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Power Leads Busy Opening Day of Practice; Penske Puts Three in Top Four

Will Power began official preparation for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in the same spot as he left “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” last May – on top.

Reigning race winner Power, from Toowoomba, Australia, led the opening day of practice Tuesday with a top lap of 229.745 mph in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet. His top lap came with the benefit of an aerodynamic tow under sunny skies and temperatures approaching 70 degrees on the 2.5-mile oval.

“All the big speeds came from big tows,” Power said. “What INDYCAR wanted Firestone to do with the tire is exactly what it has done, which is help that front work off the corner so you can follow closer, and you've just to obviously get your car to work around that.

“It's kind of hard to judge the true speeds of cars right now by themselves. You don't know what aero configuration people are running, whether they're doing qualifying sims or they're in race trim. We don't know where we stack up, honestly, as far as true speed.”

View Practice 1 Results

Simon Pagenaud, winner of the INDYCAR Grand Prix last Saturday, was second at 229.703 in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet to lead a Penske sweep of the top two spots. Three-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter was third at 228.653 in the No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet.

Team Penske put a third car in the top four, as three-time “500” winner Helio Castroneves was fourth at 228.441 in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet.

Colton Herta was the fastest rookie and top Honda-powered driver, rounding out the top five at 228.284 in the No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda. Herta’s day ended with a spin while exiting the pits in the “Happy Hour” final hour of practice, with no contact.

The return of sunshine and seasonal temperatures after five consecutive days of damp, chilly conditions spurred plenty of action Tuesday. All 36 drivers assigned to cars were on track, turning a total of 2,680 laps. Spencer Pigot was the busiest driver, turning 128 laps (320 miles) in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.

All rookies except for Patricio O’Ward completed the Rookie Orientation Program. O’Ward will attempt to finish the test Wednesday morning. All veterans requiring refresher tests also completed their requirements.

Practice continues from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday. Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying takes place Saturday and Sunday, with Race Day scheduled for Sunday, May 26.

Visit IMS.com to buy tickets and for more information on the Month of May schedule at IMS.

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