Team Penske’s Indianapolis 500 track time more precious after high winds

Charlie Kimball was in the IndyCar auto race April 29, 2017, at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Not so fast said mother nature.

Wednesday afternoon, 30 mph winds arrived right in time for the start of a crucial day of practice in preparation for the 101st Indianapolis 500.

“I could hear it in my helmet, gusting down the back straight, so I knew it wouldn’t be too smart to do something dumb,” Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball said.

“On a road course I have driven in winds this strong, but a road course it does not affect you half as much as doing 230 mph flat into turn one,” Chip Ganassi Racing driver Max Chilton said.

Time on the track is even more precious after high winds limited the speeds seen on Day Three. Thursday marks the final full regular practice session before Fast Friday leads into qualifying this weekend.

Despite the time crunch, Team Penske decided to take a pass on practice activities Wednesday, citing concerns over the high wind gusts.

“When I came here and I saw those flags like they are, I knew it was going to be tough,” Team Penske driver Will Power said. “We’ve got good cars, there is no need to risk anything.”

Ed Carpenter certainly didn’t give up his reps on Wednesday, cracking 222 mph to lead the speed charts on Day Three.

“We are here to do work and get ready for the 500,” Carpenter said. “Wind is a factor, but for me it is important to run on days like this because race day could easily be this windy and it is a great opportunity to learn in these conditions.”

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