Massa

Indianapolis 500

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

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.

What a racist.

You guys just need to speed up so those English folk don't keep beating you! :P

I'm just kidding. It's cool to see such a mix-up at the top for now, like in F1. I definitely won't be repeating my mistake of missing the Indy 500 last year.

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laugh.png

Number of Englishmen who have won races this year: 0

Number of Americans who have won races this year: 0

I think we should team up or something. It's worked in the past. tongue.png

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Practicing today. www.racecontrol.indycar.com as always. Over four hours left.

No news from Dragon. There are two contingency plans to replace the two Dragon cars if need be. Just as I expected, they will not allow more than 33 cars to happen. It's already a loss on the engine leases, and the Indy 500 is the only one with the marketing value to gain on those leases. If you fail to qualify, however, you're really sinking, leasing an engine at a loss and getting nothing out of it but the honor of being the supplier that FTQ'd at Indy. So we'll stay at 33, and we'll have 33, it's just a matter of who takes 32 and 33 now. I think it's silly, in a way, that Dragon get priority. Yes, they were on the entry list, but...

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Three dorks who drive race cars.

Cliff is second right now, Hildebrand tenth. Chuck will be out later.

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Simona did a 210.315 all by herself, no tow. Looks like they have their handling issues sorted out. That's about what Alesi can do so it seems like the Lotus peaks in between 210 and 211 single-car. I have seen a Honda do over 218 single car, same with a Chevrolet. It's really even between those two. I suspect the one with better fuel economy will have the huge advantage. I have heard that the cars have a very high closing rate in the draft, but that once you move out of line, it's hard to slipstream. I know the three Penske cars tried this yesterday to see how they could overtake (Roger has massive confidence to let his boys go out there and try to slipstream each other. That's just asking for a few wrecked cars).

Katherine Legge will debut Thursday morning for rookie orientation. In what, I do not know. I think Sébastien Bourdais will, once again, be sidelined. I hate that. He's just so good. Champ Car wasn't the deepest field in the world, but you look at what Bourdais did with Coyne last year, and you look at how high up the order he can get a Lotus-engined car on the road/street races, and you see how great he is. He's won in sports cars, V8 Supercars, and IROC. An International F3000 champion to boot. He's scored points in F1, which wasn't a highlight of his career, but still, you don't score points (and back then it was top eight) by sucking. He just had the misfortunate of being paired with one of the greatest drivers of this era. He's just the kind of guy you need in this series.

Bourdais has won 35.632% of his total races in Champ Car and the IZOD IndyCar Series. 35.632% when it comes to poles, as well. 50.575% podium finishes. 74.713% of his finishes were in the top ten. Oval racing? He's won four of the eight Champ Car and IndyCar oval races he's done, plus the aforementioned IROC win against Mark Martin. Bourdais was running fifth in the 2005 Indy 500 before a last lap crash, and had been on a charge through the field. He may have been able to pass Danica for fourth, not sure.

Alright, I'll get over it. :P

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Andretti have their cars out running nose-to-tail. Hinchcliffe took the top spot, he now leads the AA pack around. Saavedra slipstreams Hinchcliffe and moves to the point. Not sure if Hinch backed off, but otherwise, slipstreaming didn't seem particularly difficult for Saavedra.

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Hearing that Legge and Bourdais will both drive Chevrolet-engined cars for Dragon Racing. Details to be confirmed later. They either paid full price for leases or Jay's father, some guy named Roger who controls the Chevrolet engine supply, helped his kid out. I'm happy as long as Bourdais is in the Indianapolis 500. He won't disappoint, and if he weren't in the race, I'd have to revise the little preview thing I wrote for race day posting purposes. :P

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More of the usual faces out there. Bryan Clauson says his 219.882 was without a tow, but I'm not sure how much I believe that. I've never seen them get much over 218.500 in a single-car run; Sato did that today in simulated qualifying.

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Katherine Legge left the Speedway in tears today, walking out of the Dragon garage. Hopefully something meaningless (i.e. the Chevrolet deal fell through and she isn't going to run the Indy 500) and not personal.

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Initial report not yet verified: Bourdais will run the Indy 500 with Dragon Racing and Chevrolet. They have chosen his talent over Legge's moeny. Legge has been seen talking to Keith Wiggins multiple times over the week/weekend trying to get an HVM second car.

If true, I have a lot of respect for Jay Penske. He has gotten an...interesting...reputation in the IndyCar paddock but to choose Bourdais over the fully-funded Legge just speaks volumes as to his commitment to being a real racer.

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Good sources say that Chevrolet told Dragon to field Bourdais, not Legge, and so they did. The TEAM funding is actually associated with Legge's #6, so I assume Bourdais will be in the #6 now. Legge takes TrueCar with her wherever she may go.

This is the right thing to do with only one engine available.

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Tim Cindric wants more power, less down force.

The Internet collectively wants the advertisements taken off the grass at IMS.

I'm not against the first thing purely, though on the twentieth anniversary of Jovy Marcelo's passing in a practice crash here and the thirtieth of Gordon Smiley's passing in a qualifying crash here (I made the mistake of viewing it on YouTube sometime in 2007 or so...worst thing I've ever seen, and the description of the aftermath in Dr. Steve Olvey's book...awful. By the way, read Dr. Olvey's book, it's interesting. Not the perspective you often get in auto racing), I'm not sure what I want to see really involves cars that are both really fast and really hard to drive.

The second thing, hey, traditions end and I'd rather see painted grass than fans paying $500 per seat to make up for the cost.

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Jean Alesi passed rookie orientation, as I mentioned, on Monday. 211.516 was his best. I'm bringing this up again because it now comes out that he was allowed to use qualifying level boost (an extra 43 horsepower or so) to pass orientation. That's not surprising; they weren't going to fail him. What's embarrassing is that with an extra 43 horsepower, the Lotus is still 7 or more miles per hour off the single-car lap times of other vehicles, which tells me that the "Lotus is down 50 horsepower" rumors are probbaly not far from true. Maybe it's even more. Obviously a new team and inexperienced driver don't help.

Anyway, the extra boost seems good for about 5 mph with Alesi. It's hard to estimate, because as he improves and gains more experience, there are other factors involved. I don't think a pole speed of 224-something is out of reach.

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Looks like the strongest programs right now are:

1) Andretti

2) Ganassi

3) SFHR

4) Panther

5) Penske

Everything after that seems pretty variable.

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Today's times are going to be a mess. So much drafting/towing/slipstreaming going on right now and it's only 2:00. Earliest I've ever seen them getting this crazy. You could see just about any Chevrolet/Honda driver at the top of the sheet this afternoon into early evening.

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I guess Katherine Legge is going to run her rookie orientation tomorrow in a Chevrolet-powered Dragon. I really hope Bourdais isn't getting screwed. Sorry to say it, and I know I'm not allowed to say it because she's a woman, but Legge's a really, really ineffective driver and has done nothing to deserve a Chevrolet engine other than have a sponsor that only backs women drivers. I'm not one of those "waaah this is unfair" people; I understand it, completely. I just think the 500 will be losing out if Bourdais isn't there, whereas I think we are much better off if Legge doesn't have a ride and Vitor Meira (a few top fives here) or Jay Howard (an Indy Lights champion) run.

Anyway, they've been pretty wild at times today. Seems like close racing is very possible.

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So Alesi and de Silvestro are back at 205 and 204. That extra horsepower for time trials makes a huge difference.

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I guess Bourdais and Legge both have engines for the 500. I'm so confused. This story changes daily. Randy Bernard and Roger Penske were involved in this process, unsurprisingly. What a mess.

Dan Wheldon tributes for the 500:

Bryan Herta will drive his winning car from last year, which has been restored by Sam Schmidt Motorsports, for a parade lap prior to the command to start engines.

cardboard white sunglasses (got to do it on the cheap) will be handed out to everyone to be worn on the parade lap, lap 26, and lap 98.

I like the first one. I think having three laps where the idiots at ABC can throw in another "SEE GUYS THIS IS EXCITING SOMEONE MIGHT DIE" promotion is a bit excessive. I am glad, at least, that Indy know that Dan's winning numbers were 26 and 98. I hate the tributes at lap 77 or the hashtags with "77" in them or anything. 77 was a car he drove in two races, one of which he was killed in, and it was a car he wasn't even going to drive again after that. If you have to associate a number with him (and why you do, I don't know), 26 was his most successful, 98 was his most recent win.

Not like any of that matters and no doubt I'm a horrible person for calling it "excessive." I just think it's time to move past it. Great person, great champion, deserves a parade lap and a moment of silence, deserves a mention in the pre-race television coverage, but making the entire event a Dan Wheldon memorial like I just know ABC will do...when the race is on, it's a new race, there are 33 drivers out there, keep it to that. We never would have known Dan Wheldon had they spent every Indy 500 giving a tribute to someone who had passed. Just because Dan was successful and popular doesn't make his passing more important. I didn't hear a word about Gordon Smiley or Jovy Marcelo yesterday; both passed on May 15, 1982 and 1992 respectively, both actually at the Speedway, preparing for the 500. I realize it's not a popular opinion, but let's face it, a lot of people have died at Indy, a lot of people have died in IndyCar outside of Indy, and it's sad, but it's sadder, to me, that:

1) We're treating Wheldon differently because he was more famous.

2) We're doing #1 because it's commercially viable for Indy to do that.

And I don't like that. I don't like how they're trying to make a spectacle out of Dan's death to lure in viewers. I get it; coverage of his accident's aftermath was the most-watched IndyCar broadcast of the year, more than the 500-mile race itself was. But we didn't do this for Paul Dana, we didn't do it for Tony Renna, etc, etc, etc. He's the defending race winner. Bryan Herta's lap will suffice from the track standpoint, a mention of it as an impetus to move forward in the pre-race/intro will suffice from a TV standpoint.

And that's it.

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Alright, back to the track:

Hunter-Reay is out all alone. He's fastest today in the tow, let's see what he has for qualifying trim. Newgarden did a 218.446 without any help, and that's pretty stout.

And Hunter-Reay pits after just an installation lap. Too bad. I wanted to see his "true" pace.

Some are saying this will look more like the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race. This is what the 100 looks like:

I assume they don't mean the wreck-fest part; we've been clean all May. More the ease of passing. But maybe passing's too easy...hmm...

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I'm seeing a lot of freight train racing, so are others. They run single-file nose-to-tail, they pull out, they dice three-wide, they scramble back in line for the corner, repeat.

That could get really old after 500 miles. I hope it looks more like Indy and less like Talladega for race day.

I'm also horrified of Fast Friday practice, with that extra horsepower and those wing angles...that just sounds ugly.

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As I say that, there are ten-ish cars running all together out there and it looks good to me. You can pass, but it doesn't look too easy (i.e. like in NASCAR, where you have no choice but to pass, you just slingshot by). It seems you actually have to have a faster car or be running a better line to pass. Good, good, good. I like the looks of this.

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All the Andretti guys are out there going purple. 1-4 now. This team looks hard to beat on pace, but the Penske guys know how to call a strategy. Ganassi, too, but they botched it big time last year.

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Guys...these cars, all together like that...oh my gosh...the engine noise...you have to hear these engines...whoa.

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