Fast Friday Recap

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Fast Friday was like two days in one. When the green flag flew this morning, it was obvious that the boost had been turned up. 228-229 mph was the norm right out of the gate. Then Marco Andretti set the bar higher when he turned a lap of 230.851. It stayed that way through lunch. Then around 2:30, the skies were darkening and it looked like we may be looking at a replay of yesterday when heavy thunderstorms ended the day early.

The good news was that the storm system went just south of the track and missed us. The bad news is that the system was close enough to the track that the lightning posed a safety hazard, so cars were pulled from the track. I heard a few fans grumbling about it, but I totally agreed with the decision – you don’t screw around with lightning.

There was a delay of an hour and twenty minutes, before practice resumed. The track had many takers in the continued search for speed. Some were successful, while some were not. But with about five minutes remaining in the session, it was Conor Daly’s No.25 gracing the top of the scoring pylon with a speed of 231.704 mph.

They brought McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Gil de Ferran into the Media Center to discuss their continued woes as well as Daly, who was flanked by de Ferran and Alonso. The contrast was obvious. Daly was beaming, while the other two looked like someone had just shot their dog.

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The day was not without another crashed car. This time, it was Kyle Kaiser in the non-sponsored Juncos Racing car. It may have been the most frightening of the week, because the car went airborne and went completely upside down. When it crashed back down onto the track nose-first, it crushed the front of the tub and the car became a throw-away at that point.

This was a blow to the team that is struggling financially, but has been excelling on the track. Although they lost their sponsor earlier this week, they have been very solid all week, until it all went terribly wrong in Turn Three. Apparently the team has another tub, but do not have enough spare parts for the speedway configuration. As is the case a lot of times within the IndyCar paddock, other teams are stepping up to loan them the necessary parts to thrash together something of a Frankenstein overnight.

If they are able to stick this new car in the field, you are talking about one of the biggest feel-good stories for the past few years. With all they’ve been through in the last few days, you’ve got to be pulling for them.

Another storyline is the weather – not for tomorrow, but for Sunday. There are different scenarios on what might happen if Sunday is a complete washout. Some have said that if they have thirty-three qualified by the time the gun sounds on Saturday and Sunday is a washout, then that is your field. As I typed, Curt Cavin walked by and my friend Paul Dalbey asked him what would happen in that scenario. He says that the last-row shootout will take place even if they have to go to Tuesday – so that’s different than what I had heard earlier.

For tomorrow, practice for Group A starts at 8:00, then Group B goes out at 8:30. Then at 9:00, there is a one-hour all-skate until 10:00. There will be an hour break and then the track will be open for qualifications at 11:00. It will be a full day full of storylines as teams jockey for position for the Fast Nine as well as trying to be in the Top-Thirty. Weather permitting, there will be a Last Row Shootout on Sunday morning and then the pole will be decided among the Fast Nine.

That will do it from here for now. Susan gets in tonight and will be here for all the fun and festivities tomorrow. Please check back here throughout the weekend. We will be posting a few times each day. You can also follow us on Twitter. You can follow me at @Oilpressureblog and Susan at @MrsOilpressure. Check back early tomorrow and often.

George Phillips

2 Responses to “Fast Friday Recap”

  1. billytheskink Says:

    “The fates strike at random…
    Rick Mears, one of the best.
    Mark Dismore, one of the rookies.
    Or veteran Randy Lewis.”

    True when Paul Page said it in 1991 and true today.

  2. Although the format has changed over the years, Indy qualifications provide just as much, if not more, drama as the actual race. I hope the weather holds off and makes this year’s version work. I’ll be pulling for Kaiser and the underdogs and I hope they don’t let Penske have his way on this one. Nothing’s guaranteed at the 500.

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