INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, May 14, 2014) – A few days after winning the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Simon Pagenaud caught everyone’s attention May 14 on the 2.5-mile oval with the fastest lap of the month during practice for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Pagenaud, driving the No. 77 Lucas Oil-sponsored car for Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports, recorded a lap of 226.122 mph (39.8016 seconds) in the session limited to 56 late-afternoon minutes because of rain and clean-up of the first on-track incident of the month – a crash by rookie Jack Hawksworth.
Twenty-nine driver/car combinations totaled 1,044 laps, with nine topping 225 mph. Midway through the session, the No. 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian car driven by Hawksworth, who qualified on the front row for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, made contact with the Turn 3 SAFER Barrier. He was checked and cleared to drive.
JR Hildebrand, runner-up as a rookie in the 2011 Indianapolis 500, posted the second-fastest lap (225.854 mph; 39.8488 seconds) in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer car, while reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and ’08 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon was third (225.494) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.
Verizon IndyCar Series teams focused on long fuel runs for the 200-lap race May 25.
Practice, scheduled May 15 from noon-6 p.m. (ET), will be preceded by James Davison starting the three-phase Rookie Orientation Program in the No. 33 KV Racing Technology/Always Evolving Racing entry. Kurt Busch will return to the Speedway for the session after spending Wednesday with Stewart-Haas Racing in Charlotte, N.C.