101st Indy 500 Race Review: Stunned Disbelief

castroneves-satoSatoHelio500sportsusatodaycom.jpg

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Takuma Sato shocked the racing universe by winning the Indianapolis 500 in his eighth start on the famed oval. He prevailed by two tenths of a second over Helio Castro-Neves. The first Japanese to triumph in the 500, he called it “the best win in my life,” adding “I still just cannot believe it.”

Sato500indycarcom.jpg

Photo from indycar.com

The mild mannered, likable Andretti Autosport pilot wasn’t the only one in stunned disbelief. Taku had faced much criticism for his past performances at the Speedway as well as other tracks, with crashes commonplace. The 40 year old’s single win in eight seasons of racing brought derision from some quarters, as did his hiring by Andretti before the season. All of that was wiped away Sunday afternoon.

The start was clean following the parade laps and it remained that way until lap 53, when a major accident brought out a rare red flag. Already laps down, Jay Howard drifted high into the turn 1 wall and then careened down the track and into the path of pole sitter Scott Dixon. Dixon’s car flipped into the air, caught the catch fence and disintegrated before coming to a stop. Both drivers emerged unhurt, although Dixon was wearing a boot later in the day. Castro-Neves narrowly avoided the melee.

dixoncrashIndysportsusatodaycom.jpg

Photo from sports.usatoday.com

There were nine cautions in addition to the red flag, with three for debris and three more for mechanicals. Continue reading

Advertisements

101st Indy 500 Practice Five: Not All Bad Edition

SebassIndytwitter

Photo from twitter.com

Fast Friday was a day at the Speedway where if it could go wrong it probably did, although there were a few silver linings. For instance, happy hour happened despite rainfall for the second year in row. And even though a Frenchman was quickest, it’s this weekend’s qualifications that count.

After some limited action the rains came, delaying Fast Friday several hours while the track was dried. Happily it wasn’t as bad as last year’s downpour, as Conor Daly reminded us. Once the cars emerged on track, the crashes came; fortunately both drivers were all right. It was that kind of a day in Speedway.

Conortrackdryingtwitter.jpg

Photo from twitter.com

Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais ran quickest at 233.1 mph, with Ryan Hunter-Reay and his hyphen here to stay second quick at 232.1 mph. The Dale Coyne and Andretti Autosport cars were followed by two more AA entries in Sato and Alonso, who occupied fourth for the third day in a row. Penske’s “What’s wrong with” Juan Montoya – the lone Chevy representative in the bunch – rounded out the top five.

rhrzimbio1com

Photo from zimbio.com

The fast frog was fastest without the tow too at 231.1 mph, until RHR edged him out with a 231.2 mph run late in the day. Continue reading

101st Indy 500 Practice Three: Scaredy Penske Edition

Edcarpenterindy17twitter.jpg

Photo from twitter.com

Windy conditions kept the Cap’n’s crew – quickest the previous practice, at least in the tow – largely off of Indy’s oval Wednesday. Only Newkid made an appearance, for eleven whole laps. Luckily other teams weren’t deterred by some mere gusts – not entirely.

JRedPhx17twitter

Photo from twitter.com

Early on Ed Carpenter Racing held the top two spots no matter the tow, with Ed and J.R. 1-2 in their respective Chevys, tops in both categories. Recall that Ed led the way with the highest non-tow speed Tuesday, with J.R. not far behind. By the end of the session, the series’ only owner/driver again owned the quickest lap at over 222.8 mph.

Dixon was second quick for Ganassi, his Honda doing nearly 222.6 mph, while J.R. was third. Fernando Alonso  turned in the fourth best speed – more on him later – and our man Conor Daly completed the top five, Tweeting he was “really happy with the changes overnight.” Way to go, Conor!

conordaly500snakepittwittercom

Photo from twitter.com

A few questions occurred to us after three days of practice for the greatest spectacle in racing. Continue reading

101st Indy 500 Practice Two: A Slow Day at IMS

PowerIMStwitter

Photo from twitter.com

Team Penske’s Will Power made a showing with the top speed of 224.6 mph in Tuesday’s Indy 500 practice, while Ed Carpenter and his eponymous team were in the dough with the fastest non tow speed of 222.8 mph.

Speeds were down even from Monday, as high temps and winds made conditions less than ideal on the famed two and half mile oval. With the weather expected to worsen this week every minute of practice becomes more and more crucial, particularly for the rookies.

edcarpenterindystarcom

Photo from indystar.com

Helio, Gabby “Pat” Chaves (!), RHR and Sage Karam rounded out the top five tow speeds, while Charlie “pinball” Kimball, ECR’s J.R. Hildebrand, “Sour Grapes” Power and Dixon completed the top five on the no tow speed chart. Chevy took both categories Tuesday, while Honda did on Monday.

1gabbypat

Happily there were no incidents involving the wall, Continue reading

101st Indy 500 Practice One: Fly on the Wall

marcoleia

Early Speeds: Marco “practice warrior” Andretti was quickest in today’s first Indy 500 practice at over 226.3 mph, followed by Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Note the two 500 winners in the group. However, the all important non-tow speeds where cars run by themselves saw Ganassi’s Tony Kanaan and Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay both going over 223.5 mph with Scott Dixon topping 222 mph.

alonsobarberseville

Fernando Flew: F-ing F1 driver Fernando Alonso flew in to Indy for practice after finishing twelfth at his home GP in Barcelona Sunday. He’d previously flown through rookie orientation May 5th in a private session. The Spaniard wasn’t exactly flying today at the track though, managing only nineteenth at just over 223 mph. Afterward he mentioned looking forward to “listen[ing]” to his teammates and that “the most difficult thing will be the race itself.” That, or all that flying.

jackharveylincolnshireechocouk

Photo from lincolnshireecho.co.uk

Harvey Wallbanger: Rookie Englishman Jack Harvey suffered the only incident of the first day, Continue reading

IndyCar News Week in Review: See the Future Edition

seethefutureIRR

An IndyCar Race and a Calf Ropin’: The series could be off to western Canada in 2017 if plans outside the U.S. happen to come together for once. The Great White North’s third largest city and home of the Calgary Stampede – it’s a rodeo, not a football team (they’re the Stampeders, eh?) – hopes to host a race the fall after next according to motorsport.com. The Reverend Mayor Hinchcliffe already made a hoe-down style visit to that end, enthusiastically endorsing the decision to try to hold a second race in his home country as “logical.” That’s some truly Spock-ian level analysis from the comical Canuck. Judging by the picture – and seriously, who’s been to Calgary?! – it looks like a perfectly serviceable oval’s already there in place. Wanna prediction? It’ll be another Mark “Two” Miles street race.

calgarycvtnewsca

Image from calgary.cvtnews.ca

SPM’s Assuming Potential New Pilot: Two time Indy Lights runner up Jack Harvey Continue reading