By: Spencer Neff
August 13, 2020
After a relatively uneventful day to open the on-track action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the action picked up during Thursday practice. With the six and a half-hour session being the last practice before Carb Day with race-day boost levels, here were some of the headlines from the day.
- After Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe led the way yesterday, 2008 winner Scott Dixon topped the charts for the second practice. With a best lap of 226.102 (39.805), the Chip Ganassi Racing driver took the top spot. In addition, 2017 winner Takuma Sato, 2006 Rookie of the Year Marco Andretti and local favorite Connor Daly topped 225 mph. In all, seven cars topped Hinchcliffe’s speed from yesterday.
- In the waning hours of practice, Arrow McLaren SP’s Fernando Alonso smacked the Turn 4 wall before skidding to a stop on pit lane. Fortunately for the 2017 Rookie of the Year, the damage appeared to largely be cosmetic. Going into qualifying weekend, it will be worth watching how aggressive Alonso and AMSP are given today’s incident.
- Much has been made about the impending boost increase for the weekend, with an additional 80 horsepower expected. Prior to Opening Day, speculation began that speeds could be in excess of 230 mph. However, given the added weight from the aeroscreen and lack of Bump Day pressure, I do not expect the pole speed to be above the 227-228 range. However, this is from someone without the engineering prowess of the NTT IndyCar Series, so take that with a grain of salt.
- Despite receiving extra time yesterday and today, DragonSpeed and driver Ben Hanley have been unable to complete their refresher program. The team’s efforts since their 2019 debut have been valiant, particularly how they’ve gone from a sports car race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium to their “500” prep in a matter of days this time around. However, electronic gremlins have crept up and held the team back so far.
- In terms of qualifying, Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey was fastest, besting Alexander Rossi’s lap from Wednesday with a speed of 222.123 mph. So far, no other driver has eclipsed 222 mph. With the increased boost for “Fast Friday” on the way, that mark will be toppled early on.
Lastly, we offer our condolences to the friends and family of Don Edmunds. The 1957 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year passed away on Wednesday.
Thank You for stopping by IndyCar1909. Look for more coverage tomorrow after Fast Friday, including my picks for the starting lineup.
Header Image By Chris Jones/IMS Media