FREAKY FAST FURIOUS FRANTIC FINAL FIFTEEN FRIDAY

Friday was hot and bothered. The temperatures at Indianapolis Motor Speedway reached 78 F ambient, with track temps as high as 107 F, with wind of 5mph. Earlier the wind had increased, but then slowed. The Indy 500 drivers went faster Friday, as they were given 30 more horsepower for the day. The session was stopped for two hours mid-afternoon for “lightning in the area.” The protocol dictates that the half-hour clock starts every time there is a lightning strike within ten miles. There are apps which can show/indicate just how far the strikes are from IMS. The clock counts down, and if another strike hits within ten miles, (such as the 4.2-mile strike which occurred after the clock was nearly wound down), the clock starts over. People were advised of the situation via the PA and many exited the metal grandstands; and then they were advised when the warning had lifted. By then the track temperatures ramped up to 117F.

Conor Daly

Conor Daly/No.25 United States Air Force Andretti Autosport Honda ended up fastest overall Friday afternoon after The Fast and Furious Final Fifteen. A late-session caution for track inspection after tires were cut brought everyone to the pits. Once activity resumed, a mob of drivers went out for one last chance to better times. That’s when Daly ran 231.704 mph on Lap 54 of his 57, and pipped his Andretti teammate, who had been leading most of the day. Marco Andretti/No.98 U.S.Concrete/Curb Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda had held the top slot at 230.851 mph, set on his second of 26 laps. The four drivers behind him varied a bit, but not so much. It was most mostly were the same drivers … until the last half hour, when it got fast, furious and frantic. Takuma Sato/No.30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda was the first to break into the top five, jumping into second place, and then joined by another Andretti driver – Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.DHL Honda. At one point, all three of the Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolets were in the top five, and two of them took turns having the fastest No Tow time.

Daly attended a post-session Media Conference. He was so excited he was trying to do an Instagram story, and Marco kept calling him, so Daly put him on Facetime to join the conference. Daly said “I’m just super thankful to be here, honestly. It’s incredible to be a part of this team. Obviously super successful here. The U.S. Air Force, that’s the group that made it happen for me, and that’s awesome. We’ve just been working away at it. It’s certainly interesting tomorrow to see what’s going to happen. I think no-tow wise, everyone is closer than we expected really manufacturer wise. I think there’s a little bit of a difference there for sure, but the Honda guys are working super hard, and I’ve been super happy with my group and our engine and our car. We’re just step by step, one change at a time, trying to make this thing go as fast as possible, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow, obviously.”

During the conference, Daly got the news that he was first out of the box Saturday for Qualifying. The order draw took place during the conference. There are 68 cars, including all the T/backup cars.

No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda

Crew Chief Ziggy Harcus & Team Owner Michael Andretti

Conor Daly No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda

Left to Right: Conor Daly No.25 Honda; Crew Chief Paul ‘Ziggy’ Harcus & Team Owner Micheal Andretti; and Conor Daly No.25 Honda.

At the end of the day, the top five overall were Daly, Andretti, Sato, Spencer Pigot/No.21 AutoGeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Sixth through tenth were Ed Carpenter/No.20 Preferred Freezer Services Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, Charlie Kimball/No.23 Fiasp Carlin Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden/No.2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet, and Ed Jones/No.63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet. The top Rookie was Santino Ferrucci/No.19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Dale Coyne Racing Honda, in nineteenth place.

Mario Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti/No.98 Honda

No.30 Takuma Sato RHLL Honda

No.28 RHR Andretti Autosport Honda

Left to Right: Mario Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti; Takuma Sato No.30 Honda; and Ryan Hunter-Reay No.28 Honda.

The top drivers with No Tow speeds were Jones, Carpenter, Alexander Rossi/No.27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Andretti Autosport Honda, 2018 Indy 500 Winner-Will Power/No.12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet, and Pagenaud. Sixth through tenth were: Graham Rahal/No.15 United Rentals Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Andretti, Scott Dixon/No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Newgarden, and Rookie Colton Herta/No.88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda.

Graham Rahal/No.15 United Rentals Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda has been playing chicken with the wall this week, narrowly missing it by micro-measurements. He finally grazed it Friday afternoon with about an hour plus left in the session. He kept going and pitted, finishing 22nd, with a best lap of 229.449 on Lap 8 of his 41.

Sage Karam’s No.24 DRR Wix Filters Dreyer Reinbold Racing Chevrolet got a workout Friday. Both DRR drivers had a go in it, with JR Hildebrand shaking it down for for five laps. Karam ending up thirteenth overall at 229.932 mph on his last of 43 laps.

Juncos Garage

Juncos  Salvage Yard

Not surprising that every drive, save one, turned his/her fastest times Friday. The one exception was Kyle Kaiser/No.32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet, who only turned one lap.

Kaiser hit the Turn Three wall and performed an aerobatic spin and flip, similar to that of yesterday’s crash by Rookie Patricio O’Ward/No.31 Carlin Chevrolet. Kaiser was unhurt and cleared to drive. His car was not, and after assessment, the team decided to rebuild its backup car, the one Kaiser drove at COTA earlier this year. It is a painted, not wrapped car. After being checked out in the Medical Center, he said “I’m fine. I’m grateful for the technology and safety that’s built into these cars – that was a big hit; I felt it.” He was 26th overall at the time of the accident. The car gouged the track, which needed quick fix. No doubt a more lasting repair will be done overnight.

Team Owner Ricardo Juncos said “We are very grateful that our driver Kyle (Kaiser) was not injured and safely walked away from the massive hit he experienced today at IMS. As everyone knows this has been a very intense month for our NTT IndyCar Series program. Despite off track set backs, that has not stopped this team from going out and performing during practice this week. We have been up to the Top-5 in no tow speeds and have consistently improved our times each day. Now we are faced with the challenge of getting our back-up car on track and set for qualifying tomorrow, but I am completely confident in this amazing group we have here at Juncos Racing to make it happen. This group will not stop working until we get our #32 back on track. We want to thank all of the teams who are willing to help out with parts, Chevrolet, and the fans who have stopped by to express their well wishes. We will be working hard all day and night.”

Nearly all the NTT IndyCar Series teams have offered help and parts, said a team spokesperson. “That’s what is so nice about the IndyCar family.”

McLaren Garage

Another rebuilt car which is painted, not wrapped, is the No.66 McLaren Chevrolet for Fernando Alonso. The team admitted the paint was still wet when they bolted on parts this morning. Alonso was one of the first cars on course Friday morning, after missing all day Thursday while the team built/rebuilt its backup car. Alonso was 24th overall, with 77 laps, with his fastest speed of 228.328 mph on his last lap. He was 30th for No Tow, at 226.869 mph. He turned the second most laps of any driver, right behind Rookie Ben Hanley/No.81 10 Star Dragon Speed Chevrolet, who ran 81 laps. He finished last.

Frnando Alonso

Gil de Ferran

Fernando Alonso

Left to Right: Fernando Alonso; Gil de Ferran; and Fernando Alonso.

Alonso attended the post-session conference, along with McLaren Sporting Director, Gil de Ferran. Alonso made light of having so many tires at his disposal. “Yeah, it was frustrating”, not being able to get out at all on Thursday. But yeah, nothing we could do at that point; yeah, having that extra time to check everything and to be ready. It was frustrating, but at the same time, as I said before, we saved a lot of tires that we were able to set up the car today maybe in a more — in a better way.

“It was a positive day for us (Friday), and we were able to put the car on track and try different directions on the setup and learn a little bit about the track and the day. Obviously, the boost was up today, so the speeds were higher, and it was more a qually (qualifying) preparation than race setups. But we had a lot of new tires from the last couple of days. So, we were able to do a lot of runs, and hopefully, that information will give us tomorrow a little bit of confidence into qualifying.”

De Ferran said ” I think certainly yesterday, as you said, was a difficult day for everyone. Like I said earlier, we’re a new crew. We respect this place a lot. So we wanted to make sure that we put the car together the best way possible. Obviously that took longer than we expected, and I guess having been here before, I’m very aware — I was very aware of the importance of being out on the racetrack, both from Fernando’s perspective and for the development of the car. We had a few guys in the crew that have done Indy car before. Dallara was very helpful throughout. But still, there’s a lot of things that we had to learn, and we’re still learning. Certainly not being a team that does this full-time, we’re in a very steep learning curve despite all the support that we’ve been getting from many different places.”

De Ferran was non-committal about plans going forward, such as what would happen to the IndyCar. “We haven’t made that decision yet.”

