IndyCars - The Indy 500: "Drivers, start... your... engines!..."

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It’s time once again for arguably the greatest motor race of the year, anywhere in the world. It’s the 103rd running of …

The Indianapolis 500

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Every May the “greatest spectacle in racing” takes place on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The Memorial Day tradition, now well over 100 years old, has made the careers of many drivers, putting them in a very storied and exclusive club - WINNERS of the Indy 500. It’s the one that everyone wants.

The oval’s four corners are alike - banked at 9 degrees, 12 minutes - and each end of the track is separated by two straights of 5/8ths of a mile each - long enough to give drivers a breather each lap over the 200 laps they will do. Unlike the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which is run on the infield road course, the Indy 500 is run in a counter-clockwise direction.

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Because of the speeds on the track, the entrance to pit lane has to be all the way back at Turn 3, allowing cars to slow significantly without intefering with the racing. The exit from pit lane runs around the insides of Turn 1 and Turn 2 and blends just past Turn 2, allowing cars to get up to speed without interfering with the racing.

The race is scheduled for Sunday at 11:00am EASTERN time, but rain may put off the start, or even cancel the race until the next day without rain. IF ALL GOES according to plan, there will actually be four races on the weekend schedule - two at IMS and two at .688-mile Lucas Oil Raceway, just a few miles away from IMS. They are:

  • The Feedom 75 USF2000 race at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday (Carb Day)
  • The Freedom 90 Indy Pro 2000 race at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday (Carb Day)
  • The Freedom 100 Indy Lights race at IMS on Friday (Carb Day)

and, of course, the IndyCars will do the Indy 500 at IMS on Sunday. The IndyCars have been practicing for the 500 for more than a week and the cars are already qualified for the race. The reports on all that practice and qualifying can be found in the Off-Season thread, though we will repost the starting grid in this thread.

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Let’s look at that support racing:

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USF2000 - The bottom rung on the ladder training system known as the Road to Indy, USF2000 uses the all-carbon Tatuus USF-17 car, powered by a 2.0 liter engine made by Elite Engines, with about 175 hp. The cars have racing slicks and adjustable wings. They are often the first such equipped cars the drivers will have driven. The transmissions are a six-speed sequential gearbox, with steering-wheel paddle shifters. The brakes are 4-piston monobloc caliper sets, front and rear.

The drivers are often entering formula cars for the first time, often right out of karting. They will range from 14-years-old to any age above, but youth is prevalent. Some will be rookies and some will be returning veterans and / or champions from other series. The fields are usually very large and competitive. They race hard. For most of them, this weekend will be their first oval racing experience. The current points leader in the series is Braden Eves for Cape Motorsports. Braden has WON all four of the races run so far.

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Braden Eves - unbeaten this year, so far.

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continued…

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Support racing…(part 2)…

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Indy Pro 2000 - This is the middle rung of the ladder. IP2000 uses the PM-18 car from Tatuus, based on the USF-17, but with much bigger tires, much more wing, and a much more powerful engine. The Elite Engines 2.0 liter puts out 275 hp. The brakes are 274mm disc, front and rear, and bias is driver-adjustable, just like in the USF-17. Transmissions are six-speed sequential transmissions, controlled by paddle-shifters on the steering wheel. With the bigger tires and more wing, the cars have substantially more downforce that USF2000.

The fields are typically graduates from USF2000 or from European F3 and GP3, all used to more power and grip and with great racecraft in their arsenal. The level of competition across the board is more even, though the fields are smaller than USF2000. Again, for some drivers Lucas will be their first oval experience. After 4 races, the current points leader is Sweden’s Rasmus Lindh, driving for Juncos Racing, a traditional Indy Pro 2000 powerhouse team. Ras WON both races at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in a dominating show.

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Rasmus Lindh - the last two races in the bag

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Indy Lights - The car is the Dallara IL-15 and is substantially bigger and better than the PM-18. It is much closer to an IndyCar in performance and feel - a great training ground to step up to the big cars. The Dallara uses a 450 hp turbo-charged engine from AER. The adjustable brakes are by PFC and are the biggest in the Road to Indy. The transmissions are 6-speed sequentials, with paddle-shifters on the steering wheel. The cars have much bigger wheels than the PM-18, providing much more grip.

