lewisthegreat2

Greatest Spectacle In Auto Racing

143 posts in this topic

There are cars on the Speedway!

It's here!

Rookie Orientation Practice was today. J.R. Hildebrand and Ho-Pin Tung were the only drivers to break 220 mph (Hildebrand at 221.533 and Tung at 220.477).

Hinchcliffe, Kimball, Speed, Mann, and Jakes were also on track and ended in that order. Jakes was the only participant who could not even break 215; the others P3-P6 were in the 219 range.

Pole speed last year was over 227 mph, for comparison. Oval racing isn't easy, and Indy's one of the hardest, especially on rookies. Even rookies like Hildebrand, Hinchcliffe, Kimball, and Mann, who have race Indy Lights at IMS, and Speed, who raced stock cars there.

Edited by lewisthegreat2

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The Freedom 100 is surrounded by the hype of Bryan Clauson's Indy Lights debut. Clauson won the USAC National Championship (sprints, midgets, and Champ Cars), running (and winning) a large amount of races on pavement and dirt. In an effort to get INDYCAR back to its short track roots, Randy Bernard made sure Clauson would have a ride for all the oval races in FILS, a guarantee he couldn't get in NASCAR where he was once a Ganassi development driver.

Today, Clauson gave Randy Bernard a little something in return...

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Think Randy had fun?

FILS opened their month today with a practice session, paced by Stefan Wilson. Gustavo Yacamán was second, making the two most experienced drivers quickest (which, at Indy, is never a surprise). Of note: Brandon Wagner returns to the series in the Kingdom Racing 32 in P12, and Bryan Clauson debuts in P14. 18 cars total, the slowest being Chase Austin, an ex-NASCAR development driver, racing in the number 75 for Willy T. Ribbs. Austin is mixed race, hence he wears Ribbs' number and drives Ribbs' car in a diversity initiative. Ribbs is a commentator for FILS at present, and has always expressed an interest in owning a team to give some opportunities to minority drivers in the way he got his break in the early 90s. Ribbs has long been vocal about racism in NASCAR and his negative experience there, so bringing Chase Austin over is something he probably feels good about.

Austin, who seems like a really nice kid, is unfortunately best remembered for this:

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Back to the big cars: 41 entries will compete for 33 spots as China Racing withdraw and SFR will not field the 57 at any point. There may be a third Foyt car through Tony Stewart's team, but that would be Bump Day only, contingent upon the 14 and 41 (was 84) qualifying. Plus, it may just be for practice to get Bryan Clauson laps, and not actually make any qualifying run.

A big livery update for those in need of a spotter's guide:

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A Photoshop of Junqueira's livery in Coyote red. I love this car.

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Jay Howard's car at Rahal Letterman Lanigan's shop. Inverse of Rahal's.

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The beginnings of Paul Tracy's one-off with Dreyer & Reinbold. Not a bad scheme at all.

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Pippa Mann's Conquest ride is a bit of a mess. Should change as sponsorship is gained (nov.us perhaps).

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James Jakes gets an update for Indy. Much better.

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Hinchcliffe gets a real livery! I like it. A bit of a reverse to teammate Servià's. Looks much more professional than the last piece they threw together.

I saw Scott Speed's Fuzzy's car and it's one of the best-looking out there. However, I can't post it here, so you'll have to wait. White, black, and gold. It's out there on the Internet if you want to find it...

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No, I want you to find it Eric...I'm far too lazy :P

The WIX scheme looks great....almost zactly what I want to eventually do on my FFord...

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First yellow out for debris with 73 laps completed.

Ryan Briscoe had been going faster and faster with every lap, reaching 222.853 mph. J.R. Hildebrand has also broken 222. Meira, Carpenter, and Servià all over 220, while Junqueira, Hinchcliffe, and Jakes round out the cars that have completed true flying laps (with Jakes not even up over the 200 mark yet). Ten other cars have been out for installation laps.

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Vitor Meira goes 223.192 mph, that's good enough for P1. First over 223 this month.

Jakes goes over 216. He has yet to pass his rookie orientation.

John Andretti has warmed up quickly, moves to P4 in the 221 range.

Dubya opens up at 212.

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Got the practice on through curiosity, I like the look of Scheckter's livery. Is there a spotter's guide or anything for the 500 yet?

