Joyous Victory Celebration Caps Outstanding May

The 500 Victory Celebration can at times be a bit of a stuffy low key affair, but last night’s banquet was ajoyous, lfun filled program. The mood was ectremely light hearted as anorther May in indianapolis came to close.

I don’t know if the 1,000 plus fans in attendance was a record for this event, but it was definitely a larger crowd than the previous two banquets.

As usual, Conor Daly was the star of the show. he always livens up the program when it’s his turn to come to the podium. Last night’s gem- Newgarden will not only have his face on the Borg Warner trophy but also his abs.

Pato offered fashion advice

Pato O’Ward and Lindsey Czarniak had a humorous discussion about Pato’s clothing choices. Lindsay dismissed him when he asked if she liked his shoes.

The emotional tribute to Tony Kanaan was a fitting send off toone of the most popular drivers IMS has seen. After his lettr to fans clip which was shown on the video boards Sundy played, Kanaan received a standing ovation usually reserved for the race winner. Helio Castroneves, Kanaan’s lifelong friend, joined the dais and the two reminisced for a bit.

Kanaan tried to get Helio to promise to stop dying his hair since Tony is done racing. The secret is out.

Josef Newgarden’s speech as full of humility and gratitude for the sacrifices his parents made to launch his racing career. Winning has opened a new side of Newgarden i hadn’t seen before. Like Will Power after his 2018 win, he seems less wound tight, and more at ease.

In May, 2021, I wrote a post wondering ahere the buzz around the 500 had gone. It was the first year after the pandemic, but the whole seemed to run in a rather perfunctory manner. This May, i felt that buzz and excitement from the start of practice for the GMR Grand Prix all the way through last evening. I athink track attendance was a reflection of that. This year felt a lot like the 70s and 80s.

The payout of the record $17 million purse:

Indianapolis 500 Wrap Up

Indycar photo by James Black

I stated my thoughts yesterday on the finish, and I will just say the series is walking a very fine line between racing and entertainment. I hope in the future they decide to lean more toward the racing. It is entertaining enough. Let’s wrap up what has been one of the best overall Mays in a long time.

The Last Brazilian

Tony Kanaan’s final race did not have the outcomehe or his many fans hoped for. iy was evident eartly that he would struggle for a good result. Kanaan provided a highlight when he went into the grass to make a pass late in the race.

Kanaan summed up his day.

“I think I would do a disgrace to almost 400,000 people that
were there that made me feel the way they did to say I’m
sad. I had a laugh. Helio and I battling for 15th and 16th
on the last lap like we’re going for the lead. It was like,
who’s playing pranks with us.
We both went side by side on the backstretch after the
checker and we saluted with each other, and I just told him
actually I dropped a tear because of that, and he said, I
did, too.
It was a good day for me, man. What can I say? We cried
on the grid.
Yeah, not the result that we wanted. I went really
aggressive on the downforce to start the race. It was
wrong. Then I added downforce towards the end of the
race and it was wrong. So it was just one of those days.”

With Kanaan gone, Helio Castroneves is the last Brazilain driver in the series, which at one had almost a third of the grid representing the Sout American nation. Castroneves is 48 years old. he may e a 500 only driver next year, but fior how many years will he be here?

Rough Day for Rookies

Benjamin pederesen wasthe highest finishing rookie in 21st, taken out in a front stretch crashon the lap 196 restart. None of the rookies were running ay yjr finish. Pedersen will likely win Rookie of the Year tonigh.

R C Enerson finsihed 32nd with mechanical problems. Abel Motorsports can’t be too disappointed. It was a hug accomplishment to qualify as solidly as they did. The race was abonus for this very young program. I hope they come back nexrt year.

Agustin Canapinio ran a good race which unfortuntely ended in a collision with Pato O’Ward. he was headed for a very good result. I am impressed by how quickly Canapinoi has adapted to Indycar.

Sring Ray Robb got caught up in the marbles on lap 90, ausig the first yellow.Robb is still learning Indycar, and I hope he can turn things around in the second half of the season.

