Archive for May 10, 2014

04CJ8578Three spirited rounds of qualifying, with the provisional pole winner taking a hydro-plane ride into the main straightaway wall left the door open for a determined young driver to gain his first Verizon IndyCar Series Pole here at the Brickyard.

Sebastian Saavedra, whose previous best start was 6th at Milwaukee in 2013, ran fast all through the 3 segments of qualifying to become the first ever Pole winner for the Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Intermittent rain throughout the qualifying session resulted in one red flag and then a yellow to end the final Fast Six session prematurely.

The front row for the race today will consist of two young drivers, Saavedra and Jack Hawksworth who qualified second. Once the green flag drops, the standing start should generate plenty of action as the next four cars in the mix are Ryan Hunter-Reay (3rd), Simon Pagenaud (4th), Will Power (5th) and defending series champion Scott Dixon (6th), all strong contenders for the win. Also in the mix are the likes of Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Kanaan, James Hincliffe, Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, just to name a few.

Twenty-five entries, all with differing qualifying speeds and strategies, will take the green flag at 3:50pm, on the newly-designed 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course that many of the drivers have promised will create some great racing.

Scott Dixon was very pleased with the road course re-design stating: “The thing they captured, it’s a demanding circuit.  The cars all seem very close which is going to create some fantastic racing. These big straights, I think Brazil is probably the only other time we’ve had a straight similar length like this. You’re actually a lot lower here. The sections, especially (Turns) 7, 8, 9, 10 keeps you on your toes. I’m really impressed with how everything’s gone.  Even the curbing, they’ve done a fantastic job.”

41BK3042AGraham Rahal, who had done the initial testing of the course several week ago, explained: “This is one of the best road courses we go to. I had a blast out there. The last section – Turns 7, 8, 9 and 10 are a hoot.  The speed on the straight is up over 190 mph and it’s the fastest place we go already and we didn’t expect that at all. When we pulled out to do our install lap I came in and told them I thought we were out of gear already so that’s why we didn’t run the first hour and 20 minutes. I think the race will be really good, there will be a lot of passing. We (drivers) all gave our input. I told them what I thought and Kanaan clearly had a lot of voice in this as did Briscoe who was here with me at the initial test and gave Derrick (Walker) some ideas of what we thought needed to be done. Pretty much what we mentioned then is what we have now. It is really fun. I hope we get a great crowd because I can tell you we will put on a good show here. The thing that makes this different is that it’s IMS. This place genuinely cares about making a good race track. The curbs are phenomenal as is the layout. Unfortunately our day ended early when we had a problem with something engine related.”

It’s with these testaments that it appears all of the pieces are in place for a terrific race at Indianapolis today.

Qualification Results — The Grand Prix of Indianapolis

  Car Driver Time Speed Round
1 17 Sebastian Saavedra 1:23.8822 104.675 Firestone Fast Six
2 98 Jack Hawksworth (R) 1:24.0788 104.431 Firestone Fast Six
3 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:24.8882 103.435 Firestone Fast Six
4 77 Simon Pagenaud 1:25.2881 102.950 Firestone Fast Six
5 12 Will Power 1:25.5216 102.669 Firestone Fast Six
6 9 Scott Dixon 1:25.6548 102.509 Firestone Fast Six
7 11 Sebastien Bourdais 1:24.5187 103.887 Round 2 / Top 12
8 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 1:24.6209 103.762 Round 2 / Top 12
9 10 Tony Kanaan 1:24.7099 103.653 Round 2 / Top 12
10 3 Helio Castroneves 1:24.8839 103.440 Round 2 / Top 12
11 27 James Hinchcliffe 1:25.1318 103.139 Round 2 / Top 12
12 15 Graham Rahal 1:25.4748 102.725 Round 2 / Top 12
13 25 Marco Andretti 1:10.2488 124.990 Qual / Group 1
14 8 Ryan Briscoe 1:10.2261 125.030 Qual / Group 2
15 67 Josef Newgarden 1:10.3601 124.792 Qual / Group 1
16 14 Takuma Sato 1:10.2804 124.934 Qual / Group 2
17 18 Carlos Huertas (R) 1:10.4264 124.675 Qual / Group 1
18 19 Justin Wilson 1:10.4141 124.697 Qual / Group 2
19 34 Carlos Munoz (R) 1:10.5097 124.528 Qual / Group 1
20 41 Martin Plowman (R) 1:10.4591 124.617 Qual / Group 2
21 26 Franck Montagny 1:10.5571 124.444 Qual / Group 1
22 16 Oriol Servia 1:10.5996 124.369 Qual / Group 2
23 83 Charlie Kimball 1:10.6413 124.296 Qual / Group 1
24 20 Mike Conway 1:10.6535 124.274 Qual / Group 2
25 7 Mikhail Aleshin (R) 1:11.2704 123.198 Qual / Group 2
Pursuant to Rule, Car 7 – best 2 lap times invalidated in his session.
Pursuant to Rule 8.3.5, Car 28 – best 2 lap times invalidated in his session


7 a.m. – Garage opens

10:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series Systems Check (one time out and in).

2:45 p.m. – Grand Prix of Indianapolis pre-race

3:43 p.m. – “Drivers Start Your Engines”

3:50 p.m. – Green Flag, Grand Prix of Indianapolis (82 laps/200 miles), ABC (Live).

Photos Courtesy of IndyCar / Indianapolis Motor Speedway