The weekend schedule:
In one of the most exciting Indy 500 races, Dario Franchitti took his place on the Borg Warner Trophy for the third time. He withstood an aggressive challenge on the final lap from Takuma Sato, who spun after trying to pass Franchitti on the inside into Turn 1. Franchitti traded first place with Target Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon multiple times over the last several laps. Dixon ultimately finished a close second. Tony Kanaan also mounted a challenge, leading the race as late as lap 193 of 200, and finished third.
The win was a significant vindication for both Target Ganassi and Honda after both had a disappointing qualifying session. Only one Honda engine was in the top ten grid places at the start, but Honda engines were in the top two cars – Franchitti and Dixon – as well as five of the top ten. The result was a major disappointment for the Chevrolet powered teams of Andretti Autosport and Team Penske, both of whom did well in qualification.
Dario Franchitti has now joined a very select group of three time Indy500 winners – including some of his heroes.
This gallery contains 9 photos.
Cars & Coffee at Irvine A few more Shelby Cobras and Mustangs along several other interesting cars from Cars & Coffee at Irvine this past weekend…
Ryan Briscoe put in a fantastic four lap qualifying run on a warm afternoon at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway to take the pole in next Sunday’s Indy 500. James Hinchcliffe had been fast all day, and he he had Briscoe beat until the final two corners of his last qualifying lap, but he fell short by 0.0023 seconds – the closest margin in the history of the Indy 500. That’s the equivalent of 9.168 inches over the four laps.
Hinchcliffe said that he went out too hot and was not able to maintain the pace throughout
four laps. He went out again later trying to beat Briscoe by starting slightly slower and trying to hold his pace throughout; however his first lap was slower than Briscoe’s pole taking average and his speed fell off from there. Nobody else was able to mount a serious challenge to Briscoe’s pole time, although Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti, and Will Power all tried.
The first three rows for running of the 96th Indy 500:
- Ryan Briscoe
- James Hinchcliffe
- Ryan Hurnter-Reay
- Marco Andretti
- Will Power
- Helio Castroneves
- Josef Newgarden
- Tony Kanaan
- EJ Viso
Notably, all three Team Penske drivers made the 90 minute, top nine shootout for pole while none of four Target Ganassi drivers did, and Andretti Autosport has three of the fastest four qualifiers. IZOD IndyCar points leader, Will Power, will start from 5th. Rookie Josef Newgarden of the underdog Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team qualified 7th. Newgarden is also the highest placed Honda powered car on the grid – the other eight of the top nine being Chevrolet powered. In the rest of the field, Dario Franchitti, reigning IndyCar champion will start 16th, and his teammate Scott Dixon will be 15th on the grid. IndyCar rookie and 19-year Formula 1 veteran, Rubens Barrichello will start 10th. SoCal’s Charlie Kimball will start 15th, while his teammate Graham Rahal will be 12th. Last year’s phenom and near winner, JR Hildebrand will start 18th.
The biggest West Coast gathering of Ultimate Driving Machines is tomorrow at Bimmerfest 2012 at the Rose Bowl. Bimmerfest, sponsored by HorsepowerFreaks, is a must attend event for BMW fans, and this 13th Annual celebration of the BMW community promises to be among the best yet.
Details posted in the calendar.
Marco Andretti turned the fastest time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the final practice day before Pole Day. His speed of 227.540 mph (39.5535 lap time) put his Chevrolet powered Andretti Autosport #26 on the top of the sheet ahead of the Ryan Briscoe’s Team Penske#2 by a scant 0.1229 seconds. Four of Marco’s Andretti Autosport teammates are also in the top ten.
The top ten:
- Marco Andretti, 227.540
- Ryan Briscoe, 226.835
- Helio Castroneves, 226.716
- Ryan Hunter-Reay, 226.400
- Scott Dixon, 226.224
- James Hinchcliffe, 225.874
- Ana Beatriz, 225.653
- JR Hildebrand, 225.571
- Dario Franchitti, 225.370
- Tony Kanaan, 225.322
Current IZOD IndyCar points leader Will Power was in 11th, rookie Josef Newgarden was 13th, and SoCal’s Charlie Kimball was 14th.
The last time someone named Andretti was on pole at the Indy 500 was in 1987, and his name was Mario. Incidentally, that was also the year Marco was born.
I’ll be paying extra attention to IZOD IndyCar action throughout the summer because IndyCar is the only major professional racing series to have multiple races in SoCal. First was the Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, also thought of by many as the ‘Monaco of the US’. And we are also fortunate in SoCal to have the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in September.
Today is Fast Friday at IMS, the last day of practice before Pole Day. You can watch and listen to the action live at IZOD IndyCar Series Race Control. So far Ryan Hunter-Reay is topping the time sheets, and SoCal’s own Charlie Kimball is 25th. Come on Charlie!
Benefitting Boys Republic, a private, non-profit community for at-risk boys and girls aged 13 to 17, the Friends of Steve McQueen Car Show is an automotive gathering that was established in 2008 by members and friends of the 356 Club of Southern California.
The event is held at the Boys Republic campus in Chino Hills, CA, where Steve McQueen spent time as a 16 year old student in 1946.
This gallery contains 17 photos.
Cars & Coffee at Ford Premier Auto Group in Irvine featuring a tribute to the late, great Carroll Shelby. Several original Cobras and Mustangs were present:
Le Mans in SoCal? Of course. The Porsche Owners Club will be running its 20th annual Tribute to Le Mans weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana two weeks before the 24 hour classic in France.
The Tribute is a fantastic event for both spectators and participants alike. Four hours of some of the best amateur racing: