Pocono Saturday Wrap-Up

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Sometimes, you just need to be flexible. There were two IndyCar practices and a qualifying session scheduled for today, but the weatherman had other ideas. A low ceiling prevented the med-evac helicopter from making it to the track. Cars are not allowed to run without the helicopter on the grounds, for obvious reasons. Then the rains came, in massive amounts at about 10:45. But it didn’t last long.

As expected, IndyCar cancelled qualifying and decided to set the grid by entrant points. But they needed a lot of practice for a 500-mile race, so they scheduled one tow-hour practice that got underway at 1:50 pm.

Although it doesn’t amount to more than bragging rights, but Tony Kanaan was the fastest on the day. He posted a quick lap of 216.354 mph. That was with a tow, but his no-tow speed was 213.968 mph, and he was still fifth-quick with that. So with all of the negative comments being flung toward AJ Foyt’s team, it looks like Tony Kanaan came ready to do battle this weekend.

That’s the good news for Chevy. The bad news is that besides Kanaan’s top speed, Chevy only placed two other cars in the Top-Ten – Simon Pagenaud was fifth quick and Charlie Kimball was eight fastest. Otherwise, the rest of the Top-Ten was filled with Honda-powered cars.

Santino Ferrucci sat in the second-quickest slot for most of the day, but right at the end of the session – Scott Dixon posted a 215.761 mph lap, bumping Ferrucci to third-quick with a 215.377 mph lap. Alexander Rossi and Pagenaud rounded out the Top-Five.

Where was points-leader Josef Newgarden? Only seventeenth quick on the day. His Penske teammate, Will Power was only twentieth out of twenty-two, with a speed of 213.953 mph. Was this typical Penske sand-bagging or are they really that off the pace. I tend to think they are sand-bagging, but we’ll find out tomorrow.

One team that I think is genuinely struggling is Ed Carpenter Racing. Spencer Pigot was twenty-first on the day and Ed Carpenter was the slowest car today, posting a fast time of only 213.207 mph. That shocks me, how they could be as fast as they were at Indianapolis but come to Pocono and be bringing up the rear of the field.

Tony Kanaan was brought into the Media Center after the practice, since he was fastest on the day. He seemed to be in a good mood, but turned to an all-business demeanor when asked about how he will do tomorrow.

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Kanaan is currently eighteenth in points, so I’m assuming that’s close to where he will start tomorrow. He promised to move into the Top-Ten on the start and then work his was forward from there. He’s obviously got a fast car so it’ll be fun to watch.

That will do it for us today. Susan will (hopefully) have a post up here either tomorrow before the race. I’ll close with a short video I took standing at Pit-In as the cars were coming off of Turn Three. Thanks for following along today and please check back tomorrow. It should be a very interesting race.

George Phillips

One Response to “Pocono Saturday Wrap-Up”

  1. Pocono is a place where champions go to win. The promoters should focus a lot more on that fact in their marketing.Just look at the history books: Only series champions and Indianapolis 500 champions (and Teo Fabi) have won the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono. And there are quite a few champions in today’s starting lineup. The best driver with the best car will win. That’s what makes this race exciting.

    Have a good and safe race everybody.

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