The session started out drizzly and there were a few rooster tails until the cars dried out the track. And the drops decided the better of it and withdrew. There were several different drivers sharing the top spot before it was SIMON PAGENAUD/No.77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda. His lap of 1:23.1597/105.585 was no where near any IndyCar times set so far this weekend – 13 seconds off the pace. But … better safe than sorry.
The drivers were seemingly having to wrestle their steering wheels a lot to manage the slick surface, especially GRAHAM RAHAL/No.15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. He turned the fewest laps – nine, and finished twenty-third.
Only a few cars seemed to be on track at a single time. All but Rahal did double-digit laps, with SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA/No.17 KVAFS Racing Chevrolet running the most – 22 laps.
Second through fifth were JACK HAWKSWORTH/No.96 Honda, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE/No.27 Andretti Autosport Honda, WILL POWER/No.12 Team Penske Chevrolet, and Rookie CARLOS MUNOZ/No.34 Andretti Autosport Honda – the top Rookie.
All 25 cars were on course. Of them, two are making their first appearance this season – FRANCK MONTAGNY/No.26 Andretti Autosport Honda, and MARTIN PLOWMAN/No.41 A.J.Foyt Racing Honda.
RYAN BRISCOE/No.8 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was the first to be caught out by the slippery surface, spinning out into the grass. This brought out the Red Flag for a tow. Once checked in the pits, he was back out on course. He finished twentieth in the session. He spun again on tarmac on the last lap.
The only other driver off was Power, doing his version of doughnuts in the grass, but he recovered on his own and continued.
All in all, a safe session with a couple testing limits and finding them, with no harm, no foul.
While the Yellow Submarine IndyCar and livery were rolled out by Pennzoil and Team Penske Thursday in a big public/fan ceremony, HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Chevrolet will be driving it in the Indianapolis 500, not this weekend for the road course race. This weekend Castroneves has red, black and white Verizon sponsorship. For the Indy 500, Castroneves will drive the car done up to look like the iconic car in which RICK MEARS won the 500, but the cheerful Brazilian will also sport a yellow helmet with red stripe, a copy of Mear’s winning helmet. Castroneves had asked and been granted permission by Mears to copy the design.
The various race series are getting more and more sophisticated layouts for their respective live timing and scoring feeds. One thing I’m looking forward to is the addition of tire compound selection for IndyCar, a la F1.
Next up for IndyCar is qualifying, with the Road Course format. This will be 2pm local time.