Indianapolis 500 Schedule-Some New Times, More Than 7 Hours on NBC

First, my condolences to the family of Maurice Petty, who died Saturday at age 81. The master engine builder and brother of Richard Petty was a cornerstone of racing in the 60s. It has been a tough few days in the auto racing world with the loss of Chuck Hulse and Ralph Liguori as well.

The time schedule for every day of Indianapolis 500 activity is out. NBC will more than seven hours of track time including the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500.  NBC will qualifying on Saturday, August 15, from 3-5 pm ET, and the network returns Sunday for the last row shootout beginning at 1 pm. The Fast Nine follows on NBC from 1:45-2:30. The rest of qualifying can be seen on either NBC Gold or NBCSN.

Opening Day Tuesday August 11, is a short day. Veterans practice from 11-1, and Rookie Orientation runs from 1-4. Wednesday through Friday practice times have changed from the traditional times. Practice runs from 12:30-5:30 each day.

The track is open to the public every day, but only at 25% capacity. The only day I see this as a possible issue is Carb Day. Many fans who have chosen not to attend the race may be coming out on the Friday before the race as their only  chance to see the field of 33 on track.

Tuesday Aug. 11

11-1 pm – Veterans Practice NBC Gold

1-4 pm – Rookie Orientation/Veterans Refresher Programs NBC Gold

Wednesday Aug. 12 – Friday Aug. 14

12:30-5:30 pm – Practice NBC Gold

Saturday Aug. 15

8:30-9:30 am – Practice NBC Gold

11-6 pm – Quals (NBC Gold coverage 11-3, NBC 3-5, NBCSN 5-6

Sunday Aug. 16

10-10:30 am – Last chance practice NBC Gold

10:30-11 am – Fast Nine practice NBC Gold

12:30-1:45 pm – Last Row Shootout (NBC at 1 pm)

1:45-2:30 pm – Fast Nine Shootout NBC

4:15-6 pm – Practice NBCSN

Friday Aug. 21 (Carb Day)

11-1 pm – Final practice NBCSN

Sunday Aug. 23 (Race Day)

2:30 pm – 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 NBC

Qualifying Still Needs to be Fixed

The series and the Speedway are sending mixed messages with the qualifying format. Last year the 25 guaranteed spots argument was laid to rest, but what about the fastest 33? It is difficult if not impossible to get the Fastest 33 if drivers are going to be locked in on Saturday. In 2019, Fernando Alonso didn’t make the race, but his time was faster than the 30th qualifier, who was deemed safe. I don’t necessarily have an issue with a last chance qualifying on Sunday, but the cars involved should be able to defend after they are bumped. The slowest car in the entire field Saturday should be in jeopardy and have a chance to defend itself Sunday as well. This is the only way to have the Fastest 33 in the current climate.

Time for the extra runs can be made available by eliminating the Fast Nine. Like inter-league play in baseball and the slam dunk contest at the NBA All-Star Game, this is a concept that has outlived its usefulness. There can be plenty of drama in a pole fight late Saturday afternoon. I thought Conor Daly winning the pole at Iowa last Friday was pretty dramatic.

Let’s Play Two!

We could see two more double headers added to the season schedule. There likely will be no racing on the west coast this year. Mid Ohio news trickled out yesterday, and Gateway may announce today. The Harvest Classic at IMS may also end being pluralized.

I remain skeptical of St. Pete running. The season finale may be at IMS.

 

The Greatest 33 Non-Winners: Final Grid- A Reader Request Post

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:

Row 1

Michael Andretti

Rex Mays

Ted Horn

Row 2

Harry Hartz

Marco Andretti

Lloyd Ruby

Row 3

Gary Bettenhausen

Ralph Hepburn

Roberto Guerrero

Row 4

Scott Goodyear

Carlos Munoz

Robby Gordon

Row 5

Eddie Sachs

Tony Stewart

Jack McGrath

Row 6

Wally Dallenbach

Tomas Sheckter

Will Power

Row 7

Danica Patrick

Tony Bettenhausen

Joe Leonard

Row 8

Jimmy Snyder

Ed Carpenter

Danny Ongais

Row 9

Pancho Carter

Mel Kenyon

Kevin Cogan

Row 10

Vitor Meira

Russ Snowberger

Paul Russo

Row 11

Tom Alley

Johnny Thomson

George Snider

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Hinchcliffe Joins NBC Broadcast Team

James Hinchcliffe will be part of the NBC motorsports broadcast team this year, beginning with the NTT Indycar Series season opener in St. Pete. Hinchcliffe has what is now a three race deal with Andretti Autosport todrive in the GMR Grand Prix, the 104th Indianapolis 500, and the Genesys 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

He will serve as a driver analyst on pit road at St. Pete, Long Beach, Toronto, and Laguna Seca in addition to working as a part of NBC’s coverage in the week prior to the Indianapolis 500. Hinchclffe will also be part of the team covering select IMSA races beginning with the Sebring 12 hour March 20-21.

From Earlier: Season Preview Part I

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/90591962/posts/2604485664

Hinchcliffe will also work on the broadcast of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4th weekend. Additional duties include Indy Lights commentary on NBC Gold.

I think this can only enhance NBC’s coverage. Hinchcliffe was in the booth in 2015 while recovering from injuries in a practice accident at Indianapolis. He was a huge hit with the fans. He also had a few great experiences on Wind Tunnel.

