Indy practice: Weekend review
18 May 2010 – Last weekend saw the curtain go up on Indianapolis 2010 as practice sessions began ahead of the prestigious race at the end of the month. After a balloon festival and firework display had taken place on the previous Saturday, the defending victor took the top spot in on Opening Day.
Saturday 15 May
Saturday marked the official Indianapolis Star Opening Day ceremony, followed by the first of several pre-event practice sessions as well as the first rookie orientation period.
Indy 500 Practice - Having been overcome with emotion to clinch his third Indy success 12 months ago, Castroneves tops the timesheets on a best effort of 39.717 seconds for Penske, with the two Ganassi cars of IndyCar Series Champions Franchitti and Dixon within a tenth of the top spot. 2005 Indy winner Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan complete the top five for Panther Racing and Andretti Autosport. (Results)
Rookie Orientation - 12 drivers take part in the first rookie session of 2010, which is affected by rain for the duration. South Africa's Tomas Scheckter tops the timesheets for Dreyer & Reinbold, with Graham Rahal (in his grandfather's car for the first time) and Townsend Bell (for Schmidt/Ganassi) 3 tenths behind. Female drivers Ana Beatriz and Simona de Silvestro finish 5th and 6th as excited ex Formula 1 pilot Takuma Sato is 7th for KV Racing, complete with Lotus livery. (Results)
Sunday 16 May
Indy 500 Practice - 33 drivers are on-track as Castroneves' Penske continues to lead the way on a best of 39.639. Drivers are handed a total of three and three quarter hours of running time after rain affected proceedings on Saturday. Ganassi remain 2nd and 3rd although Will Power's Penske moves up to 4th, ahead of Kanaan. The Andretti Autosport of Ryan Hunter-Reay suffers a spin when exiting the pits but Wheldon's Panther car experiences first crash of Indy 2010, spinning violently at Turn 4, narrowly missing Dixon and hitting the wall - the Englishman walks away with a bruised foot. More rain causes session to come to a premature end, 24 minutes earlier than planned. (Results)
Rookie Orientation - The track is opened an hour early after rain affected events a day earlier. Six rookie drivers pass the test, bringing the 2010 total to seven so far. Jay Howard finishes on top for Sarah Fisher Racing, two tenths of a second up on AJ Foyt IV and Simona de Silvestro (HVM) as Davey Hamilton joins the action for the de Ferran Luczo Dragon squad. Herta driver Sebastian Saavedra is the only competitor yet to complete rookie programme as the 19-year-old Columbian is delayed by a fuel pump failure. (Results)