Archive for May 20, 2010

Speedway Sightings …

By: Wm. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Published in the Post-Tribune — May 20, 2010
Speedway, Indiana

At 8 a.m., before the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gates opened to the public, Gasoline Alley garages were filled with activity under warm, sunny skies.

But by the time the track itself opened for business, gray overcast skies and a cold brisk wind greeted race teams trying to bring their cars up to speed.

Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Dallara, bettered his top speed from Tuesday by running 226.971 mph early in the session. Later in the day, it was Ryan Briscoe in the No. 6 Team Penske car that was running almost as quick at 226.633 mph.

Right behind Dixon and Briscoe, was a surprising run by Alex Tagliani, who posted a 226.002 mph effort in the No. 77 Fazzt Racing entry. He was followed by Hideki Mutoh’s 225.926 mph run in the Newman/Haas Racing No. 06.

The track has been so busy with teams running the last two days that many drivers have been unable to run in clean air. As a result, there is much speculation that many of the speeds are the result of a “tow” aiding several drivers in obtaining higher speeds due to running in groups, reducing overall drag. However, since the weather has been cool and windy, many expect higher speeds during qualifying this weekend because the forecast calls for warmer temperatures and calm conditions.

Due to the weather conditions, many teams focused their efforts Wednesday on race setup. Today and Friday are expected to see the teams running very light fuel cells, with the cars trimmed out to maximize qualifying setup.

Wednesday was the busiest day yet at the Brickyard, with 2,282 laps laid down, equaling 5,705 miles of practice.

Good news for driver E.J. Viso. He was back at the track after his wicked crash late in Tuesday’s session and was cleared to drive by Dr. Geoffrey Billows, the director of medical services for IMS. In describing the crash in his No. 8 KV Racing Technology Dallara, Viso said: “Well, it was pretty late in the day, and I think it was a lot of factors put together. The track was a lot cooler, and we were also running light on rubber and coming through Turn 1. I just lost the rear, and that’s all I remember.”

Lastly, the situation regarding engine leases relative to tire allocation for several teams is still evolving. There appears to be an accommodation being negotiated for those teams having access to additional tires for practice, qualifying and the race.