Rahal’s Forgettable May

Graham Rahal failed to qualify for the race. he got a reprieve when Dreyer &Reinbold and Cusick Motorsports asked him to sub for the injured Stefan Wilson. Rhahl’s miserable month got een worse when his car wouldn’t and had to be wheeled to his pit to change the battery. Rahal started the race two laps down and never caught up.

The entire rahal team didn’t fare much better. jack Harvey in 18th was their best result.

The Race

The ending aside, I thought this was one of the best 500s I’ve seen. I have been to a few of them. Once again, I did not see the 1911 race,-thanks for asking. Yesterday was fascinating for the great racing early and the strategy discussion I had with my friends in the stands. I loved how the first two yellows changed the pit strategy for some teams.

I agree with what winner Josef Newgarden said in his press confer3nce last night that the cars should be mnore difficult to drive, and then leader should nor be a sitting duck on restarts..

How to Celebrate a 500 Victory

Newgarden did it right. His post race celebration of unbridled joy was how winning the 500 should be handled. Yes the there are traditions, but they can wait. Indycar needs to allow the drivers to have a few moments of spontaneous exuberance after a win. We need more of this at every race rather thanhaving the driver sit inhis car until a television producer gives the okay to get out.


What does Pato O’Ward have to do to win an oval rtace? Stymied by a yellow flag in texas, only to be foiled by red flags ijn the 500. O’Ward had the strategy figured out, and if the race had not been halted, he would be the winner.

I hope he sweeps Iowa and wins Gateway. It has to be frustrating for him. O’Ward could potentially have had his third win of the season Sunday.

I have yet to watch the replay and I ight have some comments on that later this week. I’m off to the Victory Celebration in a bit, then we look to Detroit.

hank you for followingduring May. It wa sone of the best Mays I remmebr.

Quick Thoughts-107th Indianapolis 500

I tweeted the following after the final red flag. I still stand by it.

Indycar is trying too hard to finish this race under green under 10 laps to go istoo late just to get a green finish.

If the track were blocked, if the SAFER barrier were damaged, if there is a weather situation, then yes, a red flag is warranted. But to stop the race just to have a green flag finish just isn’t right.

Yellows breed yellows, but wethe series doesn’t need to be at the point where reds breed reds. End of rant

Other than That..

This was a terrific race. The first 90 laps were green with very good racing. Fifty two lead changes is a huge number for the 500. There was passing throughout the field. The second cautionn on lap 150 caused some teams to rethink strategy. Pato o’Ward tried to pit ahead of everyone else. It might have worked had there not been another caution.

O’Ward once again became his own worst enemy with his inside pass attempt, I thought Pato was a bit slow on the restart, thus putting himself in that position.

As is typical in a 500 mile race, early contenders fallmout of contention. Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay looked like the two strongest cars early. VeeKay made contact with Palou inn the pits, ending both their chances for the win. Palou did come back to finish fourth and retain the championship lead. VeeKay came back from the penalty to finish 10th.

jJosef Newgarden ran a very smart, steady race. He deserved the win, but would he have won with out the two red flags?As drivers often say, it is what it is.

Slaying the Dragon

It’s time for Indycar to ban the dragon move that the leaders late in the race have used the last few years. One day the leader will hit hte pit wall and possiblyn take out some cars behind him.

I would prefer to see a straight fight for the lead. i remember when drivers used to just mnake their cars a bit wider on the track.

Tether Flaw?

The accident involving Felidx Rosenqvist and Kyle Kirkwood may have exposed a flaw in the wheel tether system. I have never seen a tire sail like that since the tehers were intorduced.

Fortunately, the wheel landed in the space between the Riley suites and the grandstand and no one was injured.

I’m sure there will be an investigation and a modicfication of the sysstem.

I will have a complete race wrap up sometime tomorrow. Thanks for following this month.

