Montoya fastest on opening day of Indy tests
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Juan Pablo Montoya topped the speed chart at 226.772 mph Sunday in the first day of testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves was second at 226.468, and Simon Pagenaud gave the team three of the top with a fifth-place mark of 225.641.
The tests weren't about speed, though, despite the flashy numbers from Team Penske.
The Chevrolet-powered Penske cars and 24 other cars were the track in the afternoon session as teams tested the new Chevrolet and Honda oval aero kits for the first time.
''It's OK. I think the time is irrelevant until you get to qualifying, until you get to the race,'' Montoya said. ''It's good for Verizon, and Chevy, it's good for them. For the people who pay attention to (speed) I think it's a good thing, but I don't really pay much attention to it.''
Marco Andretti was third at 226.268 in his Honda-powered Andretti Autosport machine. The second practice session lasted for four hours in which time 1,845 laps were turned by the 28 cars that participated and Andretti still understands the tedious process tuning these cars will be.
''It's interesting. There are definitely still some gremlins to work out,'' Andretti said. ''We have an overwhelming laundry list of changes to try. We're going to need some time. There's a lot of things to work out still. I'm not very pleased with my car right now.''
Andretti Autosport added veteran Justin Wilson and Simona de Silvestro to its stable, bringing its total of entries to five for the month of May. Wilson and de Silvestro were part of a veteran refresher session Sunday morning that followed the rookie orientation process. Wilson topped the morning session, which featured 17 drivers, with a speed of 223.989.
''I don't think you can really judge a lot from today,'' Wilson said. ''The Honda looks like there's more downforce; think there's more power to the Honda kit. I don't know which is going to be quicker. So far it looks like the Honda is, but you can't put any emphasis on today. I think it's going to make it really interesting come qualifying.''
Ryan Hunter-Reay, last year's Indianapolis 500 champion and fellow Andretti driver, logged the ninth- fastest speed of the day at 225.208. The 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion, Tony Kanaan, recorded the 12th- fastest speed at 224.829 for Chevrolet-powered Ganassi Racing car.
Bryan Herta Autosport's rookie driver, Gabby Chaves, turned a lap at 218.568. It was his fastest of 51 laps during his rookie orientation session.
''I think I can leave today with a very positive feeling,'' Chaves said. ''It's a great feeling. It's the first time going over 200mph, it's very different. Everything comes at you a lot quicker, that's the first thing I noticed. It's going to be challenging, especially with these new aero kits, but I'm ready for the challenge and I couldn't be more excited.''
Track activity resumes on the road course Thursday as practice begins for The Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday. The 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 is May 24.