From Indycar as I reported this morning:
From Indycar as I reported this morning:
Photo: Alberto Ascari at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1952. It was Ferrari’s only appearance in the 500 mile Race. Ascari crashed on lap 40 and finished 31st.
Today was supposed to be the first day of Qualifying for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. We are, however, three months away from that. It’s been a surprisingly busy news week. Here are some thoughts.
Yesterday afternoon’s cancellation announcement was not a shock. I was just wondering when it would come. The government has banned gatherings of 25,000 or more until August 31. Will Indycar add another doubleheader or just have one less race? It’s getting late to add another venue. Green Savoree is looking for a date later in the year to reschedule.
As with all things of this sort, I’m taking a wait and see attitude. Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed that ferrari is looking at Indycar for 2022 if F1 lowers their budget cap. The Scuderia wants to keep its employees, and Indycar is way to do that. I have questions.
With Indycar still planning to go to a hybrid system, will Ferrari become the third OEM? Will Ferrari be happy using a Dallara chassis or are they willing to become a second chassis? If they do become the third engine supplier, they won’t be able to form a technical alliance with an established team. Will that put them at a big disadvantage?
A decision is still a long way off. It would be exciting to have a team with such international prestige join the series. We will just have to wait.
One thing that caught my attention in the Conor Daly car unveiling yesterday was the car number. I didn’t recall seeing number 47 often. Some research confirmed my suspicions. The number 47 has appeared in just 12 500 mile races.
Its first appearance was 1929 when Ernie Triplett drove a Dusenberg powered by a Miller engine. The car started 20th and finished 26th. It completed 48 laps and retired with a broken rod. The number wasn’t on a starting car again until 1933 when 1924 co-winner L. L. Corum drove the number 47 Rigling Studebaker to a 12th place finish. That would be the number’s highest finish.
The most recent start to date for the 47 was 1984 when future two time winner Emerson Fittipaldi drove the March Cosworth machine. It was Fittipaldi’s rookie year. He started 23rd and finished 32nd, retiring after 37 laps with oil pressure issues.
Overall, cars carrying this number have not had a lot of success. This year could be the 47’s best finish.
Tomorrow I will watch the NASCAR race. It will be the first one I have watched in more than 10 years. I’m watching to see how their COVID-19 protocols work. Will the empty stands give it the feel of the iRaces? What other things might Indycar learn that can be applied to the opener at Texas.
It will be nice just to have some live racing to watch, no matter what it is.
Editor’s Note: This is the first reader request; originally published May 9, 2017
What a fun project this turned out to be! It was fascinating seeing how much those who submitted grids both agreed and disagreed. Some drivers got just one mention, while others appeared on every ballot. There was near unanimous placement for some drivers, and some drivers were near the front on some grids and near the back on others. The driver nearly everyone agreed should be on the pole is Michael Andretti (pictured above, from 1992).
I noticed the rankings were along age lines. Older fans close to my age seemed to have near identical grids, and younger fans as a group submitted similar lineups. Many drivers from long ago in general fared better on the lists from the older group. I was surprised how well the current drivers stacked up against the racers of the past. Another interesting detail is that all 50 driver finalists had at least one mention. I didn’t expect that.
To rank the drivers, I assigned points to the drivers corresponding to their spot on each person’s grid. A driver on pole got 1 point, the last driver got 33. If a driver was listed on pole on five grids, his total was 5. The lowest total won the pole. If a driver did not appear on someone’s grid, he/she was given 34 points. To my shock, there were only two ties. I resolved placement by averaged each driver’s highest and lowest rank of all the grades, with the lowest average getting the higher spot. One of the ties was for 32nd and 33rd. It was just like qualifying for the 1963 500.
The front row- Michael Andretti, Rex Mays, and Ted Horn, is strong. These drivers were in the top 10 on everyone’s grid. Andretti led 431 laps, the most by any non-winning driver. he started on the front row three times and had 5 top 5 finishes. Rex Mays, in the middle of the front row is the only other driver to lead more than 200 laps and not win. Mays was on the pole four times. Ted Horn, on the outside of the front row, finished in the top five 9 times in 10 starts.
So here they are, the Greatest 33 Non-Winners of the Indianapolis 500:
it’s kind of fitting that Snider is last on the grid. his trademark was jumping into a car on Bump Day and getting into the field starting near the back. Thanks to everyone who submitted a grid. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and reasoning as to how yo put your grids together.
I will be back tomorrow with some 500 news and a report on my visit to the A. J. Foyt exhibit at the Speedway Museum. The cars were great to see, but the memorabilia was even more amazing to me. Thursday I will have my Indianapolis Grand Prix preview with my normally inaccurate winner’s prediction.
Photo: Kyle McInnes
I don’t know what was the best part of Robert Wickens driving the parade lap- the smile on his face or Karli’s reactions. It was a great way to start the day. I’m glad my eyes cleared up for the start of the race.
Thank you, NBC, for showing just a few still photos of the beginning of Wickens’ crash. It was just enough to get the idea across, although most of us didn’t really need the reminder.
Too much time was given to the Bourdais-Sato incident from yesterday.
The series is on a pace to have the fewest different race winners in a while. There have only been six so far, and I think the top contenders could win the remaining races. Josef Newgarden has won three times. Simon Pagenaud matched that total with today’s win. Alexander Rossi has won twice. Three other drivers, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato, and Colton Herta have one victory each.
The lack of cautions made for a very straightforward race. The top five starters finished in the top five with just some minor shuffling of positions.
I’m now convinced Will Power will not win a race this season. He just doesn’t seem to have that edge which made him so successful.
The race started to get interesting the last 20 laps as Dixon closed in on Pagenaud, but overall it was the least interesting Toronto race in a few years.
