the first driver involved in an accident in practice this year. Pigot lost control coming out of turn one and hit the wall on the short straight between turns 1 and 2.
“The car was feeling pretty good. I think we'd been making improvements. We'd just done our quickest lap, I think, the run before, so everything was feeling good. So not really sure what happened there, so we'll just have to go and look to see what caused the spin. It's obviously a big setback for me, for the team, obviously not what you want to happen on just the second day. Like I said, we'll just try to put everything back together and then pick up where we left off,” said Pigot after being cleared at the medical center.
Cars lifting into the air has been a concern in recent years in the track. Rossi’s car kept to the ground during the spin.
There were two other vehicle related yellows, involving Matthew Brabham, who stalled, and Mikhail Aleshin who had engine issues later in the afternoon. There were other yellow flag moments involving track inspections at various times throughout the afternoon.
The final 10 minutes of practice saw the most exciting action of the day, as several cars were driving single file around the track in speeds topping 220 mph. There were several passes taking place as well. Some spectators inside turn 2 commented that it had a late race feel. Cars looked to handle well in traffic today.
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As the session ended, it was again the Honda engines who saw the highest speeds in the practice session. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished the day at the top of the speed chart with a top speed of 228.202 mph. Will Power finished as the top Chevy in third on the speed charts with a speed of 227.733 mph.
Rossi, despite his accident earlier in the afternoon, finished the day as the top rookie on the speed chart with a top speed of 225.436 mph. He was closely followed by Max Chilton who finished with a top speed of 225.365. Spencer Pigot (223.667), Matthew Brabham (223.306), and Stefan Wilson (222.781) round out the rest of the rookie speeds.
After two practice sessions in the books, Marco Andretti remains on the top of the combined speed chart with 228.978 on Monday. While the top two spots in the month remain unchanged, Wednesday saw higher speeds overall throughout the field.