Massa

Indianapolis 500

431 posts in this topic

End of the session is coming up. Josef Newgarden is on top right now. His speed, even with all that tow, would have failed to qualify last year, of course, but... :P

And oh as I was typing that his car is sitting spun around on the front-stretch. I didn't see what happened.

There's a replay. Newgarden just lost it all on his own out of turn four, over-corrected, hit the outside wall, then the inside wall. Contact with the outside wall was very light, if there was any. Just a brush. Hit the inside wall a bit harder, right in left front tire and wing, then again with the left rear. Rookie's done well but when you're new to this, Indy's going to bite you.

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Newgarden looks riled. No idea what he's saying. Just has the look of someone trying to tell his team it's not his fault. tongue.png

Not sure how much running we'll get in now with the clean-up going on.

I'll need to get it confirmed but I believe this is the first incident of the month.

EDIT: Yep, confirmed. Josef Newgarden is the very first one to hit the wall at the Speedway this month. Very happy to see that they've gone so clean for so long. The fewer wrecks the better, in my opinion.

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Car isn't bent out of shape much at all. The contact was pretty light from how Newgarden tried to save it, so credit to him for that.

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Vitor Meira is known to be one of the contingency plans if Dragon doesn't get going. He's been talking to HPD (Honda). Some say a third car at Foyt, his former team. Meira's capable, especially on ovals. Let him get after this one.

I'm fairly confident the other contingencies include:

A second car at HVM for Katherine Legge.

??? for Jay Howard.

??? for Davey Hamilton (you would think with him owning Schmidt Hamilton Racing...but...)

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Very light running today for the Penske boys, though Power's out there now and so is Castroneves. I wonder what they're up to. I know you have to conserve sets of tires, or something like that (apparently SFHR doesn't know about it because it seems to me the 67 and 39 just stay on-track for all six hours every day).

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Hélio is doing 217s alone, Will 216s. Not very fast for a single-car run compared to what I've seen Newgarden, Sato, and Hunter-Reay do, to name a few.

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Looks like simulated qualifying runs for Castroneves and Power, both hitting the low-high-range (I hope that makes sense to you...just barely over-mid-range but not really high) 217s.

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Today we didn't hear from:

James Jakes

Sébastien Bourdais

Katherine Legge

Jakes has been logging a lot of mileage (and pretty quickly) over the first four days and ROP, so I'm not too surprised to see him get a maintenance day.

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Right now, I feel very unsafe, being quite slow in the middle of the track. So I am quite concerned for my fellow drivers, if we are not able to get the speed that we need. I am flat out and I have reached 205 as the maximum that I can see. So it is not a comfortable position right now.

Please, please, please let this be the last oval race for Lotus. Flag them early and let the big guys go at it. You can't have fearful drivers out there because as bad as a car that far off the pace is, a driver who has the least bit of fear at the wheel of it is 1,000,000 times worse.

Also important to note that the closing rate of these cars is a lot quicker than it was with the old car. You really suck up toward a car, going that slow, wooof. They've actually compared the DW12 to working as a Handford device. Late 90s CART on speedways like Fontana/Michigan. It was something like Talladega at 240 mph and it was scary as hell. Also led to more fatalities than it needed to, fans and drivers. Now, they won't be doing 240, or anything near it, but you can expect a lot of that Handford-style racing where the car sucks up and flies by, even if the car ahead would normally be faster. I don't know if the slingshot effect will be that over-exaggerated like that era of CART or NASCAR on plate track, but still, slower cars are more of a concern now than ever.

So let's talk about the big rumor: Kevin Lee, and he's credible and Curt Cavin said it's not baseless and Cavin's sort of the authority here, says that there's a possibility on Bump Day (that's Sunday, guys, we're close) that Chevrolet/Honda will bring out two extra cars (likely T cars...I'm thinking it could be Meira in a Foyt T car, and Howard/Hamilton in something else, but it would probably be the contingencies for Dragon), and bump the two Lotus entries out of the field as 1) a big FU for making Chevy/Honda take on extra leases and 2) a way to keep the 500 pure and get the hazards out of there. We'll see what happens. I like drama. That's drama. Let's get dramatic on Bump Day.

RE: Wheldon..."don't make him into Dale Earnhardt." Someone else said that. That's what I should have said.

RE: Dragon...the Lotus teams are making payments directly to Judd, the engine builder. No one trusts Lotus anymore. They shouldn't. Chevrolet and Honda put money in up front to develop engines. Lotus waited to get their money from the teams before they did that, and then charged Dragon more than anyone else after luring them in with a free chassis. Jay Penske's fault for buying in, of course, but man, what a joke of a company, let alone a supplier.

I still have no idea who is racing for Dragon.

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I see two guys that you have not mentioned are slowly moving up the timing boards...that 5-target car and the number 9....and Wade Cunningham seems to have moved it up a notch too.

