Dan Wheldon indicated he will have little trouble securing a place on the Indianapolis 500 grid in today's second qualifying session as he topped morning practice.
The Panther Racing driver had been a top ten contender for most of the week, but crashed on his qualifying run yesterday. He led this morning's first hour of running with a speed of 224.164mph.
Prior to Wheldon getting up to speed, Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing) and Paul Tracy (KV Racing) had swapped first position. Wilson could not quite muster the pace to get into the top 11 yesterday, while Tracy briefly held a place on the grid before being bumped back in the final hour on Saturday evening. But both ought to guarantee their Indy 500 starts later on today.
The session was interrupted by two early yellows for heavy accidents at Turn 1. Mike Conway was the first to crash, and is currently being taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further evaluation. The Dreyer & Reinbold driver was reported to be conscious after the accident.
Alex Tagliani had a less violent impact in his Conquest car and has already been released from the infield medical center and cleared to drive again.
Foyt driver Vitor Meira, and Dreyer & Reinbold duo John Andretti and Davey Hamilton completed the morning top six.
Qualifying resumes at midday local time with a further six hours of running to decide positions 12 to 22 on the starting grid.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Dan Wheldon Panther 40.1492s
2. Justin Wilson Coyne 40.2072s + 0.0580s
3. Paul Tracy KV 40.2409s + 0.0917s
4. Vitor Meira Foyt 40.3814s + 0.2322s
5. John Andretti Petty/Dreyer & Reinbold 40.4066s + 0.2574s
6. Davey Hamilton Dreyer & Reinbold 40.4620s + 0.3128s
7. Sarah Fisher Fisher 40.4879s + 0.3387s
8. AJ Foyt IV Foyt 40.5402s + 0.3910s
9. EJ Viso HVM 40.6129s + 0.4637s
10. Ryan Hunter-Reay Vision 40.7349s + 0.5857s
11. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 40.8505s + 0.7013s
12. Scott Sharp Panther 40.9480s + 0.7988s
13. Stanton Barrett 3G 41.2326s + 1.0834s
14. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 41.8792s + 1.7300s
15. Alex Tagliani Conquest 45.0967s + 4.9475s