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No spotters' guide yet because so many Indy 500 liveries aren't released until the cars hit the track! :lol:

Mike Conway's been running a really high downforce backup car to build his confidence after his wreck. They'll put a real one out later, hence he's so slow.

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This has to be doing wonders for J.R. Hildebrand's confidence. He got a tow, but it doesn't matter: he's still P2 in practice and that has to have him feeling good.

Ed Carpenter debuting in P7 with Sarah Fisher's team so far is really an accomplishment, too. I have tremendous respect for Sarah and her team, and I'm really glad to see a good guy like Ed able to get a lot out of their car after their struggles last year. I think Sarah's a better driver than the record will show, but there's no questioning the abilities of Ed Carpenter when it comes to speedway racing.

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Ed Carpenter goes P1 without a tow!

Small, family-owned Indiana team (and the only owned by a female) with a driver raised on grassroots, short-oval motorsports who has endured so much criticism by putting his head down and transforming into one of the series' best oval racers.

What a story if they can keep this up. Sarah, Andy, and Ed are a great bunch of hard-workers doing it the right way. Great to see them so quick out of the box.

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Practice closes after a lengthy rain-delay and subsequent return to green. Pretty slow opening day, but they missed a lot of time, so we'll see if the speeds can pick up a bit.

Ed Carpenter ends the session fastest at 224.786 mph with total underdog team Sarah Fisher Racing. Big accomplishment. Scott Dixon, J.R. Hildebrand, and Dario Franchitti are the only others over 224, with Marco Andretti taking fifth. Ryan Briscoe, Vitor Meira, Graham Rahal, Hélio Castroneves, and Justin Wilson comprise the rest of the top ten, making seven (or eight, if you count Rahal's team as a separate entity) teams in the fastest ten. Paul Tracy, Danica Patrick, John Andretti, Oriol Servià, and Will Power the next five, followed by 2004 Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice in his return to competition. James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alex Lloyd, and Takuma Sato round out the top twenty.

Of note: Pippa Mann debuts in a solid twenty-first, while Tony Kanaan struggles to twenty-fifth. Twenty-eight drivers, the last of which being Mike Conway, broke 220 mph. Four others turned laps, including Jay Howard, Simona de Silvestro, Sebastián Saavedra, and James Jakes, all of whom need to find more pace this month if they want to race in the Indianapolis 500.

Drivers who did not turn laps today include:

Ho-Pin Tung (SS Dragon Racing)

Davey Hamilton (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing)

Raphael Matos (AFS Racing)

Scott Speed (Dragon Racing)

Alex Tagliani (Sam Schmidt Motorsports)

Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Racing)

Dan Wheldon (Bryan Herta Autosport)

Townsend Bell (Sam Schmidt Motorsports)

Sarah Fisher and Ed Carpenter in the press room now (pretty good interview, actually); the status of the 57 has improved to a "we'll decide on Saturday night" meaning next week. If Ed qualifies on Saturday (a top 24 run), I suppose they will pull out a 57 for someone. Not sure who will be around, but I'd expect a Lazier to be in the area, maybe a Foyt of some kind, perhaps a certain auto racing world record-holder is there doing some modeling for IZOD, assuming a Luyendyk could be there...

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Third Practice today, though really it's the second session...pair of Ganassi boys on top with a little over an hour left. Dixon, Rahal, Briscoe, Meira, and Franchitti the top five. Top three over 225 mph.

Castroneves, Power, Servià, Rice, and Patrick the next five, followed by Baguette, Andretti (the NASCAR one), Tracy, Hildebrand, and Tung.

39 of the 40 entries have been out today (though that 57 SFR car is the 41st, but...)

Drivers who didn't run in First Practice:

15. Ho-Pin Tung

17. Alex Tagliani

20. Davey Hamilton

22. Scott Speed

24. Townsend Bell

29. Dan Wheldon

34. Raphael Matos

39. Charlie Kimball (only did an installation lap so far)

Only driver to not go out today is Jay Howard.

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You want two consecutive sessions without a Ganassi/Penske on top of the charts?

I think most of us do, and it couldn't have happened to two better guys. Carpenter Saturday, and Alex Tagliani today!

Pretty cool when you consider Tags and all of his teammates missed the first practice for the most part, but not surprising. Tagliani seems to have taken alright to the Speedway.

His team owner Sam Schmidt is one of those people you must meet if you ever go to an INDYCAR race, by the way. Really awesome man.

