Archive for May 15, 2011

Speedway Sightings at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

By: Wm. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Published in the Post-Tribune, a Chicago Sun-Times Publication
May 15, 2011

Thirty-two of the 40 drivers entered in this year’s Indianapolis 500 wasted no time in getting down to business Saturday afternoon at the world’s most renowned race course.

As rain showers threatened most of the afternoon, track time was at a premium and with 41 cars entered for 33 spots on the grid in this year’s race, no one was taking any dry weather conditions for granted.

Eventually Saturday’s practice session was interrupted by showers and eventually ended early, with a loss of practice time in excess of three hours.

Ed Carpenter, driving the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Racing Honda-Dallara made the most of his first opportunity to run in the IndyCar Series in 2011 by setting the fastest speed of the day at 224.786 miles per hour. In discussing his run at the end of the session, Carpenter said: “It was a good first day. It’s only day one, but it’s really exciting to see hard work pay off. We’re going to have to keep up the effort because it’s a long week heading into qualifying, but I definitely like the start that we’re off to.”

Team owner Fisher commented: “I was really proud of the boys for starting off the month with little to no error today. It was a bonus for Ed to top the charts, but we know we still have a lot more work to accomplish. For this being our first race of the season, we know we have to hit the ground running.”

Scott Dixon took exactly four laps to set the second quickest speed of the day at 224.491 mph. Dixon in the Target Ganassi No. 9T car along with his teammate and 2010 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti in the Target Ganassi No. 10T (224.107 mph) both ran their backup cars. In Franchitti’s case his fastest lap came in only his second circuit on the track. The strength of the Target Ganassi team was clearly illustrated by their only needing a total of 13 laps to shakedown down both cars and register two of the top for speeds of the day.

Also running backup cars were the only other driver to eclipse the 224 mark, JR Hildebrand in the Panther Racing No. 4T at 224.433 mph and Marco Andretti in the 26T Andretti Autosport entry at 223.927 mph making up the day’s “fast five.”

Driver Ed Carpenter and team owner Sarah Fisher ...