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Indy 500: De Silvestro blazes on day 2 of Indy practice

Helio Castroneves was on fire as far as lap times were concerned on day 2 of Indy 500 practice, but Simona de Silvestro was literally ablaze.
With the distractions of rain, rookie orientation and refresher programmes out of the way at last, the drivers and teams got down to proper business on Tuesday with the second day of official practice for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.

After effectively sitting Monday out and only going out on track for quick shakedown laps, the Penske squad were properly in action on Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and it was no surprise to see Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud go to the top of the timesheets.

CLICK: Full times from practice 2 for the Indianapolis 500.

Castroneves set the best time of the day early on, with a time of 39.5580s (227.514mph) in just his seventh lap of 72 in total on the 2.5-mile speedway, while Pagenaud was among the drivers who left it late in the day for when cooler air prompted the drivers to take advantage of an outbreak of draft running. His time was just 0.0229s off that Castroneves, who also set the fastest non-draft lap of the day clocking in at 225.315mph.

"It was a good day," said Castroneves, who is a three-time Indy 500 champion and was runner-up in 2014 to Ryan Hunter-Reay. "The Shell V-Power Nitro+ car was super strong, super solid, felt comfortable.

"Now we've got to just keep working with this new aero kit," he continued. "Today was basically the second day that we've been working constantly, but I like what I see. Things are looking in the right direction. We're not focused on just the lap, we're focused on the performance of it all."

Pagenaud finished a tenth up on Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon who was third fastest. "We struggled a bit with the Target car for most of the morning, specifically with the rear of the car and the way I wanted it to be in order to be comfortable," said the New Zealander. "We worked on a lot of geometry with it and later on it seemed to come around to my liking. I think we made some decent progress and will keep working on things tomorrow if the weather holds up for us."

Justin Wilson was fourth fastest and the best of the Hondas on Tuesday, but was subsequently also the cause of a full course caution late in the day when he suffered an apparent engine failure that sent smoke billowing into the air.

"I looked in the mirror and there was a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust so, yeah, it's unfortunate," said Wilson, whose engine was in any case near to its end of required mileage. “I don't know exactly but I guess we put the other engine in early. It's not a big issue and I'm not concerned about it. We have lots of miles and won't reach the maximum of 2,500.

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Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Helio Castroneves in pit lane (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simona de Silvestro in pit lane (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Simona de Silvestro discusses her incident during practice for the Indianapolis 500 (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simona de Silvestro`s car is returned to the team garage after catching fire. (Photo by: Mike Harding for IndyCar Media)
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones celebrates winning the 2016 Indy Lights championship
Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) celebrates at Laguna Seca
Kyle Kaiser - Juncos Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Indy Lights action
Indy Lights title contender Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media]
Santiago Urrutia - Schmidt Petersen Motorsport
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)

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