The drivers are typically graduates of USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000, but can often come from GP3 or GP2 in Europe. These drivers are ready to make the move to the big cars by season’s end and many of the drivers in IndyCars are recent graduates of Indy Lights. Most of these drivers will have had previous oval experience and some of them have been on the IMS oval in the Lights before. After 6 races so far this season, the current points leader is Nederlander Rinus VeeKay driving for Juncos Racing

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Rinus Van Kalmthout - aka Rinus VeeKay

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Let’s get this thing going!..

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Thursday at Indianapolis - The Lights practice and qualify for the Freedom 100…

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The Indy Lights will be running the 2019 Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday - weather permitting - so they came out today on the famed oval to hold a final practice and to qualify for the Friday race.

The track had rain overnight and that left it both wet and green, but by mid-day it was usable for both the practice and qualifying sessions, and we have the results of both their practice position and their qualifying position.

Qualifying is simple, as each car goes out alone for a warm-up lap followed by two hot laps. The speed of those two laps is averaged and the driver with the fastest average is on the pole.

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Here is the way the Indy Lights will grid for the 2019 Freedom 100, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie; time is over two laps and speed is the average of two laps; each driver’s P-1 practice session position is in ( )

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Row 1

Pole - Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:32.6851s for a speed of 194.206mph (1)

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P2 - Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:32.7513s for a speed of 194.067mph (3)

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Row 2

P3 - Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:33.2482s for a speed of 193.033mph (2)

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P4 - Jarett Andretti [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:33.3504s for a speed of 192.822mph (6)

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Row 3

P5 - Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing - time of 01:33.4569s for a speed of 192.602mph (4)

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P6 - Aaron Telitz, Belardi Auto Racing - time of 01:33.5118s for a speed of 192.489mph (8)

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Row 4

P7 - Dalton Kellett, Juncos Racing (7)
P8 - Toby Sowery [R], BN Racing / Team Pelfrey (10)

Row 5

P9 - Rinus VeeKay [R], Juncos Racing (9)
P10 - Chris Windom [R], Belardi Auto Racing / Jonathan Byrd’s Racing (5)

Row 6

P11 - David Malukas [R], BN Racing (11)

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Notable:

  • 19-year-old rookie Rob Megennis is on a hot streak. He is coming off a WIN at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, was the fastest guy on last Monday’s Indy Lights tests at IMS, was the fastest guy in today’s practice and now has the pole for his first Freedom 100.

  • Andretti Autosport continues to dominate, with the TOP FOUR positions - including Jarett Andretti in his Indy Lights debut.

  • Zachary Claman was originally schedule to drive the # 4 for Belardi but he was not at the Monday test and Aaron Telitz is now in that car for the Freedom 100. No telling if Zachary will be back in it, following this weekend.

  • While normally at the bottom of the road course grid, both Dalton Kellet and Lucas Kohl are known for their abilities on ovals, so their grid position improvements is no surprise. Look for Kellett especially to push in the race.

  • Dave Malukas had mechanical problems that kept him from getting in any meaningful practice and it hurt him, as temps today were much higher than on the test on Monday.

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left to right, Zachary Claman, Dalton Kellet and David Malukas

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The Freedom 100 is scheduled for a 1:00pm EASTERN time broadcast LIVE on NBC-SN, on Friday - Carb Day.

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Next, USF2000 practice and qualify from Lucas Oil Raceway…

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Thursday at Lucas Oil Raceway - USF2000 hold practice and qualifying…

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…for the Freedom 75, to be run on the .688-mile Lucas oval on Friday - Carb Day for the Indy 500. LOR is small and old, with a lot of seaming in the track and that makes it a bit of a challenge for the kids, but they’re all up for it. As expected, a number of road course specialists struggled compared to others who have had previous oval experience.

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Lucas Oil Raceway’s oval

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We followed the practice session and the qualifying session and have the results of both. Qualifying is just like the Indy Lights, as each car goes out alone for a warm-up lap followed by two hot laps. The speed of those two laps is averaged and the driver with the fastest average is on the pole.

