Verizon IndyCar Series daily news brief – the May 11th edition

Grand Prix of Indianapolis by the numbers

  • 0 –> laps completed by pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra
  • 1 –> Verizon IndyCar Series driver (Graham Rahal) who has not scored a top-10 in 2014
  • 2–> drivers (Franck Montagny & Juan Montoya) who were penalized for jumping a restart
  • 4 –> different drivers and teams have won the first four races of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season
  • 6 –> consecutive top 10′s (dating back to last year) for current points leader Will Power
  • 7 –> cars did not finish the 82-lap, 200 mile inaugural race
  • 9–> laps on primary Firestone Firehawk racing tires by Tony Kanaan, the fewest of any driver
  • 13–> lead changes, the most of any race this season
  • 18 –> positions gained by Charlie Kimball, the most of any driver in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis field
  • 19 –> laps completed under caution
  • 31 –> laps on one stint by Dale Coyne Racing driver’s Carlos Huertas and Justin Wilson
  • 31 –> laps led by rookie Jack Hawksworth
  • 70.4062 –> seconds was the time of the quickest lap turned by Scott Dixon
  • 113 –> top fives for Helio Castroneves, which moved him into seventh all-time

Indianapolis 500 opening day

Top 10 speeds:

  1. Will Power – 223.057mph
  2. Juan Montoya – 222.502
  3. Helio Castroneves – 222.373
  4. J.R. Hildebrand – 222.200
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay – 222.134
  6. E.J. Viso – 222.105
  7. Charlie Kimball – 221.845
  8. Ed Carpenter – 221.772
  9. Townsend Bell – 220.840
  10. Tony Kanaan – 220.755
Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet led opening day practice for the Indianapolis 500 (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet led opening day practice for the Indianapolis 500 (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

Practice Notes:

  • Most teams were working late into the night switching the engines from their road course cars to their oval cars, that meant that many teams didn’t get on track or turn many laps.  24 of the 33 entries made it on track and turned a total of 731 laps.
  • Helio Castroneves and his retro liveried No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Premium Team Penske Chevrolet was the first car on the track.  It was the fourth time in five years that Castroneves was the first car on track for Indianapolis 500 practice and the fifth straight year that a Team Penske Indy car was the first to take to the historic 2.5 mile oval
  • Fittingly, expectant mother Sarah Fisher wove the green flag to start practice on Mother’s Day
  • Sage Karam and the No. 22 Dreyer and Reinbold – Kingdom Racing Chevrolet was one of the first cars on track and quickly completed the 13 laps remaining in his Rookie Orientation Program.  He ended up completing 77 circuits of the 2.5 mile oval.
  • Helio Castroneves and Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet ran 83 and 82 laps respectively.  Power said that they were working on race set-up and ran so many laps because they are concerned about the weather forecast for the rest of the week.
  • The Chip Ganassi Racing foursome of Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe all shook down their back-up (T) cars and plan on getting on the track in their primary cars on Monday.
  • There was one yellow flag condition for lightning in the vicinity and two yellow flags for debris.  The total time of the yellow flags was 40 minutes

I spent the last 45 minutes of “happy hour” in my favorite spot to watch practice (standing at the southernmost corner of the Gasoline Alley Suites).  You can follow the Indy cars as they turn into Turn 1 all the way through the middle of Turn 2.  The perch generally gives me a good perspective on the different lines that the drivers will utilize to make it safely through the vaunted Turn 1.  Some observations:

  • The “Munoz Line” (both left side wheels below the white line) is much more prevalent this year.  Especially among the rookies.  Jacques Villeneuve, Sage Karam and especially Kurt Busch we’re all diving well below the white line at corner apex.
  • The quickest non-tow lap (lap without a significant draft) that I caught was just a tick over 220 mph by Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 28 DHL Honda.
  • Kurt Busch in the No. 26 Suretone Honda spent the last 15 minutes of the day getting a feel for dirty air by following his teammates Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso and Carlos Munoz at speeds just over 220 mph.  Busch explained that the draft you feel in Verizon IndyCar Series car was “times ten” compared to his NASCAR.

Entry list redux

The entry list for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 was released this morning.  Some notes:

  • Broken down by country –> United States (11), Columbia (4), England (4), Australia (3), Canada (3), Brazil (2), France (2), Japan (1), New Zealand (1), Russia (1), Spain (1)
  • Former Indianapolis 500 champions –> Helio Castroneves (3), Scott Dixon (2), Tony Kanaan (1),  Buddy Lazier (1), Juan Montoya (1), Jacques Villeneuve (1)
  • Former Indy car (CART, IRL, CCWS) champions –> Sebastien Bourdais (4), Scott Dixon (3), Tony Kanaan (1), Buddy Lazier (1), Juan Montoya (1), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1), Jacques Villeneuve (1)
  • Other significant championships –> Mikhail Aleshin (Formula Renault 3.5), Townsend Bell, (Indy Lights), Ryan Briscoe ( Formula 3 Euro Series), Sebastien Bourdais (Formula 3000), Kurt Busch (NASCAR Nextel Cup), Scott Dixon (Indy Lights, Formula Holden), J.R. Hildebrand (USF2000, Indy Lights), Tony Kanaan (Indy Lights), Sage Karam (USF2000, Indy Lights), Jack Hawksworth (Pro Mazda), Buddy Lazier (American IndyCar Series), Juan Montoya (Formula 3000), Josef Newgarden (Indy Lights), Simon Pagenaud (Formula Atlantic Championship, American Le Mans Series – LMP), Martin Plowman (FIA World Endurance Championship – LMP2), Will Power (Formula Holden), Takuma Sato (F3 UK), Oriol Servia (Indy Lights) Jacques Villeneuve (Formula 1), Justin Wilson (Formula 3000)
  • Total Indy car (CART, IRL, CCWS) wins –> 195

The Mayor sits out

James Hinchcliffe, the pilot of the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today visiting with his team, but did not take part in opening day practice.  The 27 year-old Canadian DID NOT undergo a medical evaluation on Monday but the team did say that three time Verizon IndyCar Series race winner could undergo a medical evaluation with Dr. Micahel Olinger as early as Tuesday.

E.J. fills in

E. J. Viso gets ready to shake down the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda of James Hinchcliffe

E. J. Viso gets ready to shake down the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda of James Hinchcliffe

Andretti Autosport drafted Verizon IndyCar Series veteran E.J. Viso to shake down the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda of James Hinchcliffe, who was ruled out of practice after suffering a concussion during the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Viso, from Caracas, Venezuela, who drove for Andretti in 2013, is a veteran of seven Indianapolis 500s.  

“So far things have been pretty smooth,” said Viso, “I love working with these (Andretti Autosport) guys. Last year I had an amazing year, an amazing experience, and I only have positive things to talk about my teammates and my team. This opportunity just showed up overnight. Of course we all know what happened to (James) Hinch(cliffe) – at the same time, he is a great friend of mine, he was my teammate last year. Right now I’m helping him out, putting miles on his car and hoping he comes back soon and jumps back in. It’s all credit to the team; we have a very strong car, and I think with the little things we’re tuning up, they’ll become very important later on in the week when we start trimming the car. As of now we have a good database from last year to start the month off.”

If you dig numbers and stats

I know I’m not alone when I say that I totally geek out on random numbers, facts and stats.  ‘500 Records & Milestones At Risk‘ is a great read/resource for all of us Indianapolis 500 geeks.

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I have been an IndyCar fan since the mid 1980's and like to cover the news that no else does.

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