Well after watching a few races under the revived IZODIndyCar series push-to-pass system, I can’t say that I am a big fan – at least yet. At Edmonton, most of the radio chatter in the last few laps of a competitive race was about when to use push-to-pass, how much to use, how much other guys might have left. Helio Castroneves was able to hold off Takuma Sato, perhaps with the help of conserving his push-to-pass time throughout the race. Too much like a video game for me. This weekend at Mid-Ohio, there was a revision in that there would be a 5 second delay between push and effect. I never heard an explanation for the change, but I would guess that it was to prevent push-to-defend: the overtaking driver would know where he wanted the push-to-pass boost and would push 5 seconds early, and the overtaken driver would not be able to respond. At Mid-Ohio, it was not easy to determine the effect of push-to-pass on the race. Winner Scott Dixon had great pace throughout and the Target Ganassi team executed flawlessly on pit stops. I do have to give IndyCar kudos for how they reflect the use of push-to-pass on live timing and scoring – which is perhaps the best timing display in professional racing.
Personally I would rather see overtaking more dependent upon driver skill and looking after tires that performed more on the edge. And I think the cars should have much more horsepower all of the time with less dependence upon aero. Again this would put a premium on driver skill and car control. Think of what a race is like in the rain. In fact, on Twitter, there were folks rooting for rain at Mid-Ohio. Opinions?
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.
Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport
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 IZODIndyCar 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!
Ryan Briscoe won the Firestone Fast Six yesterday while setting the track record in his Hitachi #2 car. Unfortunately, he’ll take a ten spot grid penalty along with all other Chevy-powered cars because of a decision by Chevrolet to change all engines after James Hinchcliffe had a major engine problem in a practice session before the Long Beach weekend. He’ll start at eleventh alongside his Penske teammate Will Power at twelfth.
The penalties leave Dario Franchitti in his #10 Target Ganassi car on the front row along with rookie Josef Newgarden in the #67 Sarah Fisher Harman racing car. Justin Wilson (#18) and Simon Pagenaud (#77) will start in row two. Scott Dixon (#9) and Takuma Sato (#15) will share row three.
Having so many of the fast drivers starting from the middle of the grid should make for an exciting IZOD IndyCar race today at the Long Beach street course.
Pictures from IZOD IndyCar series qualifying at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach… Results of Firestone Fast 6: Ryan Briscoe Will Power Ryan Hunter-Reay Dario Franchitti E.J. Viso James Hinchcliffe However all Chevy-powered cars take 10 spot grid penalty for … Continue reading →