Indy speeds climb in first full practice …

Posted: May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

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 17, 2011

With the green flag flying precisely at 12 noon, cars immediately began laying down laps as IndyCar teams jumped at the chance to gain valuable track time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday.

Although there was steady track action all afternoon, it was a flourish of activity late in the day during “Happy Hour”, that saw speeds climb well above the 225 mile per hour mark.

With a half-hour left in practice, Alex Tagliani of Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the No. 77 Brown & Wilkins car snapped off a lap of 225.878 mph to set the speed standard of the day.

Three other drivers; Scott Dixon in the Target Chip Ganassi No. 9 car (225.124 mph), Graham Rahal in the Service Central Chip Ganassi No. 38 (225.071 mph) and Penske Racing’s No. 6 IZOD car with driver Ryan Briscoe behind the wheel (225.016) topped the speed charts.

On the day, 39 of the 40 drivers available to practice did so with only Jay Howard’s car staying in Gasoline Alley. When asked about Howard being the lone practice hold-out, a spokesman for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing explained “The car and Jay are both fine and ready to run. With the cooler temperatures and the wind today, we figured we would hold the No. 88 car back today, to better able us to manage our tire allotment for the month. It could end up being a situation in qualifying where we may want to go out a couple of times to improve our position, so we want to have enough tires to make multiple attempts.”

In the day-ending press conference with Alex Tagliani and past Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice, the question of double file restarts being implemented for the upcoming 500 mile race came up. Both drivers voiced their concern about the new rule creating potential contact between cars. Tagliani was the most vocal about the implementation of the new rule calling it “stupid.” The Canadian driver went on to explain his concern that the single-groove speedway won’t be very forgiving when a late yellow flag causes a restart with only a handful of laps left. Cars coming out of turn four will likely leave some drivers with nowhere to go, pushing them into the marbles up in the turns leading to unavoidable contact.

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