Full practice times for day 2 at Indianapolis
Andretti Autoport's Ryan Hunter-Reay topped the Monday practice timesheets at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and became the first driver of the week to exceed 225mph on the 2.5-mile oval.
His best lap speed of 225.025mph (39.9955s) was set in the final half hour, as drivers concentrated on practising finding aerodynamic advantage from 'the tow' by working with team mates, and Hunter-Reay finished the day 0.1764s ahead of Marco Andretti when the six-hour long practice session concluded.
"I think we'll start going quick Thursday," Hunter-Reay said afterwards. "It was fun - we got through a lot of work and it's only Monday.”
Penske's Helio Castroneves was third fastest for the second consecutive day, finishing just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing's Justin Wilson who was just four thousandths of a second ahead of Castroneves' team mate Juan Pablo Montoya.
“It was good to get out there and run a lot of laps today, which was important because we don't know what the weather will be like for [qualifying]," said Montoya, who only has only competed in one Indy 500 before this in 2000 which he went on to win. "I will definitely sleep good tonight because that was a workout.
"We picked up some time, as did some other drivers," he added. "It's all part of the step-by-step process to get to where we need to be for the race. All in all I think things are going according to plan."
It was a busier day overall at the Speedway that Sunday, which had suffered something of a post-race hangover following the inaugural Indianapolis road course race on Saturday. As a result, only 24 drivers had taken part in opening day, which had a rather slow feel to it compared with normal Indy 500 practice days.
But the pace had properly picked up on Monday, with 30 drivers in action during the day and between them posting three times as many laps as the previous day. The only drivers left to put in an appearance are James Davison and Buddy Lazier (both on restricted budgets that are limiting the amount of time they can put in if they're to be in a fit state for race day) and Sebastian Saavedra, whose #17 KV AFS Racing car is still being rebuilt after being thoroughly trashed in a starting grid accident on Saturday.
Making their first appearances of the week on Monday were Pippa Mann, Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth, Sebastien Bourdais and Saturday's race-winner Simon Pagenaud. Five drivers logged over 100 laps each, with Ganassi pair Tony Kanaan (131 laps) and Scott Dixon (125 laps) putting in the most miles of the day.
There were no accidents or major incidents during the day's track activity. The action had three brief early interruptions for moisture on the track and light rain on various parts of the circuit. There was also a further yellow for a mechanical issue for the #20 of Ed Carpenter with just over an hour to go, and a final stoppage before the half hour mark for a quick track inspection and debris clear-up.
Also in action at the Speedway on Monday was EJ Viso, in his second day filling in for James Hinchcliffe in the #27 United Fiber & Data Andretti Autosport.
"So far things have been pretty smooth," said Viso of his unexpected stint at IMS. "I love working with these guys. Last year I had an amazing year, an amazing experience, and I only have positive things to talk about my team mates and my team. This opportunity just showed up overnight.
"Of course we all know what happened to Hinch - at the same time, he is a great friend of mine, he was my team mate last year," he noted. "Right now I'm helping him out, putting miles on his car and hoping he comes back soon and jumps back in.
"It's all credit to the team; we have a very strong car, and I think with the little things we're tuning up, they'll become very important later on in the week when we start trimming the car," he added. "As of now we have a good database from last year to start the month off."
Hinchcliffe suffered a concussion from flying debris in Saturday's road course race and still needs to be reevaluated before he will be cleared to get back in the car. On Sunday, team owner Michael Andretti said that it was still unclear when that might happen: "They just said rest and they don't want to see him again until Tuesday."
Although Hinchcliffe briefly visited the Speedway on Sunday, he's been told to stay away from bright lights and loud noises to aid his recovery - two things that IMS is not short on at the best of times.
Full practice times for day 2 at Indianapolis