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2010 Indy - Day 2
Photo by Brady Whitesel,
Photo by Brady Whitesel,
May 17th 2010 - Castroneves Continues to Lead Indy Speed Chart

By: Mark W. Theisen

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA May 16, 2010: The speeds escalated today from Saturday but it was still defending and three time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves on the top of the list as day two of practice and rookie orientation concluded at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Castroneves, in his red and black Penske Racing Indy Racing League car, ended the day with quick lap of 227.046 miles-per-hour to be the only driver to crack the 227 threshold thus far.

Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti swapped places today with Dixon taking the number two spot at 226.202 and Franchitti dropping to third with 226.044. Both Dixon and Franchitti’s speeds today were slower than those posted yesterday.

Ironically the fastest three drivers are all previous winners of the 500 and that just proves the long preached theory that practice and experience are the keys to winning at Indy and these three have that.

The other former winner of the 500 entered this year, Dan Wheldon, who was fourth in practice on Saturday, became the fist driver to have contact with the wall this month when he hit the outside retaining wall exiting Turn Four. Wheldon sustained a bruised foot in the accident but was expected to be back practicing tomorrow

All seven rookies entered in the 500 this year: Takuma Sato, Ana Beatriz, Sebastian Saavedra, Mario Romancini, Bertrand Baguette, Jay Howard, and Simona de Silvestro completed all four phases of the Rookie Orientation Program this afternoon and were cleared to practice at full speeds and qualify for the race next weekend. Before the end of the Day Romancini would log 117 laps around the track as he tries and bring his car up to speed and get familiar with the track all at the same time.

Thirty-six cars cleared inspection and 36 drivers have been on the track thus for the first two days pf practice as small rain showers moved in and out today but did not disrupt the flow of things at the track.

Practice continues the next five days leading up to next Saturday’s first day of qualifying that will included the fastest 9 of 24 cars qualified on Saturday that will have a special “dash” for the pole with the winner taking a prize of $175,000 to go along with the coveted number one starting position in the race. The dash takes place at 4:30 P.M. next Saturday and is a marked change from how things were done here in the past, a change that has garnered a lot of attention. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.