It was a brisk 37 degrees F early at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Old National Armed Forces Pole Day. It was too cold, 46F, for the early morning scheduled practice, so it was delayed until 8:45am and ran only an hour. There was one four-minute caution for debris on the front straight.
Rookie MIKHAIL ALESHIN/No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda was fastest in practice, at 232.917 mph. He also turned the most laps – 29. Six drivers were fastest than Saturday’s fast time of 230.661 mph set by ED CARPENTER/No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing. Carpenter sat out the session, as did four others of the top Nine, while four of them participated. Nineteen drivers were faster than 230 mph.
Pagoda Plaza had a special huge stage installed, taking two days. Sunday morning it was filled with seated military personnel including high ranking brass, a military band, color guard and VIP’s for the Military Enlistees Ceremonies with all the pomp and circumstance that goes with.
Sunday at 11am local time the action begins in earnest for re-qualifying and the Top Nine shootout for those drivers who locked in those positions Saturday.
In a special qualifying run Sunday morning, Indycar team owner and former racer, SAM SCHMIDT, ran his four consecutive qualifying laps, with a top speed of 97 mph. He drove his SAM – a 2014 black Corvette Stingray C7 Semi Autonomous Vehicle. Afterwards there was a huge Photo Op. Schmidt became the first quadriplegic to drive a race car at speed using integrated advanced electronics.
Left to Right: IndyCar drivers Sage Karam, Martin Plowman. Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Sam Schmidt driver, and IndyCar drivers Townsend Bell, Mikhail Aleshin and James Hinchcliffe.