Indycar Schedule- Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

All Times Pacific

Thursday, September 19

9:15-11:15- Open Test

1:30-5:30    Open Test

Friday, September 20

10;30 Practice 1

2:10  Practice 2

Saturday, September 21

10:00  Practice 3

1:35   Qualifying

Sunday, September 22

!2:15   Green Flag for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

 

Practices will be on NBC Gold. Qualifying is on NBCSN. The race is on NBC. You may need to set your DVR to record on NBC.

 

 

Quick Thoughts- Grand Prix of Portland Qualifying

Photo: Kyle McInnes

Was that qualifying or boxing match? What a tremendous battle between Colton Herta and Will Power. They traded the lead back and forth for three rounds before Herta emerged on the pole. Power’s miscue in turn one on his next to last lap may have cost him the pole. Herta was quick all weekend, though, and the result isn’t a surprise.

This session was the best road/street course qualifying of the year. There was drama throughout.

Scott Dixon is the only one of the top four in points to get in the Fast Six. Leader Josef Newgarden starts 13th, a dangerous place to be going into turn 1 at the start here. Simon Pagenaud starts 18 and Alexander Rossi 7th. Watching the championship contenders’ progress in the race will be an interesting task tomorrow.

Jack Harvey has done a great job all year. In eight races to date, he has  finished in the top ten in four of them.  Today is the fifth time Harvey has advanced to at least the second round of qualifying. Today is his second Fast Six. I can’t wait to see what he does as a full time driver next year.

Conor Daly did it again. He jumps into a car for a different team and puts it into Round 2. Daly will start 9th, his best starting spot of the season. This is his second time in Round 2. He also has two top ten finishes. Daly deserves a full time ride in 2020. I don’t know what else he can do to prove himself.

Great job the Arrow Schmidt Peterson team to get both cars into Round 2.

Five teams in the Fast Six always makes the final round fun.

Felix Rosenqvist missed turn1 in two consecutive rounds but still made the Fast Six.

Power said after qualifying that there is not as much difference between the red and black tires this year as there was last year at Portland. He still thinks cars will be able to pass during the race.

Herta gambled by waiting to run one final lap on reds. He was nearly as fast on blacks.

Chalk up another one for the 2019 rookies. The scoreboard- 3 poles, 1 win.

Back tomorrow morning with a race preview. It looks like we will have a fun race tomorrow.

Herta Fastest in Practice 3; Qualifying Groups Set

Photo: Kyle McInnes

First, news I hate reporting about. Sad news from Spa. F2 driver Antoine Hubert suffered fatal injuries in a horrific crash at the start of the race this morning.

Colton Herta led his second session of the weekend in final practice this morning for the Grand Prix of Portland.  Herta was the only drive to turn a lap in less than 57 seconds and turned the weekend’s fastest lap yesterday morning. His time of 57.9939 seconds beat the second quickest time of series points leader Josef Newgarden by 0.1083 seconds. Will Power was third, followed by Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi.

Red flags flew twice. Matheus Leist spun in turn 2 and stalled as he attempted to restart the car. Late in the session Santino Ferrucci’s car stopped just after exiting the pits. Practice resumed after the car was towed back to his pit. It was an adventurous session for Ferrucci. Rossi was coming out of the pits as Ferrucci entered turn 1. The cars nearly touched and Ferrucci needed to go through the chicane.  He was not happy with Rossi.

Hondas again dominated practice. The Team Penske cars of Newgarden and Power were the only Chevys in the top ten.

Qualifying Groups

Group 1`                                                                        Group 2

Newgarden                                                                     Herta

Dixon                                                                                Power

Hunter-Reay                                                                   Rossi

Rahal                                                                                Harvey

Bourdais                                                                         Rosenqvist

Sato                                                                                  Chilton

Hinchcliffe                                                                     Ferrucci

Veach                                                                              Andretti

Daly                                                                                 Pagenaud

Leist                                                                                 Pigot

Kanaan                                                                            Kimball

Jones

 

Notes

Katherine Legge will drive the 2 seater at the start of tomorrow’s race. She says she is working on a ride for next year’s Indianapolis 500.

The 2020 schedule will be released near the beginning of the pre-race show on NBC tomorrow.

Another nice crowd on hand at Portland International Raceway today.

From earlier today:

https://thepitwindow.blog/2019/08/31/qualifying-day-at-portland/

 

 

 

 

Qualifying Day at Portland

Good morning from Portland International Raceway for Day two of the Grand Prix of Portland. Today’s NTT Indycar Series schedule:  All times Eastern

Practice 3–  2:00 pm-2:45   NBC Gold

Qualifying- 6:00 pm- 7:15    NBC Sports

In addition to the Indycar action, all three steps on the Road to Indy run their first of two races today. Rinus VeeKay has the pole for the Indy Lights race at 4:50 pm Eastern.

Sebastien Bourdais’s practice yesterday afternoon was similar to last year’s Saturday practice here. In bot sessions he set the fastest lap then ran off course in turn 11.  The difference is this year the nose of his car barely nudged the tires. Last year’s damage had Bourdais qualifying and racing a car made up of a mixture of parts.

I will try to find out about the 2020 schedule today and see if I confirm some other things I’m hearing. I’ll be back after practice 3.

Here are a couple of photos from Kyle McInnes. One is of Bourdais, the other is Simon Pagenaud preparing for next week’s BC39 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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