INDY 500 - 2018 Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition
INDIANAPOLIS -RIS- (May 25, 2018) It's become an annual tradition on the Friday before the Indianapolis 500.
Carb Day practice.
The Freedom 100.
The Pit Stop Competition.
It's had several different sponsors over the years - Miller Beer and Checkers/Rally's, for example - and though unsponsored this year, this is the day the unnamed, similarly-dressed guys who go over the wall to service the 33 men and women who run the 500 to be singled out and recognized.
And the best of the best compete in this competition.
This year featured representative teams from Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and Andretti Autosport, and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
The drivers of the respective teams competing today were Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Scott Dixon, Ed Jones, Robert Wickens, James Hinchcliffe, Alexander Rossi, Graham Rahal, and Sage Karam.
The competition is a head-to-head drag race down pit lane elimination. NHRA fans would appreciate the challenges of a getting a high-horsepower car moving quickly from a standing position, but they won't recognize the four-tire change and simulated fuel fill in mid-race.
Here at Indy, the race is held in pit lane, and the inside lane where crews actually work on Race Day is concrete, while the pitlane surface is asphalt. This gives a decided advantage to the competitor on concrete.
And only once did the competitor in the asphalt right lane win a heat - ironically the one full-season driver not competing in Sunday's Indy 500 - James Hinchcliffe.
Hinchcliffe's SPM crew beat vaunted Will Power's Team Penske crew on the semis, but fell to Scott Dixon's Ganassi crew in a best two out of three.
|ROUND 1||Q'TER FINAL||SEMI-FNL||FINAL||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||CHAMPION|
|#1 Newgarden||#12 Power|
|#9 Dixon||#5 Hinchcliffe||#9 Dixon||#9 Dixon|
* - Only Victory to Come From Right (asphalt) Lane
Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992. He was invited to join the staff as a full-time reporter/editor in 1995, and has covered IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his RIS work, Tom has been a contributor for General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and the ACO.