Indy 500: Fernando Alonso crashes on second day of practice
Watch Qualifying action on Saturday and Sunday on Sky Sports F1 this weekend ahead of showpiece Indy 500 race on August 23
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 14/08/20 4:12pm
Fernando Alonso's third attempt to win the Indianapolis 500 and complete motorsport's Triple Crown has begun ahead of qualifying for the US racing showpiece this weekend.
With the Indy 500 programme for 2020 condensed and rescheduled from its usual 'Month of May' slot due to the coronavirus pandemic, all the track action at the famous Brickyard is taking place over the next 10 days - until the showpiece race itself on Sunday, August 23.
Qualifying action is live on Sky F1 on Saturday and Sunday evening UK time.
Alonso is making his third appearance around the 2.5-mile IMS oval and aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of last year when he failed to qualify in McLaren's only entry of the 2019 IndyCar season.
But McLaren have ramped up their IndyCar programme to a full-time effort in 2020, joining forces with one of the series' long-established teams in Schmidt Peterson to form Arrow McLaren SP.
Alonso had joined for the Indy 500 alone to drive a third car alongside team regulars Pato O'Ward and Oliver Askew.
With the 39-year-old returning to F1 next season on a two-year deal with Renault, Alonso said earlier this week that this will be his final attempt at the Indy 500 before at least 2023.
Practice began on Thursday and, after taking part in a refresher session earlier in the day, Alonso was fifth quickest during full practice with a best speed of 223.238mph.
He finished eighth quickest on Thursday, but crashed in the final hour.
"You lose the grip of the car and this place the walls are coming very close," Alonso told NBC Sports after being given the all-clear by the medical centre. "This is the way it is. Unfortunately it happened again today but hopefully it happens today not on Sunday 23.
"I think it [the car] should be repaired [for Friday], it should be fine."
Scott Dixon was quickest with a top speed of 226.102mph for the Chip Ganassi team.
Practice continues on Friday - which is dubbed 'Fast Friday' as teams and drivers run lower downforce to gear up for qualifying - and into Saturday morning.
The field includes British trio Jack Harvey, Max Chilton and Ben Hanley.
Unlike last year when both Alonso and Chilton missed out on the race itself, there is no last-row shootout this time as 33 cars have been entered for the 33 starting berths.
The 104th running of the Indy 500 is behind closed doors for the first time.
When's qualifying and how does it work?
Indy 500 qualifying takes place across two days, this Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday's session features all 33 drivers and those who finish 10-33rd on the grid are locked in to those starting positions for the August 23 race.
Each qualifying attempt is four continuous laps, or 10 miles, and the order is classified by average speed. Further attempts are also allowed with further rules applying.
The final two hours of Saturday's session will be shown live on Sky F1 at 8pm.
The fastest nine runners then return for Sunday's Fast Nine Shootout to determine who starts where on the grid's first three rows and the prestigious pole position.
With lap times reset, they go out in the order of their Saturday times, slowest to fastest, with the pole position holder known by the end of the session.
The Fast Nine Shootout is live on Sky F1 from 6pm on Sunday, an hour after the channel's live coverage of F1's Spanish GP weekend concludes.
The Indy 500 itself will also be shown live on August 23, in addition to final practice on Friday's 'Carb Day' on August 21.