But even after turning Up the Boost, did we really learn Anything?
Have to say I’ve Never been enamoured by thou Gimmickry of Turnin’ Up the Boost for Qualifying, solely to inflate the lap speeds, presumably to get everybody excited, Err Pump You Up! Talking about the upcoming race and how fast they’re going, even though they Dial Down the Boost afterwards in order for them to be able to race 500 miles, but I digress…
“Fast Friday,” Practice 4: Fryday, May 21st
The “Mercury” kept rising, to a fairly toasty 83deg-f, according to my Accuweather.com information when I began typing this at 1:26PM Pacific. With a predicted High of 84 that felt like 87 with a low of 62deg-f, four degrees warmer then our forecasted High for Florence, Oregon, but I digress further…
Thus I was surprised when reading after lunch the daily Mid-day report via Racer.com, since I Don’t have that Cursed Peacock Paywall service! That Ed Jones and his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan’s #18 Dallara-Honda was sitting Atop the Pylon in P1 with a speed of 231.569mph! Which Jones had posted with a helpful Tow before the track & ambient temperatures rose.
RLLR’s Takuma Sato was second, followed by Scott Dixon, CGR team-mate Alex Palou and Alexander Rossi, a welcome site for the Andretti Autosport driver. While AMSP’s Pato O’Ward was the top bowtie runner in P6 at 231.014mph, with All six of these racers posting 231mph+ laps due to their extra 90bhp of Turbo boost.
RLLR Driver Santino Ferrucci was cleard to drive and returned to the track at 2PM ET, while Top Gun Racing’s R.C. Enerson attempted two Qualie’ Sims but was still slowest in P35 at 224.736mph.
Yet by day’s end, it was a thou Cheepster’s Four Musketeers Hogging the Top 5 positions, only interrupted by Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta P2. As Scott Dixon was fastest with a lap of 233.302mph, with CGR team-mates Tony Kanaan 3rd, Marcus Ericsson 4th and Alex Palou P5. With Pato O’Ward remaining the quickest Chevy in P6.
The rest of the Top 10 was Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, Ed Jones and Ryan Hunter-Reay in P10, his first time in the Top 10 of the Time Sheets.
Rinus VeeKay led the way for ECR in 12th, with Ed Carpenter 15th and Conor Daly P19.
Others making noticeable jumps up the Time Sheets were Andretti Autosport’s “Sixth Wheel” Stefan Wilson in 13th, along with James Hinchcliffe in P17 and Pietro Fittipaldi a practice high 18th. While Carlin’s Max Chilton was P23, splitting the top two Penskes!
No idea what Team Penske was up to? Since Josef Newgarden was their quickest HotShue’ in 22nd. Scott McLaughlin was 24th and Power and Pagenaud were P29-30, Huh?
As the Slowest 10 Drivers (P26-35) were: Marco Andretti, Dalton Kellett, J.R. Hildebrand, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Sage Karam, Simona de Silvestro, Sebastien Bourdais, Charlie Kimball and R.C. Enerson.
As Enerson’s fastest lap was 226.055mph, jumping nearly 2mph from earlier runs, but was still over 2mph Slower than Kimball in P34. As time appears to be running out on the Top gun Racing effort.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was penalized from running the first 30mins of Fast Friday due to the Kerfuffle they caused when trying to stage Thar three abreast Photo Op’ on Thursday, and therefore couldn’t begin practice until 12:30PM ET Friday.
Practice 3: Thursday, 5/20
The day got off to a Bizarre start when the three Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) Boyz’ were running three abreast at reduced speed down the front Straightaway for a Photo Op’ crossing the Yard ‘O Bricks. As Simona de Silvestro and Scott McLaughlin dually slowed down, Colton Herta came round Turn 4 at Full speed and ended up colliding with McLaughlin and brushing the Wall when trying to go High round the Kiwi Rookie! As both cars were taken back to Gasoline Alley for Inspection/repairs, costing them an hour’s-plus time of practice!
At the Halfway point it was a Chip Ganassi Racing Freight-train holding positions 1-4 with Scott Dixon on point at 224.666mph. Followed by Marcus Ericsson, Tony Kanaan and Alex Palou, with Team Penske’s McLaughlin shaking off his earlier encounter with Herta to be P5.
At Day’s end it was Kanaan in P1 with a lap of 225.341mph followed by Conor Daly. With an unexpected Santino Ferrucci ahead of Josef Newgarden andScott Dixon rounding out the Top 5. Whilst Rinus VeeKay nipped at Thar Heels in P6.
Jumping into the Top 10 for the first time this week was Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves in 7th and Takuma Sato in 9th. Colton Herta was Andretti Autosport’s fastest runner in P10, with next best being Ryan Hunter-Reay in 12th.
Pato O’Ward still led the way for Arrow McLaren SP, but slid down to P14, one place ahead of Will Power, the third slowest of the four Team Penske cars with McLaughlin 13th and Simon Pagenaud 23rd.
Matching his car number for the day was Ed Carpenter in 20th, followed by Alexander Rossi and Juan Pablo Montoya P21-22 respectively.
The Slowest 10 runners (P26-35) were: Graham Rahal, Pietro fittipaldi, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, J.R. Hildebrand, Simona de Silvestro, James Hinchcliffe, Max Chilton, Sebastien Bourdais and R.C. Enerson. As Enerson’s lap was 217.444mph, nearly 2mph slower than Bourdais’s unexpected “Basement Dweller” speed.
Top Gun Racing finally returned to Pitlane some 80mins into practice with R.C. Enerson running a total of just 50 laps before ultimately ending up 35th and slowest at 217.444mph set in the early afternoon.
Santino Ferrucci became the first driver to Crash during the Month of May just after setting his quickest lap of the day, then P2! When backing Hard into the Wall at 4:14PM ET with heavy damage to the left Rear corner. Ferrucci was taken to Hospital for further evaluation to his left leg, but was expected to return on Friday.