Archive for May 19, 2014

May 18, 2014Walt Kuhn

By: Jeff Majeske 

Special Correspondent to 

Before jumping into today’s topic, a quick thank you and an apology.

First, thank you for reading my articles over the past two days when I was trackside. I had a lot of fun doing them, and I hope you found them informative, interesting or entertaining. (Hopefully all three at once.)

Sorry for not being out at the track on Sunday, but I had to get back to Michigan and get back to my day job.

Looking back at my Fast Nine predictions, I got six of the nine (missing badly on the Ganassi boys). I picked Helio Castroneves for the pole (wound up fourth) and had Ed Carpenter second.

After a rocky start to his Indy career (lots of crashes), Carpenter has settled down and found the fast way around the Brickyard. Only 10 others drivers have won the pole back to back for the Indianapolis 500. They are:

Ralph DePalma, 1920-21

Rex Mays, 1935-36 (these were 10-lap runs)

Eddie Sachs, 1960-61

Parnelli Jones, 1962-63

Mario Andretti, 1966-67

A.J. Foyt, 1974-75

Tom Sneva, 1977-78

Rick Mears, 1988-89

Scott Brayton, 1995-96

Helio Castroneves, 2009-10

Some pretty impressive company, to say the least, with some true legends on that list.

Only Mays, Sachs and Brayton never won the 500. Mays was runner-up in consecutive years (1940-41) while Sachs was second in 1961. Brayton’s best finish was sixth (twice).

Carpenter’s win in 2012 at Fontana suggests he could win at Indianapolis as well. His best finish is fifth in 2008. Like Tony Kanaan’s last year, it would be a popular victory.

Photo credit: Walter Kuhn/Indianapolis Motor Speedway


INDY 500 qualifying Round 1 (1)_001


Kurt Busch hit hard into the turn two wall at Indianapolis earlier this afternoon …

He climbed out of the car OK, was checked out at the IMS Infield Medical Center & released to drive …

The Andretti Autosport No. 26 Sureton Honda was  heavily damaged, and may not make it back on-track till Carb Day …

In a quick interview, Busch stated: “I was starting to feel comfortable. That’s when I made the mistake of just letting my guard down or settling into that long run type mentality whereas with an Indy car you have to be on edge. You have to keep track of where you are at all times and the adjustments in the car. Maybe I just didn’t keep up with keeping the car underneath me. Trying to get into that rhythm and feel other things around you and I got behind on my adjustments in the car.”

(On what it feels like to crash before Indianapolis 500 race day) Busch noted: “It’s nice to have it an opportune time. We still have carb day to shake things down and get back in the groove. This created a lot of work for the Andretti guys. I feel bad for that. As a rookie, there’s things you learn and put it up on the edge and get away with and then there’s times when it will bite you. It’s just tough. I thought I was finding a rhythm and settling into that long run type pace and learning the tows and the draft and I didn’t keep track of the adjustments of the car.  100 percent just working in traffic. Just trying to settle in and not make mistakes and I just made a mistake.”

Rules of use of a Back-up Car on Race day … according to Rule of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook: If a Qualified Car is involved in a crash, the Entrant may replace the Qualified Car with another Car and start the Race in the Qualified Car’s position. If a Qualified Car is unable to start the Race for any other reason, INDYCAR shall determine if the Entrant is permitted to replace the Qualified Car with another Car and start the Race in the Qualified Car’s position or if the Entrant is required to start the Race from the rear of the starting field.

From our friends at IndyCar

They handle the numbers better than anyone …

This piece written by Dave Lewandowski at – Published May 19, 2014


— Numbers to note from the exciting two days of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race —

 8,630 — Laps logged in practice from May 11 through the morning of Pole Day on May 18.

40 — Driver/car combinations to take the 2.5-mile oval in practice and qualifying.

232.917 — Fastest lap of the month in miles per hour by first-year competitor Mikhail Aleshin in May 18 practice in the No. 7 SMP Racing entry for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

1.56 — Difference in seconds between Ed Carpenter’s Verizon P1 Award-winning four-lap time in 2013 (2:37.3689) and 2014 (2:35.7992).

231.067 — Four-lap average speed in miles per hour of Carpenter, the fastest since 2003 by Helio Castroneves (231.725).

229.382 — Field average in miles per hour, which is the fastest in Indianapolis 500 history.

4 — American-born drivers on the first three rows for the race. Five other countriesrepresented.

5 — Different Verizon IndyCar Series teams represented in the first three rows.

6 — Former Indy 500 winners in the starting field of 33: Tony Kanaan (2013), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002, 2009), Scott Dixon (2008), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000), Buddy Lazier (1996) and Jacques Villeneuve (1995). The record for most former winners is 10 (1992) and the fewest, other than the inaugural race in 1911, is zero (1912).

7 — Rookies in the starting field: Kurt Busch, James Davison, Jack Hawksworth, Carlos Huertos, Sage Karam, Martin Plowman and Aleshin. Last year there were four rookies.

14 — Drivers in the starting field are graduates of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system.

19 — Karam is the youngest competitor, who will be 19 years, 2 months, 20 days on Race Day. He’s the fourth-youngest to contest the Indy 500. A.J. Foyt IV, who turned 19 on Race Day in 2003, is the youngest.

Indy Field

Photos and Data Courtesy of the