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INDIANAPOLIS — Scott Dixon led the way Wednesday on the second full day of Indy 500 practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But in his typically low-key style, the six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion wasn’t thumping his chest over being atop the speed chart.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver turned a 226.829 lap in his No. 9 Dallara-Honda to lead the six-hour session on the 2.5-mile oval.
Dixon was followed by the Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolets of Conor Daly (226.372) and Ed Carpenter (226.103). The Ganassi Hondas of Marcus Ericsson (226.007) and Tony Kanaan (225.774 in the No. 48 he shares with Jimmie Johnson) rounded out the top five.
WEDNESDAY SPEED CHART: Click here to view who was fastest on Day 2
COMBINED PRACTICE RESULTS: Top speeds through the first three sessions
It was the consecutive year that Scott Dixon, who led a race-high 111 laps and finished second last year at Indy, paced the second day of Indy 500 practice.
Dixon and Carpenter both expressed surprise that so many drivers made mock qualifying runs Wednesday in anticipation of qualifying sessions Saturday and Sunday.
That might have tempered Dixon’s assessment of his car (“I wouldn’t say we’re happy.”), especially with temperatures expected to spike this weekend and slow down the cars considerably on a slicker track.
“I felt I was a little more comfortable yesterday,” Dixon, who won the Indy 500 in 2008, told NBC Sports reporter Dillon Welch. “The track temperature was up today, but it doesn’t really much. I’ve seen some definitely competitive cars out there. As always, it’s going to be an extremely tough race. But happy the Ganassi cars are pretty fast.”
MONTH OF MAY SCHEDULE: When cars are on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Daly identified the Chevrolets of Team Penske as being “really good” but added that teams “still haven’t really let the horses run” with two more full days of practice (including a turbo boost Friday) before qualifying.
“We knew we were quick all day and worked on a lot of things we wanted and went deep into traffic and still feel OK,” Daly told Welch. “I had to lift for my best lap. Either way, the car’s awesome. If you’re fast every day, that means the car is fast. We’ve still got things to work through, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The top-five “non-tow” speeds (by cars that weren’t aided by a draft off another car) were turned by Alexander Rossi (221.114), Simon Pagenaud (221.037) Max Chilton (220.799) Ed Jones, Charlie Kimball, Pato O’Ward and JR Hildebrand.
Preparing to make his 16th Indy 500 start but his first (and perhaps only) IndyCar race this season, Marco Andretti was 10th fastest but seemed pessimistic about winning the pole position for the second consecutive season.
“We’ve been battling tire vibrations and just overall lack of speed,” Andretti told Welch. “The car is comfortable, and we’re doing as much as we can with it. Unfortunately, where we’re running now we’ll probably qualify midpack. The car is comfortable, we just need to find speed.
“It’s not always the fastest car that’s going to win. We’re not giving up by any means, it’s just qualifying might not be ideal.”
For the second consecutive day, there were no incidents in the session, which was interrupted twice by cautions (for a track inspection and later a 20-minute yellow for light rain)
The 105th Indy 500 will take place May 30 (NBC, 11 a.m. ET). Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Wednesday that Danica Patrick will lead the field to the green flag as the Corvette convertible pace car driver.