Thursday, May 15, 2014

Indianapolis 500 Practice Day 5

Although starting 45-minutes late, the fifth of six pre-qualifying practice days for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 did not disappoint. 2,516 laps were turned by 34 drivers in 33 cars, making Thursday the busiest day of the month.

The biggest news of the day came from a microphone and the mouth of INDYCAR's Director of Public Relations, Mike Kitchel. Kitchel announced at 3:19 that Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe had been cleared to drive by INDYCAR medical staff.

Hinchcliffe, who suffered a concussion during last Saturday's Grand Prix of Indianapolis, was re-evaluated and past the post-concussion ImPACT test, according to INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger.

"It goes without saying, I'm thrilled to be back in the United Fiber & Data car," said Hinchcliffe. "It's been a long couple of days watching everyone practice, but obviously getting healthy was the number one goal. I really want to thank everyone at INDYCAR Safety, INDYCAR Medical and IU Health for their great care. Also, to Jim Leo with PitFit Training for helping with the rehabilitation, and of course a big thanks to E.J. (Viso) and the team for all the hard work during practice. The car looks fast and I can't wait to get out there and get up to speed."

The Canadian got on track for the first time with just 3-minutes remaining in practice. The delayed return comes in the wake of E.J. Viso --who was subbing in the No. 27-- blowing an engine earlier in the session.

Other big news of the day includes the debuts of Buddy Lazier and James Davison. The track was shut down for 15-minutes at 3:40 for the veterans and ROP-passed rookies for Lazier's Refresher Program and Davison's ROP. As expected, the programs were not completed in the 15 minutes, so the track was closed again later in the session

Davison passed two of the three phases at 4:29pm, allowing the rookie to run with the veterans and pass the third and final phase with other cars on track. By 5:05 the task was complete and Davison passed all three phases, allowing the driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

The track was clean for the majority of the day with no contact-caused yellows. In addition to the blown engine on the No. 27 Honda, Mikhail Aleshin's entry suffered a mechanical failure as well.

Helio Castroneves snipped the quickest lap of the day from Ed Carpenter with a speed late in the day of 227.166mph, fastest of the month.

Takum Sato unveiling his '500' helmet which will be auctioned off for With You Japan following the race.


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