While Ed Carpenter Racing has improved their road/street race qualifying, they still can’t seem to put a decent race together. Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot each finished six spots lower than they started. Banging wheels with your teammate and damaging your teammate’s wing does not help.
We have a three , possibly four, driver points battle now. Rossi has closed to within four of Newgarden, and Pagenaud is now just 39 behind. Dixon is 86 points down, but could make up more ground in Iowa. The yellow on the last lap helped Newgarden keep fourth place. Rosenqvist was closing quickly on Newgarden’s damaged car.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad NBC is the exclusive home of the NTT Indycar Series. There are some things they can do, or in this case stop doing, to improve the broadcasts.
First, please dump the Danger Zone phrase. We get it. The situation doesn’t even come up that often.
We don’t need weekly speculation on where Rossi will drive next year. He is driving this year and fighting for a championship. Let us just enjoy that.
fewer NASCAR inserts would be great. I don’t watch that series, so i don’t know if there are as many Indycar inserts in those broadcasts. If there are, that’s fair.
It seems as if each race broadcast we see fewer laps and more periphery shots of the area where the race is held. Yes, the Toronto skyline is beautiful. Show it in the prerace.
Look for my full race report on Wildfire Sports tomorrow. Thanks for following this weekend. I will be on site at both Iowa and Mid Ohio.
Photo: Kyle McInnes
The Sato/Bourdais scuffle was an interesting way to start the show. I don’t want a steady diet of that type of thing, but it spices up the action when it occurs.
Rosenqvist loves Toronto.
Ed Carpenter Racing is making progress on their road course program. Both cars in Round 2 and Ed Jones in the Fast Six.
Power seemed frustrated in the interview after Round one.
Great last lap by Jones to lead Group 2.
Six teams advanced to Round 2 and four teams had cars in the Fast Six. An incredibly competitive qualifying.
Rossi seems to be in the same place he was in St. Pete – just okay but not good enough to contend.
I like the strategy by Jones and Rosenqvist in the Fast Six. It almost worked for Rosenqvist.
Pagenaud took a rather roundabout route to the pole. He didn’t lead a round until the Fast Six.
The two drivers who most need wins to stay in the championship fight are starting on the front row.
Overall, it was a wild and competitive qualifying. Teams used lots of different tire strategies. It seemed like several drivers had a shot at the pole.
I wonder how many slides and wall hits we’ll see tomorrow?
Back tomorrow afternoon with Quick Thoughts on the race,. My full race report will be on Wildfire Sports Monday.
Simon Pagenaud led the final practice before qualifying with a lap of 59. 365 seconds. He will lead Group 2 in Round 1 of qualifying this afternoon. Pagenaud also led yesterday’s second practice session. Felix Rosenqvist had the next best time at 59. 4 seconds. Rosenqvist has finished each practice period in the top three.
The session was green until Ryan Hunter-Reay slid into the tires just before pit in with 12 minutes left. the session resumed with eight minutes and ten seconds remaining. Graham Rahal slid into the tires in turn 1 with four minutes left. Time expired but Indycar allowed one more flying lap.
Qualifying begins at 2pm EDT on NBCSN.
Back after qualifying with Quick Thoughts. Going to try to write some during qualifying.
Turn 11 continued to be tricky in the afternoon session as Simon Pagenaud led Practice 2. The winner of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 had the day’s first sub-60 second lap with a best time of 59. 871. Felix Rosenqvist was second quickest 0.06 seconds behind. Sebastien Bourdais ended the period third 0.116 seconds slower than Pagenaud.
Turn 11 again was a busy spot with contact by Takuma Sato, Marcus Ericsson, and Alexander Rossi. Ericsson had another contact incident in turn 5. Rossi hit the turn 9 wall and damaged the left front tire.There was no suspension damage and he returned to the track, but finished 14th.
Pagenaud, Bourdais, and Rosenqvist looked strong in both sessions. Scott Dixon, who led the morning practice, was fifth this afternoon. The Ganassi pair of Dixon and Rosenqvist join Pagenaud as the only three drivers in the top five of both sessions.
Spencer Pigot was fourth in practice 2 as he continues to seek a breakout race performance.
The cars of Marco Andretti and Colton Herta look a lot alike from a distance. It will be good to know their starting positions to help watching them in the race. I hope they don’t end up in the same row.
Both of Rossi’s wall contacts happened in the first 20 minutes of the session. The car looks like it needs some work overnight.
Tomorrow’s practice session is at 10: 20 am ET. Qualifying begins at 2 pm ET. The practice is on NBC Gold. Qualifying is live on NBCSN.
Scott Dixon led the first practice session for the Honda Indy Toronto this morning. His lap of 1:01.072 was nearly two tenths better than Josef Newgarden’s best time. Dixon’s teammate Felix Rosenqvist was third quickest. and Alexander Rossi was fourth. This is the NTT Indycar Series’ first race since Road America June 23.
Newgarden, Will Power, and Takuma Sato each spun on the exit of turn 11 causing stoppages to the session. Newgarden bent the rear tow link in his incident. Ther is an expoxy patch in the center of the road just past the turn’s apex. if the car straddles the patch, no problem. If the tires touch it, there could be an issue.
Rossi led the session until the last five minutes when Dixon passed him. Rossi’s final attempt at a decent lap was frustrated by his being behind another car, then not not having enough tires left for a quicker lap.
It’s difficult to get used to Sebastien Bourdais in a blue car.
Karam’s car reminds me of Paul Dana’s car.
Turn three seems even trickier than it has been.
The next practice begins at 3:15 eastern. You can watch on NBC Gold. The coverage this morning was excellent.
The top 12: