Indianapolis 500 Practice: Marco Andretti leads Monday session, breaks 225 mph

Michael Hickey

Marco Andretti popped a 225 mph lap on Monday for Indianapolis 500 practice. He was one of just two drivers to break that mark, leading all drivers on the third day of track activity.

The temperatures remained cool for Indianapolis 500 practice but the speeds did not, as Marco Andretti turned the fastest lap of the month thus far with a 39.982-second lap at 225.100 mph on a 65-degree Monday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The lap was one of two turned at over 225 mph on the 2.5-mile oval with Helio Castroneves also accomplishing the feat on the second full day of practice.

On what was an unusually busy day on the track for just the third day of practice, 32 driver/car combinations turned laps in preparation for Saturday's pole day in advance of the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

The only driver not on the track today was Buddy Lazier, who has not turned any laps in his No. 91 Honda so far this month.

Eight cars turned lap speeds in excess of 223 mph and the top 26 were separated by just one second. Despite the colder temperatures, Andretti was able to learn a lot about how his car would work in traffic, something his team hadn't completely prepared for in last year's race.

"It helps when you can simulate a mini-race, so we had that luxury and we've been taking full advantage of it," Andretti said. "(Last year) was the first year for me that the pole was in reach, so I got too fascinated with just how fast would the car go instead of getting the proper car underneath you for the race.

"Everybody's like, ‘Last year you were really strong in the race,' and this and that, but the car was a handful in the race and obviously it bit me there in the end," he said. "So we knew we needed to make some gains and we have so far, but obviously we know how Indy goes. It's early."

Andretti had the dominant car early on last year, leading 59 of the first 90 laps before dropping off the pace and smashing the wall on lap 187.

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.386 mph) was third, 2012 championship runner-up Will Power (223.784) was fourth and JR Hildebrand (223.624) was fifth. Current championship leader Takuma Sato was sixth (223.363).

"We've been trying some changes - some work, some don't - and that's all part of testing," said Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 1 DHL car. "Had another opportunity to run with the teammates and it's really good to see all of Andretti Autosport working together that way."

The 2013 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is set for May 26. Complete practice times for Monday can be found below (duplicates represent T-cars - team backups):

  1. Marco Andretti 225.100 mph
  2. Helio Castroneves 225.075
  3. Ryan Hunter-Reay 224.386
  4. Will Power 223.784
  5. JR Hildebrand 223.624
  6. Takuma Sato 223.363
  7. AJ Allmendinger (R) 223.264
  8. James Hinchcliffe 223.075
  9. Carlos Munoz (R) 223.023
  10. Tony Kanaan 222.833
  11. EJ Viso 222.523
  12. Josef Newgarden 222.340
  13. Oriol Servia 222.069
  14. Alex Tagliani 221.950
  15. Justin Wilson 221.810
  16. Charlie Kimball 221.801
  17. Simon Pagenaud 221.704
  18. Simona de Silvestro 221.613
  19. Ryan Briscoe 221.531
  20. Ed Carpenter 221.154
  21. Townsend Bell 221.137
  22. Charlie Kimball 220.633
  23. Dario Franchitti 220.549
  24. Pippa Mann 220.500
  25. Scott Dixon 220.419
  26. Graham Rahal 220.360
  27. Ana Beatriz 219.975
  28. Sebastien Bourdais 219.498
  29. Conor Daly (R) 219.044
  30. Dario Franchitti 218.842
  31. Sebastian Saavedra 218.633
  32. James Jakes 218.351
  33. Scott Dixon 218.143
  34. Ryan Briscoe 217.773
  35. Tristan Vautier (R) 217.556
  36. Helio Castroneves 216.620
  37. Michel Jourdain Jr. 216.603

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