Practice Day-Three Recap

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Mother Nature ended today’s practice early. The day started sunny and warm and it looked to be another full day of fun at the track. I snapped this photo from the terrace of the Media Center around 9:30 about an hour and a half before practice started at 11:00. They had just opened the gates to the public, so the Pagoda Plaza was still fairly empty and calm.

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But at 3:30, the wind started picking up and the skies were starting to darken. At the time, I was atop the stands over the Formula One Garages close to Turn One. It was sort of a lull in the day and I had taken this video about thirty minutes earlier, in my quest to show different angles of the track this week.

Once I realized that weather was on the way, I headed to the friendly confines of the IMS Media Center, just north of The Pagoda. It was a wise move because the radar looked ominous as a storm from Chicago was bearing down on The Speedway. At 4:30, the yellow came out for approaching weather. That gave teams time to clear their equipment from the pits, and fans time to evacuate before things got bad. Fifteen minutes later, things got bad and the track was lost for the day.

But even though the day was cut short by ninety minutes, there was still plenty of activity. The most significant part of the day was when Pato O’Ward had a hard crash in Turn Two. It was similar to the crash of Felix Rosenqvist on Wednesday, in that he hit the apex too soon and lost control of the car. Once the car hit the outside wall, the car went airborne and threatened to flip all the way over. Here’s a quick video showing the severity of the crash.

Fortunately, O’Ward climbed out under his own power and was cleared to drive. But he never went out again. Pato has been struggling as a typical rookie and needs track time. This didn’t help, but I’m glad he’s OK.

The warm temperatures brought slower speeds. Ed Jones was the quickest of the day with a top speed of 227.843 mph. In the post-practice press conference, he talked about how well he and his Ed Carpenter Racing team is working together.

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All three Ed Carpenter cars have been consistently fast all week. It appears having a Chevy engine doesn’t hurt. Jones set his quick time early on and no one ever threatened to top it. Takuma Sato was second quick with a speed of 226.699 mph. Zach Veach, Sébastien Bourdais and Colton Herta rounded out the Top-Five.

The Bottom Six (since six will be going for three spots on Sunday) consisted of Santino Ferrucci as the slowest with a speed of 220.457 mph. The second slowest was Felix Rosenqvist, who struggled all day coming back from his frightening crash yesterday. Ben Hanley, Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist and Ryan Hunter-Reay all made up the “slow-six”.

As far as my personal experience today, once practice started I was in the pits. I got a couple of photos of drivers in their cars waiting to go out. I can’t get enough pictures of Marco Andretti’s car, and I also got a photo of Pippa Mann sitting in her car waiting to go out.

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I also stumbled upon a great photo opportunity, when I saw Scott Dixon in his pit chatting with Dario Franchitti and NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson, who was on the grounds today. When you think about it, there are four Indianapolis 500 wins represented in this photo and sixteen series championships between the three of these drivers.

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I have been very impressed with the crowds here this week. Even Tuesday was bigger than I expected, but each day brought bigger crowds as the week went on. After today’s thunderstorm, tomorrow’s forecast looks decent. Right now, the forecast calls for cloudy skies and a high of 85°. If the sun doesn’t come out, the track could stay relatively cool. That, combined with the increase in boost, could make for an interesting day.

That will do it for now. The rain has stopped and the sun looks like it’s trying to pop out. Welcome to central Indiana in May.

George Phillips

2 Responses to “Practice Day-Three Recap”

  1. “…between the three of these drivers.”
    among.

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