A Taste of the Month of May

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Yesterday gave the teams and drivers a taste of what they might expect in the Month of May during the first of two days of open testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There was some gusty wind, unpredictable weather and a crash out of nowhere.

One team, in particular, ran the gamut of emotions. Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) had the two fastest times of the rain-affected day, but they also had the first crash of the test session. Conor Daly put his USAF sponsored car at the top of the scoring pylon during the veteran’s session with a speed of 222.714 mph. His boss and car-owner, Ed Carpenter, had the second quickest time of the veteran’s session with a speed of 221.296 mph.

Normally that performance would put a smile on any car-owners face. Unfortunately, ECR also suffered the first crash of the test, when Rinus VeeKay dipped his left-front wheel into the Turn One grass. That’s all it took to spin the car around and send it hard into the Turn One SAFER Barrier.

It was a very hard hit, and the car suffered extensive damage. VeeKay suffered a broken finger, which will not serve him well at Barber next week.

The rain played havoc with the IndyCar schedule, but there’s nothing unusual about that. Rain delays are as big a part of the legacy of the Indianapolis 500 as a bottle of milk or a classic jumbo breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Even as a kid going to IMS for several pole days in the sixties, it seemed we spent as much time dodging rain drops, as we did watching cars go around the track.

There was lots of periods of watching the safety trucks make laps during what was supposed to be a busy practice session. All week long, the Thursday forecast looked questionable, at best. Friday was the day that looked good. That has changed suddenly. It now looks as if rain will be hitting the track the same time the drivers are scheduled to – 9:00 am. From there on it looks as if there will be spotty showers throughout the day. That’s OK for a football game or a road race, but not the high speed oval at IMS. Track drying time will be at a premium. Hopefully, this forecast will prove inaccurate and they will be able to get the bulk of the day in.

Late in the day, the rookies and veterans needing a refresher course took to the track. As it turns out this session was where the fastest time of the day came from. Sébastien Bourdais posted a 224.427 mph lap, in the famous No.14 of AJ Foyt Enterprises.

Below are the Top-Twenty speeds from the veteran’s session:

Speeds

We watched some of the replays on Peacock last night. It was good just to see (and hear) cars on track again at IMS. There is just something mesmerizing about watching cars go around that oval trying to take the perfect angle going into each turn, before bouncing out close to the wall after each corner. For those that don’t like Peacock, it provides a lot better coverage than just watching the old track feed over You Tube.

What I would suggest is to buy Peacock for April and May. You can enjoy the added benefits that Peacock offers for Barber, St. Petersburg, Texas and the GMR Grand Prix; then you can use Peacock to watch all of practice leading up to qualifying. But where you will need Peacock the most is during Indianapolis 500 Qualifying. Peacock will be the only place where you can watch qualifying this year.

After Qualifying, I would still keep Peacock through May, after the race. If you decide you don’t like it, you can cancel at any time. And remember…if you are a Comcast Xfinity customer, you get Peacock Premium for free.

Here’s hoping that this test is not a precursor of the weather we will be facing in May. But if it is, it would be typical of the weather we’ve all faced at one time or another in central Indiana in May.

George Phillips

2 Responses to “A Taste of the Month of May”

  1. Mentioning the rain on pole day(s) in the sixties brought back great memories. We used to drive all the way from Wisconsin with the very young boys for BOTH qualifying weekends in the sixties and seventies. As they grew up they surmised that we went to Indy only to stand under the Tower Terrace grandstand, rather than watch qualifying, because it rained so often! Those were good times.

  2. 32 entrants (I think it was) at a test in early April is an impressive car count already.

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