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Newgarden Keeps Penske on Top Spot | Alonso, Rosenqvist OK after Crashes

Josef Newgarden drove Team Penske atop the speed chart in practice for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for the second consecutive day.

2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion Newgarden, from Nashville, Tennessee, led with a top lap of 228.856 mph in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet. His teammate and 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power led the opening day of practice Tuesday at 229.745.

“We're just trying to work through our program,” Newgarden said. “I think we need to be a bit better in traffic. Still trying to figure out exactly what we need on the race car. That was kind of our focus today. We didn't really do much qualifying sims or anything like that.

“We're trucking forward. I think the Shell car feels OK. It's not a bad start. I'm trying to stay careful with it. I always try and respect this place at the beginning. I never try and push until it's time. Just you've always got to watch your back around here. She's a tough place at a lot of moments.”

2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon was second today at 228.835 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Spencer Pigot was third at 228.658 in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet.

Indianapolis 500 rookie Santino Ferrucci was fourth at 228.561 in the No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five at 228.441 in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet.

Traffic was even heavier today than on a busy opening day.

All 36 drivers assigned to cars for this event were on track and combined to turn 3,219 laps, often circling the 2.5-mile oval in dense packs to gain an aerodynamic tow and develop race traffic car setups. Rookie Jordan King turned 132 laps (330 miles) in the No. 42 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, more than any other driver.

Traffic also played a role in separate accidents this afternoon for two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso and Indianapolis 500 rookie Felix Rosenqvist. Both were unhurt.

Alonso, from Spain, hit the SAFER Barrier three times in his incident while trailing another car at 12:35 p.m. in the No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet. His car understeered into the barrier in Turn 3, spin across the track and made rear contact with the inside SAFER Barrier in the short chute between Turns 3 and 4 and brushed the outside SAFER Barrier again in Turn 3. His car was heavily damaged.

Rosenqvist, from Sweden, did a full spin in Turn 2 in the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda at 5:02 p.m. while trailing close behind rookie Colton Herta. He hit the outside SAFER Barrier before sliding across the track – narrowly missing the trailing and evading Power -- and making secondary contact with the tire barrier at the inside of the corner. His car was heavily damaged, and the Chip Ganassi Racing crew began to prepare his backup car in Gasoline Alley.

Ben Hanley and Patricio O’Ward completed the Rookie Orientation Program, so all 36 drivers are cleared to participate in all on-track sessions.

Practice continues from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday. 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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