If Alesi is fearful, then he shouldn't be out there. No I'm not saying you check all your fear in the pitlane, disengage fear receptors in your brain and go drive...but you have to be confident....Alesi does not sound confident.

It would be a funny thing if some of the teams t-car'd the Lotii out of Indy on Sunday. A pity that Lotus has stuffed things up really - it can only rub off on other things they do *cough*team poochie*cough*

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I see two guys that you have not mentioned are slowly moving up the timing boards...that 5-target car and the number 9....and Wade Cunningham seems to have moved it up a notch too.

If Alesi is fearful, then he shouldn't be out there. No I'm not saying you check all your fear in the pitlane, disengage fear receptors in your brain and go drive...but you have to be confident....Alesi does not sound confident.

It would be a funny thing if some of the teams t-car'd the Lotii out of Indy on Sunday. A pity that Lotus has stuffed things up really - it can only rub off on other things they do *cough*team poochie*cough*

I made a broad reference that I thought Ganassi was the second-best team behind Andretti right now in terms of pace (both out of and in the draft). :P

Wade Cunningham...I can't help but think, and it's taking a lot for me to say this because he's not my favorite guy in the paddock, that A.J. Foyt would be best served by running Cunningham on ovals and Conway on road/street courses. Don't get me wrong, Cunningham's just fine on a road course, too; I'm not sure where he got this "ovals-only" reputation because I recall him winning road races in Indy Lights, too, and obviously prior to that. But Cunningham's just looked more comfortable than Conway (who never looks comfortable at Indy). His time yesterday was with a very nice tow (most driver's fast times were), which is why he found an increase in speed, because he hadn't been out chasing tows the other days. That doesn't discount the fact that he's faster in the tow than his teammate is.

I'd project a front row of Andretti, Dixon, and Hunter-Reay based on single-car speeds that I've seen. The only thing that could really push Ganassi past Andretti right now? Better drivers. Dixon and Franchitti are well clear of the AA guys and with that much extra horsepower (we'll call it 45), and with those negative wing angles, the driver can make a difference at Indy qualifying and I trust Dixon and Franchitti to hold those things steady (because they've driven bigger monsters) than I do the others. Which doesn't pain me to say too much because as much as I don't like Dixon and Franchitti a whole lot (though Dixon's the anti-Rahal, so I guess I do like him), I like the Andretti guys even less (except Saavedra, who I don't like, but want to see do well, because everyone on a certain Internet forum hates him...mature, I know).

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Bourdais and Legge sharing a car this morning. The team secured two engines, so both will race. Bourdais is setting it up for Legge. He needs to pass phases two and three (the refresher). Legge need to pass all three. As long as you have passed phase two, you can practice with the big guys and try to complete phase three during that time (as Alesi and Cunningham did). I have no idea what times they posted, but I hope they go quick enough, not even for Bourdais' sake, but for that team.

3:30 AM. That's when they finished the second car.

EDIT:

Bourdais did 38 laps to set up the car. It looks like he passed phase two (his goal) and will practice in his own car to pass phase three.

Katherine Legge has done four laps, none quicker than 166.055 mph. She's in the pits now.

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Legge got a chance to pass orientation during lulls in practice today. However, she didn't, and essentially wasted everyone's practice time. They'll try again tomorrow, but man...I just don't like it. Fast Friday, faster cars, cars totally trimmed out...it's dangerous. They shouldn't be spending time on Fast Friday or Pole Day trying to pass orientation. I figure if you don't pass by today, you should be out. She didn't even pass phase one, and historical precedent suggests she shouldn't have another day. They've had years where they weren't at 33 cars heading into Fast Friday, and they did not bend over backwards for anyone. People brought out their T cars and some drivers and away they went. I'd like to see someone else step in the 6 if anything.

Ryan Briscoe did a 218.581 all alone. That's pretty quick for the current boost level. The Ganassi guys were on the opposite end of the track drafting.

It looked like Rahal may have been backing off from Franchitti to see how quickly he could close back in. It didn't seem to take too long.

217.521 seems to be Tagliani's single car speed today. He started catching Viso; any subsequent laps had even the slightest tow. Doubt he'll repeat pole, though I'd like that. He jumped up to 219.798 in the tow, so if you take a good 2-3 mph off people's fast tow times, you can get their single-car pace usually (I say this on a bigger sample than just Tagliani today). Looks like 219s are very possible with 130 kPa; I figure Pole Day will hit 223-224.

Tagliani, like so many others, dropped off after his first tow lap in time. I don't know if it's intentional, or if the car starts getting to loose if you stay in the draft too long. He's slower in the tow, just like Rahal was, than he was on his own after the first lap.

