Massa

Indianapolis 500

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Loving the Sarah Fisher Hartman pace. That's good stuff. Looked good single car, looked good drafting. Not sure what Penske has been working on, but it's nice to see them off a little. Same with Ganassi, though they were better today. Any upset will be nice to see.

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Of note: not a single incident in practice yet.

I suspect no one is really trimming out the cars and getting crazy with downforce leves.

Which makes me wonder...how much faster can they really go...even without the extra horsepower they will get on Friday through Sunday...

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A very, very good source suggests that Dragon cannot get an engine without dropping their lawsuit with Lotus, but they can't drop their lawsuit with Lotus or else they stop existing. Or something like that. Regardless, the source says no Dragon at Indy. Bourdais and Legge will be free to explore options. Legge has been thrown around with HVM. She has TrueCar funding, but man, HVM are struggling enough with one car.

Another source of unknown credibility has stated that there are a few options to replace the two Dragon cars. I'm not sure what those options would be. I know Roger Penske has said himself he'd field a fourth car for the sake of the 500 if no one else stepped up. Maybe an HVM second for Legge, and a Penske fourth for "helluva driver" Sébastien Bourdais? That seems like a popular theory, but one that doesn't have the greatest basis right now.

Just get Bourdais in something good. The guy deserves it. He may be the best driver overall in the entire series, no exaggeration. I think he could take Bill, and for those discounting him on ovals, the guy was unbeatable in Champ Car on ovals, and beat all the NASCAR drivers at Texas in IROC, which was a NASCAR series running NASCAR tracks for NASCAR drivers to get an ego boost in very NASCAR-esque spec cars set up by old, retired NASCAR drivers. The guy's good. He'd win the title with ease if he had Penske/Ganassi stuff and it's a shame he's out-priced himself out of a good ride. He wants to get paid and few are paying. He's also not the easiest to work with.

But he's good.

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Wade Cunningham in 2006. He paid serious money to get hair extensions just to have a mullet.

Wade21.jpg

I actually never realized he had a mullet, until I watched an interview with him from rookie orientation. Seems like a bit of a jerk. I'm disappointed. He's a good driver. They've always said he has an attitude problem, and parties too much, and all sorts of stuff and now I can see a bit of the attitude in the media. I hope Foyt sets him straight. It's always been "Wade deserves a ride, but no one will hire him because he's just not good within a team." Similar to Tomas Scheckter, one of Wade's buddies, just that Scheckter also has a proven track record of crashing a lot. I guess the people in the garage sort of knew, but Foyt won't take crap. Then again, Foyt wouldn't sell out his ride to someone who failed to qualify...oh wait. :rolleyes:

But the hair...I'd respect it if it were his own, so I'll pretend it was. :P

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It's really turbulent/unbalanced to run in the tow at Indy this year with the DW12. Expect oval racing in IndyCar to be more pure. Less free passing and a lot more really working. I like this. No one's wrecked, so it can't be too dicey in the tow, but it seems that it will make overtaking more exciting. Good good good.

105% will not be enforced in qualifying. They're tight on entries, obviously, so they aren't sending anyone home. However, 105% will somehow be enforced during the race (how, I do not know...are they going to recalculate 105% of the fastest lap every single lap? Seems tedious. They can't use pole speed; there's an extra 50 horsepower on Pole Day. I'm sure it will be enforced by a "that driver looks slow" judgment call). Anyway, the consensus is that both Lotus entries will be black-flagged pretty quickly.

Simona de Silvestro is afraid of pushing the car too hard. I guess the handling is really awful and she goes in and out of having grip. How the hell do Alesi and Fan Force United, a new driver and team, figure out how to get a Lotus to stick enough to do 208s, and HVM, a team that's won in IndyCar with a driver who has done this three years now, have no idea how to get a car to handle properly?

Because Bump Day won't feature bumping, IndyCar are planning to do something. No, not entice engine suppliers to release some engines, though Jay Howard and Vitor Meira are both floating around with some money to spend. They'll award a prize of about $5,000 to the fastest driver at the top of each hour. I don't think that's going to really generate too much excitement, but...

And then there's Dragon. If they drop the lawsuit, they are still contracted with Lotus, and can only run a Lotus. But they won't run a Lotus, so they will only drop if Lotus releases them, and even then, that's not a guarantee they'll drop. If they don't drop, they don't get a Chevrolet/Honda under any circumstances.

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There's practice again today!

May is so kind to my post count.

Yesterday, Curt Cavin suggested that Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, and Dario Franchitti were the fastest without any tow. That would bode well for their qualifying. However, drivers will tell you that you get a tow even if the car is on the opposite end of the track, so it would have to be purely single car. Sato was quickly up to speed, though, on day one, doing four laps all by himself.

Practice is about two hours in now on racecontrol.indycar.com.

Newgarden, Saavedra, Kanaan, Clauson, and Andretti are the top five right now. SFHR are just plain fast in every session. This is going to be fun.

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GEICO have put their own colors on Kanaan's car. The thing was Menards yellow and green. Now it's the blue, white, and green that NASCAR viewers will recognize on Casey Mears' car. Mears and Kanaan's car owner, Jimmy Vasser, happen to be friends. Mears is also friends with Oriol Servià and Jimmie Johnson, who are both friends of Vasser's. Isn't friendship cool?

KThBq.png

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Beatriz' car looks awesome. Great livery, maybe the best of the year.

Interesting to hear Newgarden, an Indy rookie, make comments a bit different from some of the veterans complaining about turbulence. Newgarden doesn't seem to mind, and perhaps that's why he is so fast.

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Newgarden is drafting off Kanaan who might get a slight draft from Pagenaud. Both are going purple. No positional change but 219.863 is the fastest of the day now for Newgarden.

The Honda engine sounds good, and these cars don't look so bad at speed. Some liveries look good at all angles. And I think we're going to see some good racing. I can get used to the oval-spec DW12.

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Ben Barrichello doing high 211s out there now. His car looks sharp. I hope it goes faster for him when it counts.

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Yes! Honda engine all alone. What a noise. It's Pagenaud, in his fairly pretty paint scheme. I am becoming a DW12 believer. IMS working miracles here.

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Oh man, you guys have to hear the Chevrolet twin turbo. That thing packs a huge punch down the straight. Incredible. It must be awesome to be there. Too bad there are only a dozen or so people who actually are. Wow. These engines sound so cool! IMS is the best. IMS is just the best.

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:lol: Playing games now. Pagenaud slowed on the front stretch to try to get passed by Hinchcliffe and tow off him. Hinchcliffe pulled in to the pit lane immediately after before Pagenaud got to use it to his advantage. Chevrolet team not going to help a Honda team figure out what it has.

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Sebastián Saavedra has an extra motivation. Said with a smile:

Josef Newgarden...he took the youngest driver ever in the field from me. I am so p***ed to him.

Good rivalry of two young surprises. tongue.png

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Beatriz all over the a** end of James Jakes and she still is in the high 217s. Dixon and Tagliani have done similar high-mid 217s today...in single-car runs without a tow. The #25 does not look quick at all.

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They're saying it should be about 5 mph extra for qualifying due to the boost increase. Then throw in guys running negative wing angles and I would say the 218 single car speed becomes 224 for Pole Day. Newgarden still on top. Franchitti will go out for his first run soon. Slowest so far? Barrichello and Alesi. But Simona hasn't run yet.

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Times are dropping at Indianapolis as day three comes to a close.

Josef Newgarden has reclaimed the top spot, he did a 222.486. Ryan Hunter-Reay: 221.639. Andretti and Saavedra are third and fourth, that's three AA-prepared cars in the top four. J.R. Hildebrand locks Penske and Ganassi out of the top five once more, but Franchitti is a stout sixth. Servià, Sato, Hinchcliffe, and Dixon round out the current top ten with a few cars on track now.

Big surprise? How far off Penske is! They sent all three cars out, plus James Jakes, to do a huge tow. They broke off into two-car tows, they had three and four cars towing, they tried it all, and they hold 15-17. It's going to be a fuel strategy kind of race for Roger's boys. Don't count them out.

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Also: Alesi did a 211.516. No idea if he did enough of those to pass orientation but it's possible.

I would say a tow is good for 2-3 mph around the track. So 218-219 is a reasonable speed. Add the horsepower and go negative angle with the wings and I think my 223-224 estimate for Pole Day is very fair.

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Wilson has a monster tow from Servià. Dixon has one from Conway.

And Dixon goes to fourth thanks to that. 221.499.

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Wilson and Servià swap. Cunningham's car looks cool. Servià pits. Kanaan does his best of the day, stays in P11. Dale Coyne Racing drafting now. Jakes leads Wilson, neither one is going very fast. A bit over three minutes to go.

Definitely been a lot more laps turned today than the other days.

Strange: Wilson is slower than Jakes, even though Jakes is the leading car and Wilson is the one in the draft. Hmm...

Now Jakes peels off and Wilson and Jourdain are out there on opposite ends to close out the session. Dixon comes out between them.

One minute now.

Jourdain's best of the day: 215.970. He's well off his teammate Takuma Sato, though it has been sixteen years since he last raced in the Indy 500. Last Champ Car race? 2004. Last win? 2003, same year he last ran a speedway (EuroSpeedway Lausitz for a 500k race. He finished third).

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No problem.

Big Jean passed his rookie orientation. All 31 drivers are set to go. We just need two more...

And we may hear something about Dragon today. Beaux Barfield has said if you don't pass rookie orientation by Thursday, and therefore get to run Fast Friday, you're toasted. Sébastien Bourdais needs to complete the refresher, which I wouldn't find worrying, but Katherine Legge...it wouldn't hurt for her to have a few extra days to try to do her orientation, and I really don't want to see her on Fast Friday having only had one day at Indy.

Why? They get their extra ~50 horsepower and are going to really trim out with the negative wing angles on Friday. Those cars are not going to be easy to drive.

Then again, if there are only 33, it's not as big of a deal to have good qualifying pace. If they know Legge's going to start toward the back anyway, they could just have her qualify in a safe, slow range. Regardless, they can make those decisions once they have an engine.

Remember last year, when Dragon were going to run Ho-Pin Tung and Scott Speed. Scott Speed couldn't find any, so Patrick Carpentier came in, forgot when to turn in, turned in way too early every lap, and ***-end around into the wall. Enough to make Carps decide to retire after one last NASCAR run in Montréal. Tung looked fast enough, but he wrecked in qualifying and got a concussion. Don't let the two-car-withdraw happen to Jay's boys again.

The big note, if you only read one thing: Just because Legge might get an engine, Bourdais might not. Obviously, we'd all wish it would work the other way around, but Legge has TRUEcar and all Bourdais has is a subsidy from INDYCAR, which, I think, needs to be stripped if they miss a race because it's not fair for them to select Dragon and then Dragon bails. Plus Bourdais was never going to run Milwaukee because of Le Mans, but anyway. Legge has priority and it does seem like at best, they will only get her an engine, leaving Bourdais done.

Davey Hamilton, Jay Howard, and Vitor Meira are floating around with money. Hamilton owns a team. But no one has an engine or anything. There are teams with T cars. They could probably re-enter a T car on Bump Day as a new car if the primary was solidly in.

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Also: IndyCar's official website, not-so-good as it is, did an entire story about how all of Alesi's crew members carry too much girth to be the one sitting in the car steering it while they tow it to the garage, and therefore, Alesi does it himself, all while wearing a hat.

The official website considers this important so I guess I felt as though it must be and I must share.

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Those Englishman ruining Indy. Justin Wilson, Katherine Legge, Mike Conway, they're unbeatable here. :P

qufNl.png

Poor Shane. I shouldn't make fun of the guy. It is really cool to see a USAC guy getting it done out there.

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