Andretti Leads Honda 1-2 Result as Indianapolis 500 Practice Begins
- Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon head time sheets on first practice day
- Fernando Alonso leads rookie session
- Monday the first of five practice days prior to Indianapolis 500 qualifying this weekend
As he did in 2016, Marco Andretti led the way for Honda and his Andretti Autosport team in Opening Day practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Monday, in preparation for the May 28 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.
Scott Dixon made it a 1-2 result for Honda drivers on a warm, sunny day that saw 32 drivers take to the track during the four-hour session. Speeds rose during the final “happy hour” of practice, as more than a dozen drivers worked in the draft in preparation for race day. When the checkers flew at 6 p.m. to end practice, Honda drivers held down eight of the top 10 positions on the time sheet.
In the two-hour rookie practice that opened the day, two-time Formula One World Champion and McLaren Honda driver Fernando Alonso led the four first-year “500” drivers entered in this year’s race, and topped the rookie charts at the end of the full-field practice, 19th overall.
In the only incident Monday, rookie Jack Harvey made minor contact with the wall after an apparent mechanical issue resulted in a loss of steering. He was not injured, and is expected to return to the track tomorrow for Tuesday’s six-hour practice session.
Practice activities continue through Friday, with qualifying action to set the field of 33 on the historic 2.5-mile oval scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Marco Andretti (#27 Andretti Autosport Honda) fastest in Indy 500 Opening Day Practice: “Yeah, I mean, it’s important [to lead the practice times]. I mean, speed is always good. That’s the first thing you always want here, because then you can really put more focus on just getting a comfortable race car, which is obviously my plan the rest of the week. They give points for qualifying now, so we can’t just totally ignore it, but my goal is to win the race. But like I said, it’s good to know that we’re rolling off with some sort of speed. From there, we just need some comfort.
Fernando Alonso (#29 Andretti Autosport Honda): led rookie field in practice Monday: It was a good day. I was a little bit concerned about the conditions, about the temperature, much hotter today than the test we did here on [May] third. But the car felt good, as good as in the test. I was able to make some setup changes without losing the confidence in the car. Everything went very smooth. Not much running in traffic, so that is still the thing that I need to go through in the next couple of days. That is something we need to chase tomorrow in the program. But I did two or three laps behind some cars that were going out of pit lane, and it was good fun, so I’m looking forward to learning more.”