INDY 500 - Carb Day Notes
INDIANAPOLIS -RIS- (May 25, 2018) The annual all-skate flurry of Carburetion Day here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over, and final preparations are being made before Sunday's 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race - the raison d'être of the Verizon IndyCar Series.
This is the day drivers and teams can make final tweaks to their Indy cars on-track. The cars have been silent since Monday, and this is the time to exorcize the gremlins on a hot race track.
Speaking of hot, the current 84-degree temps are lower than the predicted 90-degree forecast at the green flag Sunday noon. So finding the right aero/engine/gearing mix for Race Day will require terrific engineering, a Magic 8 Ball (tm), and the services of a witch doctor.
Meanwhile, fastest today was 2013 Indy 500 champ Tony Kanaan at 227.791 mph in the #14 ABC Supply Chevy.
Kanaan, driving for AJ Foyt, is partnered with engineer Eric Cowden. While their pooled talents weren't fast enough for the Fast Nine, Kanaan will start 10th alongside his teammate, rookie Matheus Leist - the best team start for AJ Foyt Racing in some time, creating the buzz that the Foyt program may be a force to reckon with on Race Day.
His day started quick, but late-session tinkering left Kanaan in a loss of speed.
"We made some changes at the end that didn't work," Kanaan said, indicating that their gamble means back to the original set-up.
The fastest Honda, in P2, was Scott Dixon in the #9 PNC Bank Honda.
Fan favorite Danica Patrick, in her last race as a competitor before she retires to the real world, came out quick at 223.653, but lost power shortly thereafter due to electrical issues. The #13 GoDaddy Chevy headed back to the garage area and was repaired, but not completely.
"I thought we knew," Patrick said of the issue. "We went out and it was worse."
Patrick's teammates are polesitter Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot. Pigot finished today's practice just a position behind Patrick.
Consensus amongst the drivers seems to be that the new, high-drag, lower-downforce aero kits have made the cars significantly harder to drive, but that new car plays into some driver's abilities (e.g. Marco Andretti) and other teams' aerodynamic skills (e.g. Team Penske and Ed Carpenter Racing).
We'll know by 12:30 p.m. Sunday morning.
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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.