Race Day! 500 Miles to Go

Today’s schedule:

xSCHEDULE (All times local):
5 a.m.-1 p.m.: Ticket and Credentials Office Open

6 a.m.-4 p.m.: Public Gates Open

7 a.m.: Snake Pit presented by Coors Light Gates Open

8:15 a.m.: Snake Pit – Jauz Begins

8:45 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy March to the Bricks Begins from IMS Museum

8:55 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy Reaches Checkpoint 1 – South Pit Gate

9 a.m.: DJ Slater Begins on Pagoda 3 Stage

9:05 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy Reaches Checkpoint 2 – Pagoda Plaza

9:15 a.m.: Snake Pit – Valentino Khan Begins

10:10 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy arrives at Yard of Bricks

10:25 a.m.: “On The Banks Of The Wabash,” Purdue University Band

10:30 a.m.: Cars to Grid

10:30 a.m.: Snake Pit – Subtronics Begins1

0:37 a.m.: Green Flag and Indy 500 Winners Lap

10:44 a.m.: Honorary Starter Receives Green Flag from IU Health Patient – Trackside Stage10:54 a.m.: Historic Cars Lap1

0:55 a.m.: All Cars on the Grid

11:25 a.m.: Military Appreciation Lap

11:47 a.m.: Driver Introductions Begin

12:10 p.m.: U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team Begins Descent12:18 p.m.: Invocation, Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, Archdiocese of Indianapolis

12:19 p.m.: Rifle Volley and “Taps”

12:21 p.m.: “God Bless America,” Angela Brown

12:25 p.m.: National Anthem, Jewel

12:27 p.m.: Flyover – U.S. Air Force F-16 Vipers, 49th Fighter Wing

12:29 p.m.: “Drivers To Your Cars,” Grand Marshal Stephanie Beatriz

12:36 p.m.: “Back Home Again in Indiana,” Jim Cornelison

12:38 p.m.: “Drivers Start Your Engines,” Roger Penske

12:45 p.m.: Green Flag, 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge

12:50 p.m.: Snake Pit – Kaskade Begins

2:20 p.m.: Snake Pit – John Summit Begins


TICKETS: Reserved seats available at various prices from $69-$144. $50 for General Admission only, no grandstand access and no Snake Pit entry. Kids 15 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a General Admission adult ticketholder. All Snake Pit presented by Coors Light attendees must also hold a valid Indianapolis 500 Race Day ticket. Fans will not be admitted to the track with just the Snake Pit wristband. All Snake Pit attendees must be at least 18 years old.

PUBLIC GATES OPEN (6 a.m.-4 p.m.): Gate 1, Gate 1B.1, Gate 1C, Gate 2, Gate 3, Gate 4, Gate 5N, Gate 5B, Gate 6N, Gate 6S, Gate 6B, Gate 7, Gate 7S, Gate 7N, Gate 9, Gate 10, Gate 10A, Gate 11A, Gate 11B, Gate 11C and Gate

12.PARKING: All Indianapolis 500 Race Day parking is SOLD OUT.

It is race day at last. The gates just opened to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the first of the 325,00 fans expected are entering the gates.

Each race day is more precious to me than the last one. I don’t know how many more I have.

I am still sticking with my pick of Pato o’Ward to win the race today. Next come the drivers who gave been fastb in the two practice sessions since qualifications, Alex Palou, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, and Will Power.

The weather forecaast calls for moistly sunny skiwes with a high of 77 degrees. Clouds may roll in from the southeast later today, but no rain will interfere with the race.

From @Indycar_Wxman:

I spent time after I arrived at the track walking through the pits. It is a magical place in the dark on race morning. I cafeel the ghosts of Shaw, Vukovich, Rose, and the counrtless other drivers who endeavored to win the greatest race in the world.

Here are some of the photos from this morning. Enjoy the race. I’ll be back after the checkered flag with some quick thoughts and have a complete wrap up tomorrow.

