Wheldon breaks 230mph barrier at Indy

Britain's Dan Wheldon became the first man to top the 230mph barrier in practice for the 87th Indianapolis 500, the Andretti Green Racing driver lapping the speedway at 231.108 mph on Tuesday

Wheldon breaks 230mph barrier at Indy

Led by Wheldon, several drivers erased high-water marks from the previous two days of practice. With a threat of rain the next three days - the final three days before Saturday's pole qualifying - most teams concentrated on race set-ups in the afternoon.

Wheldon, the fourth man in Andretti Green Racing's four-man lineup, hit 231.108mph just 22 minutes after the track opened Tuesday morning.

"This was just the third day of a long month," said Wheldon. "I really doesn't mean too much. It just happened. The boss [Michael Andretti] led me around for a lap and made me faster."

It was the first time Honda had topped Toyota in their battle for early speed at Indy. Following Wheldon's Honda were Toyotas driven by Gil de Ferran, Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon. In just his third day back in the car since recovering from head and back injuries in a crash at Phoenix, de Ferran was at full throttle minutes into Tuesday's session. His lap of 230.873mph was second only to Wheldon.

De Ferran and Marlboro Team Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves both tested G Forces and Dallaras throughout Tuesday's session. After de Ferran's 229.997mph lap in the G Force nine minutes into the session, he topped it by becoming one of six drivers to top 230 mph.

Both Penske drivers then spent the afternoon on full-tank runs. Penske said it's possible that he would enter one of each chassis, depending on driver and crew preference.

"I'm not worried about what name is on the car," team owner Roger Penske said. "I'm worried about what name is on the trophy."

Tony Kanaan also returned to the track on Tuesday, a day after doctors cleared him. He performed as expected, reaching a top speed of 229.894 mph, the seventh-fastest lap of the day. Kanaan is recovering from broken bones in his left wrist, the result of a wreck during the final laps of the Indy Japan 300 last month at Twin Ring Motegi.

Cars are scheduled to continue practice today (Wednesday). Pole qualifying is scheduled for Saturday, with the race set for May 25.

Shigeaki Hattori was the first driver to crash during the first three days of practice. Hattori hit the wall nose-first after his car spun in the short chute between turns one and two. Hattori was taken to Methodist Hospital with concussion and a broken finger on his left hand.

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