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Here is the way USF2000 will grid for the 2019 Freedom 75, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie; time is over two laps and speed is the average of two laps; each driver’s P-1 practice session position is in ( )

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Row 1

Pole - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing - time of 00:44.7935s for a speed of 110.266mph (4)
ColinPole

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P2 - Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing - time of 00:44.8787s for a speed of 110.057mph (1)

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Row 2

P3 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports - time of 00:44.9816s for a speed of 109.805mph (13)

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P4 - Manuel Cabrera [R], Exclusive Autosport - time of 00:45.0037s for a speed of 109.751mph (15)

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Row 3

P5 - Alex Baron, Legacy Autosport - time of 00:45.0083s for a speed of 109.740mph (9)

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P6 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports - time of 00:45.0091s for a speed of 109.738mph (3)

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Row 4

P7 - Jak Crawford [R], DEForce Racing (10)
P8 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports (2)

Row 5

P9 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports (12)
P10 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development (17)

Row 6

P11 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing (8)
P12 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports (11)

Row 7

P13 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing (5)
P14 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing (16)

Row 8

P15 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development (14)
P16 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing (6)

Row 9

P17 - Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing (no time)
P18 - Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development (18)

Row 10

P19 - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing (7)

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Notable:

  • Colin Kaminsky, Alex Baron and Darren Keane all have the oval experience that would put them in the TOP SIX, but “Manu” Cabrera, Cam Shields and Puerto Rico’s Reece Gold are all road course only guys and Reece is only 15 years old. This is only his 2nd year of Formula car racing.

  • Hunter McElrea practiced much better (P7) than he qualified, at P19. We don’t yet know why the championship contender fell on his face in qually, but it will hurt him in the race and in the points chase.

  • Anthony Famularo was unable to practice and that hurt the 14-year-old, who has been impressive up to now.

  • Points-leader Braden Eves is a superb karter but that doesn’t give him any oval experience. He practiced and qualified about where we expected he might.

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Hunter McElrea (left), Anthony Famularo and Braden Eves (right)

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USF2000 will hold a 2nd pre-race practice session on Friday afternoon and then the Freedom 75 race is scheduled for a 6:45pm EASTERN time start.
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Next, Indy Pro 2000 hold practice and qualifying…

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Thursday at Lucas Oil Raceway - Indy Pro 2000 hold practice and qualifying…

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As with the kids from USF2000, the guys in Indy Pro 2000 also held a practice, followed by a qualifying session for the Freedom 90, which will be held on the .688-mile oval at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday - Carb Day for the Indy 500, and we have the results.

As with the other Road to Indy series, qualifying is each car goes out alone for a warm-up lap followed by two hot laps. The speed of those two laps is averaged and the driver with the fastest average is on the pole.

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Here is the way Indy Pro 2000 will grid for the 2019 Freedom 90, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie; time is over two laps and speed is the average of two laps; each driver’s P-1 practice session position is in ( )

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Row 1

Pole - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport - time of 00:40.9979s for a speed of 120.474mph (1)
DanialPole

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P2 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport Racing - time of 00:41.5282s for a speed of 118.936mph (8)

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Row 2

P3 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing - time of 00:41.6916s for a speed of 118.470mph (4)

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P4 - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing - time of 00:41.6916s for a speed of 118.470mph (9)

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Row 3

P5 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports - time of 00:42.3128s for a speed of 116.731mph (3)

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P6 - Kory Enders [R], DEForce Racing - time of 00:42.6121s for a speed of 115.911mph (6)

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Row 4

P7 - Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing! (11)
P8 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing (5)

Row 5

P9 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport (7)
P10 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/Jay Howard Driver Development (10)

Row 6

P11 - Phillippe Denes, FatBoy Racing! (12)
P12 - Parker Thompson, Abel Motorsports (DSQ) (2)

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Notable:

  • Despite his road-racing-only experience, we’re not surprised that Danial Frost was tops in practice and is on pole. He was tops in the test at Lucas, earlier this month. The Singapore native has his first pole in the Road to Indy.

