The Jay Graves Report

Better conditions allow drivers to get quality laps to prepare for weekend qualifying! “The Build”

Josef Newgarden crashes durin' Indianapolis 500 practice. Photo: Associated Press

After Wednesday’s limited action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 32 drivers took the track for thursday afternoon’s practice session. With temperatures close to 90 degrees driving conditions were ideal for fast lap times.

Jay Howard of Sam Schmidt Motorsports became the second driver of the month to break the 226 MPH barrier, with the first being Marco Andretti. Howard topped the speed chart at the end of practice and was very pleased especially since he’s not a full time driver this season.

“It’s kinda like a fairytale. It’s kinda like a dream right now. I mean where do I start? What an amazing group of people I have behind me. I can’t believe we’re top of the charts it’s unbelievable, it’s like a dream start.”

There was a single accident on the day and it took place an hour into practice with the No. 2 car of Penske driver Josef Newgarden as he spun into the turn one wall. He took a hard hit but was okay and gave his thoughts on the incident after leaving the infield care center.

“I’m fine. Tough break for us in the 2 car with Team Penske. It’s obviously not something you want to do, especially on a day like today a pretty nice day out, no big issues. I’m disappointed that we ran into a problem.”

“I just got called into the pits, so I was coming in and I didn’t want to check up too much for the guys behind me and cause a problem. It just seemed to get away from me. Until I get to look at everything, I’m not 100 percent sure what caused it. We were having a really good day.”

Friday will be one of the most exciting days at the track with the horsepower of the engines being boosted to prepare for qualifying Saturday and Sunday. Some of the fastest times of the month will be seen on Friday with teams preparing to vie for the top starting spot this weekend.