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Rahal, Kanaan, and Andretti Top Third Day of Indy 500 Practice

Two of America's best-known racing names made it into the top three at Indianapolis on Thursday.

Graham Rahal was a busy man during the third open practice held on Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The American racing driver managed to place his Honda-powered IndyCar at the top of the timesheets by delivering an average speed of 226.047 miles per hour, narrowly edging out 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan at the wheel of his AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet. 

Rahal, son of the 1986 Indy 500 winner Boby Rahal, was the only driver to break into the 226-miles-per-hour barrier on Thursday, which shows that average speeds were down overall from the practice session held the day before, when Andretti recorded a blistering speed of more than 227 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile oval. 

Speaking of Andretti, the third-generation racing driver was once again among the fastest at the Speedway once again, clocking in the third-fastest speed of the day. Rahal’s impressive 102 laps eclipsed Andretti and Kanaan’s 86 and 62 circuits around the famous oval, however, Rahal’s best lap was his second one.

RLL Racing’s Graham Raha during day three of Indy 500 practice., IndyCar

“It was obviously our second lap. I went out, I was trying to do a qualifying simulation,” said Rahal. “Stefan Wilson came out in front of me. He was at the end of the back straight as I was going out of Turn 2. I thought, ‘For once I’m just going to do this, just stay in it.’ Not normally my MO, but I thought I might as well put a good one up there, at least lower my dad’s blood pressure for the night, Lanigan and everybody. It was a solid run. The good thing about that is we didn’t use very many tires today. A lot of other guys did. We should be pretty tire rich tomorrow if we need to go after it.”

Kanaan, whose recent move to A.J. Foyt Racing hasn’t quite produced the results everyone was hoping for, spent most of his day logging precious data that will come in handy next week, especially as Mother Nature has been abnormally moody for this time of year in Indianapolis.

Tony Kanaan pilots his Chevy A.J. Foyt Racing machine., IndyCar

“It’s been a good week for us,” said Kanaan. “Now it’s more about trying to figure out what you’re going to need in 10 days, and it’s quite hard to know what the weather is going to do, so we’re trying to run in any type of weather. We’re recording everything on the books and have all that information for next week, so by Carb Day, you can try to predict what can happen on Sunday and what setup you need,” he said.

Next up is “Fast Friday” when all 35 drivers will have one last chance to fine-tune their machines ahead of the weekend’s qualification days.

Stay tuned for more boots-on-the-ground coverage from The Drive from now until the 102nd running of the Indy 500 on Memorial Day Weekend.