  • Canadian Parker Thomspon was second-fastest in practice and was P3 at the end of qualifying, but he lost all his laps and was disqualified due to breaking Rule 14.1.4, which states “No form of artificial cooling may be used for any system, except towels applied to bodywork and Driver specific cooling devices” We don’t yet know but suspect that Abel Motorsports quickly cooled the car off with a garden hose and that is against the rules. We’ll hunt this down.

  • Kyle Kirkwood and Sting Ray Robb both made a big improvement from practice to qualifying, but we are really impressed with how well gentleman driver Charles Finelli did. He was P11 in practice and was P7 in qually. Old farts everywhere rejoice!

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Parker Thompson (left) and Charles Finelli

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Indy Pro 2000 will hold a 2nd pre-race practice session on Friday afternoon and then the Freedom 90 race is scheduled for a 7:50pm EASTERN time start.

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Next, a big news UPDATE…

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Thursday evening at Indianapolis - big shake-up in Indy Lights…

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…as following qualifying no less than five cars FAILED their post-qualifying tech inspection and were disqualified, as a result.

First and foremost, Tech has stated that it believes all the failures were UNINTENTIONAL, so, no one was trying to get one by Tech. Instead, it is likely that things like a near miss on minimum weight or a ride-height infraction was the cause, though no causes have yet been released.

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Here is the revised starting grid for the Indy Lights Freedom 100, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie; time is over two laps and speed is the average of two laps; each driver’s P-1 practice session position is in ( )

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Row 1

Pole - Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:32.6851s for a speed of 194.206mph (1)
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P2 - Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:33.2482s for a speed of 193.033mph (2)

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Row 2

P3 - Aaron Telitz, Belardi Auto Racing - time of 01:33.5118s for a speed of 192.489mph (8)

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P4 - Dalton Kellett, Juncos Racing - time of 01:33.6605s for a speed of 192.183mph (7)

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Row 3

P5 - Chris Windom [R], Belardi Auto Racing / Jonathan Byrd’s Racing - time of 01:33.9670s for a speed of 191.557mph (5)

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P6 - David Malukas [R], BN Racing - time of 01:34.0912s for a speed of 191.304mph (11)

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Row 4

P7 - Rinus VeeKay [R], Juncos Racing (DSQ) (9)
P8 - Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport (DSQ) (3)

Row 5

P9 - Toby Sowery [R], BN Racing / Team Pelfrey (DSQ) (10)
P10 - Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing (DSQ) (4)

Row 6

P11 - Jarett Andretti [R], Andretti Autosport (DSQ) (6)

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Notable:

  • While pole-sitter Rob Megennis survives, fellow championship contender Oliver Askew takes a hit and drops all the way to P8.

  • The funny one: Rinus VeeKay is disqualified and actually ends up BETTER for it. He moved from a P9 start to a P7 start.

  • The best benefactor is David Malukas who goes from starting last to starting P6

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Again, The Freedom 100 is scheduled for a 1:00pm EASTERN time broadcast LIVE on NBC-SN, on Friday - Carb Day.

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Friday at Indy - Carb Day, and the IndyCars hold a final practice…

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Thre final practice on Carb Day is always as close to the race as they can get, timewise, and hopefully weather-wise, as well. It’s all about race set-up and how well one’s car will run in the traffic, once the race begins. Lots of drivers who were fast all last week won’t necessarily be fast on Carb Day, and such was the case, today.

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Here was the order of speed for the Carb Day final practice for the IndyCars, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denots rookie

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1 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises - time of 00:39.9083s for a speed of 225.517mph

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2 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing - time of 00:39.9137s for a speed of 225.486mph

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3 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 00:39.9170s for a speed of 225.468mph

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4 - Jordan King, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 00:39.9402s for a speed of 225.337mph

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5 - James Davison, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Byrd, Hollinger, Belardi - time of 00:39.9443s for a speed of 225.314mph

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6 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser Sullivan
7 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
8 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin
9 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing
10 - Will Power, Team Penske

11 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
12 - Helio Castroneves, Team Penske
13 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
14 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
15 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
16 - Conor Daly, Andretti Autosport
17 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
18 - Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing
19 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
20 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing

21 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing w/ Arrow SPM
22 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
23 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport
24 - JR Hildebrand, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
25 - Marcus Ericsson [R], Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
26 - Pippa Mann, Clauson-Marshall Racing
27 - Oriol Servia, Team Stange w/ Arrow SPM
28 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport
29 - Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
30 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

31 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing
32 - Kyle Kaiser, Juncos Racing
33 - Ben Hanley [R], DragonSpeed Racing

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Notable:

  • The times were in race trim and with a tow, but then so will the race be, so this is indicative of the speeds we should expect on Sunday.

