The 106th INDY500 Practice Day 3 has ended. On Wednesday, the second day (Practice 3) forced all 33 IndyCars to halt without running even a lap, due to the rain started just before the practice.
However, fortunately Thursday's Practice 4 started running at noon as scheduled with a successful six-hour session.
Clouds being out most of the day, Takuma Sato (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR), who was also the fastest on the first day, marked the fastest lap of 39.5572 = 227.519 mph in the evening. Although there is a day off due to rain, the top time record for two consecutive days in practice is the first time for Sato, who has a record of two wins for the INDY500 in his 13th challenge.
The sun was shining during the day, and the maximum temperature was 27 degrees Celsius on the third day of practice. But during the second half of the practice session the temperature peaking at 3：30pm, and after that temperature decreased because of clouds blocking the sun. This condition made easier to mark a best lap for drivers. At 5：30 pm, 30 minutes before the end of the session, Sato marked a fastest lap by taking the top spot from Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) like in the afternoon of the first day of the run
David Marcus (Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) who is Sato's teammate and rookie recorded an average lap of 266.869 mph which was ranked second at that time just after 3：00 pm, when it was still hot. Marcus, the first Indianapolis challenger, is only 20 years old, but he continued to run steadily and finished Practice 4 in 3rd place.
The Honda team which set the fastest time for two consecutive days took the top three places on Thursday for the second day of the practice, following the top four places on the first day of practice.
Stock car race champion Jimmie Johnson (Chip Ganassi Racing), who has participated in IndyCar street and road course races since last season and has participated in the full season including oval races this year, was third place for 1st day of the practice. He is fifth on Thursday. He is in Top 5 for two days in a row.
Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing), who was 4th on the first day, also set the 7th place on Thursday. The 2018 INDY500 winner Simon Pagenaud (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) recorded 9th fastest speed on the second day of the run, so that makes six Honda drivers in the top ten.
The practice will be six hours long on Friday which is for a preparation for the two-day qualifying session on Saturday and Sunday. Due to the rules exclusively for INDY500, qualifying will be contested by using a high-power engine with increased turbo boost pressure. In preparation for the high-speed time trial, all cars will run with high-power qualifying specs on Friday. For the past two days, the main focus was on group driving, but on Friday, each car will make continuous laps without using other machine’s drafting. We will change the spec for qualifying race which is 4-lap continuous attack style.