CARB DAY at Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2014 for the 98th running of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s said that the Verizon IndyCar Series day at the famed 2.5-mile speedway is the second biggest draw, even ranking the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 race.
There were fans and people everywhere. The traffic was said by some to be the worst ever on 16th and Georgetown Streets. Sixty-ninety-minute waits were reported by some with race credentials.
The Indy 500 drivers and teams had only one hour on Carb Day to get it right – practice pit stops, check out race settings, and fine tune everything.
The silver-anniversary themed Target Chip Ganassi Chevy drivers, TONY KANAAN/No.10 and SCOTT DIXON/No.9 were the top drivers all session, with TK taking over midway. Between them, they ran nearly 100 laps.
Kanaan said he was pretty happy about today’s run. “This year is going to be even worse in terms of pulling away – It will be even more of a pack race this year.”
Dixon wasn’t worried about starting the race next to a Rookie (Kurt Busch). “It’s three wide for the parade laps and then it clears off.”
All drivers turned double-digit laps, with WILL POWER/No12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet running the most – 55.
Rookie SAGE KARAM/No.22 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda drove the fewest laps, but not by choice. He hit the wall on his twentieth lap, glancing on the right, and coasted down, bringing out a brief caution. He was OK, but the car will need some work.
Earlier in the week, the 19-year old Rookie was given a surprise “Prom Date” by his DR&R crew, complete with outfit, decorations, slow music and his girlfriend. He admitted that it was the first time he had ever ‘slow danced’ and it was kind of embarrassing to do it in front of everyone.
The pressure was on one Rookie driver to tryout and sort out his car for the first time. KURT BUSCH crashed in practice on Tuesday and switched to a backup car in which he hadn’t driven until Carb Day. He turned 53 laps and finished fifteenth overall – “my longest stint in traffic.” He described it as “Good old Happy Hour Thrash.”
Busch’s Indy 500 car is the road course car run by his teammate, MARCO ANDRETTI, in last weekend’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis; and next week it will race the street course in Detroit. Busch said “I’ve been in three different (Indy) cars so far at IMS – ROP car, qualified car, and now this one. They all feel different. This one is more imbalanced in traffic. Simulating dirty air can only be done in traffic.
“I was a bit anxious this morning to see how I would feel back in the car. I didn’t lose my confidence. When I got up to speed, the team threw me another adjustment to see how I reacted. Last Thursday was when I felt the most comfortable – I had my teammate, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, helping me. Today I was very busy, but I was able to keep on top of it, I made good steps today.”
Carb Day also features IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge – another tradition, for bragging rights as well as other more tangible results.