CHAMPCAR/CART: Indy practise as seen from Turn 4 (94-05-11)

The big winner at the Speedway today was the wind. It was just too windy for the drivers to go out and really prove anything. One of the local TV guys reported a gust of 48 MPH around 5:30. Hmmm, sure that wasn't a Honda going by?!...It's...

The big winner at the Speedway today was the wind. It was just too windy for the drivers to go out and really prove anything. One of the local TV guys reported a gust of 48 MPH around 5:30. Hmmm, sure that wasn't a Honda going by?!...It's funny how different people can view the same conversation. Tonight on local TV, Al Unser Jr was interviewed on one channel and Roger Penske was interviewed on another almost simultaneously. Roger said that Al wasn't too happy about going out today in the wind but he told him that they had to run and get what information about the chassis that they could. Al said that Roger thought that maybe they should leave the car parked since it was so windy but that he (Al) told him that it they should run and try to get the car balanced in the corners. Well, as long as they're both happy....The party line at Penske now is that they need to work more on handling before the car will be capable of doing record speeds. Both Al and Roger used the phrase "get the power to the track". They sounded like they had been briefed. Much of what they said is true though. No matter how fast you go on the straight, you have to get the car through the corners. They are saying that they haven't had enough practice at Indy to get the car balanced yet. Practically everyone else is saying that they are only running about 50" of boost right now. Penske did say that they have had a problem with their pop off valves being inconsistent and that they were resolving the problem...The fins are still getting a try out from some of the teams. New fin cars included those driven by Mario, Fernandez, Mark Smith and Jaques Villenueve. Brayton reportedly has one in the works. Most of the teams that gave them a try yesterday went back to their old cowlings today. Stay tuned....There were 42 cars practicing today and they turned over 1300 laps...Today's top 5 speeds: 1-Al Unser Jr-226.478, 2-Nigel Mansell-225.807, 3-Mario Andretti 225.519, 4-Michael Andretti-224.949, 5-Paul Tracy-224.433.. Bobby Rahal didn't find any speed today, running only 215.4 during his 31 laps of practice. Groff managed only a 211 in the 'T' car. Rahal stated that they are committed to the Honda and would not switch engines to make the race. Sound familiar?...Windy conditions at the Speedway pose real problems for the drivers trying to set up their cars. Each corner is effected in different ways by the wind,so, each corner becomes much different than the one before it. To make things worse, when it's gusting like today, the corners change from lap to lap. It is tough for the drivers to get comfortable. Al Jr termed it "scary". One must believe that the Penske chassis is a good one because Al said that by the end of the day they had the corners feeling pretty much the same. That's no small feat, and that, coupled with the 226 he ran make me think that the Penske will be doubly tough on raceday. A combination of handling AND horsepower might be too much for the other teams to handle....68 cars in the garage, 65 pass tech, 3 trying. 49 drivers have been cleared to drive them...The forecast for Thursday and Friday looks nearly perfect. Sunny & around 70. Saturday is a bit touchier but the general feeling is that any rain should hold off until evening. The good news is that it should be cloudy. Can you say "New track record!"?....I'll be trackside the next 3 days to dig up what I can. If you make it to the track Thursday or Friday look for me at the top of Sec 14, North Terrace Extension at the exit of 4.

Dave in Turn 4

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Mario Andretti , Al Unser Sr. , Roger Penske