100th Indy 500 Practice 4: Cautionary Edition

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Photo from indycar.com

The normally rideless Rookie of the Year Gabby “Pat” Chaves found him/herself atop the speed charts on the fourth/third day of practice. This extreme oddity – in a Dale Coyne car, to boot! – continues a Honda sweep at the top of the charts. There’s a cautionary note or two that accompany this story, though. First, the speed was tow assisted. Plus, a third Honda engine blew up in as many days of practice, never a good sign. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s AA machine belched smoke rolling to a halt on the warm up lane during the afternoon session.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

After Spencer Pigot’s wreck in his yellow car Wednesday, the series was taking no chances. Perhaps they were being overly cautious, like last year. Either that, or an inordinate amount of debris somehow found its way onto the racing surface. Seemed like an awful lot of cautions Thursday, despite the happy absence of wrecks. The speeds were slower, too. Pigot still hasn’t made it back out in his RLL backup car, which he’d described as “bare.” Probably the cautious thing to do.

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Photo from autosport.com

Add another yellow and blue car to the field, as f-ing F1 invader Alexander Rossi – who’s been quick this week for Andretti Autosport – makes the field practically half yellow this year. Ray Harroun’s probably spinning in his grave. We took it to the highest levels. 

Dear @IndyCar & @IMS – please stop this burgeoning trend of yellow cars. It’s getting out of hand & confuses #Indy500 #IndyCar #100thIndy500

Stefan Wilson’s car is now yellow too, making the cautionary crowd enormous. At least his has red and black on it. The late Justin Wilson‘s brother can sure wheel a car around the hallowed oval, we can testify to that. Your author had the privilege of having ‘StefWil’ drive him around IMS at 190 mph in the two seater a few years ago. Think we scared him bending down to shake hands afterwards. You can read all about that wild ride here. It’s nice to see the young Englishman finally get an opportunity and a decent ride with KV Racing. Be careful around Jimmy, though.

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‘Star Trek’ actor Chris Pine will wave the green flag to start the 100th Indy 500. Never heard of him? It’s all right, us either. Where’s Shatner when you need him? Max “Paris” Chilton put in a lot of work again, looking like the veteran rather than a rookie hauling ass past the silver Penske cars into Turn 1 on Thursday.

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British lass Pippa Mann for DCR finished tenth with a tow, while her team mate’s Daly odyssey ground on. The Hoosier finally got plenty of work in running seventy two laps. He was fourth quick overall with a tow. It’s always wise to use caution when considering the practice speeds though, as he managed only thirty first quick without it.

Chaves, Bell, Munoz, Daly, Kimball top 5. This is not a joke Tweet. #Indy500 practice day 3 #IndyCar #100thIndy500

 

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Photo from twitter.com

Many drivers were anything but cautious in happy hour, dicing and slicing racily down the front straight. In one of the more dangerous moments of the afternoon, Bryan Clauson – who regularly throws caution to the wind – had a moment. He went dirt tracking up in the marbles of Turn 1, somehow managing heroically to save it, keep it off the wall and continue. Bet ya won’t read about that anywhere else.

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Photo from indycar.com

Importantly, Mad Will Power, the rarely cautious Graham Rahal, and Scott “married into crazy” Dixon were the top three non towed cars. They ran in the 225.3 mph range. That’s Chevy, Honda, Chevy in case you’re counting, although Rahal’s been running with them all season. His motto: “Caution be damned!”

More to come from Fast Friday, so do check back now, ya hear?

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