Corvette Pace Car

Thursday’s weather at Indianapolis Motor Speedway started out cloudy for the fourth day of Indianapolis 500 practice, and was expected to remain so for the duration. The temperature was low sixties with wind, albeit not as breezy as the past two days.

Thirty-four of the now thirty-five entered drivers are at the track, and at least thirty-three of them are expected to be on track today at one point or another. Missing on track will be Dale Coyne Racing Honda teammates, James Davison/No.19 and Pippa Mann/No.63.

Tristan Vautier

Tristan Vautier of France has been officially entered as a driver for No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. He went out at the start of Thursday practice to complete his Refresher Program, which he did after 21 laps. He was running sixth at the time with a lap of 217.963 mph. In the Verizon IndyCar Series, it’s the car that qualifies, not the driver. Vautier will be in the car Thursday, and this weekend for qualifying. Davison is scheduled to be back Monday morning after his racing commitments this weekend in Canada.

Pippa Mann

Pippa Mann's Honda

Pippa Mann, pretty in pink, is on site and walking stiffly after Wednesday’s horrific four-point, three-wall crash. She said she “felt like I had a fight with the wall.” The No.63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda is being worked on behind closed doors. She does not have a backup car, so the crew is putting the pieces back together. Mann hopes to have the car ready to go on track Friday afternoon, if the weather cooperates.

Simona de Silvestro's Honda

Simona de Silvestro/No.29 Andretti Autosport Honda is back with a car looking like brand new after a long 48-hour thrash by the crew to repair the fire damage she suffered from her Tuesday afternoon fuel leak fire. Honda confirmed that she has a new engine as the old one was burnt badly including all the wiring. As it was crash-related, there is no penalty for the engine change.

When last checked, de Silvestro’s car hadn’t been through IndyCar technical inspection, but the scrutineers said it was coming soon.

Buddy Lazier's No.91 Chevrolet

Buddy Lazier’s No.91 Wynn Iowa Vision Research Lazier Racing Honda went through Tech and was getting its final prep before Lazier took to the track for the first time this week. His short program called for him to practice Thursday and Friday for Saturday qualifying.

Out and about are a few drivers, chatting with media, signing autographs, meet and greets, or zooming through the garage on a mission.

JR Hildebrand

Jr Hildebrand/No.6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet said he and more other teams would be running qualifying setups near the end of Thursday practice.

Hildebrand also addressed the inevitable questions about the aiborn crash suffered Wednesday by Helio Castroneves/No.3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. JR said “It was a freak incident. The cars now are touchier to handle. It was reassuring to us to see him get out of the car and walk away.

“When going backwards, the car is incredibly unstable, an it’s pretty slippery in the air. The cars are different when in road course trim.”

In answer to a question regarding what the in-car video showed of Castroneves, Hildebrand said “It’s a fairly natural reaction to fold up hands away from the race car steering wheel when having a crash.” Castroneves lost the control battle with his steering wheel, drove into the slide, and folded his arms on his chest. Hildebrand said it was kind of instinct for experienced race drivers to do that. One example of why it’s a good idea is Rocky Moran Jr’s crash at Long Beach Saturday afternoon before the Sunday IndyCar race. He held onto the wheel and broke his thumb, which kept him out of the car for the race. Conor Daly was a last minute substitution in the Dale Coyne Honda.

Alan Bestwick, Eddie Cheever Jr, and Ryan Hunter-Reay

Graham Rahal

Juan Pablo Montoya