'I can go to bed resting easier knowing we got through our first day at IMS,' said rookie James Davison
After a short 45-minute weather delay to conclude track drying, the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 teams and drivers got a solid afternoon of practice in for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500. The track time was invaluable after two days of virtually no on-track activity due to inclement weather.
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Chevrolet (above), paced the field with a lap of 227.166 mph/39.6186 seconds. The three-time winner of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is the first driver over the 227 mph mark this year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 2012 Indy Pole winner, Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, was second on the speed charts followed by Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and Townsend Bell, No. 6 Robert Graham - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, in third and fourth respectively.
Fast Friday is next on the schedule from noon to 6:00 p.m. to fine-tune final preparations for qualifying for the May 25th race.
Qualifying for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 will begin Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. and conclude Sunday, May 18 with the Fast 9 Qualifying beginning at 2:00 p.m. ABC TV will air live coverage of qualifying from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
HELIO CASTRONEVES, No. 3 PENNZOIL ULTRA PLATINUM TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FASTEST IN PRACTICE: HOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING TO COME DOWN THIS WEEKEND FROM A QUALIFYING STANDPOINT? DO YOU TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THE PROCEDURE? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW PROCEDURE? “No, tomorrow is a day that I believe talking to (Tim) Cindric, Roger (Penske) they will also have a little meeting so that they understand more into the new format. For me it’s just a matter of understanding what the car is doing. I really like what I have obviously tomorrow we are going to go to a bigger boost. So you are going to see big numbers up there as well. We are looking for tomorrow to see those numbers keep going high. Yeah, always anytime you are going for qualifying in Indianapolis it’s always very stressful. I always repeat myself because that is true. Rick Mears says that there are two types of races and it’s true it’s the qualifying and the race. Now we are definitely going to go for Saturday and for Sunday so that is going to be nerve racking, I tell you, because to go four laps out there in this place you guys don’t realize how tough it is. To do two days in a row it will be really tough. I don’t think they are going to have much sleeping or I don’t think nine guys are not going to have much sleeping.”
WILL POWER HAS BEEN OUTSPOKEN ABOUT EXTRA POINTS FOR QUALIFYING AND THE CROWN JEWEL RACES WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT? “Well it’s the same for everyone I guess. At this point obviously we are trying to make the three 500 miles race distinguish from itself from the other areas that is why probably create this type of challenge. People will now have to think about, before it was just one race and going for it. Because it’s the Indy 500 so you are going to go for it no matter what, but now you’ve got to think double here. To make sure you don’t lose that many points and double header weekend you can lose a lot of points. Double points here you can lose a lot of points. At the end of the day it’s the same for everyone. I’m not worried about the point’s right now I’m worried about having a fast car and going for another win.”
DO YOU HAVE A SENSE YET WHAT IT’S GOING TO TAKE TO WIN THIS POLE AND IF SO WHAT? “I don’t. With this new format I’m a little bit – I don’t to be honest. As I said talking to (Tim) Cindric this morning a little bit they said they have got to sit down and kind of like check everything. So it’s new for everyone and everybody needs to understand better. I tell you what Team Penske they really push to the limit to make sure they try any kind of situation. That is why I’m not going to even worry about it. I’m just going to go and make sure my car is good.”
ANY GUESS ON THE NUMBER IT WILL TAKE TO CAPTURE THE POLE? “I mean we did 227 (mph). I feel that with the boost that going up probably about five mile an hour. I’m not very good at math by the way, but I would say 229/230 it’s possible.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 2ND IN PRACTICE: IN REGARDS TO HIS DAY: “It’s going well. It’s really been fun working with JR (Hildebrand) and things are going well. We make a little progress every day. It’s a lot of fun. Helio (Castroneves) nipped us at the end, but a good day at the speedway. It was nice to get a lot of running in finally and have some more track time available, especially since tomorrow kind of doesn’t look so great again. Definitely happy that James (Hinchcliffe) is going to be back out there with us as well it’s awesome.”
GETTING BACK IN THE CAR FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT ANY RESERVATIONS? “I would echo it. I think having done this for a long time it’s harder to come back from an accident when you are not sure what happened. Like if you crash a car and you’re not sure why you crashed that is when it’s nerve racking coming back, but if there was a mistake made or it was a fluke kind of thing like what happened with James (Hinchcliffe) I think we have a lot easier time just kind of not worrying about what happened in the past.”
DOES THIS QUALIFYING FORMAT MAKE SENSE TO YOU AT ALL? “It’s not that complicated. We are in agreement since January. We get it.”
THEY KEEP ADDING RULES LIKE 31-33… “I think that is kind of a moot point right now though. There are 33 cars here so I don’t think that is of big of a deal at the moment.”
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE CRASHES IN QUALIFYING? “That is what that provision is made for. So it sounds like you get it to me.”
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU WROTE THE RULE: “I did not I like last year’s format just fine.”
HOW DOES THIS CAR FEEL COMPARED TO LAST YEAR’S CAR WHEN YOU WON THE POLE? “It feels pretty good. A day like today when it’s this cool it’s hard to make the car not feel good sometimes. I think we have made some improvements. We had some things that we wanted to try last year and really just didn’t have the time to. That is one of the hard things when you are a single car team is you can’t do as many things. You just don’t have the tires to do it, you don’t have the miles to do it all the time and even though we have had limited running this week we have been able to kind of venture out with my car a little bit. JR has kind of been working from what I would call our base package from last year and kind of fine tuning that and having a good option there. Then I have been able to try some things that we had on the list to try last year and just never got around to. I feel like we are learning some things that will hopefully definitely make for a better race car. Some of them I think will be good for qualifying too.”
IF YOU WERE A DRIVER THAT WAS 15TH TO 33RD COULD THERE POSSIBLY BE A SITUATION WHERE THEY DON’T GO OUT ON SATURDAY TO SHOW ALL THAT THEY HAVE GOT MAYBE HOLD A LITTLE BIT BACK? “I thought that you would see some of that until they came out with the updated points structure. For all full-time cars I think you are going to see guys really work hard at it on Saturday just because points are valuable and there are a lot of them up for grabs on Saturday. I think it’s going to be pretty intense. If you are a part-time guy and you are not worried about points for the year then I don’t know that you really need to risk a whole lot especially if you don’t think you are going to be in the Fast Nine. That is my take.”
IF THIS RACE STAYS GREEN CLOSER TO THE END WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE ON THAT LAST LAP? “I don’t know. I mean it’s hard to not say the lead. It’s hard to not say that is your best chance because it may not be like last year you just don’t know. We don’t know what the weather is going to be. It was a cool race last year. If it was hot it wouldn’t have been quite as tight at the front I don’t think so a lot of it is just going to depend on the weather. Anytime you can be in the lead with a couple of laps to go or one lap to go it’s hard to not have that spacing. Can block like crazy and make them call a penalty (laughs).”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 3RD IN PRACTICE: "The No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet had a good day today. After our engine change yesterday, we went out there today and a had a few good couple of qualifying runs today. The weather created some tough conditions with it being so cold, but we got what we needed done and we're getting where we need to be for qualifying."
TONY KANAAN, NO.10 TARGET CHIP GANASSI CHEVROLET, 6TH IN PRACTICE: “We worked on logging laps today and knew that we were getting close to maxing out the engine mileage of the Target car. We ran for a few hours this morning and did long runs, then the team did an engine change before finishing out the afternoon on track.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 21 PREFERRED FREEZER ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 7TH IN PRACTICE: “We weren’t sure about the weather today, but we were able to get in quite few laps. That was good for both Ed and I. I think Ed is pretty happy with his car and my team went through some different changes today. We had to get through twice as much stuff as normal because we are concerned about the weather on Friday. We did some race prep early in the practice with some full tanks runs. We are pretty happy with it but we need to look through the data. There might be some think we steal from the No. 20 car because they ended up more positive changes. All in all, the car feels pretty good. We did a couple of qual (ifying) runs to see if things are in the right direction. We seem to have some good grip. Hopefully we get out on Friday with the extra (turbocharged) boost and see what we have for qualifying.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 8TH IN PRACTICE: “We ran out the miles on our first engine this morning and had an engine change this afternoon. The guys on the No. 2 Verizon Chevy did a really quick job on that to make sure we got as many laps as we could afterwards. Now we are starting to understand a little bit of what we need for qualifying; just trying to get the basics of how the car feels in that trim. We’ll start taking more downforce off to get ready for the weekend.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 8 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, 14TH IN PRACTICE: “It was great to finally get in a full day of on-track time here at IMS. It was really important for us to be out there today running as many laps as we could so that we could hit the mileage mark to change our engine. I think it’ll really benefit us to have a fresh engine during qualifying and I was really happy with the way the No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet performed today on the long fuel runs. I’m looking forward to Fast Friday tomorrow and qualifying this weekend.”
SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, 20TH IN PRACTICE: “It was overcast all day today with the temperature just hovering over 50 degrees. It was cold but we got some good track time in after the engine change [last night]. We mostly worked on aerodynamics today as well as began trimming the Target cars out for qualifying this weekend.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, 27TH IN PRACTICE: “Today was really good. We got a lot of running in with the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet. We were able to do a lot of race work and do a couple of full-tank runs. We were even able to get in a few runs looking towards qualifying. Overall we’re pretty happy with the day and I think we’re in really good shape for the weekend. We’ll start working towards Fast Friday tomorrow then onto qualifying. Once we get through the weekend, we can really just focus on race-day setup.”
BUDDY LAZIER, NO. 91 WYNN INSTITUTE FOR VISION RESEARCH CHEVROLET, 32ND IN PRACTICE: “For me, (shaking off the rust) was much easier than last year when I had never been in the car. It feels really good. We have some continuity from last year. We have some of the same guys back. I’m enjoying starting the process. I would have liked to start earlier, but I’m enjoying starting the process with our engineers and with the car. Bottom line is that I’m thrilled to be here. Happy to be part of this group of drivers. It’s a great group of drivers and I’m looking forward to advancing our car as quickly as possible.”
JAMES DAVISON, NO. 33 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY/ALWAYS EVOLVING RACING CHEVROLET, 33RD IN PRACTICE: ABOUT COMPLETING ROOKIE ORIENTATION PROGRAM TODAY: “I can go to bed resting easier knowing we got through our first day at IMS smoothly and completed ROP. We now know what to expect, any anxiety has dried up and I am excited to continue working on our program. I am pleased with my first laps in an Indy car at IMS. We got up to speed conservatively. In the end, we trimmed the car one stage and I was happy with the balance. In terms of speed, we know where we’re at since we didn’t run in traffic or with a tow. The No. 33 KV Racing Technology/Always Evolving Racing team had a good day and we will build on it tomorrow.”