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Indy 500: Newgarden fastest, then spins

Josef Newgarden was back at the top of the timesheets at the end of Wednesday's practice, but he ended the day triggering the first yellow of the week for contact with the wall.
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's rookie star Josef Newgarden was on impressive form again on Wednesday, topping the timesheets for the third time in five days with a lap of 222.785mph, once more with just a little help from the draft.

However, his day ended with a trip to the wall 15 minutes before the scheduled end of the session. The #67 grazed the outside wall on the exit of the outside wall coming out of turn 4, and then spun across the track to make more emphatic contact against the inside wall despite managing to control the spin so that he only made light contact with the front left of the car, resulting in some light front suspension and wing damage.

"You don't get many lucky breaks around this place, and I think I just got one!" said Newgarden, who was able to climb from the car unassisted and quickly released following the usual mandatory trip to the infield care centre. "It was definitely something that got my attention when it broke away in the corner.

"It's just difficult running in the tow, and obviously, being a rookie trying to figure that out, sometimes it bites you," he added. It's the first yellow caused by an accident or spin at Indianapolis Motor Speedway so far since practice started on Saturday.

"We were old on our tyre run and trying to run as far as possible to see how the car reacts," he said. "I'll try to learn what happened and why the thing got around on me. Everyone's trying to figure out the race car around this place, and obviously I have a little more work to do."

The session was missing the large scale pack racing trials that dominated much of the later half of the Tuesday session, but the Andretti Autosport contingent were once again looking strong and occupied the next three spots with Marco Andretti in second (222.108mph, 40.5208s), Ryan-Hunter-Reay third (221.763mph, 40.5839s) and James Hinchcliffe fourth (221.638mph, 40.6067s) just 0.0028s ahead of Ganassi's Dario Franchitti.

Franchitti - along with Newgarden and also Justin Wilson in sixth place - was one of the few drivers to post their best time of the week so far on Wednesday.

"We worked on a lot of stuff," said Franchitti after setting a best time of 221.623mph (40.6095s.) "Just finding our way around this car and just finding out what it likes. We ran in traffic for the first time, and it actually went pretty well. I caught a nice balance. We're just trying to zero in on what we need."

"I believe the wind speed and direction has changed the track slightly," Wilson tweeted during the day on his way to recording a best lap speed of 221.420mph (40.6468s.) "Healthy tail wind into turn 1."



Related Pictures

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Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver Josef Newgarden. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Dario Franchitti #50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 Dan R. Boyd LAT Photo USA (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)
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon with a victory kiss from his wife, Emma, following clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, his fourth series championship of his career. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon - 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion - Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates with team mates after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates with Chip Ganassi after winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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