Speedway Opens for Business for 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500

Posted: May 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

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The world’s cathedral of speed swung open its gates Monday morning, overshadowed by rainy skies and buffeted by brisk winds. It’s road course architecture stored away in just a matter of hours.

Amid a couple of rain delays, Indianapolis Motor Speedway race drivers ran 1,094 laps, eclipsing the 225 mile per hour mark on several occasions.

The afternoon session began at 12:15pm with an ambient temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 73%. Track temperature was 83 degrees.

Joe Skibinski2Top speed for the day was set by Sage Karam, piloting the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy-Dallara, with a 225.802 mph lap late in the session. Joining Karam above the 225 mark was Chip Ganassi Racing teammates (and past Indy 500 winners) Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan at 225.293 mph and 225.217 mph respectively.

Following the session Karam said: “It’s only the first day, so it’s not about how fast you are today. It’s about how fast you are on Sunday in two weeks. It definitely feels good, though. It’s the first time I’ve ever been P1 at the Speedway so, you know, it’s a good feeling. We have a lot of work to do. The car is not anywhere near where we want it to be for race day or qualifying. I’ve got a great team. They worked really hard. They are making it a lot easier on us drivers by being as prepared as they are. We are picking this new aero kit apart and we’re figuring it out every time we go out.”

Chris Owens2Marco Andretti in the No. 27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda-Dallara was the remaining driver to cross the 225 mph mark with a lap of 225.184 mph leading all Honda-powered teams on the day. He offered his assessment of the session: “We got through a lot of test items on our list today. We needed to mileage out the engine and for only having one set of tires, I’m pretty pleased with where things progressed. But I think there’s still a lot of speed coming for the 27 Honda. I’ve never wanted something as badly as I want an Indy 500 win. I love this place and there is so much history and meaning here at IMS for my family. Winning at Indy would be such a huge weight off my shoulders. We’ve been close and it feels like we are knocking on the door every year. I think we are capable.” Four Honda drivers finished the day in the 10 positions on the speed chart.

Eight drivers ran over the 224 mark with J.R. Hildebrand being the quickest at 224.760 mph in the No. 6 CFH (Carpenter-Fisher-Hartman) Chevy-Dallara. Twenty-Three drivers crossed the 220 mile per hour mark on the day, with a total of 30 drivers running laps. Notably absent from running competitive laps were the Team Penske drivers: Montoya, Castroneves and Power who spent their track time strictly setting up their speedway configurations.

Chris JonesOther business on the day was Townsend Bell in the No. 24 Robert Graham / Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom Racing Chevy-Dallara completing all phases of his refresher test and Stefano Coletti completing all phases of his rookie orientation in the No. 4 KV Racing Technology Honda-Dallara.

Food for thought: The Trap Speeds measured at the end of the front straight had Justin Wilson fastest in his Andretti Autosport No. 21 Honda-Dallara at 232.240 mph – fastest recorded speed on the end of the back straight was Marco Andretti at 231.517 mph. (stats reported by TSO)

TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE

Noon-6pm– Indianapolis 500 practice

Practice continues through the week at Indianapolis, with qualifying to set the field of 33 starting Saturday, May 16 and concluding on Sunday, May 17. Television coverage on ABC begins at 4 p.m. EDT Saturday and 1 p.m. EDT Sunday.

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Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 

Images by Chris Jones, Chris Owens and Joe Skibinski 

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