This year’s Double Duty will be performed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. The retired NASCAR driver and current NBC Sports motorsports analyst will drive the 2019 Grand Sport Official Pace Car for the start of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. He will drive the Pace Car and then be in the booth for the television broadcast, being aired by NBC for the first time. Earnhardt has practice on the track, as a Cup driver in the Brickyard 400 and last year as Pace Car for said race. It will be his first time in the booth for an Indycar race. Corvette has been the Indy 500 Pace Car fifteen times, more than any other brand or vehicle.

2019 Corvette Pace Car

103rd INDIANAPOLIS 500 presented by Gainbridge Qualifying Order
Driver
#25 Daly
#21 Pigot
#27 Rossi
#30T Sato
#20 Carpenter
#18 Bourdais
#22T Pagenaud
#77T Servia
#14 Kanaan
#98 Andretti
#23 Kimball
#32T Kaiser
#12 Power
#88T Herta
#5T Hinchcliffe
#81 Hanley
#59 Chilton
#19T Ferrucci
#48T Hildebrand
#60 Harvey
#2T Newgarden
#19 Ferrucci
#21T Pigot
#66T Alonso
#60T Harvey
#7 Ericsson
#33 Davison
#18T Bourdais
#25T Daly
#33T Davison
#4T Leist
#9T Dixon
#63 Jones
#30 Sato
#22 Pagenaud
#14T Kanaan
#39 Mann
#24T Karam
#66 Alonso
#7T Ericsson
#24 Karam
#26T Veach
#42 King
#3 Castroneves
#2 Newgarden
#77 Servia
#9 Dixon
#81T Hanley
#5 Hinchcliffe
#31 O’Ward
#39T Mann
#15 Rahal
#10T Rosenqvist
#4 Leist
#48 Hildebrand
#28T Hunter-Reay
#15T Rahal
#12T Power
#3T Castroneves
#20T Carpenter
#28 Hunter-Reay
#32 Kaiser
#10 Rosenqvist
#98T Andretti
#27T Rossi
#88 Herta
#63T Jones
#26 Veach

HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Thursday was off to a warm and sunny start. There was a thin opaque haze everywhere, but it was 71F ambient and 91F on the track. The breeze was just waking up. As the afternoon progressed, it got darker and windier. The temps reached 79F ambient, with 100F on track. At 4:29pm the Lightning alert came and everyone was told to evacuate and excute one’s own personal plan. Ten minutes later the rain came down. At 5:26pm power went out in the Media Center. Fortunately, not for long. Welcome to Indiana – all four seasons in one day.

Patricio O'Ward's backup car

Patricio O’Ward’s backup car

Track wise, an hour and 17 minutes into the seven-hour practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there was yet another crash, in Turn 2. Patricio O’Ward/No.31 Carlin Chevrolet is unhurt, but the rookie will probably have some down time while the Carlin crew goes to work on the backup (road course) car. O’Ward said he’s OK, a bit sore and really disappointed. He has been cleared to drive, as have the other two/Wednesday accident victims. The 19-year old was quite shaken when the TV crew showed him the crash video for the first time.

Patricio O'Ward's No.31 Carlin Chevrolet - BEFORE

Patricio O’Ward’s No.31 Carlin Chevrolet – BEFORE

The accident was spectacular, with him spinning and hitting the right side concrete wall hard left side and flipping up. He was air borne and teetered in the air balancing on the left front wheel, before the car landed hard on all four wheels. It didn’t do a complete flip, but nearly. The good news is that the well-build IndyCar held up and did all that it was designed to do, safety-wise. The team quickly went to work preparing teammate Max Chilton’s road course car for Pato.

McLaren Garage

Scott Goodyear

Meanwhile, back in the garages, the McLaren Racing team were working away on their backup car. At 1:10pm, McLaren Team Owner, Zach Brown, it would be another two hours or so. He said driver, Fernando Alonso, is in great spirits. Earlier in the day, seven-time NASCAR Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson, visited with his buddy Alonso, and they did some filming. Scott Goodyear, former IndyCar driver and TV motorsports broadcaster, is working with the team this month as a consultant. Goodyear said Alonso seemed quite fit and fine this morning – not sore. Goodyear will spot for Alonso. Spotters are used in Practice, in Turn One and in Turn Three.

McLaren Garage - mid afternoon

Later, Tim Bampton, Group Communications Director for McLaren Technology Group, said that the car was still being prepped, and the plan was to get out today, although he wasn’t sure when. The team doesn’t have a US base, per se, and are working out of a shop in Brownsburg IN and the track garage. The team brought over crew from England and hired locals, so it’s about a 50-50 mix at this point, with team members coming from England, New Zealand and America. Bampton did draw a connection to his (one-off British-based) team to the full season, Indianapolis-based Ganassi team working on the damaged car of Rookie Felix Rosenqvist/No.10 NTT DATA Honda, saying it wasn’t as easy for his team as Ganassi’s team to repair in a timely fashion.

The No.10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda of Rookie Felix Rosenqvist was repaired after Wednesday’s crash. The crew worked long into the night and it was ready Thursday for track time. He turned 41 laps and was thirty-fourth overall out of 35 drivers, and his best lap was near the end of his run.

Ed Jones

Ed Jones/No.63 Scuderia Corsa Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet was fastest most of the day. His best speed was 227.843 mph on Lap 8 of the 37 he ran. He also had the fastest No Tow speed of 224.957 mph. He said it was different driving on a team where the owner is also a driver. He said “It was a great day! To be quickest in overall and no-tow is a goal. More importantly, I think we made more gains with the handling of the car. As the conditions have changed, we’ve been able to keep up. We just have to keep adapting to the track changes for tomorrow and for qualifying. With the rain, the grip level may come down a bit, so it’s all about optimizing the car for the track conditions.”

Thirty-five of 36 drivers were on course. Alonso was the only one who missed the Thursday session.O’Ward has turned the fewest laps of all drivers-94. Having run only two (one 1/2) days of the three, Alonso’s total is 96.Those two were the only drivers with double digit totals. Everyone else reached triple digit numbers. Spencer Pigot/No/No.21 AutoGeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet turned the most laps – 302.

The overall top five drivers were Jones, Takuma Sato/No.30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Zach Veach/No.26 Gainbridge Andretti Autosport Honda, Sebastien Bourdais/No.18 SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda, and Top Rookie Colton Herta/No.88 Harding Steinbrenner Honda. Of those, Sato and Bourdais had led very early on, for a short while, before Jones took the top slot.

Will Power/No.12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet remains the top driver overall, with a speed of 229.745 mph. The overall top Rookie is Santino Ferruci/No.19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Dale Coyne Racing Honda. Power sad “We tried some qualifying stuff, so we’re definitely narrowing in on what we need for setup. We still need to make the racecar a bit better. We’re going to go completely for qualifying stuff tomorrow and see how we run.”

There were four cautions, two for drivers and two for track inspections/debris. Total yellow time was . 40.57 minutes. The day effectively ended when the last caution was called for lightning near the track at 4:29pm. O’Ward’s caution was and the one for Pippa Mann/No.39 Driven2 Save Lives Clauson-Marshall Racing Chevrolet was so brief ithardly counted. She stalled on course but restarted before the emergency crew reached her. She experienced a vibration and was concerned. The team was still diagnosing but was hoping it was just a bad wheel weight.

Jack Harvey/No.60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Meyer Shank Racing Honda narrowly avoided any aftermath from Rosenqvist’s accident. Despite graphic TV footage showing debris heading his way, Harvey was able to avoid the flying missiles. Only one piece hit a rear panel, making a small dent.

AFP on No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet

AFP on No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

According to NTT IndyCar Series Technical Director, Kevin Blanch, aka ‘Rocket’- no driver has had his or her AFP tested since they were first installed on the race cars at the Open Test last month. The Advanced Frontal Protection device is now mandated on all cars, until the next iteration of driver safety has evolved. IndyCar has promised the AFP is just in its first stages, and something new is coming soon. Maybe we’ll have some news on Carb Day. The mission of the AFP is to protect the driver from low, broadside projectiles. The current device is a 3 inch tall titanium deflector built by Dallara and bolted onto the leading edge of the chassis. It’s thinner than the Halo, which is mandated in F1 and FE. The Halo wouldn’t work on the current IndyCar. All IndyCar teams buy their deflectors from Dallara, who makes them according to IndyCar specs.

AFP

Max Chilton No.59 AFP

Zach Veach No.26 AFP

It’s been great to see IndyCar driver Robert Wickens whipping around in his manually-operated wheelchair.

Robert Wickens

Robert Wickens
He’s quite often seen in the Pit Lane, with the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team. Sometimes he hitches a ride with a traveling golf cart. He said he’s up at 5am for rehab and then goes to the track in time for practice, which is getting a bit tiring. He’s helping out his four teammates.

Robert Wickens hitchin' a ride

WELCOME TO INDIANAPOLIS! FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY.

