Kanaan fastest as rain ends practice …

Posted: May 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

Speedway Sightings …

By: Wm. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Published in the Post-Tribune — May 21, 2010
Speedway, Indiana

Once again what started as a sunny day, quickly turned into a cloudy afternoon of race practice that was interrupted by rain on two occasions, finally ending the practice session at 5:13 p.m. Eastern time. A total of two hours and 35 minutes were lost because of rain on the track.

At noon, weather for the day looked promising with an ambient temperature of 68 degrees and a relative humidity of 65 percent. It went downhill from there.

Tony Kanaan finished fastest on the day. The top five speeds of the day were posted by drivers representing four different teams: Andretti Autosport (Tony Kanaan — 226.775 mph, Marco Andretti — 226.108 mph), KV Racing Technology (Paul Tracy — 226.322 mph), Newman/Haas Racing (Hideki Mutoh — 226.230 mph) and Panther Racing (Dan Wheldon — 226.106 mph).

A total of .881 seconds separated the first 35 drivers on the grid for the afternoon.

Race teams worked on getting a handle on qualifying setups with the continuing threat of rain today.

Drivers learned at a meeting Thursday morning that as part of the change in qualifying format, the fastest car prior to the 4:30 p.m. “Fast Nine” run for the pole will be awarded the coveted first pit box — a major development. Drivers had assumed that as in years past, the pole winner would be awarded the first pit box.

With this scenario, all of the teams will be running to set the fastest time of the day during the regular qualifying period between noon and 4:30 p.m., then go out and participate in the 90-minute “shootout” matching the nine fastest drivers of day against each other.

* The tire allotment issue that has been brewing over the last three days has been reconciled. Tuesday, race teams learned that those teams who are running the Indy 500 only engine program rather than the full IndyCar season engine program are allowed a total of 26 sets of tires, rather then the full allotment of 33 sets. Although stipulated in the rule book, it was apparently interpreted differently by several race teams.

The difference in purchasing the extended engine programs runs into the tens of thousands of dollars. So after a series of discussions, the officials of the Indy Racing Series made accommodations for the teams on the reduced engine programs to purchase the additional tires.

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