Archive for May 17, 2013

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By: Wm. R. LaDow

As reported for the Post-Tribune – A Chicago Sun-Times Media Company

INDIANAPOLIS – Another day of drafting (and/or towing, if you prefer) resulted in speeds in excess of 225 miles per hour on Thursday with both Chevy and Honda powered cars running in the top five.

Andretti Autosport placed three of their cars in the top five with Ganassi and Penske entries joining them. That makes for the 6th practice day this month, that an Andretti-Chevrolet has been the fastest of the day

Carlos Munoz in the #26 Andretti Autosport-Chevrolet ran 225.163 mph, the fastest speed of the month, with his teammates; Ryan Hunter-Reay second at 225.006 mph and Marco Andretti third at 224.882 mph. The top five was rounded out by 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon in the #9 Ganassi Racing-Honda at 224.468 mph and three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves in his #3 Penske-Chevrolet at 224.457 mph.

Munoz’s assessment for the day: “The fastest lap was a tow, an unbelievable tow. Yesterday, I was thanking Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) and all the other drivers for the tow, and today I am thanking him (E.J. Viso) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay). But yeah, this last run I felt really comfortable each time I ran behind people in racing conditions. Each time I felt more comfortable. We are improving the car from the beginning until now, and I think right now we are really strong. We have a real strong car every time we test, and we can go back and make sure we have a pretty competitive car. But tomorrow and Saturday is another thing entirely. We will have to prepare for qualifying.” (How do you feel about tomorrow when you gain 40-50 extra horsepower?): “I’m excited to feel more speed again. I’m comfortable and think we’ll have a great car, a really secure car. But I will tell you tomorrow how I feel after my first run how it feels to have this boost.”

Past Indy 500 Champ Scott Dixon’s thoughts on the afternoon: “Today was a decent day. We kept it pretty simple overall. We did one qualifying simulation run and then made some changes with the dampers in the car. We also worked on some mechanical things, and it was one of our better days because we just methodically went about our run plan and didn’t run the death out of the car. We just went about our business today and ran with what we had. Looking to qualifying, you’ll see the speeds go up anywhere from 2 to 4 miles per hour. How that pans out for us, we will see.”

The day also bought the first incident of the month as Conor Daly in the #41 A.J. Foyt Racing/ABC Supply-Honda had the back-end of his car come around on him after his 43rd lap, in Turn 1, taking the rookie for a ride of his own. It was a severe impact that momentarily put the car on its side as it slid through the turn. Good news is Daly was unhurt and the car is repairable.

Not long after the incident he tweeted: “That hit hurt, but it’ll take a lot more than that to bring me down. Tomorrow we get back to work because the @AJFoytRacing guys are awesome.”

“These guys work so hard. I’m incredibly thankful for the continued opportunity that I have. I’m just glad that the car wasn’t as damaged as it might have looked flying through the air. I tried to save it, and I would have saved it if we had about another 100 yards wider. But I know they’re going to work hard and get it all prepared, and as long as we can get out tomorrow and shake it down and make sure she’s pulling in the right direction, I think we’ll be fine. I think it should be good.”

1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier got on the track for a few laps as part of a systems check after his team converted his Dallara from a Lotus powerplant to a Chevrolet. The Lazier Partners #91 is the 33rd entry to run this month.

IndyCar teams will be getting an extra 40 horsepower in boost (upped from 130 kPa to 140 kPa) which is expected to bring about a 4 mile per hour increase in speeds, meaning speeds of  229 miler per hours are likely to be in the Brickyard’s “Fast Friday” future.

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday May 16, 2013 Walt Kuhn

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