Thunderstorm

WONKY WEDNESDAY

Felix Rosenqvist No.10 Honda - before

Felix Rosenqvist No.10 Honda – BEFORE

Is crashing contagious? First former F1 phenom – Fernando Alonso crashed the No.66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet at noonish. He was on a fairly clear track, and hit three times on both sides of the track, knocking all four corners. Then just at the start of Happy Hour, Rookie Felix Rosenqvist/No.10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda crashed in Turn 2. He is unhurt, but the car is not. He spun around and hit the concrete wall on the right and bounced spinning across to the SAFER barrier. The drivers behind him evaded and avoided quite skillfully. Will Power/No.12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet missed the spinning Honda by inches. Jack Harvey/No.60 AutoNation/Sirius XM was on the receiving end of flying carbon fiber debris. Rosenqvist lost a whole wheel assembly which went flying down the track. The track was down for 17-18 minutes. The car will require major work and the team may go to its backup car – the road course car he drove last weekend. Rosenqvist said “I was behind Colton (Herta) and just trying to run in traffic, and I felt just a very sudden change of having a bit of push and it went very loose, very fast. I couldn’t react to it. A shame, but that’s how it is.”

With the two crashes causing about 42 minutes of down time, the other four cautions for track inspections and debris brought the total of caution time to 1:18.42 hours. Rookie Jordan King/No.42 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda turned the most laps – 132. Sage Karam/No.24 DRR Wix Filters Dreyer Reinbold Racing Chevrolet ran the least, with 37 laps. The team noticed something in the vitals that it felt would jeopardize the health of the DRR engine, so opted to change the engine proactively. The total numbers of laps turned Wednesday was 3219.

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden

Basically two drivers led the charts all day – Josef Newgarden/No.2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet led the last half of the session at 228.856 mph. Scott Dixon/No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda was fastest in the morning and into the early afternoon wth a lap of 228.835 mph.

Josef Newgarden No.2 Team Penske Chevrolet

Josef Newgarden No.2 Team Penske Chevrolet

Newgarden brushed it off that it was a big deal, saying “It didn’t really anything to have his number at the top of the trylon. “It’s really nothing. It was an OK day, for us at least. You saw it’s not easy. A coupe of wrecks today. I think that shows that it’s not super straightforward to try and get around here even on a practice day.”

Dixon was second; with Spencer Pigot/No.21 AutoGeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet third; the top Rookie, Santino Ferrucci/No.19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Dale Coyne Racing Honda; in fourth and Helio Castroneves/No.3 Pennzoil Team Penkse Chevrolet.

Spencer Pigot No.21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Santino Ferrucci No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Helio Castroneves No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet

Left to Right: Spencer Pigot; Santino Ferruci; and Helio Castroneves.

Overall for the two days combined, the defending Indy 500 winner, Will Power/No.12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet is still fastest overall at 229.745 mph. The fast five overall are Power, two of his three Penske Chevrolet teammates-Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Menards and Newgarden, with Dixon and Pigot fourth and fifth overall.

Alexander Rossi

Alexander Rossi

The 2017 Indy 500 winner, Alexander Rossi/No 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Andretti Autosport Honda, was the fastest in the No Tow category, despite being thirty-fourth overall. He agreed with Newgarden that the times and rankings this early on in the week weren’t significant in the long scheme of things. He didn’t go out in the late afternoon as he’d already accomplished all the items on the team’s checklist – “We were really efficient in the first two days of our specific checklist on the 27 car.” There was nothing to be learned from running at 5pm in the afternoon when the Indy 500 would be over by 3pm. Rossi only turned 46 laps. He spent time on the stand of teammate Marco Andretti/No.98 U.S.Concrete Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda. But it wasn’t to help Marco, it was to learn from him. But that’s not as crass as it sounds. The Andretti drivers gather daily for debriefing around the round table and share all their ideas and experiences. Rossi said this took getting used to at first, because it wasn’t the way they did it in Europe. “Just running through a checklist of things to try ad understand everything we learned over the offseason and applying it to kind of all five cars in different ways and compiling as much information as we can. That’s the advantage about being on a big team for this event When you have this much practice, you can really kind of divide and conquer, and I think we’re doing that well so far. It’s an open book. We share everything.”

MCLAREN GARAGE

The McLaren Racing team will be changing engines and cars overnight after all. They will be ‘building’ the Carlin backup car, which was built to McLaren specs. The McLaren Primary car will be rebuilt as a backup car. “When the engine cooled after the incident, the cam cover cracked, which is not uncommon with that sort of impact. McLaren is changing engines this evening due to crash damage.”

Chauffeured Patricio O'Ward

Patricio O'Ward No.31 Carlin Racing Chevrolet

Empty #88Pit

Patricio O’Ward/No.31 Carlin Chevrolet passed all three levels of his Rookie Orientation Program in his early-morning track session, so it’s all systems go for all 36 drivers from here on out. O’Ward’s afternoon went so smoothly, the team packed up and called it a day early on. He turned 70 laps for the day.

The speeds are picking up, but they can be deceptive as there are two variables – with a tow and running alone. Tuesday the teams were busy working on setups, so they were in and out of the pits and garage. Wednesday the drivers spent more time on the track, and in the pits with crews working on tweaks and fine tuning.

Yellow Shirts Crossing Patrol

Yellow Shirts Crossing Patrol

OOPS!

NO.66 MCLAREN

Fernando Alonso/No.66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet had the first accident during practice for the 103rd Indianapolis 500. He hit the Turn Three walls at 12:34pm while he was running sixteenth of 36 drivers, behind Graham Rahal/No.15 United Rentals Rahal Letterman Linage Racing Honda. Alonso is not hurt, he got out of the car on his own power, with a smile; but, as per protocol for anyone who hits the wall, he was checked out at the Medical Center. The car came back on the rollback truck, looking worse for the wear.

Alonso said “It was understeer on the car, and even if I lifted the throttle on the entry of the corner, it was not enough, and I lost completely the front aero. The wall came too close and too quickly. Unfortunately it happened today. We will lose a little bit of running time again. I’m sorry for the team, but we will learn and hopefully we will come back stronger tomorrow. I’m disappointed and sad for the team and for the guys.

“We worked quite a lot on the car and definitely now it’s quite damaged, so I feel sorry for the team and for my mistake. We will learn from this and hopefully tomorrow we’re back on track and back stronger.”

Alonso said the car wasn’t loose. “No, I think it was just pure understeer that I didn’t expect. I was running a bit close to another car and suddenly mid-corner I lost completely the front grip. I tried to lift off and avoid the wall.”

After the car was parked in the garage, McLaren Sporting Director Gil de Ferran said that the team would make a decision in an hour or so as to rebuilding their primary McLaren-built car or go to a backup car from Carlin, which isn’t finished yet.

It took less than an hour for the team to indicate they would be rebuilding their car.

The ongoing track session stopped for cleanup, and there was a mass exodus from the pit lane to the garages. It was a natural break for lunch. The track was down for 25 minutes. It was about 70 degreesF with track temperature of over 100. There wasn’t much of a breeze.

Alonso said his Wednesday progress “felt much better than yesterday. Definitely we were moving in the right direction. Small steps that we learned today that hopefully we can bring for next time. I’m sorry for the guys.”

Alonso was philosophical about his mindset now that there was a lot of work to be done. “Nothing you can do. These things happen in motorsport. Better today than on the 26th. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.” He had run 46 laps before the accident.

Garage Crowd Control

NTT IndyCar Tech Crew observing

It was a crowd scene in the garages, even before the tow truck arrived. People started running to the McLaren garage as soon as the accident occurred. Many media hot-footed it through Gasoline Alley, and all the TV folks arrived on their golf carts. The ubiquitous Yellow Shirts with whistles showed up to direct traffic, keeping everyone on the opposite side of the garages. In true F1-fashion, as soon as the race car was off-loaded, the garage doors immediately came down. McLaren is the only team with a privacy screen, which is so common in F1. Meanwhile, down the road from McLaren, all the NTT IndyCar Scrutineers were closely observing the whole scene.

Perhaps it was a bit ironic that a loose dangling body panel said “A whiter smile faster.”

MCLAREN LOGO

TUESDAY

IMS Sign

It was a glorious day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the opening day of practice for the 103rd Indianapolis 500. There are 36 NTT IndyCar Series drivers entered for this year’s race, so there will be bumping in qualifications this weekend. The weather was wonderfully warm – not too hot, just right with only a slight breeze. It was 64 degrees F at noon, but it felt warmer. The track temperature was 90 degrees F. It warmed up to 70 degrees F by 4pm, with track temp of 103 F, and then clouds started appearing. The wind increased a bit eventually to 7 mph. Then the clouds mostly blew away and the sun came out brightly at days end. Mid-day there were lots of school kids in groups, evidently on field trips.

Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter

Tuesday’s practice was divided into three segments: Oval Veterans, Rookies & Refreshers, and All Cars. There were 31 times recorded in the first two-hour segment, which included all the NTT IndyCar Series ‘regulars’ plus those one-offs who have already completed their Rookie or Refresher sessions. Ed Carpenter/No.20 Preferred Freezer Services Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet was the fastest in this session, at 228.653 mph. Other than the open IndyCar test at IMS, Carpenter, who only races ovals, hasn’t been in the race car since last year. He said “There is always more you can get done, but today was a really good start. The baseline setup was good and we were able to work through everything that we wanted to try today not only on my car, but the other two as well. There will be a lot of data to go through tonight. Certainly there are areas for improvement. All things considered, where we are starting Day 1, speed-wise and race setup-wise, we are in a decent place. We tried a couple of different things today that were interesting and still need to be explored, but I am excited for the rest of the week.”

In these sessions, team drivers are allowed to get into each other cars for shakedowns. An example of this was James Hinchcliffe getting into the all three of his teammates Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Hondas. Max Chilton/No.59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet shook down the No.31 Chevrolet of his Rookie teammate, Patricio O’Ward.

Seven drivers were in cars for the for Rookies & Refreshers. Kyle Kaiser/No.32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet was the fastest, at 223.344 mph. In the overall group of the second session

Patricio O'Ward No.31 Carlin Chevrolet

By the end of the day, all 36 Indy 500 drivers were on course during one or more session, and some drivers in more than one car. If my calculations are correct, more than 3,000 laps were turned Tuesday. One driver who didn’t run in the last open session for all cars was Rookie Patricio O’Ward/No.31 Carlin Racing Chevrolet. He was experiencing car trouble … still, and hasn’t passed all levels of his Rookie Orientation Program. He will be allowed to practice Wednesday morning at 10:20am, prior to the open session at 11am. In the meantime, his Carlin teammate, Max Chilton, drove 13 laps in the car in the last session, coming in 35th of the 39 times posted. O’Ward said “We were hoping for a better start to our month of May, but unfortunately, we had a gearbox issue early in the rookie practice that took us back to the garage for the rest of the ROP (Rookie Orientation Program). The team was able to fix the issue, but we just didn’t have enough time for me to make it back out and get through everything we needed to for me to join the rest of the field in the final practice this afternoon.”

Helio Castroneves No.3 Chevrolet

Colton Herta

Simon Pagenaud No.22 Chevrolet

Left to Right: Helio Castroneves/No.3 Chevrolet; Carlton Herta/No.88 Honda; and Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Chevrolet

In the All session, Ed Carpenter was fastest from the start, based on his morning fast lap. That lasted until 4:35pm, when Will Power/No.12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet pipped his time, at 229.745 mph. The top four drivers remained the same for much of the session: Carpenter, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, Rookie Colton Herta/No.88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda & Sebastien Bourdais/No.18 SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda. And then, before Power topped the charts, Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet worked his way into this small group.

The final top five lineup was: Power, Pagenaud, Carpenter, Castroneves and Herta – who was the top Rookie and the top Honda. Spencer Pigot/No.21 AutoGeek Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet turned the most laps – 128.

Kyle Kaiser/No.32 Chevrolet

One car looks different than originally planned. The No.32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet is all white, with no sponsor livery. Unfortunately, the team has lost its two main sponsors, which have “withdrawn. Kaiser said the team is actively looking for sponsors and whatever they can get will go on the car. If nothing materializes, they will do something fun with the car. “Yeah, from my mindset, it doesn’t change no matter what’s on the car, if there’s nothing on the car, if the car is covered in sponsors, which obviously is what we’d love. But for now, I go out there and I drive the car as best I can and put the car at the front every chance we can, and hopefully, if we perform the way we’re supposed to perform, then we’ll have people coming in to get on the side of the car.

“Actively we are looking for sponsors to be on the side of the car, because that’s what keeps the car going the track, obviously, but, regardless, the cars, if we qualify for the race, we’ll be in the race. I don’t feel like my confidence is contingent on what the car says or what the car looks like. If that was the case, I wouldn’t be a very good driver if my driving depended on what color the car was. So I go out there, I do my job, I drive the car as fast as it can go, and I let the business end take care of itself.”

Another somewhat naked white car is No.81 10 Star DragonSpeed Chevrolet driven by Ben Hanley of England. And the No.42 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, driven by Rookie Jordan King of England could use more livery.

Those three drivers turned the fewest laps of the last session: Kaiser-10; Hanley-14, and King-42. They all turned more laps in the ROP/Refresher session: Kaiser-49, King-82, and and Hanley-44.

No.32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet

Ben Hanley's No.81 Chevrolet

Jordan King No.42  Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda

There was three cautions for debris, and one for Herta, when he spun at Pit Exit and stopped on course with a flat tire. He said “It was not fun. I guess just bit off a little bit more than I could chew. Was just trying to creep up to pit exit and pushed a little too hard and caught me out. We also did a front wing change which I don’t think had anything to do with it, but yeah, just carried a little bit more speed than I had been and spun out. The Total down time was 28.40 minutes.

Will Power

Kyle Kaiser

Colton Herta

Power, Herta and Kyle Kaiser/No.32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet met with the media at day’s end. Power was asked about the speeds being higher. “The speeds — I think the speeds are — yeah, maybe a little quicker by yourself. All the big speeds came from big tows. The tire that — what INDYCAR wanted Firestone to do with the tire is exactly what it has done, which is help that front work off the corner so you can follow closer, and you’ve just to obviously get your car to work around that.

“Yeah, it’s kind of hard to judge the true speeds of cars right now by themselves. You don’t know what aero configuration people are running, whether they’re doing qualifying sims or they’re in race trim. We don’t know where we stack up, honestly, as far as true speed.”

Kaiser was pleased to breeze through his Refresher program this morning.”It went exactly how we hoped it would be for the most part. I mean, we went out, had to do the 210 (phase), the 215 (phase). Obviously initially we had to make sure everything was working properly. We hadn’t been out here since last year. Make sure everything feels right, obviously the new tire compounds and everything.

“We went through that, we got to try some different aero pieces and wanted to make sure they all read the same, and it went really smoothly. I was just overall happy with how the car felt. It felt very similar to last year, and last year we had a lot of pace, so I think it’s all feeling really positive going into the rest of the week.”

Herta said “I think today we were more towards trying to figure out the race car, and that’s how I want to kind of go, because if we can — I think we have a good qualifying car already. We were kind of fast on our own. I was really struggling in traffic, though, and that’s when it’s going to count, in the race. I think we have a good enough car to make the show and then to compete in the race is another thing.

“Just focusing on the race car mostly and getting some qualifying runs in in the morning and then the rest of the morning, all afternoon trying to work on the race car.”

While the Indy Lights Series is struggling to fill the fields, it’s quality not quantity. The series still remains the best stepping stone to IndyCar. Patricio O’Ward is the latest Indy Lights Scholarship Winner, utilizing his 2018 Championship to help fund his partial IndyCar season. Twenty-four of this year’s Indy 500 drivers are graduates of the Indy Lights Series. They are:

Indy Lights logo

Marco Andretti, Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Max Chilton, Conor Daly, James Davison, Scott Dixon, Jack Harvey, Colton Herta, JR Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Ed Jones, Kyle Kaiser, Tony Kanaan, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, Matheus Leist, Pippa Mann, Josef Newgarden, Patricio O’Ward, Spencer Pigot, Felix Rosenqvist, Oriol Servia, and Zach Veach.

The track opens officially at 11am Wednesday morning for an open session for all drivers. Rookie O’Ward will get extra time to complete his ROP, starting at 10:20am.

Tire Display

POWERFUL VICTORY!

Will Power. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Will Power. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Will Power/No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet started third, on the front row, and won the 102nd Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Oil. No one seemed more surprised than Power. At 37 years old “I was wondering if I would ever win it. And, thoughts went through my mind during the month, I guess. My career, I’ve had so many wins and so many poles. But everyone always talked about the 500 and I just couldn’t imagine winning a race in front of a crowd like this. This many people is just amazing. What an event. I love it. This is the last box to tick, to be considered as a very successful driver. I’m not done. Like, I still have plenty of time left to win more 500s and championships and races. To be the first Australian to win the Indy 500, that’s very special. Maybe they might recognize me down there now.

Sunday’s victory was the 34th IndyCar win for Power, which ties him with Al Unser Jr in P8 for the list of all-time wins. It was his seventh oval win and his biggest, and it was long in coming. He took eight years for his first oval victory. For Team Penske, it was the 17th IndyCar victory, and number 201 overall. For Power and Penske, it was the Merry Month of May as Power and Penske won the earlier Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course, making it the first Verizon IndyCar Series double/sweep for the month of May. For Chevrolet, it was its tenth IndyCar victory at IMS.

