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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)
Bryan Herta Autosport 2015 Indy 500 entry sponsored by Green1. (Picture Credit: Bryan Herta Autosport)
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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