(Photo: Matt Fraver/INDYCAR)

Simon Pagenaud Leads Opening Day Of Indy 500 Practice

The first practices for next Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 were dominated by one organization: Team Penske. Both ends of the Indy 500 spectrum were represented here: a full-time driver seeking to redeem himself after an awful start and a part-time legend who’s seeking to make racing history.

2016 INDYCAR series champion Simon Pagenaud led the first practice session while his teammate, Helio Castroneves, paced the second. Combining both practices, Pagenaud had the highest speed with Castroneves finishing second.

“The (No.) 22 Menards car is looking really, really fast,” said Pagenaud. “It was a very productive day, so, yeah, (I) felt pretty happy. We obviously are still learning a lot about the aerodynamics of the car. It’s quite different to what we had the past few years. There’s still a lot to learn for everybody, I believe, but we’re on the right track.”

A 225.787 mph lap launched Pagenaud ahead during the first session while 224.665 mph put Castroneves on top during the second. The 225.787 mph lap kept Pagenaud leading the overall chart over 35 drivers who turned at least one lap during opening practices.

Ed Carpenter finished third in overall speed while Jay Howard and Scott Dixon rounded out the top five.

Marco Andretti finished sixth overall followed by Sage Karam. Charlie Kimball, Gabby Chaves, and Zach Veach.

INDY 500 COMBINED PRACTICE RESULTS

In between the two sessions Zachary Claman DeMelo, announced as the replacement for the injured Pietro Fittipaldi early Tuesday, was able to complete his Indy 500 rookie orientation. James Davison, Oriol Servia and Stefan Wilson were also able to complete their refresher programs.

ALLAWAY: DE MELO TAPPED FOR INDY 500 RIDE

The third practice of the week is slated for Wednesday (May 16) beginning at 11 a.m. ET. with a live stream available on RaceControl.IndyCar.com, youtube.com/indycar and the INDYCAR Mobile App.

Qualifying to determine the 33-car field takes place on Saturday and Sunday with ABC broadcasting from 4-6 p.m. ET.

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About Christian Koelle

Christian Koelle
Christian Koelle returns to Frontstretch in 2020 as the photo editor at Frontstretch. He will continue to contribute content in the ARCA Menards Series, Sioux Chief Challenge, and ARCA East & West Series. He is also engaged and will be getting married during the 2020 NASCAR off-season. His favorite tracks on the circuit include Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Bristol Motor Speedway. During the season, Christian also spends time as a photographer with multiple other outlets shooting Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Minor League & Major League Baseball, and NCAA Football.

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