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Wind and Colts rookies the winners at IMS

Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Alex Rossi takes a selfie with the 2017 Colts rookie class. (WXIN May 17, 2017)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Winds blowing beyond 30 miles per hour kept more than half the Indianapolis 500 field from turning laps Wednesday.

Only 14 cars recorded laps, with Team Penske pulling the plug on any practice before noon.

Ed Carpenter thought otherwise, as he and teammate J.R. Hildebrand finished first and third with speeds topping 220 miles per hour.

“The thing is, race day could be windy too,” said Carpenter.  “We decided to run both cars and learn from it.”

2008 500 champion Scott Dixon agreed.

“You can learn everyday on the track.  Windy or not, at least it was dry and we got some work done.”

James Hinchcliffe was on the other side of the fence.

“I’ve never seen it this windy here,” added the driver of the No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Honda.  “It’s like when an 18-wheeler blows past you on the highway, it doesn’t feel good.”

The highlight of the day for the fans?  An appearance by the Colts rookies.  The group toured the garage area, the victory stand, and pit road.  They even took a group selfie with defending 500 champion Alexander Rossi.

“I’m not going to lie,” said draftee Zach Banner, a 6-9, 350 lb. lineman from USC.  “I know nothing about racing, but to see these cars roaring by at 220 miles per hour was incredible.  I met Alex last year’s winner too.  Hopefully in the future, I can come out and see the race.”

Top pick Malik Hooker from Ohio State met Buckeye super fan Graham Rahal and was overwhelmed by the experience.

“Just the roar of the engine,” said the safety.  “That’s the most incredible thing here.”

Practice resumes Thursday at noon.