Team Owner, Roger Penske said “He won this race today because he was the best. This closes the book for what he wanted to accomplish in INDYCAR: win a championship (2014), now is tied for winning the most races as an Indy driver for the team (31) and the Indy 500 is something that he wanted to do from the very beginning. … He’s in a different world right now, which is important.”

The Indy 500 pays double race points, which put Power to the top the VICS Driver’s Championship Points. He leads Alexander Rossi/No.27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Andretti Autosport Honda by two points, and is ten points ahead of his Penske teammate, Josef Newgarden/No.1 Verizon Chevrolet. Scott Dixon/No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing is 25 points back.

Will Power.

Will & Liz Power

Will Power & Roger Penske

LEFT TO RIGHT: Will Power; Will & Liz Power; Liz & Will Power and Roger Penske. Photos by Pablo Matamoros.

Power started third and led four times for 59 laps – the second most laps in the race. He took the lead for the final time on Lap 196, soon after the seventh and last caution of the race. “I’m just like, I have to get these guys. I don’t know how much fuel they’ve got. But this is the restart of my life. And then, I go on, and two (cars ahead of him – Stefan Wilson/No.25 #Driven2SaveLives Andretti Autosport Honda and Jack Harvey/No.60 Auto Nation/SiriusXM MSR Honda) pit, and I’m like man, I think I’m going to win this. With one to go I was like screaming. Like man, I’ve got this. Unbelievable.”

Will & Liz Power and the Milk.

Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Power was one of the few VICS drivers who failed to register a milk preference. Winning is “Good with any kind of milk. I knew you drink milk here. Believe me. I’ve seen a few of my competitors do it. Yeah, no, I just hesitated a bit because I’m not supposed to eat dairy, but I didn’t care. I just drank it.” And he sprayed it – drenching the Indy 500 Festival Queen.

Heather & Ed Carpenter

Heather & Ed Carpenter

Second was pole sitter Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. Despite three pole positions at the Indy 500, Sunday’s runner-up finish is his best Indy 500 result. “I’ll feel pretty good about this in a couple of days, I think. The team really did a great job all month long, all day long really. Pit stops were really good. It was almost like being out front early probably hurt us a little bit just because guys started saving fuel a little earlier. We got behind on the fuel save.” D

It was really hard to pass anybody if they had clean air in front of them.” Carpenter, the only only VICS Owner-Driver, led six times for 65 laps, the most of the 15 different leaders. “It was just really tough to pass another strong competitor today without having lap traffic in the pit or something else that was a mistake. Track position was hugely important. I was hoping we could make something happen on that last green flag pit exchange, maybe cycle through in front of him (Power.) I was praying on that white flag lap that he was going to do a JR and I could coast home. Just didn’t happen. It was his day and not mine.”

Scott Dixon. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Scott Dixon. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Third was Dixon. “We really struggled on restarts today. The first and second gear just seemed to be way out of sync to the pace of what everybody was restarting. First to be on a limiter, second I was like a sitting duck, wouldn’t accelerate, gear was way too long.”

Alexander Rossi. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Alexander Rossi. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Fourth was Rossi, who started thirty-second. It was as he predicted – a story to tell if he could pull it off. And he almost did. He worked his way up through the pack and led on Lap 173 for a lap. “Babygirl morphed into a rocket ship today. We said we’d pass a lot of cars, but wow – 32 to fourth. I feel like we did what we could, and we maximized what we had. The NAPA Know How Andretti Honda team did everything right. I don’t look back on anything and wish we’d done anything different. Despite, it was a good day from a championship perspective. We didn’t have enough to win, but congrats to Will (Power) for the fantastic win!”

Ryan Hunter-Reay. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Ryan Hunter-Reay. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Fifth was Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda. He said “It was a good race all day. When we were all mixed up in traffic, the No. 28 car was really strong, but once it started stringing out, we just didn’t have it. We really fought hard, but we just didn’t have the speed in the end. But the bigger problem was the lapped traffic. We really had a good race car until we had to deal with guys that were doing 200 mph out there, like Jay Howard. Then (Zach Claman De Melo) came out right at the end in the mix of the top five – I don’t know what teams were thinking. The DHL boys did a great job today, just a little bit too short at the end. But, congrats to Will Power, he definitely has a well-rounded career now.”

Robert Wickens. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Robert Wickens. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

The top Rookie was Canadian Robert Wickens/No.6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda. He started eighteenth, finished ninth, and led once for two laps. Indianapolis was everything he expected, and then some. “In some ways, I was hoping for more. In other ways it surpassed everything I ever could have imagined. It was one hell of a race. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

To be the top Rookie is pretty cool. I didn’t enter the race to be the top rookie, I was trying to be in the top 10 all day long. We got in the end, but unfortunately we only cracked the top 10 for the last couple laps.”

It was almost the hottest Indy 500 on record, nearly reaching the record high of 93 set in 1937. Officially Sunday’s temperature was 91 degrees. Humidity had been as high as 90 percent earlier in the day, but lowered by checkered flag to a mere 41 percent.

There were 30 lead changes among 15 drivers, tying the record set last year for the most different Indy 500 leading drivers.

Kyle Kaiser. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Kyle Kaiser. Photo by Nico Matamoros

It was a race of attrition, with seven cautions for seven accidents totaling 41 of the 500 laps, and one driver transported for observation. Kyle Kaiser had said on Media Day Thursday that “Last year it was a race of attrition. I don’t think it will be as much of that this year. There’s a race of attrition and there’s a race of survival. I think this year it’ll be a race of survival, keeping it out there, keeping it out of the wall, and it’s going to be very challenging conditions.” There were nine retirements, six of which were for hitting the wall, and two for hitting each other. Eighteen of the 24 finishers were on the lead lap. Ironically the only mechanical retirement was Kaiser. He said “We are not 100 percent sure what put us out of the race, but we know that it was out of our control.”

The first accident occurred early on, when James Davison/No.33 Jonathan Byrd’s 502 East Foyt with Byrd/Hollinger/Belardi Chevrolet slowed and was unavoidably hit by Takuma Sato/No.30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. Both drivers are alright but they retired with damaged cars.

Jones crashed hard in Turn Two. He was awake and alert, but complained of head and neck pains, and was transported to nearby IU Health Methodist Hospital. He later was checked and released, and will be re-examined before competing in Detroit next weekend.

Danica Patrick. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Danica Patrick. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Danica Patrick/No.13 Go Daddy Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet was competing in her last race before retiring from the sport. She started seventh and was running well until she spun and hit the Turn Two wall. She was alright but her her car had severe front end damage. She was not happy, but did make a brief appearance in the Media Center. “I don’t even want to be here.” She preferred an open dialogue rather than responding to moderator’s questions. “Let me just talk. Definitely not a great ending. I feel like it’s a complete disaster – complete like as in not in the ball park at all, people will remember that. If I win, people will remember that. But probably anything in between might just be a little part of a big story. So I kind of feel like that’s how it is, you know.

Take my mic away. I’ll leave. I don’t even want to be here because I’m pretty sad. I guess I’ll stop there.”

I am for sure grateful for everybody and to be able to finish it up like I wanted to. There were a lot of great moments this month, lot of great moments this year.

Before the race on the grid, “I had all my people around me so I was in good spirits. I’ll miss you (media) some of the time.”

Regarding the crash, Patrick said “It was pretty unexpected. It just swung around as soon as I recommitted back to the throttle again. I felt a little bit of understeer in the middle of the corner, and I wasn’t expecting it by any means, but I think it just goes to show you that these cars are tough to drive. The car was a little bit positive today and turning more than I wanted it to. I was just having to chase it a lot. Turn Two did seem a little bit more edgy than the other corners, but I can’t say that in that point in time that I was on edge or felt like I was.I wouldn’t want to end any year like that. I won’t forget all the fans. They’ve made it a lot more special.

Thank you, guys. Appreciate everything. I’ll miss you, most of the time. Maybe you’ll miss me just a little. Thanks, guys.”

Sebastien Bourdais. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Sebastien Bourdais. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Sebastien Bourdais/No.18 SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda brought out yet another caution on Lap 138 when he was attempting a pass on Rossi in the short chute between Turns Three and Four, and then took a couple of wild spins before hitting the wall hard. He is alright, and retired with a damaged car. Bourdais led once for four laps, making him the only VICS driver to have led laps in every race this season.

Helio Castroneves No.3 ChevroletHelio Castroneves No.3 Chevrolet

Helio Castroneves No.3 Chevrolet crashed.Helio Castroneves No.3 Chevrolet crashed.

