It’s Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the track is alive with the sound of …. nothing. There were cars on track for about 20 minutes before they returned to the safety and dryness of their respective garages when the track was shut down for ‘conditions.” Translation – rain, or at least an anemic attempt with sprinkles. It’s supposed to be Bump Day, with the setting of the last row of the grid for the 103rd Indianapolis 500, as well as the Fast Nine Shootout determining who will have the pole and where the other eight will line up. For now, Spencer Pigot/No.21 AutoGeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet has the provisional pole.
The schedule, which had been on hold, has just been updated …. Again. Fast Nine practice was to have started at 12:45 pm EST, and Last Row Shootout at 1:30 pm EST. Track equipment were drying the track … again. It was out earlier drying up the rain from this morning’s shower, including the very noisy jet dryer. BUT…just as this was being edited for transmission, the rain returned.
The six cars vying for the last three slots on the grid had their shortened practice session, as rain ended it ten minutes early. Only five of the cars went out.
The No.32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet of Kyle Kaiser was being worked on in the garage. The crew felt it would be better to work on the car than running Sunday’s practice.
The ambient temperature at 10:15 am was 73 degrees F, with track temperature pegged at 78F. The wind was blowing 9-13 mph and back. It wold slow, and then gust. In the garages, I watched body panels parked outside Foyt’s garage rocking with the wind. Normally they are positioned at right angles to the garage. The crew decided it would have more grip and downforce and less chance to blow over if it was repositioned parallel to the garage. So be it.
Left to Right: Townsend Bell, Max Chilton, and Foyt Racing grippy body panels.
James Hinchcliffe/No.5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda ran 12 laps and was the fastest at 228.125 mph. The order was Hinchcliffe, Sage Karen/No.24 DRR Wix Filters Dreyer Reinbold Racing Chevrolet-7 laps, Max Chilton/No.59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet-11 laps, Rookie Patricio O’Ward/No.31 Carlin Chevrolet-9 laps and Fernando Alonso/No.66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet-6 laps.
Left to Right: Fernando Alonso’s No.66 McLaren Chevrolet crew beavering away on race car prior to final pre-qualifying practice session; Race car being towed to pits; and McLaren team scrambling to cover up and pack up after start of rain.
Alonso was late coming to the session, as his crew were feverishly working hard on the car right up until they went to the Pit Lane so only ran the fewest laps. The team worked hard overnight on settups. Whatever they did wasn’t the answer. Alonso was last of the five, with his best speed being a non-competitive 220.009 mph.
Left to Right: Brett Schilling, Cara Adams, Phil Severyn, and John Norton of BorgWarner Inc.
Firestone tire engineers Cara Adams, Brett Schilling and Phil Severyn received the 53rd annual Louis Schwitzer Award for Engineering Excellence in the NTT IndyCar Series. The award recognizes the achievements of the engineers behind the Indianapolis 500 race cars. In this case it was for their expertise in developing the Firestone Firehawk 2019 Indy 500 Race Tire. The award recognized the innovative change in the tire’s construction, which improved the tire’s footprint. As a result, the lateral grip is less dependent on aerodynamic downforce. Additionally, a change in the tire compound improved the mechanical grip. These changes are especially beneficial in race traffic when the aero load on the right front tire is reduced due to leading car turbulence. The tire construction changes allow for a more consistent level of performance.
Adams was the first female engineer to win the award, which honors engineers who develop innovative new concepts to improve competitive potential. It is presented to engineers, by engineers, and judges aim to recognize advancements that increase performance, safety or efficiency. Adams graciously claimed the honor for the entire team of engineers, and in turn, Firestone donated the $10,000 prize to The Indy Family Foundation.