INDIANAPOLIS 500 - Practice for the 101st 500 Mile Race Continues
INDIANAPOLIS - RIS - MAY 18, 2017 - Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where on-track action today is expected to be hot and heavy after what pretty much was a wasted day yesterday.
The Indy weather while certainly not perfect today is way better than yesterday’s high 80’s and crazy winds. With winds gusting to 40 MPH and swinging wildly around the compass, few teams elected to challenge the 2.5 mile oval. Only 408 laps were run by 21 teams with many choosing to simply do hot pit stop practice, running just out/in laps.
Ed Carpenter set the pace at 222.894 MPH, followed by Scott Dixon at 222.599. Carpenter’s teammate, JR Hildebrand rounded out the top three at 220.553, with rookie of the year shoe-in, Fernando Alonso, and Conor Daly rounding out the top five.
“... so far I'm happy with the car. I'm happy with the way it's driving,” said Carpenter, “I feel comfortable. I think that's why I thought it was important to run on a day like today just because it is a challenge. The wind was very, very gusty, variable. And to me, if you can go out and get comfortable in conditions like that, I think it bodes well for the car, the race car and how comfortable you can be. And you never know, it could be this windy on race day.”
Scott Dixon, “I actually expected (the wind) to be worse. I think once you got running, obviously, the car has more downforce in it and you’re kind of trying some bigger items. You can’t feel the subtle stuff, but there are definitely some gusts that can catch you out, especially in Turn 2 with the wind coming from behind.”
Most teams did take advantage of a new rule this year that allows teams to do hot pit stop practice between 2:00 and 4:00 each day. They must notify race control, crew must wear helmets, and pits cleared of guests.
Today, Thursday, the weather continues warm, highs this afternoon in the mid-80’s and still breezy, with winds 15 to 20 MPH. The forecast for the Indy area really goes down hill tonight and through the weekend, a fair chance of rain tomorrow, Fast Friday, and going up for qualifications Saturday and Sunday.
Race driver and really good guy, John Andretti stopped by the Media Center with IMS president, Doug Boles, to talk about his recent diagnosis of stage four colon cancer. “I turned 50, I am now 54, and just put off getting screened for whatever reason. My wife made me get it, and a few days later I was being treated for cancer. Had I got it sooner I, I guess, I would not be here and it would be no big deal.”
Accompanying Andretti was his lead oncologist, Dr. Paul Helft, of University of Indiana, Simon Cancer Center. Dr. Helft, discussed the reasons to get screened at fifty for everyone. John does look well but has a big road ahead of him in this most important battle. He is undergoing chemo therapy and will be for sometime to come.
This reported has participated in John Andretti’s Race 4 Riley Children's Hospital, a go-kart event, here in the Indy area, for several years. We have gotten to know John and truly like and respect this gentlemen. We wish him well.