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First Two Days Of Practice See Drivers More Comfortable With New Car

Most teams have spent the first two days of practice experimenting with the new IndyCar on the oval ay IMS

SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- The new IndyCar and aero-kit is seeing lots of laps already around the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Tuesday and Wednesday saw drivers complete the first two days of practice for the Indianapolis 500, most of which have seen drivers testing out a variety of things with the new car rather than focusing on pure speed.

"We focused a lot on the race car today, trying to make it work in traffic," said Schmidt-Peterson veteran driver James Hinchcliffe. "I think we got through a lot of stuff today with the Arrow Electronics car, and we have a lot of information to look through tonight. Really just one more day of practice like this before we switch into qualifying mode."

Hinchcliffe was well off the top speed of 227.053 set by Marco Andretti on the second day of practice. However Hinch turned the most laps out of any other driver, circumnavigating the 2.5-mile oval 129 times Wednesday. 

His teammate Robert Wickens, a rookie, was 4th quickest on Day 2, but admits the car is not quite where he wants it to be. 

"I think it was a pretty productive day. We still have issues that we need to work through," Wickens said. "I know I still have to work on a lot of things - my lines and everything could be more consistent."

Team Penske, made up of IndyCar Grand Prix winner Will Power, defending IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenuad and three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, spent a majority of Day 2 running together as well.

"We continue to develop a strategy to run in traffic," said Castroneves who is piloting the Penzoil yellow submarine. "Obviously, still trying to understand the new car and working together with our other teammates. Today was one of those challenging days."

Newgarden was the fastest of the Penske drivers with a best lap at 224.766, good for 11th quickest overall. 

Behind Marco Andretti's top time, Scott Dixon was 2nd at 226.329, defending Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato 3rd at 226.108, Robert Wickens 4th at 226.086, and Charlie Kimball 5th at 225.887.

All 35 entrants turns laps above 221 mph on Day 2. Dale Coyne driver Zachary Claman De Melo was slowest at 221.823, but with most cars running a race trimmed car Wednesday, these times are hardly an indication of how they might fall this Saturday and Sunday. That will become more apparent as we approach Fast Friday, when teams trim out their cars in a qualifying set up.

Day 3 of practice will get going at 11 a.m Thursday and run until 6 p.m. 

(PHOTO: Joe Skibinski/Verizon IndyCar Series)

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