Ed Carpenter fastest on 3rd day of Indy 500 practice

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Ed Carpenter turned the fastest lap by hitting 222.894 mph in a Chevrolet on the windy third day of Indianapolis 500 practice Wednesday.

''I thought it was important to run on a day like today just because it is a challenge,'' the owner-driver said. ''The wind was very, very gusty, variable. And to me, if you can go out and get comfortable in conditions like that, I think it bodes well for the race car and how comfortable you can be. And you never know, it could be this windy on race day.''

Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner and fastest Honda driver, was second at 222.599.

''We tried to get through some big-ticket items and we weren't real happy with the car (Tuesday) across the board with all four cars,'' Dixon said. ''We've been struggling. We had some ideas we needed to try and today felt a lot better. A good improvement.''

Speeds were down for the second straight day and were the lowest since Marco Andretti hit 226 on Monday. The windy and warm conditions limited the number of laps and time spent on the track as teams prepare for qualifying this weekend for the May 28 race.

Carpenter teammate JR Hildebrand was third at 220.553.

''I felt pretty good about the amount of work we were able to get done today,'' Hildebrand said. ''When we got going initially, we felt it was a little suspect how good of a read we could get on changes since the wind is blowing hard. I'm encouraged by our ability to go out and feel changes despite gusty winds. It was nice to go out there with not too many other people and just run through our own program.''

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso was fourth at 219.533.

''It was tricky,'' Alonso said. ''Very little running for the big guys, but for me, any condition is a good lesson. Today was about that, a lesson about how to drive with strong winds and how to set up the car corner to corner.

''Everything was according to plan. The team, I think, used those runs also to test something on the back (end), the engine, for tuning, and something like that, so I think it was a productive day as well.''

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