Helio Castroneves and medic

Helio Castroneves/No.3 Pennzoil Team Penske Racing Chevrolet spun twice and hit the Pit entrance wall.”I probably went wide in Turn Three and probably was a little of dust in the tires; and then as soon as I came into Three and I tried to pass Simon (Pagenaud) but the rear just gave out. I was not expecting. I never had a sign. The car was good. It was definitely tough out there. Please, Roger, let me go back.”

All the way to the Medical Center he was walking and talking … with TV Pit Reporters, his team. He was escorted by a Medic, IndyCar PR, and Yellow Shirts, as more and more media tried to talk with him on the way to the Medical Center.

Sage Karam/No.24 WIX Filters DRR Chevrolet spun straight into the T4 wall which ripped off the rear tire and sent it flying across the track. Everyone was able to avoid him. He was alright, but the damaged car retired. He said “I really don’t know what happened because the race car was stable in the rear end all day. Then all of a sudden, the car just snapped around without any notice. It is extremely puzzling. I love Indy so much and now my race ends like this. I know I want to come back here next year and race hard again.”

Tony Kanaan. Photo by Nico Matamoros.

Tony Kanaan. Photo by Nico Matamoros.


Tony Kanaan/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Chevrolet spun, didn’t catch it and hit the Turn Two wall hard. He was alright, but the damaged car retired. “We had a great day going and then we had a puncture that put us behind all day long, so I was playing catchup. I made a mistake trying, and that for me, in my book, it’s totally fine. I’m looking forward to the future with this team.”

Zach Veach Pit Stop. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Zach Veach Pit Stop. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Zach Veach/No.26 Relay Group 1001 Andretti Autosport Honda had a challenging day, with pit fires, one of which took place as he was fueling and took off ablaze. It blew itself out, but was scary. “It was a long day in general for us to end up where we did – two pit fires and the balance of the car wasn’t where we would’ve liked it to be, so we had to work on it the entire time. We finally got it close the last couple stops but, just my mistake. I took us in a direction on a setup that I thought was going to be good, but I think that’s what hurt us come race day.”

Vic Oladipo

Photo by Pablo Matamoros

The 34th driver at the start was Vic Oladipo, who drove the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Pace Car, a car more powerful than the IndyCars he led. He had his Rookie Orientation and Test Saturday at IMS, with Driver Coach, Corvette driver Ron Fellows. The Indiana Pacers basketball star said Fellows first taught him the course, how to meet his markers, and where to go. Oladipo said driving a race car was similar to playing basketball – the eyes tell you where to go. He also said the Corvette is so fast it drives itself.

The VICS next travels to Belle Isle in Detroit for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, the only double-header race on the schedule. The weekend afternoon races will be shown live on ABC TV at 3:30pm Saturday and Sunday.

Pace Lap

Photo by Pablo Matamoros

1. (3) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running
2. (1) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 200, Running
3. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
4. (32) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 200, Running
5. (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 200, Running
6. (2) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running
7. (21) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 200, Running
8. (4) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (18) Robert Wickens, Honda, 200, Running
10. (30) Graham Rahal, Honda, 200, Running
11. (27) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (12) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
13. (11) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 200, Running
14. (22) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 200, Running
15. (23) Stefan Wilson, Honda, 200, Running
16. (31) Jack Harvey, Honda, 200, Running
17. (26) Oriol Servia, Honda, 200, Running
18. (15) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 200, Running
19. (13) Zachary Claman De Melo, Honda, 199, Running
20. (6) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 199, Running
21. (33) Conor Daly, Honda, 199, Running
22. (20) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 198, Running
23. (25) Zach Veach, Honda, 198, Running
24. (28) Jay Howard, Honda, 193, Running
25. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 187, Contact
26. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 154, Contact
27. (8) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 145, Contact
28. (5) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 137, Contact
29. (17) Kyle Kaiser, Chevrolet, 110, Mechanical
30. (7) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 67, Contact
31. (29) Ed Jones, Honda, 57, Contact
32. (16) Takuma Sato, Honda, 46, Contact
33. (19) James Davison, Chevrolet, 45, Contact

POINTS:
Will Power 243
Alexander Rossi 241
Josef Newgarden 233
Scott Dixon 218
Ryan Hunter-Reay 186
Graham Rahal 183
Robert Wickens 178
Sebastien Bourdais 168
Simon Pagenaud 155
James Hinchcliffe 144

SUNDAY!

IMS PAGODA ALIT

Good Morning Race Fans! At 5am Sunday the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is bustling, with people everywhere already going about making ready for the day and the 102nd Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Oil. Food is cooking, beverages are already being consumed, merchandise outlets are opening for business, and the multiplicity of workers of all kinds are hurrying to or are already on the job. The famous Yellow Shirts have been on site since 2am, and will have a very long shift. Radio and TV stations are set up and broadcasting already.

Radio Station broadcasting

TV Station setting up

The weather is forecast for upwards of 94 degrees F, with 90 percent humidity and almost no wind. And today is National Sunscreen Day! Heed the advice and cover up and slather sunscreen. The news says the UV rating is 9, which means one will burn in 15 minutes.

Sun Rising with Cannon Smoke in Air

Sun Rise!

The cannon went off at 6am, and then the sun rose over the Turn Three area, over all those cute little Tiny Homes and Glampers – who paid the big bucks to stay where they area. I think the Glampers – fancy camp tents are $1000 for four days. The Tiny Houses sold out very quickly, They rent for $3000 for four days, and come in two sizes – two persons or four persons.

Over in the Snake Pit, at $40 a pop, there are thousands of people. Last year it was 30,000. Who knows how many it will be this year.

In Gasoline Alley the teams are scurrying around, golf karts at top speed. The cars are being pushed through Scrutineering queues. On the back fence, the line of motorcycles grows by the hours – all kinds of fancy two and three-wheel motorcycles.

No.1 being wheeled through Tech

Tech Queue

No.60 being pushed back to Garage Bay

Motorcycles on display

There are all sorts of traditional pre-race festivities scheduled before the 12:19pm Green Flag. Let’s Go Racing!

Indy 500 Pre-Race Time Line

TALE OF TWO SPOTTERS

Seated spotters in Spotters Stand T1

In the past IndyCar required the the Indy 500 teams to have two spotters on Carb Day and Race Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This year, it’s mandatory every time a driver is on track with traffic. So there have always been 66 spotters at the Indy 500. This year the spotters were at the track seven days in a row, plus Carb Day and then for the upcoming race. They are stationed on top of the grandstands in Turns One and Three – the very top, with no shade. They stand the entire time. There are chairs on which to sit during cautions or when a driver is in the pits or garage. That also would be the only opportunity to swig some water or make a pit stop. Otherwise it’s on your feet any time there’s Green Flag running. IndyCar only requires spotters on ovals, and there’s no other IndyCar race track which requires two spotters. Many teams use spotters on road courses, and sometimes at Sonoma two positions are utilized for spotters.

View from the Penhouse

Up in the Spotters Stand, IndyCar has a ‘WagonMaster’ overseeing the lot. It’s a privileged area, and I was not allowed up on the Stand itself. I spent Carb Day Practice right below the Spotters Stand in Turn One, in the ‘Penthouse’ area with race fans. I was amazed that spotters could see as much as they could. The cars come by very fast and the front view of the car is not always the easiest to spot in traffic. And when the color is more neutral and less splashy, the difficulty is compounded. I envied the ease for those spotting for Danica Patrick/No.13 Go Daddy Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet or Zach Veach/No.26 Relay Group 1001 Andretti Autosport Honda – with their vivid, bright, in-your face primary colors, and pitied the other two Penske spotters. The two silver Verizon Chevrolets blend right in with the track.

For the past seven years, Damon Hill from Melbourne Australia has come over to work as a Spotter for Andretti Autosport. Last year he was one of two Spotters for race-winning Takuma Sato, working in Turn Three. This year Hill is again paired with Carlos Munoz/No.29 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda. He spotted for Munoz in 2015 and 2016.

Damon Hill

In spotting for Sato, Hill said it’s key to give him the bare minimum information in clear and concise terms. Hill has to edit out what is important to relay. High atop the Turn Three Grandstand, Hill can see from the Turn Two Apex to the Apex of Turn Four. He can keep talking if necessary, such as in 2016 when Munoz’s fuel light went on three laps to the finish. For Hill, there are 18 seconds between seeing his driver.

