Practice Day-One Recap

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If there was any question whether or not spending the entire week of practice at IMS was a good idea, I already have the answer. It was. I was not here at the start of practice at 11:00. I was about thirty minutes later leaving Nashville, than I had planned. So, practice was already underway as I was arriving in town. With that being the case, I decided to go by the hotel to see if I could go ahead and check in and drop my luggage off. By the the time I did all that, it was about 12:30 when I got to the track.

I quickly got caught up from some of the folks here and found out that I had missed nothing, except that there were already cars over 228 mph, with Ed Carpenter and Helio Castroneves leading the way. I grabbed some lunch and headed to the garage area.

The session was ending at 1:00 so that the rookies could have the track to themselves until 3:00; so that was a good time to wander around paddock. Several of you were nice enough to come up and speak to me. If you are on the grounds at any time this week and see me wandering around, please come up and say hi.

I saw our friend Phil Kaiser behind The Pagoda and had a nice visit with him and his friends – one of which was the daughter of driver Chuck Rodee, who was fatally injured in Turn One during qualifying in 1966.

When the main session started back at 3:00, I went up atop the stands above the suites over the Formula One garages. If you’ve never been up there – go! The view is excellent and anyone is welcome during practice and qualifying. On Race Day, those seats are for those that occupy the suites. But throughout the month, anyone can sit there. I shot this short video late in the day just to show the great view.

While up there, I saw our friend “Mike from Vernon Hills”. He sat down beside me and we watched the remainder of practice. We had a great time just swapping old racing tales as we watched race cars go by all afternoon. Could there be a better way to spend an afternoon?

If today is any indication of what the rest of this week is going to be like – I wish I had done this years ago.

As far as the day on the track goes, the day ended up belonging to Chevy and Team Penske. Will Power led the day with a fast speed of 229.745 mph. His Penske teammate, Simon Pagenaud, was second at 229.703 mph. In case you were wondering, last year’s pole speed was 229.618 mph. So to be already above the pole speed on Day One, says that we should see some good speeds this month.

Ed Carpenter was third quick on the day at 228.653 mph, with Helio Castroneves fourth at 228.228.441. Colton Herta rounded out the Top-Five at 228.284 mph. In case you didn’t notice, the Top-Four cars were powered by Chevy, with Herta being the fastest Honda. The next four fastest cars were Hondas, with the Chevy of Ed Jones rounding out the Top-Ten. So the Top-Ten featured five Hondas and five Chevys.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ben Handley of DragonSpeed had the slowest car on the day with a top speed of 221.547 mph. Oriol Servia was the next slowest, with a speed of 223.290 mph. James Davison, Max Chilton and Pippa Mann rounded out the Bottom-Five. Fernando Alonso was two drivers ahead of Pippa Mann, with a speed of 224.162 mph. The only incident of the day came with about an hour to go. Colton Herta spun on his out lap and flattened his tires, but did not hit anything. He had to be towed in for new tires, but other than bruising his ego – there was no damage.

What does all of this mean? Not a thing.

Today was mostly just seeing what you’ve got and maybe working mostly on race setup. It won’t be until later in the week when teams start trimming the cars out and working on their qualifying setup. But you have to wonder if today’s speed was indicative of what Alonso and McLaren may be facing this month.

Anyway, I can’t guarantee that there will be updates every afternoon – but I wanted to at least let you know how much I enjoyed today. If you get the chance to come to track any time this week, do it.

Tomorrow’s forecast is the worst of the week and it has been that way for the last few days. They are calling for showers in the morning, but they should stop before 11:00. Practice may be delayed for track drying for a bit, but they should be able to get some good running in by early afternoon.

Thanks for checking back in today. I’ll be back with a thought-provoking post regarding the NBC TV coverage.

George Phillips

2 Responses to “Practice Day-One Recap”

  1. Mark Wick Says:

    George, did you go all the way to the South end of the stands where you took the video? From there you have a good view of the cars all the way to the entrance to Turn two.

  2. Mark Wick Says:

    Another good place to get a great view of Turn 4 and the front stretch is at the very top corner of the North end of the infield stands, under the suites. That position also provides a good look of the whole North end of the track.

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