Howard fastest, Honda dominates Indianapolis 500 practice

Jay Howard, of England, pulls out of the pit area during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thursday, May 18, 2017 in Indianapolis. (Michael Conroy/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — Jay Howard topped the speed charts at Indianapolis 500 practice Thursday with a fast lap of 226.744 mph while Honda cars claimed nine of the fastest 11 speeds during the session.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 winner at Indy, was second fastest at 225.826 mph while teammates Marco Andretti (225.709) and Fernando Alonso (225.619) were third and fourth. Alonso, a veteran in Formula One, will be making his debut in the May 28 race.

Josef Newgarden crashed early in the day when he lost control and hit the Turn 1 wall. He was later checked and released from the track’s medical centre and was fifth fastest at 225.445 on a day that saw retired NASCAR great Tony Stewart on pit row.

Speeds were lower the past two days due to warm and windy conditions, but things picked up Thursday. Friday is the final day of practice before qualifying this weekend.

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