100th Indy 500 Preparations: 1st Practice Blues

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Photo from Honda on twitter.com

Chevy couldn’t have been happy with the first day’s results, as Honda swept the top four spots. In fact, Andretti Autosport claimed the four fastest cars, with Marco quickest at almost 229 mph. Townsend Bell – who wins ugliest car of the year award, hands down – piloted the fastest non-towed car at just over 223. Even AA’s f-ing F1 invader Alexander Rossi was quick. Scott “Gump” Dixon wound up as top Chevy in fifth at 226.8. None of which made us very happy – but it’s early.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

All thirty three entries appeared on track Monday, the most cars on opening day in years. [In Robert Duvall’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ voice] “Smells like – the hundredth!” Had to be the most yellow cars on track in a long time too, including those of Helio, Pags, Marco, Hunter-Reay and Pigot. Oh, also the aforementioned Bell – and probably a few others, too. Often and rather oddly, the yellow liveries are combined with blue.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

The other category of cars is red, white and blue ones. AJ was in the house, though both Englishman Jack Hawksworth and French Canadian Alex Tagliani took their sweet time in getting on track, running only twenty seven laps between them. They were probably busy getting chewed out royally by the legendary owner. Takuma “take ’em out” Sato made twenty four rounds and managed – as did all the rest – to keep it off the wall, remarkably.

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Dollar Dale Coyne’s four drivers – Clausen, Chaves, Daly and Mann – sound like a law firm, but in reality they’re much less expensive. Unfortunately Conor was done early, as his gear box gave up on him after completing only six laps. Nothing but the best at Coyne’s shop. It wasn’t a good day in the “Daly Odyssey,” and with weather concerns the problem could hinder him the whole week.

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Photo from pippamann.com

Pippa Mann was late in getting out but did manage twenty nine laps and in her pink car she’ll be the only female in the 100th 500. That is, unless you count Gabby. Her other Coyne teammate Brian Clausen got some running in too, impressively ending up in tenth at just under 225 mph, somehow. Clearly Clausen avoided the blues.

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Photo from Chad Smith on twitter.com

Nearly fifteen hundred laps were turned in total at the Brickyard on Monday. RLL rookie Spencer Pigot ran the most at eighty four laps, followed by that crazy Canuck James Hinchcliffe in his uneventful return to the historic oval with seventy. After nearly dying on track last year, the Hinch is back! Oh, oh, ohh. On a blue note, Daly’s six laps were the fewest, followed closely by another underdog, Buddy Lazier of the new Lazier/Burns Racing with only seven.

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Photo from Indy Camping on twitter.com

Some high spirited fans had their pictures made with Graham Rahal afterwards, one of IRR’s picks to watch this month of May. We mean the driver, not the campy fans. He was fifth quick among the non-towed cars and has been on a steamy hot roll since last year. Plus, there’s Courtney . . .

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Photo from examiner.com

Another one we’re watching is the anything but down in the mouth Josef Newgarden, who was right behind Rahal in the non-tow speeds. He represented top Chevy in that category and also has been running strongly of late. At least someone at ECR has been. Tellingly, he also drives a blue car.

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Photo from Josef Newgarden on twitter.com

It should be a fun week – remember to check back often for further updates and chuckles.

 

 

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