  • For Kanaan, this is the best his car has performed all moth, and it comes at just the right time. Tony is always fast at Indy, ifhe is giventhe right equipment, and he seems to have it, finally.

  • Others may be struggling or they may be sand-bagging. It’s just impossible to tell, this late in the game.

Tony Kanaan

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.The next time the IndyCars will take to the oval will be raceday, Sunday. They will do the popular Pit stop competition, later today. Next, the Indy Lights hold the Freedom 100. The gris for this race is in post # 6…

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Friday at Indy - The Freedom 100 - WOW!!

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The Indy Lights Freedom 1000 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is always a great race and always one of the best motor races of the year. This year will certainly go down in the books as ANOTHER great race in that tradition.

As is always the case, the WIN was by mere inches as Oliver Askew for Andretti Autosport beat teammate Ryan Norman to the line by about ten inches and 0.0067 seconds. P3 across the line was Rinus VeeKay for Juncos Racing.

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OliWIN

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The race started with a fizzle as Jarett Andretti for Andretti Autosport spun in Turn 4 on the final warm-up lap, necessitatiing a couple yellow laps to get him back in line. At the same time Aaron Telitz for Belardi hit the pits with a misplaced axle that had him go down 5 laps before he could race.

Once underway at speed, it only took 1 lap for the first accident, as David Malukas for BN Racing got loose in Turn 4 and spun, collecting Chris Windom for Belardi / Byrd. The two cars hit the wall hard and began to disintegrate, with Windom riding the wall on top of Malukas, riding it underneath. It looked very ugly, but both guys walked away.

After a red flag to clean up the debris, the race started in earnest on lap 8. From then on, in typical Freedom 100 fashion, the lead would change some 100+ times over the next 42 laps, with often three or four lead changes before the cars got around to complete a lap. Most of the lead went to either Norman or Askew or pole-sitter Rob Megennis for Andretti or Rinus VeeKay, as the four jockied back and forth.

At about lap 25 Toby Sowery for BN / Team Pelfrey began to move to the front. By lap 27 he took his turn to lead. On lap 30 Toby and Rob contested the same space in Turn 1 and as the cars touched, Rob was turned almost completely sideways, but Sowery’s car actually pushed him straight again, and both cars escaped down the warm-up lane without hitting anything, but a yellow flag flew. Sowery was judged at fault and sent to the rear of the field. (He would recover to finish P4).

The lap 42 restart saw the field scrambling to get to the front and then to calculate when to take the lead. Askew went from P5 to P1 in the final two laps, when Norman took the lead on the final lap in Turn 3. But Askew had calculated perfectly when to go for the WIN and he made his move in Turn 4, drafted past Norman and crossed the line just in time to take the cake.

It’s hard to believe that a better race will be seen anytime soon.

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The precise moment to go for it…

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With this WIN Oliver takes the series points lead. Here are the TOP FIVE leaving Indy:

1 - Oliver Askew 190
2 - Rinus VeeKay 179
3 - Rob Megennis 146
4 - Toby Sowery 139
5 - Ryan Norman 128

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The next outing for the Indy Lights are a pair of races at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, once again in support of the IndyCar Series, on June 22-23. Next, USF2000 hold a final practice…

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Friday at Lucas Oil Raceway - USF2000 practice once more, before the race…

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The USF2000 kids got in one more practice before they will race, later this evening on the .686-mile oval at Lucas Oil Raceway.