Dixon, Rahal, Briscoe, and Servià the rest of the top five. How about that for Oriol? I've been saying for years someone needs to hire this guy...P3 in points and we get to the grand-daddy of motorspeedways and guess what? He's still steadily at the top. I'm not encouraging gambling, but...Ed Carpenter at 60-1, Oriol Servià at 100-1...it's not too often you get something as blatantly incorrect as that.

Meira, Franchitti, Castroneves, Marco, and Dubya were the rest of the top ten, with Carpenter, Tracy, Rice, Matos, and Patrick 11-15. Wilson, Baguette, John, Bell, and Hildebrand filled out the fastest 20.

Other notables:

TF1's most popular Indy driver James Hinchcliffe (by virtue of a 2-1 vote against Handy's Man) was 23rd. When you're a rookie, a great run means completing 200 laps. Anything more is legendary. Qualify on Pole Day, keep the nose clean, and see where that takes you. Not to mention his strategist is one of the best, and 500 miles give you a lot to play with...

Scott Speed debuts at P29, slower than Ho-Pin Tung. Is he the first driver to ever suck in F1, suck in NASCAR, and suck in Indy? I'd have to check that but I'm pretty confident he is. I know he's the only one to suck at IMS in all three.

Simona, Chuck, and Dan 30-32. If any of them fail to qualify it would hurt. It sucks to see Wheldon in such a slow car because he's the second best driver I've ever seen race at the Speedway (first 500 was 1999). Really tough, but we have a whole week ahead of us until qualifying, which you have to watch (after all, you should be following all of my keys to maximizing enjoyment. It's too bad they're using the public address for the audio on the streams of practice so you don't get the IMS Radio Network with MIKE ALL CAPS KING and the gang.

Qualifying goes by the average of four consecutive laps, so the data of fastest overall lap can be misleading, but some guys who ought to worry are the under-222 crowd:

Simona de Silvestro, 2010 Chase Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year

Charlie Kimball, 2010 Freedom 100 runner-up

Dan Wheldon, 2005 Indianapolis 500 champion

Tomas Scheckter, 2002 Indianapolis 500 Co-Rookie of the Year after leading the most laps only to crash while leading with 27 left

E.J. Viso, Danica doesn't even know who that is, so I don't care either

Sebastián Saavedra, qualified for the 2010 race while in the back of an ambulance

Pippa Mann, 2010 Freedom 100 pole winner

Alex Lloyd, fourth in a Coyne car in the 2010 Indianapolis 500

Mike Conway, the fourth Brit on the list, led laps at Indy last year only to launch (it's not too soon anymore) IndyCar onto BBC News

James Jakes, may as well add a fifth, meet the new Milka, same as the old Milka

Edited by lewisthegreat2

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Practice is live at the usual place (racecontrol.indycar.com). The Schmidt cars continue to be fast with Tagliani in first and Townsend Bell in fifth. Dan Wheldon, who is receiving some support from SSM, has also cracked the top ten, in eighth at the moment. Tagliani only did four laps, too, which is really impressive.

Follow-up on the Simona stuff: I think her month is going to be pretty short. They didn't have the pace this year, and the lost practice time won't help. And going to a backup car is a lot tougher for a small team like HVM, obviously, and who knows how much older/heavier that car may be (if it's the one they had last year after the Texas fire, it's going to be the worst car entered). She's going to have a tough time qualifying, unfortunately, and second-degree burns on her hands will only make that worse.

Results thus far:

1. Alex Tagliani

2. J.R. Hildebrand

3. Scott Dixon

4. Danica Patrick

5. Townsend Bell

6. Hélio Castroneves

7. Vitor Meira

8. Dan Wheldon

9. Dario Franchitti

10. Will Power

Cars not looking so strong:

28. Ana Beatriz

29. Raphael Matos

30. Ho-Pin Tung

31. Charlie Kimball

32. E.J. Viso

33. Davey Hamilton

34. Simona de Silvestro

35. Alex Lloyd

36. Scott Speed

37. Jay Howard

38. Sebastián Saavedra

39. Mike Conway (absolute slowest today)

Yet to turn laps:

James Jakes

Marco Andretti was in Conway's car a few days ago and it was still pretty slow, and he seems to have a huge push out there. Without Tony Kanaan, it seems to me that Danica Patrick's finding her own really well this month. Everyone was nervous about her setup abilities (as well as Marco's), but I think we're seeing them both validated this month. Last year, Kanaan practiced all five Andretti entries. Seems to me he didn't need to. Danica can do her own job on the ovals (and the other three seem to lead on the road/street) and having Marco assess Conway's car shows the team's confidence in his abilities to do the setup. Glad to see Danica stepping up to the plate this month.

