The weather was dry, extremely windy, partially overcast and clearing Saturday morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the two hour Indy Racing League’s Indianapolis 500 practice session.
Saturday morning the IndyCars started with two separate half-hour practice sessions for Group One and Group Two, depending on the driver’s order in the Qualifying Draw. Then it was open practice for the remainder of the time.
RYAN BRISCOE/No.6 Team Penske was fastest in the first session and overall for the two Groups at 225.182 mph/39.9676. SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi was the fastest in the second session and third overall at 223.885 mph/40.1992.
Rookie ROBERT DOORNBOS/No.6 Newman Haas Lanigan Racing had a second crash in as many days. Again he was seen and released by DR MICHAEL OLINGER, medical director for IRL, and cleared to drive. This is only his second-ever oval race.
Doornbos crashed Saturday morning, while running second in Group One. He was running his backup car, as he’d crashed his primary car Friday afternoon, causing severe right side and overall damage. The primary car also lost a wheel, and why the tether didn’t work is still being checked. The damage was severe enough that the team immediately focused on the backup car, and Doornbos turned five laps in it late Friday afternoon.
The damage to the backup car is severe – the entire right side including both wheels, which stayed attached this time. BRIAN LISLES, NHLR General Manager and spotter for Doornbos, said the backup car will take two days to fix and now the plan is for Robert to qualify next week. The primary car evidently had even worse damage.
TONY KANAAN/No.11 Andretti Green Racing drove a very unusual-looking car in his practice session. The AGR team brought ten cars to Indy, two for each of its four drivers, and two spares. Friday afternoon Kanaan ran his car, and that of his teammate, MARCO ANDRETTI/No.26. and according to Kanaan’s spokesperson, Kanaan was faster in the other car than his own.
Friday night the AGR team brought in the Kansas oval track car raced well last weekend by HIDEKI MUTOH/No.27 AGR, and swapped out bits and pieces, includings the RWB front and rear livery from Mutoh’s Honda Formula Dream to Kanaan’s 7-11 green and white graphics. At any given time Friday night, there were 15 crew members swarming around the car putting it together. And, as a joke, TK was posing around the shop in Mutoh’s driver’s suit.
It was a confusingly colorful car which Kanaan ran to a P15 spot Saturday morning.
Kanaan is still holding to his bet with his long-time buddy, DARI FRANCHITTI/No.10 Target Chip Ganassi about cutting hair. Kanaan said he’d not cut his until he won, but in the meantime it’s hard to chart his progress as he keeps it under his cap. To further amuse himself, Kanaan has a TK Chia pet look-alike complete with brown face and big nose. It started growing hair on Opening Day. It’s on display in the Media Center. Stay tuned for updates.