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Here was the order of speed for the USF2000 P-2 practice session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing - time of 00:22.3155s for a speed of 110.667mph
YuvenCar

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2 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing - time of 00:22.3859s for a speed of 110.319mph

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3 - Cameron Shields [R], Newman Wachs Racing - time of 00:22.4105s for a speed of 110.198mph

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4 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development - time of 00:22.4425s for a speed of 110.041mph

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5 - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing - time of 00:22.5091s for a speed of 109.716mph

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6 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing
7 - Alex Baron, Legacy Autosport
8 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
9 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports
10 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development

11 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports
12 - Jak Crawford [R], DEForce Racing
13 - Manuel Cabrera [R], Exclusive Autosport
14 - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing
15 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports
16 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
17 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing
18 - Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
19 - Anthony Famularo [R], BN Racing

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Notable:

  • Wisconsin’s Yuven Sundaramoorthy is one of the “speed boys” at Pabst Racing and while teammate Colin Kaminsky is on the pole and teammate Hunter McElrea is once again TOP FIVE, it was Yuven’s turn to shine, today.

  • While most of the TOP FIVE are foreigners who should know nothing of oval racing, the other American besides Yuven is 14-year-old Nolan Siegel, who should not be this good at that age…but there he is.

  • Also in the TOP TEN are 15-year-old Reece Gold and 15-year-old Jack William Miller.

  • Still unable to find speed is points-leader Braden Eves.

Yuven Sundaramoorthy - Speediest “speed boy” today and Braden Eves (right)

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The USF2000 kids will race later this early evening at Lucas. Next, Indy Pro 2000 hold their final practice…

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Friday at Lucas Oil Raceway - Indy Pro 2000 practice once more, before the race…

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Just like USF2000, the guys in Indy Pro 2000 had one more chance to test their race set-up for this evening’s Freedom 90 race at Lucas Oil Raceway.

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Here was the order of speed for the Indy Pro 2000 P-2 practice, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing - time of 00:20.7440s for a speed of 119.051mph
RasCar

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2 - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport - time of 00:20.7715s for a speed of 118.894mph

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3 - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing - time of 00:21.0128s for a speed of 117.528mph

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4 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports - time of 00:21.0461s for a speed of 117.342mph

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5 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport - time of 00:21.0507s for a speed of 117.317mph

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6 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport Racing
7 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing
8 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/Jay Howard Driver Development
9 - Parker Thompson, Abel Motorsports
10 - Kory Enders [R], DEForce Racing

11 - Phillippe Denes, FatBoy Racing!
12 - Charles Finelli, FatBoy Racing!

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Notable:

  • Points-leader and rookie Rasmus Lindh started P2 and finished P3 at Lucas in the USF2000 Freedom 75 last year, so he knows how to go fast there.

  • This is Danial Frost’s first-ever oval race, so he has no right to be this good, but he’s been fast since his first circulation of the little oval.

Rasmus Lindh

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The Freedom 90 will be held later this evening, following the Freedom 75 for USF2000, which is next! The grid for this race is in post # 4…

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Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway - USF2000 hold Race 5 of their season…

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…and on this beautiful night Toowoomba, Australia’s OTHER famous driver, Cameron Shields, WINS his first Road to Indy race on his first attempt on an oval, driving for Newman Wachs Racing. P2 at the end was French / British driver Alexandre Baron, giving new team Legacy Autosport their first podium. P3 was pole-sitter Colin Kaminsky - one of the “speed boys” driving for Pabst Racing.

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Cam Shields (far left) about to jump on pole-sitter Colin Kaminsky
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On the start Cameron, from P2, got the jump on Colin Kaminsky to take the lead before the first lap was over. On the same lap P4 starter Manuel Cabrera for Exclusive Autosport got past Reece Gold for Cape Motorsport to take the P3 spot. Within another lap Gold was passed by Alex Baron who took over P4.

By lap 15 points-leader Braden Eves was moving and had advanced to P8 from his P12 start. By lap 24 Eves was into P7 past Darren Keane for Cape Motorsports. By lap 27 Eves was past Reece Gold for P6, while the TOP FOUR of Shields, Kaminsky, Cabrera and Baron came around until they were lapping the back-markers.

On lap 43 Cabrera and Baron came upon a three-way battle between Bruna Tomaselli of Pabst, Anthony Famularo of BN Racing and Matt Round-Garrido of Jay Howard Driver Development. As Manuel went past the trio, Alex drove down low to the apron and the cars were suddenly three wide, with Bruna high and Manuel in the middle. “Manu” broke loose and he and Bruna banged wheels and were both quickly in the wall, bringing the race to a full-course yellow.