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Backup car isn't fitted with the specialized components needed to run Indy, and it won't be without a lot more time and a lot more money. It's entirely possible that, if they cannot get another team's T car, HVM Racing will not even go out for qualifying, and if they do so with their own car, they'll be hideously slow.

That's Indy for you.

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First lap over a 227 is a 227.652 by Alex Tagliani! Did not see that coming at all!

Teammate Townsend Bell is second with a 226.741. Problem, Chip and Roger? Not a single practice session has gone to the big guys yet. Still 37 minutes in this one, but a 227.652? Not touching that, I don't think.

Hildebrand, Servià, and Dixon the rest of the fast five, with Danica, Rahal, Tracy, Power, and Wheldon completing the top ten.

All 40 cars have been out. Jakes slowest.

I love Indy.

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Spoke too soon. Buzz Killington tops at 277.778 over Tagliani, Briscoe, Castroneves, and Bell. Still, it's been really competitive, and with all the "who had a tow and who didn't" stuff, qualifying's going to be really unpredictable. And then the race...should be awesome.

Simona's out of the hospital. If the T car is ready to qualify, she likely won't be; HVM expect to need another driver for the weekend. If that driver can qualify, I assume de Silvestro will race, but that's so far in the future and honestly, I think they know their month really ended today. If they qualify in a field of 40-41 with a T car and a replacement driver, I'd be stunned.

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I typed out a wicked transcript of today's great press conference and guess what?

For some reason, without hitting anything on the keyboard, or clicking anything, the page decided to go back, and when I went forward, it was all gone.

This has been happening a lot on this forum and this forum only. It seems if I spend too long typing a reply, the forum ****s itself.

Fix the problem and I'll post something interesting beyond a rundown of practice times you could get on your own. I'm not wasting my time typing out good **** here only to have it get axed, and I'd love to say it's on my end, but it happens here and only here, so I can't really believe that's the case. It's frustrating to have lost about three good posts in this thread, and there were some wicked quotes from the presser today with Power, Hildebrand, and Bell.

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Found a video of the presser since my notes from watching it live won't make it here. It's 20 minutes long, though you really start at 4:00 anyway. But that's still pretty long and it would have been nice to be able to give people the option to read the highlights if they don't have 15-20 minutes to kill to watch everything, whether it's worth watching or one of the less exciting parts.

http://www.livestream.com/indianapolismotorspeedway/video?clipId=pla_fbe8689b-b3cf-4621-9aa6-3b94a27dd719

Quotes, cussing, controversy, and plenty of banter if you have the time for it.

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Bummer for Simona...looks like a suspension failure through the corner...certainly just bottomed and that was all she wrote.

I would say the Target boys are just biding their time...why press for the fast time in practice? Only counts for good in qually, and after 500-miles, it's not always the fastest car crossing the line first.

Getting closer to race day though.

Can't wait

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Simona de Silvestro is not cleared to drive by IndyCar.

Timing and scoring is crapping all over the place, but I know Tagliani, Carpenter, and Wheldon are the top three. Tagliani and Wheldon both did over 227 without a tow, so I strongly suspect they'll contend for pole. Tagliani and Carpenter were both over 228 officially; I assume those were with tows. First over 228 of the month, though.

Being first in practice pays a cash prize; each practice the cash prize increases. And then there's pride etc. I'm sure the Ganassi cars will be contenders tomorrow for pole and, like everyone else, have worked on race trim etc, but you're not going to see them blow these underdogs out of the water. A 227-and-change without a tow is going to be really hard for Ganassi or Penske to beat, so I hope Tagliani can replicate that. I don't really know why, but after he FTQ-ed as a rookie, this place has just been great to him. Came from last place to be ROTY with some great passes in 2009, surprise of the month in 2010, and one of the strongest period this year. I like the guy; hope he stays fast. Hell, I like most of the guys who have been competitive, and I love that.

It's going to be a hell of a qualifying tomorrow. Watch it.

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