Andretti Green Racing continued to show their super-team strength in Practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, May 16th, as twenty-seven drivers took to the Brickyard in testing leading up to this weekend's final two days of qualifications...
Andretti Green Racing continued to show their super-team strength in Practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, May 16th, as twenty-seven drivers took to the Brickyard in testing leading up to this weekend's final two days of qualifications for the 91st running of The Greatest Spectacle in Racing on Memorial Day (May 27th).
Danica Patrick was fastest on a windy day that had competitors searching for speed throughout. Her 221.189-mph clocking led the way as AGR teammates Marco Andretti, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan all joined her in the top ten on Wednesday. She also received a $2500 reward for posting the day's best speed.
"I should say thank you to Marco (who provided a timely tow for Patrick)," she said, smiling as she accepted the cash. "I was really happy with my car."
Patrick, like others on the track today, was attempting to find out what her car feels like in traffic on the 2.5 mile oval. "What we're trying to do is simulate the race," she continued. "The likelihood of being able to run the race throughout by yourself is about zero. We've got to try it out."
"The goal this week is to get the car as comfortable as we can and yet keep it fast. It doesn't always feel very comfortable when you're pushing it and you're on the thin edge. I guess you could say us drivers are always living on the edge."
Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was second-fastest with a speed of 220.556 mph; while Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr was third-quick at 220.484 mph. They were followed by Marco (220.339 mph), Franchitti (220.131 mph) and Team Luzco Dragon's Ryan Briscoe (219.972 mph).
Kanaan's 219.845 mph left him seventh at the end of the day, in front of Dan Wheldon (219.656 mph) and Helio Castroneves (219.648 mph). Vision Racing's Tomas Scheckter filled the tenth spot with a speed of 219.589 mph.
The only incident of the day occurred shortly before 4PM EDT when PDM Racing's Jimmy Kite lost control of his Panoz/Honda in turn one and smacked the wall moderately hard rear-first, damaging the team's only racecar. He was cleared by track medical personnel shortly afterwards.
"I'm fine," said Kite. "I wasn't going fast enough to hurt anything."
"I don't know if something broke or what happened. I was only doing 206 mph going into the corner, and it was fine in the corner before."
The wind and cool temperatures (high fifties to mid-sixties) brought out the jumpers and jackets along pit road as teams and fans alike were left to contemplate how a hot first qualifying weekend just past could leave such blustery, cold conditions three days later.
Conditions were sufficiently dicey that 2006 Indy winner Sam Hornish, Jr knocked off early today, donning his jogging gear for a run around the Speedway infield well before the track's close at 6 PM.
Tomorrow's practice commences at noon with eleven positions in the field of thirty-three still up for grabs on Saturday (May 19th). If the competition and qualifying continues as anticipated, the final day of Sunday (May 20th) promises some gut-wrenching moments as bumping out of the race ensues.