In the fourth day of testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it would once again be an Andretti Autosport driver topping the charts. James Hinchcliffe would take his turn at the top of the charts with a speed of 224.210 mph. Though he didn’t make that lap in his own car – he was driving his teammate Marco Andretti’s car.
“Marco (Andretti) is pretty angry with me now,” Hinchcliffe commented afterwards. “Not only did I rock a big tow, which he is famous for, but I did it in his car, so “Marco Tow-dretti” is pretty upset with me now. It’s good to be up there, but at the end of the day, those numbers don’t mean a lot right now. It’s about the work you do on the race car and making sure the No. 27 GoDaddy car is going to be good not only on one lap, but over 200 (laps).”
Hinchcliffe joked that he was driving Andretti’s No 25 RC Cola DW-12 Chassis to see how he looked in red and blue.
“There are some things we wanted to see and suss out, and that’s the way to do it,” he added. “It’s not uncommon. Guys have done it in the past — especially this team. I think TK (Tony Kanaan) drove every single car on the team at some point during the month. It’s standard procedure to feel a couple of things out.”
J.R. Hildebrand would time in second fastest behind the wheel of his Panther Racing Indy Car, 0.1001 seconds off of Hinchcliffe.
“With the qualifying situation and the added boost for Friday and Saturday, you see a lot of race running these first few days,” Hildebrand commented. “Besides trying to make the No. 4 National Guard car better and head into Thursday and Friday with some idea of what’s going to happen when you qualify, we spent the entire day running around in some form of traffic. We weren’t trying to put big laps up. We’re trying to understand how the car works behind one car, two cars, three cars, four cars, different speed of cars. It was nice at the end of the day to join the Andretti tow battle that was going on. At the end of the day, you want to figure out how your car is going to work with other cars that you might be able to race with. That’s where the speed comes from, and that’s where the focus is going to be today and tomorrow.”
Andretti timed in third behind the wheel of his own car after taking his teammate’s car out for a couple of laps.
“I think today went well. I’m quite pleased with how things are going for us so far,” Andretti commented. “Working with the car in the heat of the day can be challenging, but we made a lot of progress to get where we are. We are going to continue to look at things and try to be faster by Race Day.”
Of the four days of testing, Andretti holds the quickest time across them with a speed of 225.100 mph from yesterday. Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves is second, followed by Andretti’s teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe’s lap from today and Penske Racing’s Will Power.
Castroneves was fourth on today’s charts with Hunter-Reay in fifth.
“It was another good day today for the Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Chevrolet,” Castroneves commented. “We feel we’ve identified the places where we can improve and so now we have to continue working. Finishing near the top yesterday and today shows we hopefully have the consistency that it takes to win the race in the end.”
“It’s certainly getting interesting now with the heat and the wind,” Hunter-Reay said. “Conditions are changing every day, so it’s keeping the team on our toes, and we’re just trying a lot of different settings now. We have five cars, so we have a lot of options, and I think as we work through the week, we’ll work ourselves into a good car. But it’s a work in progress.”
Also, Connor Daly completed the Rookie orientation program and is cleared to start the Indianapolis 500. He joins A.J. Allmendinger, Carlos Munoz, Tristan Vautier and Kurt Busch as drivers to complete the program this month.
“Today was good,” Daly commented. “We upped our personal-best speed. We also made some setup changes so that I could feel what it did to the car. At the end, I got to run with Bia (Ana Beatriz) and feel what that was like to run close to a car. Slowly but surely gaining experience.”
A total of 42 cars are at the Speedway, with 41 passing technical inspection. Thirty-two drivers have been on the track to date and turned 2,226 laps today and 5,235 laps this month.
Practice will continue tomorrow as teams continue to work towards the Indianapolis 500.