Palou
Alex Palou continues to show speed in the No. 10 Honda. (Penske Entertainment/ Matt Fraver)

Ganassi Cars Top Practice Again At Indy

INDIANAPOLIS – The two-hour practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway looked similar to every day cars have been on the 2.5-mile oval since the track opened one week ago.

The Chip Ganassi Racing cars are on top.

On Monday, however, the top two drivers flipped their positions form Sunday’s pole qualifications. Alex Palou, who qualified second on Sunday, had Monday’s fastest lap at 229.441 miles per hour in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda. Scott Dixon, who won his fifth career Indy 500 pole, was second at 229.000 mph.

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The 33 drivers pose with the Borg-Warner trophy. (Mike Levitt Photo)

Click here for the full results.

Palou ran 31 laps and Dixon 32.

“We went back to race trim like everybody and went back to race engine,” Palou said. “It’s the first time I’ve been P1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I’m so happy about that. The NTT DATA Honda is super quick.

“There is still room for improvement as always, especially running in traffic. Hopefully, we can tune-in a little more for Carb Day and get ready to go racing.”

Another CGR driver, Indy 500 rookie Jimmie Johnson, was third at 228.467 mph in the No. 48 Carvana/American Legion Honda. Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, ran 67 laps.

“Great start to the week, nice to get back into race trim and get a sense of the car,” Johnson said. “Things keep changing. The track keeps evolving. It was nice to work through some changes and try to find neutral in the car again by myself, then put up some good lap times and competitive passes over other cars.

“Small little gains each time I’m out there. I’m learning a little bit more and putting a better race car under myself each time I’m out there.”

500winners
Former Indy 500 winners pose with the Borg-Warner trophy. (Mike Levitt Photo)

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato ran the most laps of any driver on Monday with 106. His fastest lap was 228.381 mph in the No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda – good enough for fourth place.

A fourth Ganassi driver rounded out the top five. It was Marcus Ericsson, with a fast lap at 228.017 mph. He completed 38 laps.

The team’s fifth driver is 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2004 IndyCar champion Tony Kanaan. He was 22nd out of 33 drivers with a fast lap at 224.517 mph in the No. 1 American Legion Honda.

Dalton Kellett of A.J. Foyt Racing had the first big crash since the track opened for the 106th Indianapolis 500 on Tuesday, May 17.

With 33 minutes left in the session, Kellett’s No. 4 Chevrolet for A.J. Foyt Racing pounded the turn 1 wall backwards. The car lifted off the ground on initial impact before landing on its wheels.

Kellett was treated and released from the IU Heath Infield Care Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kellett’s car was treated, but not released from the AJ Foyt garage area in Gasoline Alley as the crew began the arduous process of repairing the damage.

Prior to that, Kellett had run six laps with a fast lap of 222.856 mph.

“Given the angle that it was, it didn’t feel that bad,” Kellett said. “I hit pretty hard, so I’m a little sore but they gave me an X-ray, and everything looked alright. From a mechanics’ standpoint, they’ll have to put the car back together so it will be a bit longer couple of days than it would have been, but we’ve got a good race car and I know come Sunday we’ll be ready to go.”

Kellett was near Romain Grosjean when the incident happened.

“I looked at the sequence of events on the replay, but I can’t tell 100 percent, but from my perspective,” Kellett said. “He was on the outside and I thought he would slot in behind, but he stayed in it. That’s fair, I’m the passing car, but it’s also practice.

“That’s the best I could do.”

All 33 drivers in the starting field participated in the session, which featured plenty of traffic. The field combined to turn 2,602 laps in just two hours, with Sato leading the laps completed column with 106.