Dalton Kellett on Monday became the first driver to crash while preparing for this year’s Indianapolis 500, ending a streak of six practice days without major incident.
Kellett crashed with just over 30 minutes remaining in the lone two-hour session of track time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The A.J. Foyt Racing driver lost grip running the outside lane and spun into the outside wall.
Kellett said he had soreness in his feet after the collision, likely from hitting them on the pedal bulkhead. He was evaluated and released from the care center after the crash. The Canadian watched replays of his crash and felt that Indy 500 rookie Romain Grosjean played a role because Grosjean ran him high rather than pulling in line in front of Kellett.
“I still feel like come Sunday, we’ll be ready to go,” Kellett said.
Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske had a slight spin on pit lane but recovered and got back on track in the only other incident of the only practice this week until “Carb Day” on Friday.
The horsepower boost that produced record speeds in qualifying went away when teams swapped their engines for the power plants that will be used in Sunday’s race.
It meant the speeds drifted back to normal, but the Chip Ganassi Racing gang was still fastest. IndyCar champion Alex Palou paced Monday’s session at 229.441 mph, while pole-sitter Scott Dixon was second at 229.000—a considerable drop-off from the 234.046 mph four-lap average he posted in breaking the 1996 pole-winning speed record.
Jimmie Johnson, the seven-time NASCAR champion, was third fastest at 228.381 and Ganassi teammates Marcus Ericsson was fifth and Tony Kanaan was 22nd.
Honda drivers took the top five spots—two-time winner Takuma Sato was fourth fastest—and 11 of the fastest 14 slots. Josef Newgarden (sixth), Conor Daly (seventh) and Sage Karam (ninth) were the best of Chevrolet.
“I might not have executed myself over the weekend, so it’s nice to jump back in here instead of waiting until Carb Day and hoping that it doesn’t rain,” Daly said. “I feel great. I love this practice day, and just the fact that we get to drive is awesome.”
A calmer Marco Andretti has forgiven Sato for hindering his qualifying attempt on Saturday.
Sato didn’t exit the track after his run, so when Andretti took off, he had to slow when he closed in on Sato’s car. He was livid after the run and his team petitioned for it to be wiped off the books. IndyCar didn’t budge, but Sato was penalized for interference.
“He’s the nicest guy in the world,” Andretti said. “He sent me a paragraph apologizing.”
WILSON BACK ON TRACK
Stefan Wilson, the 33rd entrant, at last got back on track Monday after car problems sidelined him during qualifying.
A mistake in Friday practice led to an engine change ordered by Chevrolet on the No. 25 DragonSpeed/Cusick Motorsports entry. It prevented Wilson from making a qualifying run and he’ll start last in the field Sunday.
Wilson completed 88 laps on Monday and hit 224.305 mph.
THEY SAID IT
Jimmie Johnson used a marvelous save on Sunday to stop his sideways racecar from crashing during his qualifying run. The move impressed his fellow competitors and Daly said he texted Johnson later that night to tell him.
“I said his new nickname is Jimmie “Drift King” Johnson,” Daly said. “He responded at 6:45 this morning saying that his name was “Diaper Changer” Johnson. That sounds less exciting than what I came up with, but he is a dad of many children, so I get it.”
Johnson has two daughters.