Dale Coyne Racing’s Gabby Chaves who only secured a drive for the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil just over two weeks ago timed the time-sheets on day 4 of practice ahead of qualifying this weekend for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chaves commented by saying:
It’s only practice, but it feels pretty good. It’s my first time at the top of the charts here at IMS in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Just pleased with the work the team has been doing. Very pleased with the performance that Honda has been putting out, as well. Overall I think we’ve got a pretty strong package.
It was another great day for Andretti Autosport as Townsend Bell in the No.29 Honda was second fastest while Carlos Munoz was third fastest in the No.26 Honda completing 108 laps. Bell commented by saying:
Obviously (we) had a nice tow this morning, but worked a lot on race setup all day and made a lot of gains. Really proud of my team of guys that have come together to support this fifth car one-off entry with Andretti, and also really thankful to be part of a five-car program where there’s so much information to learn and reanalyze what I do and all of that. Also the chance to run with them in traffic repeatedly is, I think, helping me a lot.
Conor Daly in the No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda was fourth fastest making it four Honda powered cars in the top 4.
Charlie Kimball in the No.42 Tresiba® Chevrolet was fifth fastest just ahead of the 2015 Indianapolis 500 champion and Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg winner Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Kimball commented by saying:
Yeah, I think we’re pretty good. The No. 42 has been decent. It’s kind of weird saying the No. 42 rather than the No. 83, but the No. 42 has been pretty good in traffic, and we worked a lot on the race car today. I think at the moment it’s pretty tough. The conditions were fairly good. The weather was nice, the wind not terrible, but I think we’re fighting from a little bit of a hole here.
Speaking following the session Montoya stated:
The Verizon Chevy ran well today. We had a little bit of a problem there earlier, but we made some changes and were able to make progress towards the end of practice. We’re getting up to speed, ending practice much faster than we did previously. Honestly, I’m very happy with where we’re going right now.
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 Target Chevrolet was seventh fastest while Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet was eighth fastest while Marco Andretti in the No.27 Snapple Honda Andretti Autosport ended the session in ninth place.
Speaking following the session, Dixon stated:
We were better today with the Target car. We ran some of last year’s stuff, or close to it, and the car was much better overall. We did some race running and then some qualifying running. Overall in the laps for outright speed we were around second or third so we’re happy with that.
Helio Castroneves commented by saying:
It was another good and productive day for the Pennzoil Chevy crew. We were working on race setup. We haven’t even touched the qualifying setup. Tomorrow is a new game, though. We’re going to have more boost. Everybody is going to have more boost. So, speeds are going to increase and looking forward to focusing on qualifying tomorrow.
Marco Andretti commented by saying:
The benefit of a long practice week at Indy is that we have the opportunity to work on things in a few different way. We can focus on qualifying, the race, running in traffic, running alone – and that’s what we’re going through now. We spent some time today just checking off boxes in all areas.
Pippa Mann in the No.63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda capped off a great day for the team as she rounded out the top ten. Speaking following the session she stated:
We’ve been working really hard on our race car. Last year we had a really good car until I made a mistake and smashed it into a million pieces, which is not recommended at all. We’ve got a great team here – we’ve got a strong team of four cars. We’re all learning off one another and we’re working really hard with our cars. And so far we seem to be going in the right direction with them.
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda ended the session in 11th place and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
I had a pretty decent day going – working through race setups and running in lots of traffic. I was pretty happy with the car for the most part. We had a mechanical issue as we were getting ready to start another traffic run, and it’s unfortunate because we had a pretty quick DHL race car going.
Mikhail Aleshin was 12th fastest for the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport’s Honda team while Alex Tagliani for AJ Foyt Racing was 13th fastest and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
“Again, we made some progress today. Changes that we made continue to improve the car quite a bit. In traffic, the car seemed to be racier. We did an evaluation of the car at various points on our own, with heavy fuel tanks, running with massive packs of cars in front of us, then less. I think we’re in the ballpark; the car has really good potential. There are a few things I’d really like to see from the car for race conditions. It’s the best day we’ve had so far even though we didn’t run many laps. I’m really happy the guys kept working at it, and avoided some issues and missteps we had this morning. Everybody kept their head down to salvage a good day.
Mikhail Aleshin commented by saying:
Practice was good today. I think all the SPM teams were really competitive and I think we found a good point to start from in the No. 7 DOOM/SMP Racing car. The weather looks like it will be the same tomorrow and it will be a new day. Hopefully we’ll get to practice some more with the boost and go to the top of the chart.”
Jame Hinchcliffe commented by saying:
Today was another productive day in the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car. We checked a lot of things off the list. We got a little bit lost near the end of the day but then right at the end, the guys made a great change to the car and it really came alive. We’re slowly getting a handle on the car in race trim and tomorrow we’re switching gears to get ready for Fast Friday, and trimming this thing out for qualifying.
Oriol Servia commented by saying:
Today we accomplished what we wanted, which was to do lots of laps. On Tuesday it was raining and yesterday we did a long change, so we didn’t get to run much. Today, we evaluated a lot of things and we gave the engineers what they were asking for: a lot of data. Now they need to look at it and see which combination works best. I was quite happy with the No. 77 Jahia/Lucas Oil car at some times of the day. Some others, not so much. This car is very temperamental in the wind and it was windy today, so some moments were a little difficult. I’m quite happy, though. I think Honda is doing a great job. I think we have the speed that we asked for from them and we still have a few days to figure out the perfect setup.