INDY 500 - Day Three at Indy 500
INDIANAPOLIS - May 16, 2019 - Day three of practice for the 103 running of the 500 Mile Race is under way on another lovely day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We have a blue sky and 74 degrees, with a very slight wind out of the south.
Things on the cars are a little different here from last year. The aero package changed in an effort to make passing in the race easier. Aero downforce has been removed over all and the front wing design has been tweaked significantly.
This has resulted in a number of drivers complaining understeer. The balance has been upset a bit giving the front-end a little unsettled feeling. Both Alonso Fernando in the McLaren entry, and Felix Rosenqvist in a Ganassi car, were caught out by this making contact with the walls in practice yesterday. They were certainly not alone as several drivers had very close calls as the front end is reluctant to turn.
It is hard to understand how sensitive this is. When a driver says the car is understeering or pushing, we are talking a couple of degrees in slip angle. Something most of us mortals would not even notice.
Another big change from the passed few years, is we have 36 entries so we may well see actual bumping on Pole/Bump Sunday. Pole and Bump day have been combined in yet, another change in the qualifying system the powers that be, at IMS/INDYCAR have come up with.
It will still be a two day effort with Saturday calling for each car to do at least one qualifying run to to set, first, the fast nine; the fastest nine cars then will make a single attempt on Sunday to set the grid spots 1 through 9 including of course, the Pole.
Also, grid spots 10 through 29 will be set on Saturday, by speeds. All cars slower than car 29, will then be eligible to re-qualify on Sunday for the last row spots 30 through 33. There should be 6 cars battling for the last row, with three teams packing up for the long trip home.
The main reason for this change is the commitment NBC has made to the INDYCAR series. Sunday at Noon the Last Row qualifying and the Fast Nine qualifying will be show live on the NBC network, with Saturday’s activities on NBCSN.