With yesterday's complete washout at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, teams and drivers were eager to get Indianapolis 500 practice started today. They wasted no time once the green flag waved, pushing their machines to the limit around the famed 2.5-mile oval. Six hours later, it was a pair of drivers that again sat at the top of the overall speed chart.

Takuma Sato held the top spot with a lap at 227.519 mph while Scott Dixon hit 227.335 mph on his best lap. The two Honda drivers and Indy 500 winners were the only two that topped the 227 mph barrier on Thursday. Most of the teams opted to work on qualifying sims but there were still several that were fine tuning their race trim.

The Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing driver was happy to be back at the top of the chart, but he knows there is still work to be done. “It was a very productive day,” Sato said. “Two cars in the top three. More importantly, we’re getting happy with the cars in traffic. We made huge progress.”

While he was fastest with a tow, the Japanese driver was just 29th on the no-tow report. “We’re working on it,” Sato said. “The car’s not entirely happy in a big pack. Still there’s work to be done. The boys are doing such a meticulous job, with great engineering. I’m happy with the progress, step by step, and here we are. Hopefully we have more to come.”

Sato mentioned his teammate, David Malukas, who was very quick as he posted the third-fastest lap of the day in his No. 18 Honda. The rookie was just ahead of 2011 race runner-up JR Hildebrand, and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five in what was another strong day for Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Interesting day,” Dixon said about how Thursday played out. “Lots of running for everybody. For us, race running for the majority. Pretty happy in some situations. Generally, I think all of us at Ganassi had a pretty smooth day.” Another team that had another outstanding day was Ed Carpenter Racing.

Team owner Ed Carpenter was 3rd fastest on the no-tow chart, just behind the team car of Rinus VeeKay. The three-time Indy 500 pole sitter knows how important qualifying is here. "From experience, qualifying up front definitely can set you up for an easier 500 miles if you can get the track position and keep it. There's no doubt about that."

"It seems like we have some decent speed," Carpenter said. "But there's a lot of good cars that didn't do any qualifying simulations today. We just wanted to do it and get a good baseline and balance for the configurations we plan on running tomorrow with the boost." The extra time that they spent working on that setup today could pay off big-time this weekend.

Team Penske did not look strong on the overall speed chart today but they were fast where it counted, with Will Power fastest on the no-tow report. Another team that didn't flex much muscle on the overall chart was Andretti Autosport, led by Marco Andretti in 15th. In terms of no-tow speeds though, Alexander Rossi put them on the map as he ranked 4th at the end of the day.

His teammate Romain Grosjean was the talk of the town over the final couple of hours. The driver of the No. 28 Honda was on edge quite a few times on the exit of turns. He had multiple close calls with the outside SAFER barrier and got his hands crossed up a couple of times, providing some tense and uneasy moments for his crew on pit lane.

Arrow McLaren SP teammates Pato O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist were 6th and 8th overall today. "It was a bit up and down with how the car felt," Rosenqvist admitted. "on one run we were superstars, then the next we were scratching our heads a bit. This place is always tricky, so we just have to be calm, look at what we’ve learned as a team across the three cars, and nail it for race day."

Graham Rahal liked where his car is in terms of race trim but he is concerned about the pace of the No. 15 Honda for qualifying. "My race car is phenomenal but my qualifying car needs a little more work. We are going to try tonight to figure some stuff out, but in race trim at the end of the day there we felt really good. When I got to the front I could lead, and when I was second I could go smoking on by the leader. I think if you're 4th, 5th, 6th, 20th in line your life is going to be tough no matter what, but you need to be able to pass when the opportunity is there and we were able to do that on the last run."

Drivers will get an added boost of speed tomorrow as Fast Friday gets underway at Noon ET. Teams will massage their cars and work on qualifying setup in preparation for this weekend. There is no threat of rain tomorrow but the big concern is the windy conditions that drivers will be facing. Temperatures will again be in the mid-80s but 30 mph wind gusts will make for tricky conditions around the speedway.

When practice concludes at 6:00 tomorrow, the drawing for qualification order will take place. That will set the stage for Saturday when teams and drivers will aim to put their cars into the top 12. Those dozen cars will compete for pole position on Sunday for the 106th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.