Tuesday the Verizon IndyCar drivers went out and early and in droves, anticipating weather changes. And it took only 90 minutes for the rain to really come down, with scattered thunderstorms, and lots of wind. This was after three ‘moisture’ cautions. The ambient temperature was nearly eighty but dropped quickly.
At 2:47pm local time/ET, “due to rain all further track activities have been canceled for the day.”
E.J.VISO was fastest when the weather kicked in, at 224.488 mph/360.74894 kph. He is filling in for JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, who suffered a concussion during the Saturday Grand Prix of Indianapolis. While Hinch is recovering, Viso has been putting the No.26 Andretti Autosport through its paces. He was tenth fastest Monday and eleventh overall Tuesday.
The latest update on Hinch is that he was evaluated Tuesday by the IndyCar medical team in conjunction with its neurosurgical consultant. DR. MICHAEL OLINGER, IndyCar Director of Medical Services said that Hinchcliffe is progressing well; and while he’s not been cleared to resume driving duties, he can begin light training with his athletic trainer. He will be re-evaluated 15 May 2014.
Viso had said he thought Hinchcliffe would be seen today but he didn’t know the outcome. In the meantime, he would continue to run the car through its paces for the team, and get in as many laps as weather permitted. He’s not been offered any other jobs.
“Even if Hinch comes back, I wouldn’t consider getting into another less competitive seat. I’d rather watch it on TV. If something competitive comes along, of course I would take I’ve done it all ways and trust me there’s nothing worse than being passed every two laps. I wanted to do an IndyCar deal but things aren’t well in my country, and things didn’t work out.”
The ride with Andretti came about as he was already at the track watching the race on TV and the team contacted him. Michael (Team owner Andretti) had one of my helmets in his office that I’d given him after last season, I wore Munoz’s shoes (Rookie CARLOS MUNOZ), Ryan’s T Shirt (RYAN HUNTER-REAY), Hinch’s suit, and a mechanic’s ear piece. I’m not frustrated about not knowing if I’m going to race. So far I’ve had a blast with my friends, I’ve helped my friend, I like the team, and, and so far I’ve done good with them. So, whatever life brings me is OK. If I’m going to race, I’m ready for it; and if he’s going to drive, then I think I did a decent job on his development program and he deserves it.”
The Andretti team has a pretty good testing plan and things they want to do. So far I’m taking the full role of Hinch.My biggest wish is Hinch’s recover and his getting to race.” It’s been eight months since Viso has been in a car, but he acclimated within a few laps in the car which has already been sorted out.
Newgarden said although it sounded odd, he’s glad for the rain. “It’s been tough on our teams, switching everything over from the Grand Prix race, so it’s kinda nice to give the a little break. The weird thing coming straight from the Grand Prix there was no lull, no breather, no going home for two days. Opening day was hot, the GP was a really long race, Before you could come to the 500 a little charged up. This time everyone was just really tired and we had to get into full chat.
“I think the Grand Prix was a really great event, very well received and everyone had a good time.”
While IMS does not release attendance figures, I was told by an IMS person that the crowd was well more than the 40,000 goal figure.
“We’ve had a good start so far, for the 500. Being a single car team, you don’t always get to do everything. This year’s it’s different, having the second car with Tagliani (ALEX TAGLIANI). We’re blending and we’re getting through a lot of things.
It was high seventies and windy when CHARLIE KIMBALL/No.83 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Chevrolet was the first driver on track. He finished sixteenth for the day.
Thirty cars turned laps. WILL POWER/No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet ran the most laps – 57, followed by his teammate, HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 with 56 laps. The driver with the fewest double digit lap numbers was ORIOL SERVIA/No.16 RHL Racing Honda at 17.
Overall for the first three days, RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.28 Andretti Autosport is still the fastest driver with his 225.025 mph/362.14263 kph from Monday afternoon.
The fastest Tuesday Rookie was KURT BUSCH/No.26 Andretti Autosport Honda, in second place at 224.159 mph/360.74894 kph. He continues to amaze. Busch is also the fastest Rookie overall, in third place.
The previous fastest driver was JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who ended up third – the top Chevrolet. His day ended on a flat bed truck when he parked in the grass coming in the Pit Lane entrance with electrical problems, causing the last caution before the rain. The problems have been fixed.
The top three drivers were the only ones running above 224.000 mph.
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA/No.17 KVAFS Racing Chevrolet was finally on track an hour or so into the afternoon session. Earlier in the day, the car went through technical inspections. The car had large unadorned carbon-fiber body parts on the rebuilt tub, which sustained massive damage in Saturday’s Standing Start Stall and Smash. Saavedra finished last of the thirty cars Tuesday, with only seven laps before the rain came – the only driver with single-digit laps.
There were three cautions for weather and one for JPM’s tow.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN/No.67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda was brought into the Media Center, along with Viso, for the post-practice interview. He finished eighth Tuesday, and is thirteenth fastest of 36 times set so far.
After the interviews, Newgarden took the mike and interviewed Viso for RACER online. If he ever gives up racing, or wants a second career, he’s a natural.
ED CARPENTER/No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet was joined by various notables from Butler University to commemorate BU as a sponsor for his Indy 500 car. This is the third year Carpenter, a BU alum, was so chosen. Besides Carpenter, the man of the hour was Tripp, the Butler Blue Mascot (Bull Dog)
Wednesday IndyCar practice resumes at noon local time/ET. The weather forecast is for Thunderstorms and sixty degree temperatures F.