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Indy 500: Newgarden top, Alesi passes ROP

Josef Newgarden continued to be one of the stars of practice for the 2012 Indianapolis 500, topping the times on Monday by being the first man to record a lap over 222mph.
To lead one Indianapolis 500 practice session could be considered a fluke, but after dipping down to a 'mere' third place on the timesheets on Sunday, Josef Newgarden dismissed any questions about how genuine his pace was by blasting back to the top on Monday with a lap of 222.486mph (40.4519s).

"It's another strong day," said the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver. "We're stepping through it each time, and we have a lot more to go still. Our good start is continuing to roll forward. So we're feeling positive."

Newgarden's boost above 222mph was largely due to an outbreak of drafting that went on going into the final hour of the Monday session, with Newgarden looking particularly sharp in hunting out drafting opportunities to help speed him along.

"It looks like everyone was trying to race runs, and we kind of jumped in as well," he said. "It was a lot of fun. It was good to run out there with the guys, and I think we need to do more of that probably and figure out how the car operates in the draft a little bit. Certainly learned a lot of the way it reacts today."

Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti also broke into the 221mph speeds in the final hour, in what is already a markedly better Indy 500 preparation then their lamentable team showing in 2011.

"We ran on our own most of the day just trying to sort out some pretty big setup changes, and then at the end we ran in a group with our teammates here, and a few others joined in," said Hunter-Reay, who had the humiliation of failing to qualify last year and ending up having to buy into a seat at AJ Foyt Racing to get onto the grid. No such problems so far this year, though: "It was pretty good," he smiled.

Among the rest of the five-car Andretti contingent at IMS, Sebastian Saavedra was fifth fastest after previously topping the Sunday times, James Hinchcliffe was tenth fastest in the GoDaddy.com car, and Ana Beatriz was 13th.

"I'm pretty impressed with all five teams," said Hinchcliffe. "We've been really good about sticking to our plan across all the different programs, and I think it's reaping good benefits. We had a lot of good clean running today.

"We didn't do a lot of traffic running [until the end], and the car feels pretty good on our own, so tomorrow we'll probably run a little more in the pack," he added.




Related Pictures

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Bryan Clauson (#39) during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Josef Newgarden (#67) back in Dollar General livery during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Cars jostling for position through turn 2 during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Racewa (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon takes the twin chequered flags to win the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his win in Victory Circle after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The field scatters as the drivers avoid the cars of Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Briscoe at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon and the #9 Target Chip Ganassi team celebrate after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon poses with the trophies after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud on the podium after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon toasts his success in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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