Karam Tops 226 mph On Monday While SPM’s Long Month Continues With Robert Wickens Crash

INDIANAPOLIS – The post qualifying practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is turning into one of the best practice sessions for any series on any track in place in the world on any given day. When the Verizon IndyCar Series first added the practice session in 2014 it’s been a thrilling session every since.

Think about it. The only practice these 33 drivers are doing from now on are in race trim. They’ve already qualified. Plus, the practice session starts around the same time that the Indy 500 does (12:30 p.m ET) and ends around the same time the checkered flag will fly on Sunday too (4 p.m. ET). It’s a true race practice. 

With the annual Carb Day practice being only an hour in length and run to completion before Noon, that final 60 minute practice isn’t enough time nor ideal conditions to be still dialing in your car for race day. That’s why 2,256 laps were turned in Monday’s session. It was constant action all day long with at times the traffic being so much on the famed 2.5-mile track that it looked like race day.

Towards the end, a 20+ car group was running nose to tail all simulating what their cars would do on race day. While speed isn’t the end goal on a race practice, it’s still good to end up near the top of the speed charts.

Sage Karam topped 226 mph in his No. 24 Chevrolet with a flying lap of 226.461 mph on Monday. It’s good to find that speed for him, as he starts back in 24th on Sunday.

Tony Kanaan put in a late practice flier, circling the track with a speed of 225.123 mph in his No. 14 Chevrolet. Kanaan, was in the top six in three straight practice sessions now.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was third quick in his No. 28 Honda (224.820 mph) while Charlie Kimball (224.582 mph) and Alexander Rossi (224.507 mph) rounded out the top five.

In qualifying, it appeared that Chevrolet would be the ones to beat for the race, but Honda’s have proven to have equal race pace with the bowties. There were five Chevy drivers and five Honda drivers in the top 10 of the final speed charts on Monday.

Speaking of Honda, one of their teams saw their struggling month continue when Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Robert Wickens crashed hard on the backstretch. Wickens, scrapped the SAFER barrier at the exit of Turn 2 which the contact appeared to cut down his right rear tire. The damage sent his car breaking to the right towards the middle of the 5/8-mile backstretch and hard into the outside wall.

Two days ago, Wickens’ teammate James Hinchcliffe failed to make the field for the May 27 race.

Monday’s Practice Results

  1. 24 Karam 226.461
  2. 14 Kanaan 225.123
  3. 28 Hunter-Reay 224.820
  4. 23 Kimball 224.582
  5. 27 Rossi 224.507
  6. 12 Power 224.445
  7.  3 Castroneves 224.368
  8. 98 Andretti 224.148
  9. 19 Claman DeMelo R 224.091
  10.  9 Dixon 223.966
  11. 18 Bourdais 223.750
  12. 25 Wilson 223.714
  13. 32 Kaiser R 223.667
  14. 20 Carpenter 223.573
  15. 66 Hildebrand 223.244
  16. 29 Munoz 223.218
  17. 15 Rahal 223.119
  18.  4 Leist R 222.964
  19. 13 Patrick 222.926
  20. 88 Chaves 222.884
  21. 60 Harvey 222.861
  22.  7 Howard 222.795
  23. 30 Sato 222.577
  24. 26 Veach 222.400
  25.  6 Wickens R 222.325
  26. 10 Jones 222.268
  27. 21 Pigot 222.076
  28.  1 Newgarden 221.982
  29. 59 Chilton 221.904
  30. 33 Davison 221.603
  31. 64 Servia 221.580
  32. 17 Daly 221.226
  33. 22 Pagenaud 220.902

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