Legends Day

Today’s schedule: From IMS

INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, May 26, 2023) –
Information about 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Legends Day presented by Firestone on Saturday, May 27:SCHEDULE (All times local):

8 a.m.-3 p.m.: Public Gates Open

9-10 a.m.: Starting Field Autograph Session, Pagoda Plaza

10:30 a.m.: Public Drivers’ Meeting, Pit Road in front of Tower Terrace

Noon-1 p.m.: Veteran Driver Autograph Session A, Pagoda Plaza Chalet

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Veteran Driver Autograph Session B, Pagoda Plaza Chalet

TICKETS: General Admission tickets are $10 with free admission for children 15 and under when accompanied by a paying adult.

PUBLIC GATES OPEN (8 a.m.-3 p.m.): Gate 2, Gate 4, Gate 6S, Gate 7, Gate 7S, Gate 10, Gate 10A.

PARKING: Fans can purchase parking in Lot 2 on-site for $10, while supplies last. There is free parking in the 5th and Hulman lot inside the facility. Free ADA parking will be in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway parking lot. Free parking for Legends Day presented by Firestone is located inside at 5th and Hulman, in the South Carousel Lot for motorcycle parking and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Lot for ADA parking.

Like Carb Day, but to a mych larger extent, Lrgrnds Day is a shadow of its former self.

The only recofnixable elements are the autograph session and the public drivers’ meeting. This year t looks like the track has brought back an autograph session for former drivers.

We don’t see vintaqge cars on track anymore, and I have no idea why. The day used to honor a former winner or great driver, That tradirtion just suddenly stopped.

Fans used to be able to just hang out at the track all day. Now everyone needs to leave by 3 pm.

The Speedway’s reason for the new schedule is to het the track ready for the race tomorrow. It seems as if they did ne under the old schedule. I think it’s more of an economy move.

Still, it is a day at IMS in May. That counts for something. I would prefer the day more lived up to its name.

Sato Fastest on Carb Day

Two time winner Takuma Sato turned the fastest lap in the final tuneup for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

The two hour session had four stoppages, an unusually high numbe. Two were for track inspections. Another was for Katherine Legge, who stopped on the back stretch with a wheel nut issue. The final yellow came when Devlin DeFrancesco cut a tire.

The Arrow McLaren cars struggled today. Alexander Rossi’s car returned to the garage and returned to the pits. Felix Rosenqvist went to the garage and didn’t return. Tony Kanaan was the fastest on the team in 11th. Pato O’Ward was 15th.

Ganassi cars had three in the top 10 with Sato, Scott Dixon second, and Alex palou fourth.

Team Penske had Will Power third, Josef Newgarden ninth ans]d Scott Mclaughlin 10th.

Kyle Kirkwood was fifth fastest Colton Herta seventh for Andretti. Sato, Dixon, Power, and Palou were also the four quickest in Monday’s practice.


Indianapolis 500 Preview

Itr is almost time at last. One of the most antiucipated 500s in a while is a little more than 48 hours away. On a personal level, this will be my 56th 500 in person. The other day I realized that I first listened to the 500 on the radio 70 years ago. Here is a very old man’s preview of the 107th running.

There are son many storylines here. Tony Kanaan’s final race, the Rahal situation, Abel Motorsports, and most likely a two team battle for the win.

Kanaan’s Last Lap

Tony Kanaan has been a fan favorite since his rookie year. He led lasp in each of his first seven races. His passing on restarts is legendary. His win in 2013 was one of the most popular victories at the Speedway. Kanaan starts ninth and is with a team that can win. I’m not sure he will, but look for a top 10 finish.


Is A J Foyt Racing back? Santino Ferrucci starts fourth and rookie Benjamin Poedersen rolls off 11th in the best starting spots for the team in a decade. How thye race is another question. Ferrucci has a strong career record at IMS, and if the team execurtes in the pits, he could be in the mix all day.

Abel Motorsports

When this entry was announced with R C Enerson, it was written off as the caqr to be bumped. They missed the open tes, and Enerson had to complete his rookie test on the opening day of practice. Yet Enerson safely qualified 28th. A top 20 finish will be a big wn for the team, which has full time aspirations.