Damon Hill

Damon Hill

Hill wears a headset with two separate radio feeds – one to Sato and Pit Box, and the other monitors Race Control. Hill, an Aussie, hails from a country known for its colorful colloquialisms and abbreviated patois. Munoz and Sato hail from countries where English is not the first language. Hill and his driver develop their own lingo. There are 20 or so common words which get used over and over. Hill goes over the words with the other spotter, Sato’s long-time primary spotter, Roger Yasukawa. Then in debriefings, Hill goes over the lingo with his driver and Yasukawa. Last year Team Manager, Ziggy, aka Paul Harcus, was on the Pit Box calling the race for Sato. Team Owner Michael Andretti is on the radio also, but he is very quiet.

Damon Hill's Indy 500 ring

Last year Hill said even as Sato took the lead, he wasn’t as excited as he thought he might be … until the last corner. Then and only then did he feel comfortable. Hill said he was calm and just talked to Sato as he would on every other lap. Then, when Sato came through Turn Three and headed to Turn Four, Hill got excited. When he won, Hill threw his radio/headsets to a fellow spotter, got pushy and ran down the stairs and all the way to Victory Circle to be there in time for the ceremonies. And now he has the ring to prove it. Hill wears the ring a lot, as it brings back memories. And he had to get up at the crack of dawn Monday with the driver and crew for the obligatory Kissing the Bricks photo shoot.

Both Hill and Yasukawa have racing experience. Hill raced karts 14 years. Yasukawa is a former IndyCar driver. Sato believes it very much helps that a spotter has driving experience, because he knows what it takes to be in the cockpit. “It certainly helped me a lot.” And Sato thought the pairing of Hill and Yasukawa was fantastic. Regarding having the spotters, “The rules say we have to have two spotters, and if there is a lack of communications we have to go back to the pits. Yes, we can drive the cars without spotters, but the spotter is a very important part for the safety. Without spotters, I believe it would be very difficult to do the race.” Sato said he “talks to his spotters more during practice, about the lines. It’s really more like driver coaching. The spotter has to completely understand what it takes to be driving. I want to know anything that’s happening, and I can cut out any information which is not necessary to me. So yes, I want them talking to me. It’s helpful”

Munoz says the spotters talking to him helps, but he doesn’t depend on it.

Michael Crawford

Michael Crawford is the Turn One Spotter for Pole Sitter Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. Crawford has been spotting since 2003 when he started spotting at Rookie Tests for Sam Schmidt in the Indy Lights Series, and getting familiar with the concept of spotting on ovals. His first IndyCar spotting job was with Nelson Phillippe.

Crawford expounded on what it takes to be a Spotter. “Not everyone on the Spotters Stand is a former driver. But what is needed, clearly, is an awareness of the sport, awareness of the subtleties of the sport. You almost have to have the ability to see if the car is pushing or loose, which is something that could take years to develop. The ability to see how a car is handling. You want to have the acumen to understand different lines and if they’re working for different drivers. And the awareness of changing conditions. And most of all, a calming temperament when it comes to an accident. You want to quickly relay that information without overwhelming the driver. So there’s elements of strategy, elements of observation, elements of safety. What it takes is someone who’s been around the sport and understand it and keep the driver safe, and hopefully help him move forward. Spotting is hours of boredom punctuated by moments of chaos. Focus is vitally important, and it is so captivating.

People have been offered opportunities to spot, and have turned it down as they don’t want that responsibility. I’ve never seen it as a responsibility. I see it as an opportunity to help. It can be pretty important. We can affect the driver, but I’m not holding the steering wheel, I’m not touching the pedals with my feet. At the end of the day Ed Carpenter needs to react to his environment. I’m there to paint a picture of what is happening around him. If I can spot an accident ahead of him, then yes, I’ve improved his likelihood of a good outcome. But I don’t see myself maybe as responsible for his life; but I can help him be safer. There is concern of reacting poorly. But then again, a really good spotter will spot an event happening before it happens. You want to be looking ahead of the car to see if there’s an accident, and behind the car to see what’s coming next, as well as the car all at the same time. It’s hard to look at three places at once.

Ed Carpenter No.20

Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Ed’s car is challenging to spot. It’s all-black with white logos, with his black suit and black and white helmet, and looks like six or seven other cars out there. It disappears to Crawford. Looking at it head-on coming out of Turn Four with no distinguishing colors. The most wonderful thing that happened to me last Sunday will help me this Sunday – Ed is starting up front. It’s not easy spotting for a car that’s starting 26th or back. There’s a mass of cars coming at you, the dust is swirling, the hot dog wrappers are flying, and you’re trying to find the one car that is yours. There’s cars inside, outside, in front of you, and you’re just trying to find the car. It boils down to that Ed is out of my vision for about 12 seconds and I count 12 every single lap. And then I find him again. For as little physical activity there is, it’s exhausting. It’s pretty intense.” During practice there can be down time. Crawford finished three books during the first week of practice.

Crawford listens to the car with his right ear, and to Race Control with his left ear. “That way I’m not scanning one over the other. I listen to Race Control because they give directions, telling us something we’re supposed to be doing, and I listen to direct contact with the car. The only people on the car are the car itself (driver), Pit Stand, Turn Three Spotter (primary Lee Bentham, former open wheel racer in Atlantics and Indy Lights) and myself. I would love to hear the Crew Channel to sort of get an idea, but our particular setup I’m very comfortable being focused with my two ears on two separate topics. I don’t think I’m as good as some of the TV talent which have a producer and others talking into their ears while speaking to someone else. They’re processing information while sharing other information, so clearly it’s a skill. Standing up on the Spotter Stand isn’t a whole lot different, meaning I can be listening to Race Control while watching what’s going on down on the track and interjecting some information all at the same time. But it’s not usually overwhelming. Usually things are happening once at a time. Every once in awhile things are in chaos. I consider myself a partner with the Spotter in Turn Three. Bentham is a former open wheel racer in Atlantics and Indy Lights. Crawford said Bentham has incredible race craft. I consider my job to be handing off the driver to that other spotter. And there’s actually an audible handoff, where we know where we can see and it overlaps a little bit. So I can see the car entering Turn four and I can see it exiting Turn Two. The Turn Three Spotter can see the entrance to Turn Two and he can see through the exit of Turn Four. So we have these overlaps. So when Ed comes out of the pits, he’ll be in the Warm-up Lane, and I’ll call out to Turn Three, ‘we’ll be in the short chute, and he’ll be the next car to you. While I’m sharing that, I’m also sharing who’s on the track at speed, so that when Ed gets to the back Turn Three can see Ed, can see the cars on the race track, and help Ed blend into traffic. Ed hears it and knows I’m also saying it to him. And it gives Turn Three a picture of what’s about to happen and Turn Three does the same thing for Ed and I when Ed is going through Turn Four. When Ed is on the front stretch, I have very little depth perception as they’re coming right at me. Turn Three gives me that expectation, of a driver having a good run. We don’t hand it over every lap, because if Ed is running by himself there’s no need. But we tell them if someone is going to pit. The spotters talk to each other up there.”

Ed Carpenter said about spotters: “They can talk as much or as little as they need, so long as it’s information that is pertinent to what I need in the car. We have those conversations over the course of the month, leading into the race. Depending on what’s going on in the race restart, that can mean talking a lot or other parts of the race not talking much at all.”

Pole Sitter Ed will be doing something extra on his Indy 500 Parade Lap Sunday. “Now I try to use the first parade lap to do a crowd check for Doug Boles, IMS. Once the green flag drops, all the other stuff and the people and the colors disappear. You’re focusing on what’s in front of you.”

Pit Lane Viewed from Penthouse Stands

RINGS, TROPHIES & AUTOGRAPHS

Indy 500 Drivers Meeting. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Indy 500 Drivers Meeting. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

The fan gates don’t open until 8am at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Legends Day, but from somewhere came hordes of fans queueing up for the 9am Indy 500 Driver Autograph Session. The lines were eventually cut off, as the Drivers had their obligatory meeting.

Autograph Sign

Conor Daly & Alexander Rossi

Autograph queues

LEFT TO RIGHT: Autograph Sign, Conor Daly & Alexander Rossi, and Autograph Queues. Photos by Pablo Matamoros.

The Indy 500 Drivers Meeting is held out in front of the Start-Finish Grand Stands, so the public can enjoy. It is also shown on the Big Screen and live streamed. Many opportunities for viewing.

The Drivers individually receive their Indy 500 Starter Rings.

Joel Wiegert, Vice President of Borg-Warner presented their Baby Borg trophies to the 2017 Indy 500 winning Driver, Takuma Sato and to the winning Team Owner, Michael Andretti of Andretti Autosport.

Vic Oladipo, NBA All Star from the Indiana Pacers, was introduced.

Kyle Novak, IndyCar Race Director talked to the drivers about what to expect Sunday.

Various other introductions and presentations were made. Most of it is at least somewhat serious and proper. But boys will be boys, and a few of her compatriots teased Danica Patrick.

