INDIANAPOLIS — Team Verizon driver Will Power of Team Penske has a dream of leading every practice and qualification session and both races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Month of May.
Although such a May Sweep is virtually impossible, especially after Marco Andretti was the fastest driver in Monday’s Opening Day for the 101st Indianapolis 500, Power can still dream.
He was the fastest driver in every practice session, broke the track record twice during qualifications and drove a decisive victory in last weekend’s Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
On Tuesday, Power showed the speed of his No. 12 Chevrolet as the fastest driver on the famed 2.5-mile oval with the fastest lap of the day — 224.656 mph. The Team Penske driver had his fastest lap on lap 47 of the 71 that he ran on Tuesday.
“It was pretty good all day, actually,” Power said. “I have to say that we made some improvements overnight. The no-tow speed is better for sure and I feel comfortable in traffic.
“It’s a long week. We’ve got to keep working at it,” Power added. “Things change. The car goes in and out of being good and bad and this and that. You’ve got to try not to get lost and just keep it simple.”
Power has two wins in the road course race at IMS but has never won the Indianapolis 500. One of his four teammates, Helio Castroneves, is a three-time Indy 500 winner and was second quick on Tuesday when his 49th lap clocked in at 224.287 mph in a Chevrolet.
Castroneves ran 68 laps on Tuesday.
“Now it’s the 500,” Castroneves said. “You’re not thinking about the numbers of how many victories you have in your career, it’s more about the big one. This is the big one, and we are working as a team trying to get the best out of it.
“We understand that yesterday the top 10 there was only two Chevys, and today in the top 10 there was only three were Hondas, so you can see those boys are playing some games here, so interesting.
“But it’s OK,” Castroneves added. “It’s all good. We keep focusing on our work. We’re working together with Chevy and everybody else so that we can keep up the good pace and moving forward.”
Tuesday’s weather conditions were even hotter than Monday’s but the 88-degree weather included gusty winds that made racing around the track a bit of a handful.
“It’s definitely made the track greasy,” Power said of the high heat and windy conditions. “But it all has to do with whether people want to practice qualifying. That’s when you start to see some bigger speeds, and we don’t get the boost until Friday that we’re running qualifying and probably not practice qualifying until Thursday.
“So, these first three days, which being hot, yeah, it will make it slower. But we’re not in the configuration that’s going to put up a big speed anyway.”