The Rahal Dilemma

Rahal Lanigan Letterman Racing suffered through a May malady that at one time or another has affected every team. No speed, no answers led to a frustrating week of practice and a near last row lockout.Graham Rahal. bumped from the field, will race on Sunday in the Dreyer anhd Reinbold car in place of the injured Stefan Wilson. Katherine Legge, the only team car to qualify safely, is another car to watch. Rahal will advance. it what he does. How far forward he can advance will depend on how the race unfolds.

Andretti Factor

Andretti Autosport cars seem to have lost the competitve edge they had showed through the first four races.Kyle Kirkwood is thier best qualifier at 15th. Kirkwood is happy with his car for the race. Romain nGrosjean and Colton Herta have a lot of work to do from their start in row 7.

Kirkwood could possibly get in position to bother the contenders and may end upm in the top 10. I think he is a year away from being a serious threat for the win.

McLaren vs. Ganassi

I see the race coming down to a battle between Alex Palou and Scott Dixon for Ganassi and Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist for Arrow McLaren. Both Honda and Chevy have shown very strong this month, but I tink Chevy has a bit of an edge. Palou will lead a lot of laps early, and O’Ward will get into contention by mid race.

Several drivers yesterday believe the weather will detrmine how much passing there will be. The forecast calls for 79 degrees and cloudy. That sounds perfect to me. Expect close racing, and hope that the forecast holds.

The drivers expect closer racing if not more passing.

In the end, I’m sticking with my preseason piuck of Pato O’Ward to win. He has been knocking on the door all season, and it his time.


Carb Day

Today’s schedule


8 a.m.-6 p.m.: Public Gates Open

11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Final Practice

2:30-4 p.m.: Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition

3:30 p.m.: Miller Lite Carb Day Concert Gates Open

4 p.m.: Miller Lite Carb Day Concert featuring Bryan Adams and special guest Soul Asylum

HONORARY STARTER: Miller Lite Carb Day Concert headliner Bryan Adams

TICKETS: General Admission tickets are $40, with free admission for children 15 and under when accompanied by a paying adult.

PUBLIC GATES OPEN (8 a.m.-6 p.m.): Gate 1, Gate 2, Gate 3, Gate 4, Gate 6S, Gate 6N, Gate 6B, Gate 7, Gate 7S, Gate 9, Gate 10, Gate 10A, Gate 11A, and Gate 12.

PARKING: Limited free parking is located in Lot 7 (North 40) and Lot 7 (North 40) for ADA. Paid parking is $20 in Lot 1B, Lot 2, Lot 3G and Main Gate, and $75 in Gate 1, while supplies last. Paid ADA parking is $20 in Lot 3P, Lot 2 and Hulman Lot. Paid motorcycle parking is $20 in South Carousel lot. Bicycle parking is located outside Gate 1, Gate 6 and Gate 9.

My review will be up between 8 and 9 this morning. Enjoy the day. I cannot wait rfor Sunday.

Kirkwood- Homework and Calculated Moves for a Successful Race

A relaxed Kyle Kirkwood talks about the 500

Kyle Kirkwood.studies past5 races to watch what other drivers did and how situations developed. He watches past 500s just from the aeoscreen era since those are the nones relevant to him.

Races before the aeroscreen ‘”…takes up a little too much of your time…,” he said during today’s media availability.

Kirkwood, inhis first year with Andretti Autosport, thinks the amount of passing on Sunday will depend on the weathe rather than the downforce.

“”This place is more weather dependent than downforce dependent. if the weather is cool and it’s crisp, and it’s cl;oudy and thentrack temperaturestays down the racing will be great. But if it gets hot you’re not going to seea lot of passing regardles of the downforce,” he said.

Kirkwood said The 500 is a”very calculated race.”

“I feel like if you push too hard to try and get something done.. it ususally doesn’t work out for you.”

“Four, five, six cars ahead, and you’re planning your passes off that, rather than just the guythat’s directly in front of you.”

Kirkwood feels he has a good race car and was disappointed in not making the Fast 12. He is stilloptimistic starting from 14th.