Rahal Quickest On Day 3, Hildebrand Taps Wall In Happy Hour

INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, Graham Rahal was found towards the bottom of the Verizon IndyCar Series speed chart at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for practice in preparation for next Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network). He was 34th out of 35 cars to be exact. But, in Thursday’s seven hour session, the Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing driver improved 33 spots.

That’s right, Rahal led the way in Day 3 of Indy 500 practice on Thursday. 

Rahal, turned a top speed of 226.047 mph in his No. 15 Honda to end the day P1. That lap was turned very early on in the day, as the for the second straight day, the quickest lap of the afternoon was turned in the opening few hours of practice.

Despite that lap, Rahal is a bit frustrated that he didn’t get a qualifying simulation run this afternoon.

“Today was definitely a better day, for sure,” said Rahal at the end of the day. “From the get-go, I knew that yesterday we didn’t put in any effort to actually put in a decent lap. I found myself all day yesterday in the middle of the pack. It’s impossible to put up a number from that position. Then, clearly everybody starts questioning, worried, this and that, so there was a lot of reason and motivation to go and try to put together a decent one today. It was obviously our second lap. I went out, I was trying to do a qualifying simulation. I just went out, a bunch of guys came out. Stefan Wilson came out in front of me. He was at the end of the back straight as I was going out of Turn 2. I thought, ‘For once I’m just going to do this, just stay in it.’ Not normally my MO, but I thought I might as well put a good one up there, at least lower my dad’s blood pressure for the night, Lanigan and everybody. It was a solid run. We tried another qualifying sim. Every qualifying sim I did today, everybody came out in front of me. I didn’t get a qual sim today. Not a single one. Hopefully Mother Nature will be nice to us tomorrow. The good thing about that is we didn’t use very many tires today. A lot of other guys did. We should be pretty tire rich tomorrow if we need to go after it. We’ll see how it goes.”

Tony Kanaan was second in his No. 14 Chevrolet turning in a lap of 225.896 mph. Kanaan, has not only had great speed in a draft, but he’s also had very good speeds in the no tow chart too. Wednesday’s fast man in Marco Andretti was third overall on Wednesday with a speed of 225.584 mph in his No. 98 Honda. Ed Carpenter (225.093 mph) and Sage Karam (224.920 mph) rounded out the top five in being fourth and fifth respectively.

Kanaan, Andretti and Carpenter have all been found near the top of the speed charts all week.

“We’re getting better in race trim, which I’m happy with,” said Andretti. “I’m not completely pleased with the outright car speed – I think we’re running flat at almost three-quarters of a mile slower than (Alexander) Rossi. We’re going to try to squeeze whatever we can out of this U.S. Concrete car to make the Fast Nine – that’s where we’re at speed-wise. We’re just going to keep chipping away at the race car and keep getting happier.”

We also saw the first incident of the month on Thursday too. JR Hildebrand got loose and lightly got into the Turn 3 SAFER barrier in his No. 66 Chevrolet at the end of the day in Happy Hour. His car wasn’t damaged very much and they should be fine for Fast Friday.

Day 3 Practice Results

  1. 15 Rahal 226.047
  2. 14 Kanaan 225.896
  3. 98 Andretti 225.584
  4. 20 Carpenter 225.093
  5. 24 Karam 224.920
  6.  1 Newgarden 224.713
  7. 19 Claman DeMelo R 224.665
  8.  3 Castroneves 224.575
  9. 21 Pigot 224.251
  10. 88 Chaves 224.180
  11. 22 Pagenaud 224.158
  12.  9 Dixon 223.973
  13. 12 Power 223.971
  14.  4 Leist R 223.746
  15. 18 Bourdais 223.691
  16. 64 Servia 223.641
  17.  7 Howard 223.606
  18. 60 Harvey 223.556
  19. 10 Jones 223.379
  20. 66 Hildebrand 223.351
  21. 23 Kimball 223.324
  22. 27 Rossi 222.979
  23. 29 Munoz 222.978
  24.  6 Wickens R 222.886
  25. 32 Kaiser R 222.760
  26. 28 Hunter-Reay 222.716
  27. 59 Chilton 222.667
  28. 25 Wilson 222.396
  29. 33 Davison 222.283
  30. 13 Patrick 222.216
  31.  5 Hinchcliffe 222.157
  32. 63 Mann 222.114
  33. 30 Sato 221.776
  34. 17 Daly 221.583
  35. 26 Veach 221.343

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