218.672 on his first flying lap, it's Will Power. No tow at all. That's single car speed. And that's quick. Consistent 218s all alone for Power. It looks like Penske are moving their way back up into the third spot behind Andretti and Ganassi. Things starting to normalize at Indy.

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Quotes:

I'm carrying a lot of [uSAC] guys' hopes and dreams on my shoulders.

That you are, Bryan. Do them proud. Clauson had a smile on his face the entire interview. He loves racing. He's running the Hoosier Hundred USAC Silver Crown race on Friday May 25 (two days before Indy) at the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt track. How can you not admire that? So old school.

The DW12 always goes into oversteer normally...the rear is more planted than you expect.

Newgarden said he hasn't felt any oversteer when in the tow, which is a good thing. Better to run them loose than pushing.

We haven't had to figure [the new car] out; we didn't know any better!

Kimball believes young drivers have an advantage because they aren't set in their ways with the past car. He has a point, though young drivers, like Legge, who can't find the right line to run, don't. Kimball also said they were working on race setup all week, and seeing how fast they've been in race trim, I can see why he's in such high spirits right now. He says there's no sense in doing qualifying runs with 130 kPa when they're up to 140 kPa for actual qualifying (and Fast Friday tomorrow). I can see that, though a lot of guys are out there simulating 4-lap qualifying. Anyway, he's been really quick and if they're using a race setup, they might be sleepers for the 500. I'd love for Kimball, nice guy that he is and cool story that he has, to be a factor at the end of the Indy 500 in a much more positive way than last season. It was, and Hildebrand agrees, all Hildebrand's fault, but Kimball took a beating for being on the racing surface like that from a lot of armchair experts, so both of the young Californians in last year's final corner need redemption.

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Newgarden, Kimball, Wilson, Dixon, and Power right now the top five. That 67 car is fast. Even after wrecking.

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I'm biased and don't talk about Dixon enough so here you go:

Dixon's single car runs seem to be low-to-mid 217s. I'm sure they aren't in qualifying trim, but just something to consider. Takuma Sato and Alex Tagliani, also Honda runners, seem to be doing very similar speeds in one-car runs, though slightly off Dixon, who can get up to a 217.8 it seems. Seems like Sato and Tagliani aren't too far off the big guys...

JUST KIDDING Sato did a 218.576 and he's the only car on the track! Watch for Sato on Saturday. 218.302 now, then 218.436. This guy could have something. RLL have won at Indy before, with Buddy Rice in 2004, a win overshadowed by the run by Danica Patrick the following year. He's right up there with some of the best single-car speeds I've seen.

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Takuma Sato just did a 219.504 all on his own. No one else is even on the track. That car...whoa.

219.686! Most people can even do that in a tow, and this guy is all alone. Sato's flying.

219.524 on the third lap. Indy qualifying is four laps, all averaged...

219.506 on the fourth and final (he pitted, so he was simulating qualifying).

Qualifying average: 219.555 mph.

That's good. That's really good.

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Fastest guys without a tow that I've seen:

1. Sato

2. Castroneves

3. Briscoe

4. Power

5. Dixon

Remember that for Saturday. They should all qualify well.

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Katherine Legge will be back out at 6 after practice ends. Sébastien Bourdais is listed on the pit lane in both the 7 and the 6, so he may do some setup work on Legge's car this evening.

Power does a 219.125 all alone. Compare that to Sato. That's how fast Sato is. Same conditions, all alone, same temperature, Sato has quite the automobile.

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Franchitti is doing single-car runs now:

214.xxx (sorry, didn't catch it fully)

215.377

215.729

216.353

Improved each lap. Seems there's more in the tank there, but he did exactly four laps, all alone, so that's qualifying pace for him. Strange to see him so far off both Dixon and the chart-toppers.

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Kimball's turn, despite him saying they've been working on race trim. Maybe's he trying to get in their heads by saying his car is this fast for race day. :P

215.185

216.382

216.332

216.885 (slight tow off Alesi at this point)

Kanaan:

???

214.349

216.339

216.597

Tagliani is doing mid-217s. I think he may have a tow off Alesi, a very slight one, but still something that would make a difference...whoa he closed up really quickly on Alesi, holy jumping...Alesi's slow, 12 mph slower than Tagliani, oh man, please get some T-cars out of here. That's scary.

Bourdais' car is now black and chrome rather than black-and-gold. It looks cool. The gold was cooler but chrome's cool too. And you know what's really cool? Four-time driving champions. Those guys are really, really cool. Glad he's here for Indy.

Let's see what Ed Carpenter has. This is fun. I love Indy. I hope you guys know that I absolutely love the Indianapolis 500.

216.885

216.816

216.808

216.960

Fair lap times.

Ben Barrichello:

215.083

215.837

215.694

215.753

He's looking more comfortable, that's for sure. Keep it clean on race day and you never know.

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