INDIANAPOLIS — The annual morning practice session preceding Indianapolis 500 Time Trails was busier than most expected it to be this morning. Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi were surprising additions in a sense that most of the top cars elect to sit this practice out.
That’s because why risk tearing up your qualifying car just hours before you have to actually qualify? Also, conditions in the morning are much cooler than they’ll be later on when it counts, so you can get some false sense of comfort and data that won’t translate over to your four-lap run later in the day.
However, in the case for Dixon and Palou, they went out to run to this morning to shake down their new engines that were changed overnight.
Dixon was 10th on the four-lap average chart on Fast Friday (232.450 mph) while Palou was 11th (232.319 mph). By comparison, their teammates were 1st with Takuma Sato (233.413 mph) and 2nd with Marcus Ericsson (233.113 mph). That’s what sparked the overnight change and the morning practice run by each.
Dixon has won two straight poles here and going to try and become the first driver to win three straight poles for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Also, his next Indy 500 pole will tie him with Rick Mears for most all-time with six.
Dixon and Palou qualified 1-2 last year. Dixon’s four lap average on Saturday morning was 232.470 mph with Palou 232.823 mph.
The biggest story of the morning was that of Juncos Hollinger Racing. They elected after seven laps run on Friday to change cars for Callum Ilott. They could just never get his car dialed in as Ilott was uncomfortable in it. That dated back to the April test as well.
Team officials agreed that it was far to dangerous for him to try and qualify the primary, so they decided to change to Agustin Canapino’s car from the April test instead. It was a massive task to get the car ready, but they did so anyhow and not only was the No. 78 swapped over to the No. 77, it was ready for the 8:30 a.m. ET practice session.
Ilott never questioned the decision to do the swap because he knew if they didn’t, then they’d likely not be among the 33 car field next weekend. So why not swing for the fences instead. He turned 14 laps on Saturday morning with a top speed of 230.126 mph and a four-lap average of 224.893 mph.
In the actual session itself Tony Kanaan was quickest overall at 233.026 mph in his No. 66 Chevrolet. Kanaan’s top lap on Fast Friday was 233.097 mph.
In the first group, Kanaan, his teammate Alexander Rossi (232.904 mph), Dixon (232.470 mph), Herta (232.355 mph) and Harvey (229.363 mph) were the only takers.
In Group 2, Rossi (232.440 mph), Palou (232.823 mph), Kirkwood (232.615 mph), Daly (231.438 mph), DeFrancesco (230.653 mph) and Ilott (230.126 mph) turned laps.