Auto racing: Bourdais posts fastest lap of week in Indy 500 practice

The fastest Chevrolet driver had a top speed of 231.682. On the windy Wednesday, Alonso focused on pit stop practice and turned the fourth-fastest lap on a day when less than half the field chose to practice.

Fernando Alonso is prepared for what he expects will be "the most frightful laps" of his career as he takes part in qualifying for the Indy 500 this weekend. They're all very supportive of me and keep wishing me good luck.

In the "No Tow Rankings", Alonso finished a creditable ninth - setting a 223.687, within one miles per hour of team-mate Takuma Sato, who led the NTR, as Howard placed down in 24th position.

Marco Andretti ran a 226.338mph lap on opening day, some 2.6mph slower than when he paced the first day of practice a year ago, and any speed-related excitement never developed. So, Alonso left his home race weekend at the track entirely to go play some paddle. That explains why de Ferran might just be Alonso's key Indy 500 weapon, given that motorsport is a world where all too often the benefits of coaching are overlooked or even derided.

"To be honest, I think it helps", Rahal told RACER.

"I'm eighth fastest on no-tow lap, I'll take it".

"It's incredible for us to have a driver of his stature, still actively racing in Formula One and missing their crown jewel event to come race ours, in some ways justifies what we all say about how much the Indy 500 means to the racing world, and it certainly attracts a whole new audience". It's clearly fantastic for INDYCAR - that's easy for everyone to see - but it's also great for Fernando and great for Formula One.

Saturday determines the order of running on "Pole Day", which is Sunday. Coverage of Saturday's first day of qualifying will be available on WatchESPN from 11 a.m. -3 p.m. and on ABC from 4-6 p.m.

It was a natural for fellow-IndyCar Series team-owner Bobby Rahal to ask Penske to serve as honorary chairman of the newly formed Mark Donohue Foundation, a nonprofit of the Road Racing Drivers Club, of which Rahal is president. "Although, it's what you expected, what we expected, to be honest".

Rahal added that the foundation will carry on Donohue's memory.