Joel Wiegert, Michael Andretti  & Takuma Sato

Victor Oladipo

Drivers teasing Danica. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

LEFT TO RIGHT: Joel Wiegert, Michael Andretti & Takuma Sato; Pace Car Driver Victor Oladipo; and Drivers Teasing Danica. Photos by Pablo Matamoros.

Dr. Jerry Punch. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Dr. Jerry Punch. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Several awards were presented Saturday. Dr. Jerry Punch, a medical doctor and veteran television broadcaster was presented with the 2018 Bob Russo Founders Award by previous winner and Russo Award Chairman, Paul Page. This award is presented “to an individual who has demonstrated profound interest, tireless efforts and undying dedication to auto racing as exemplified by Russo throughout his career. Dr. Punch will be a pit reporter for Sunday’s live Indy 500 ABC TV broadcast. He’s been a driver, mechanic, radio and TV broadcaster.He is an emergency room specialist doctor and revived Rusty Wallace at Bristol after a 1988 crash.

James Hinchcliffe. Photo by Nico Matamoros

James Hinchcliffe. Photo by Nico Matamoros

The fun never ends for James Hinchcliffe. He has the dubious honor of being the 2018 recipient of the infamous Jigger Award, presented by AARWBA – American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. This award goes to an Indy 500 competitor who experiences misfortune/bad luck. Hinch failed to qualify for the 2018 Indy 500. The award is named after Jigger Sirois, who missed being the pole winner in 1969 when his crew waved him off on a lap right before rain stopped qualifying, a lap which would have given him the pole. Sirois accepted the award for Hinch.

Indy Logo. Pagoda Plaza. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Indy Logo. Pagoda Plaza. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

CARB DAY

Pagoda Plaza

There’s good and bad news. Carb Day is crowded! It’s so great so many people are here – everywhere. The Alphabet Letter of the Day is Q, for queue. There are lines everywhere for everything, in addition to the milling crowds filling every nook and cranny. The bad news is trying to negotiate through it.

Carb Day Pit Lane. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Carb Day Pit Lane. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Carb Day for the Indy 500 teams means it’s time to check everything. Most if not all cars have fresh engines. This session is for finding all actual and potential problems, trying out things, running race setups, doing installation laps, practicing pit stops, scuffing tires, etc. If something goes wrong, fix it and be glad it happened Friday and not Sunday. The weather was in the high eighties with low humidity (for Indianapolis) and little wind. Track temperature was 120+.

Danica Patrick

Tony Kanaan

Marco Andretti

LEFT TO RIGHT: Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, and Marco Andretti. Photos by Nico Matamoros.

An example of that was the electrical issues experienced by Danica Patrick/No.13 Go Daddy Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. The crew took the car back to the garage for diagnosis and repair, and she was able to get back out near the end of the hour-long session. She turned the fewest laps – 15.

Tony Kanaan/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet was the fastest at 227.791 mph. He said “I think this is the closest that we’re going to get as far as weather for Sunday, so we tried to optimize that and run in the heat conditions and see what are we going to do. But really, if you haven’t figured it out by today, you’re in trouble.”

Second was Scott Dixon/No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, at 225.684 mph. Friday wasn’t about fastest overall speed. It was for making sure everything works well. He said “I’m not really sure what you can learn from the times today. There were a lot of people throwing tires at it out there. Overall, the car felt good and we were comfortable. You just never know exactly what you’re going to have until you get into the race.”

Third through fifth were Marco Andretti/No.98 US Concrete Andretti Autosport Honda, Sebastien Bourdais/No.18 SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing Honda and Charlie Kimball/No.23 Fiasp Carlin Chevrolet.

Ed Carpenter. Photo by Pablo Matamoros.

Ed Carpenter. Photo by Pablo Matamoros.

Pole Winner, Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet was fourteenth. He said “”We ran through a couple of things we wanted to try after looking at the data from Monday’s practice. Carb Days are hard, though. It’s only one hour, then you have a couple more days to agonize over exactly how we start the race. The conditions are pretty similar right now to what we’ll have come race time, so the session was good for that. ”

Kyle Kaiser. Photo by Nico Matamoros.

Kyle Kaiser. Photo by Nico Matamoros.

The top Rookie was Kyle Kaiser/No.32 NFP/Juncos Racing Chevrolet, in twenty-second position. He said “Our last day of practice went very well. We got to improve the car a little bit and get a better idea of the conditions for race day on Sunday. I think we ended with a pretty good car. I still think we have a few more changes to make before the race. I am really happy with the team. We brought the car back clean for the end of the day and I am ready to go racing now.”

Graham Rahal. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Graham Rahal. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Graham Rahal/No.15 United Rentals Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda ran the most laps – 41. He finished twenty-first for the day. He said “We just ran used tires from the start and I know a lot of guys were running stickers (new tires), but we wanted to save a lot of stickers for the race and I think we just ran them too long, initially, and probably made our lives a little tough, but for sure we got the car much better in the end.”

Overall for nine practice sessions, Andretti continued his claim as fastest driver at 231.801 mph turned in Practice 5. Twenty-six of the thirty-five drivers were fastest in Practice 5. All but one of the remainder were fastest in Practice 7. The one exception was Helio Castroneves/No.3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet, who was fastest in Practice 6.

Matheus Leist

Matheus Leist

Castroneves also turned the most laps – 515. Rookie Matheus Leist/No.4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet turned the fewest – 212 (of those who ran or who were eligible to run all the sessions.) Leist said his car had issues of one kind or another including electrical which was finally diagnosed and fixed. He missed the first Indy 500 practice session.

Pippa Mann/No.63 Donate Life Dale Coyne Racing Honda only ran 211 laps, but she didn’t run the two post-qualifying practice sessions.

Ganassi Winning Pit Stop Crew

LEFT TO RIGHT: Mike Le Gallic, Blair Julian, Alphonse Girard, Scott Dixon, Dave Pena (air Jack), Kyle Clark and Jason Beck.

Dixon and his Wolf Pack crew won the Pit Stop Competition. He won two out of three Finals against James Hinchcliffe. “It’s a big deal to show just how much of a team sport this is. It’s never just one single person. It’s many trying to achieve the same objective. Some days I’m able to make a couple passes on track, but most of the time these guys are able to make it a lot easier for me and the team by gaining places in these pit stops.”

Beck said “Biggest thing we do best. We’re not always the quickest, but most consistent. Last year we won seven of the pit stop awards during races, more on consistency than it was just trying to be outright fast all the time. I think we constantly make spots up in the pits nine out of ten times. We’ve had a few issues here and there.”

Pit Stop Competition Results

James Hinchcliffe & Scott Dixon. Photo by Nico Matamoros

James Hinchcliffe & Scott Dixon. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Semi Finals – Race 1
James Hinchcliffe 13.545
Will Power 14.100

Semi Finals – Race 2
Scott Dixon 12.658
Alexander Rossi 13.670

Finals – Race 1
Scott Dixon 11.717
James Hinchcliffe 13.067

Finals – Race 2
James Hinchcliffe 12.198
Scott Dixon 12.686

Finals – Race 3
Scott Dixon 11.943
James Hinchcliffe 12.495

Hinchcliffe & Dixon Crews Competition

Robert Wickens. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Robert Wickens. Photo by Nico Matamoros

During Carb Day Practice, Hinchcliffe was on the Pit Box of teammate, Rookie Robert Wickens/No.6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda. Wickens said “He was just listening, nothing crazy. It’s not like he’s coaching me from in there. He was giving his opinion and talking with the engineers, just trying to lend a hand in any way he can.”

Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon & Emma Dixon

Earlier in the day, Dixon, wife Emma and team owner, Chip Ganassi met with the media to promote the new documentary movie about Scott Dixon, “Born Racer.” It’s billed as a behind-the-scenes look at Dixon, his career, family, and balancing all that goes with his career and being part of a highly competitive, goal-oriented team, Indy style racing and the pressures.

Scott & Chris Supra

All around the track the Official Speedway Merchandise outlets are staffed by non-profits who use their share of the proceeds to fund their respective organizations. The booth by the Outside Media Lot is handled by the Boy Scouts of America Avon Chapter. The two lads running it for Carb Day were Scott and Chris Supra, earning a summer campership for Chris. Their best-selling shirt was the event T Shirt.

Saturday is Firestone Legends Day presented by Miller Lite. Among activities there are The Sunoco Rookie Press Conference, Driver Autograph session, the public Driver’s Meeting, where the drivers get their Indy 500 starter rings, and an hour of historic cars on course. Then the drivers go downtown to be in the Indy 500 Festival Parade. Back at the track in the afternoon is the Legends Day Concerts, with headliner Sam Hunt.