Speeds Climb at Indianapolis ….

Posted: May 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

By: Wm. LaDow


Published in the Post-Tribune, a Chicago Sun-Times Media Publication — May 14, 2012

Under sunny skies and 70 degree temperatures, the second day of Indycar practice for the May 27 Indianapolis 500 started off at 12 noon with traffic ratcheting up quickly as 25 cars completed 342 laps by 2 pm, roughly half of the total laps run the entire day before.

With the sweet sound of the Borg-Warner turbochargers back in force with the newly designed IndyCar engines, “Happy Hour” turned into a race car rush hour at this storied speedway Saturday.

On the day, 33 cars (including Charlie Kimble’s “83T” backup car and the No. 8 Rubens Barricello entry going through some shakedown laps by teammate Tony Kanaan) completed 1,139 practice laps, besting yesterday’s effort by 446 laps or 1,115 miles.

Sebastian Saavedra, late into his 44 lap run, laid down the quickest lap of the day at 221.526 mph driving the No. 17 AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport Chevrolet-Dallara. Saavedra set the fast lap while working in tandem with Andretti Autosport teammates; James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay in an effort to establish the car’s setup with traffic. His efforts were clearly successful.

For the second day in a row, Bryan Clauson ran with leaders finishing 2nd on the time sheet at 221.173 mph in his Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda-powered entry.

With the weather forecast calling for partly sunny skies and temperature in 70-80 degree range, it is clear that race teams are taking differing strategies preparing their cars for Saturday’s run for the Pole.

The Target Chip Ganassi team was controlled in their approach on the afternoon with former Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon admitting that his No. 9 team was waiting until a little later in the week, and in the meantime preserving tires. It should also be noted thatDixonran a 220.829 mph lap before pulling in his car for the day.

The Penske team also was very methodical in running their three cars with Castroneves, Power and Briscoe running speeds 216.961, 217.762 and 217.987 mph respectively.

What all of this mean?

It means that there is still plenty of speed to be had here at the Brickyard for the next five days of practice.

And to top that off, IndyCar teams are going to be allowed to increase of the “boost” levels on their turbochargers on “Fast Friday” and when they run for the Pole on Saturday.

Teams return to the track for more practice Monday from 12 noon to 6 pm


Photo by John Cote — Courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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