Monday, May 20, 2024

INDY 500: And now, the Field’s Set

ScottyMac’ and the fabled “Yellow Submarine” certainly weren’t Hiding from Anybody on Pole Day! (The Tomaso Collection)


As Y’all cannot say there was any lack of Drama this year!


While you’d have to say it was a very entertaining two days of Qualifying. Making it apropos that while I listened to almost All seven hours of Day One’s qualifying. Outside I was continuously serranaded by countless Harleys and Fast Cars romping around town during our Rhody Days weekend…


Team Penske flexed Thar Muscle, securing the top three positions, led by Will Power’s 233.758mph four lap average followed by Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden.


As I can no longer remember when it was, i.e.; Fast Friday or Saturday? I know I heard on IndyCar Radio claiming that Power had Hit a maximum velocity of 243mph at the Turn-3 Speed trap!


During the initial first guaranteed qualifying attempt for All 34 entries, Arrow McLaren seemed to be out of sorts!


As rookie Kyle Larson “waived” His first run after the third lap. As Larson said His engine switched off. Callum Ilott qualified next for the team. But then His time was disallowed due to technical violation of the left rear wheel Offset being out of position


Then first Pato O’Ward pulled His car from the Qualie’ line, along with Alexander Rossi did likewise. So initially none of the four McLaren’s were qualified.


Rookie Nolan Siegel had slowest time at 226mph, as the Dale Coyne Racing driver was struggling almighty to put His backup chassis in the Show…


Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon also pulled their cars from first attempt. As Dixon’s crew was busy installing a new Honda engine


Rinus VeeKay, the day’s fourth qualifier, crashed heavily in Turn-3 during His Qualie’ run.


And Katherine Legge “White-walled” Her tyres on lap-4 during one of Her multiple qualifying attempts. As the Coyne entries were the two slowest cars initially.


And while speculation suggested that Larson suffered from having plenum fire during His first qualifying attempt. The NASCAR Star ended the day sixth overall, handidly advancing to Sunday’s Fast-12 Shootout. Bested only by teammate Rossi in fourth.


As reputedly six Bowtie’ runners including Larson suffered from Plenum fires during their qualifying attempts! With the most distraught being Augustin Canapino!


And whilst myself and others in Ye Blogosphere had predicted Sting Ray Robb to be the slowest qualifier. Robb suitably impressed with a late run, jumping seven places up to P20, before ultimately ending up 23rd overall. So good for Him!


While another rookie who quietly went about His job was Tom Blomqvist, in His first ever Oval track race. With the Kiwi’ saying He was enjoying sliding the rear of the car during his latter Qualie’ run that ultimately netted Him P25.


The other rookies, i.e.; Cristian Rasmussen wound up 24th, one place ahead of Blomqvist. Whilst Marcus Armstong was 16th, Kyffin Simpson 18th and Linus Lundqvist P27.


As the biggest disappointment of the day had to be Chip Ganassi Racing having zero entries in the Top-12! With Alex Palou 14th and Dixon a very uncharacteristic P21!


Yet the most impressive drive of the Day has to go to Rinus VeeKay. As the Dutchman bumped His way into the Fast-12 with just some three-plus minutes remaining in qualifying! Knocking Colton Herta out of P12.


Whilst I suppose you’d have to Arse-sumed that half of the Last Row Shootout cars would belong to Dale Coyne. While Graham Rahal makes it two years in-a-row. But the biggest surprise has to be 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson simply never being able to find the necessary speed aboard His backup chassis. As Ericsson’s and Siegel’s plights underscore how important your primary Speedway car is. Afterall, being massaged for much of the year prior to competing at Mother Speedway…

Fast-12 Day One results

The Top-12 drivers from Saturday will each make one qualifying attempt Sunday in reverse starting order, i.e.; Slowest to Fastest. As Saturday’s order was Will Power, Scott McLaughlin and Josef Newgarden claiming the first three positions.


Alexander Rossi was fourth, with Kyle Kirkwood being the fastest Honda in fifth. And the Outside of Row-2 was Kyle Larson.


Felix Rosenqvist, Santino Ferrucci and Takuma Sato make up row-3. With Pato O’Ward, Rinus VeeKay and Ryan Hunter-Reay being the “slowest” three of the Top-12. Seeing nine Chevy’s vs. three Honda’s fighting for Pole Sunday.


As starting positions 7-12 will be locked-in following the first qualifying run.


Thus Row-3 positions 7-9 were ultimately filled by VeeKay, O’Ward and Rosenqvist. While Row-4 (positions 10-12) features Sato, Kirkwood and Hunter-Reay.  


Last Row Shootout

Due to circumstances, prior to the Last Chance Qualifier’, you’d naturally have to Arse-sume that rookie Nolan Siegel wouldn’t make the Show. Having been slowest ever since crashing His primary chassis.


Yet the two names that shouldn’t be here obviously are Graham Rahal and Marcus Ericsson!


And after Sunday afternoon’s One hour warm-up session, it appeared to be a slugfest between Graham Rahal and rookie Nolan Siegel for who’d make the field, which ultimately played out.


But it was Ericsson giving us Drama we weren’t expecting! When the Swede’ thought He’d completed the run on lap-3 and slowed down. With a final lap at a “pedestrian” 194mph giving Him an four lap average speed of 220mph! As what just happened?


Yet Ericsson went back out for a final qualie’ run with some seven minutes remaining and “bumped” His way into the middle of row-11, knocking Siegel out again. With the brash 19yr old Californian giving it one last shot with just 2:24 remaining on the clock.


Siegel’s first lap wasn’t quick enough and the Californian Kid knew He had to go big, or Go Home! And with the car trimmed out to the ragged edge. Siegel got loose in turn-1, the back end snapped and Siegel Hit the Wall! Ending any remote hope of making this year’s race.


Credit once again to Graham Rahal being gracious in “victory”, and lavishing praise upon Nolan Siegel and Dale coyne’s moxie in qualifying and their attempts to make the race after Siegel crashed during Fast Friday…


Meanwhile, Siegel’s teammate Katherine Legge starts P31. With IndyCar Radio Driver Analyst Davey Hamilton saying that Legge had used up every inch of the track and run no two lines the same during Her run with a loose racecar that almost Hit the wall. But Kudo’s to Legge’s gutsy qualie’ run.


Fast Six Shootout

Once again, the shootout for Pole position felt fairly anti-climatic to Mwah. Especially with the Top-4 positions remaining the same from the day’s earlier Fast-12 Shootout. Seeing Team Penske lock out the Front row for only the second time in History.


As Team Penske swept the Front row in 1988 with “Rocket Rick” Mears, Danny Sullivan and Al Unser.


As ScottyMac’, who I’m totally Hip’ upon, not only claimed His first Indianapolis 500 Pole position, but now holds the current All-time Pole lap average speed record at 234.220mph! Will Power was second and Josef Newgarden third.


Row-2 sees Alexander Rossi in fourth, with rookie Kyle Larson in the middle, flanked on the outside by Santino Ferrucci.


As congrats to Scott McLaughlin, but Thars’ still 500 miles to go…