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Practice report
IndyCar Indy 500

Indy 500: Palou leads Ganassi 1-2-3 in practice as Kellett crashes

Alex Palou headed a Chip Ganassi Racing 1-2-3 in the final practice session before Carb Day ahead of team-mates Scott Dixon and Jimmie Johnson, while Dalton Kellett suffered the first shunt of the month.

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Full-time entries now have their race engines installed, and for the first time this week, cars were pitting off Turn 4 rather than the deceleration lane. This caused a couple of issues, JR Hildebrand locking up the front wheels of his AJ Foyt Racing on pit entry and Christian Lundgaard locking the rears of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan, while Takuma Sato had an alarming wriggle in his Dale Coyne Racing with RWR.

A weirder pitlane incident occurred when Scott McLaughlin spun his Team Penske as he was leaving his pitbox, but thankfully without making any serious contact.

But Dalton Kellett endured the biggest shunt of the session for AJ Foyt Racing in which he got high to go around Romain Grosjean’s slow Andretti Autosport car, and his own car snapped into the wall.

Front-row starter Alex Palou and polesitter Scott Dixon delivered a 1-2 initially, with best laps of 229.441mph and 229.000mph respectively, while ever more impressive rookie Jimmie Johnson joined his team-mates in the top three.

Behind them came two-time winner Sato in the Dale Coyne Racing with RWR, ahead of Marcus Ericsson (Ganassi), Josef Newgarden (Penske) and Conor Daly (Ed Carpenter Racing). Sato also completed the most laps with 106.

Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Takuma Sato, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Cars that looked stable enough to follow closely in traffic and therefore pull off – aside from the Ganassi quintet – included Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport, who could come from fifth or sixth in a pack and pick off cars on consecutive laps. This is promising for the 2016 Indy 500 winner, as he will have to climb from 20th on the grid on Sunday.

Another car that looked very sharp and comfortable to drive was the Juncos Hollinger Racing of Callum Ilott, which carried out several passes, as the rookie did appear to be getting slightly carried away when he backed out of a late inside pass on 2018 winner Will Power and had to go down almost to the grass to avoid running into the Penske, but he kept it together and was unharmed.

Most cars that ran second in a pack seemed easily able to complete a pass long before Turns 1 and 3. The caveat is that the air was cool and compared to the expected ambient temperature on Sunday which is currently forecast to be anywhere between much higher.

 

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