3-time Indy 500 winner Franchitti tops speed chart
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti topped the speed chart Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, turning a lap at an average of 224.236 mph in the fifth practice session for the May 26 race.
“It doesn’t really count for much, but it’s nice nonetheless,” said Franchitti, the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver who will be 40 on Sunday.
“Right now we’re still very much in the preparation stage, making changes to the car. Sometimes doing one and two lap runs. We had a pretty tough morning there and made some big changes to the Target car in the afternoon. We went out there with some of the Andretti guys and my teammates. ... Some other guys involved in a pack and really the lap time came from being in the right place at the right time.”
Franchitti is trying to match the race record of four victories held by A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears.
Panther Racing’s Townsend Bell was second at 223.716, followed by Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves at 223.699 in windy and warm conditions.
Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti remained first overall through the first sessions with a lap at 225.100 in the third practice. Castroneves was second at 225.075, also during the third session.
Franchitti explained the benefits of long pack runs during practice.
“If you get the car close enough, and you can go and do that, definitely that’s something that prepares you for the race,” Franchitti said. “If you have the luxury to be able to do that, that’s good. We did a couple yesterday, we felt bad. We completely changed the car today and are feeling a bit happier again.”