Castroneves Tops Opening Day
May 15, 2010 | 8:52 P.M. EST
The 2004 IZOD IndyCar Series champion shook down all five Andretti Autosport cars entered in the Indianapolis 500 before regular drivers Marco Andretti, John Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick took hold of their cars.
Defending race winner Helio Castroneves posted the fastest lap of the day of 39.7170 seconds (226.603 mph) on the 2.5-mile oval.
"It's always good when you start with a positive wave, there is certainly still a lot of work to go," Castroneves said. "It was just the right time and the right moment with two cars in front of me. It seems to be very interesting this year: Even if you are away from another car, the draft is tremendous. It is going to play a lot of tricks during the month of May.
Twenty-seven driver/car combinations recorded 451 incident-free laps before yielding to rookies and drivers undertaking a refresher course. None of the seven rookies attempting to qualify for the race completed all four phases of the Rookie Orientation Program, though Simona De Silvestro, Ana Beatriz and Takuma Sato successfully completed two of the four phases.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Dario Franchitti (226.535 mph) and Scott Dixon (226.237) - who won the 2007 and 2008 Indy 500s, respectively - were next on the list. Dan Wheldon, runner-up to Castroneves in the 500 Mile Race last year, was fourth (225.609) in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car.
Ed Carpenter, competing in an IZOD IndyCar Series event for the first time since the ཅ season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, was seventh quick (224.592 mph) in the No. 20 Panther/Vision Fuzzy's Vodka entry for Panther Racing.