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Andretti Tops 227 as Heavy Traffic Fills IMS Oval during Indianapolis 500 Practice

Marco Andretti found the fast way through a traffic jam Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, becoming the first driver to top 227 mph on a hectic practice day for the 102nd Indianapolis 500.

Andretti led the field at 227.053 mph in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda during a seven-hour session in which 35 drivers combined to turn 3,349 laps (8,372.5 miles). Andretti’s strong performance continued a speedy trend for him during the first two days of practice, as he was sixth Tuesday on Opening Day at 224.217.

“Still early days,” Andretti said. “But checking off the boxes right now. A lot of test items. We got through a ton of stuff, actually, today. It was a pretty productive day. We got the car to almost there in traffic. We're not there yet. But I'm sure everybody's dealing with a similar thing.”

2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon was second fastest at 226.329 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Reigning race winner Takuma Sato was third at 226.108 in the No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda.

Rookie Robert Wickens was fourth at 226.086 in the No. 5 Lucas Oil SPM Honda.

Honda drivers seized the top four spots, a rebound for the manufacturer after Chevrolet swept the top three places Tuesday.

Charlie Kimball rounded out the top five as the fastest Chevrolet driver, 225.887, in the No. 23 Fiasp Chevrolet.

Plenty of mystery remains with two days of practice remaining before Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, with few trends detectable after two days of practice with cars featuring sleek new universal aero kits.

Chevrolet-powered drivers ruled the top of the speed chart Tuesday, with Honda turning the tables Wednesday. All of the top speeds have been recorded with the benefit of an aerodynamic tow from leading cars, which won’t be present during single-car qualifying this weekend.

2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan was the fastest driver Wednesday without a tow, at 223.048 in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.

Speeds are guaranteed to climb during qualifying, as more turbocharger boost is added to the engines and teams trim their aerodynamics to razor-thin margins of control.

“I think you might be 228, 229 for pole, I don't know, without a tow,” Andretti said. “The difference the tow makes this year is huge. You run alone at 221, then you pick up a little tow, and 227.

“You're not going to have that in qualifying, so... But you'll have the boost. It will probably be pretty close.”

Practice resumes for all drivers from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday. Bump Day is set for Saturday, with Pole Day on Sunday.


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