SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 12, 2014) – Team Penske turned Monday’s practice session – the second overall session – for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 into a mini-race of its on as all three drivers completed a total of 278 laps around the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) oval.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves led the team by posting the third-fastest lap of the 30 cars that posted times on Monday. Castroneves was clocked at 40.2441 seconds (223.635 mph) in the No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. This was the second consecutive day that Castroneves has posted the third-fastest time. He completed a total of 96 laps during the session.
“It seems like everybody is really, really close,” said Castroneves, who finished a team-high third on Saturday in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis road course race. ”If this continues it should be an exciting race. There will be a lot of passing, that’s for sure. We worked on race setups for the No. 3 Pennzoil Chevy today and yesterday, but we’ll eventually have to move over to qualifying trim. Unfortunately, it looks like rain is in the forecast for the next two days – possibly three – so that will be interesting. But right now the Pennzoil car is not only pretty, it’s fast. Things are looking good.”
Juan Pablo Montoya, who posted the second-fastest lap Sunday in his first session back at IMS since winning the race in 2000, recorded the fifth-fastest lap today -- 223.395 mph -- in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The Colombian-born driver turned 117 laps on the day, third-most of any driver.
“It was good to get out there and run a lot of laps today, which was important because we don’t know what the weather will be like for tomorrow,” stated Montoya. ”I will definitely sleep well tonight because that was a workout. I think the No. 2 Verizon Chevy showed good improvement from yesterday. We picked up some time, as did some other drivers. It’s all part of the step-by-step process to get to where we need to be for the race. All in all I think things are going according to plan.”
Will Power, who had the fastest lap during Sunday’s opening day of practice, had the 15th-best time Monday -- 221.735 mph in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The Verizon IndyCar Series points leader toured the circuit a total of 67 times on Monday, fewest among the Team Penske trio.
"The Verizon Penske Chevrolet has been really quick,” said Power. “We didn't run too many laps today, but because we ran a lot of laps yesterday, we're in a good direction, which is important since it will probably be wet over the next couple of days. We're definitely getting to where we want to be."
The miles covered by the Team Penske drivers on Monday were more than the race distance of the Indianapolis 500.
“That was a lot of laps we turned today, for sure, but it was necessary with the rain that appears to be coming,” continued Castroneves. “I enjoyed it. It helped me get prepared for what we will see in two weeks with the 500.”
Practice resumes Tuesday at noon ET and continues throughout the week. Pole qualifying is scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 17.