On the lap 51 restart Cam Shields was able to barely keep Kaminsky behind him but he was soon a few seconds up the road. On lap 61 Jack William Miller for Miller Vinatieri spun into the wall all by himself and brought out another FCY, bunching the field again. Again, on the lap 67 restart, Kaminsky was all over Shields but unable to pass him, as the Aussie again snuck away. Alex, now right off Colin’s tail, crept up, and on lap 73 Baron took P2 away from Kaminsky and the race ended two laps later.

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Notable:

  • Cameron Shields is a superb talent and we have been waiting for him to WIN one. The guy from Will Power’s home town has a WIN percentage of 32% - he WINS every 3rd race he enters, on average.

  • Braden Eves did himself some good and ended the race in P5, behind P4 finisher Jak Crawford for DEForce Racing. Braden still leads the points, leaving Lucas.

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Here is your happy podium - That’s Alex Baron in P2 on the left, Cameron Shields in P1 in the middle and Colin Kaminsky in P3 on the right:

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With this result, here are the TOP TEN in points leaving Indianapolis:

1 - Braden Eves 153
2 - Hunter McElrea 109
3 - Darren Keane 86
3 - Colin Kaminsky 86
5 - Alexandre Baron 85
6 - Cameron Shields 84
7 - Manuel Sulaiman 83
8 - Christian Rasmussen 63
9 - Reece Gold 60
10 - Anthony Famularo 53

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The next outings for USF2000 will be at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin as the kids do another double-header in support of the IndyCars, June 22-23. Next, Indy Pro 2000 do the Freedom 90 at Lucas. The grid for this race is in post # 5…

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Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway - Indy Pro 2000 hold Race 5 of their season…

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…and it was a beat-down, as Singapore’s Danial Frost for Exclusive Autosport takes his first WIN in the Road to Indy in convincing fashion. P2 was veteran Sting Ray Robb for Juncos Racing while points-leader Rasmus Lindh for Juncos salvaged a P3 near the very end of the race.

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Danial takes some love from Michael Duncalfe of Exclusive Autosport
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The race had a ragged start and lap 1 was waved off. On the lap 2 start, Danial took off from pole and edged away, while P4 starter Sting Ray Robb got the jump on Rasmus Lindh to steal P3 from him. The field began to spread out as Danial just increased his lead. On lap 28 Antonio Serravalle for Pserra Racing got a flat tire and slowed to pit. That bunched the field a bit but it stretched out again.

On lap 52 Nikita Lastochkin for Exclusive Autosport slowed to a crawl on the back stretch with a mechanical problem. He tried to keep the car going around to the pits, by using his starter motor to move it, in an attempt to keep the track from going yellow and allow Danial to keep his big lead, but it was not to be and the track went full-course caution to retrieve the Moscow native. But just before it did, Sting Ray was able to pass Kyle Kirkwood for RP Motorsport Racing for the P2 spot.

On the lap 56 restart Danial was again in control and had no problem sailing off. On lap 88 Rasmus Lindh took a shot at Kyle Kirkwood and took him for the final podium spot. Danial WON the race two laps later, with an almost 5 second lead on Sting Ray.

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Notable:

  • This is Danial’s 5th Road to Indy start and his first WIN. Expect more.

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Here is your happy podium - That’s Sting Ray Robb on the left in P2, Danial Frost in P1 in the middle and Rasmus Lindh in P3 on the right:

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With this result, here are the TOP FIVE in points leacing Indianapolis:

1 - Rasmus Lindh 142
2 - Danial Frost 133
3 - Sting Ray Robb 121
4 - Parker Thompson 115
5 - Kyle Kirkwood 97

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The next outings for the Indy Pro 2000 guys will be at Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, asthey do two races in supports of the IndyCars, June 22-23.

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This was the last on-track activity of the day.

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Racer Magazine’s Robin Miller and driver Sebastien Bourdais talk of “Carb Day”…

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…and despite his P6 showing in the final practice,the Le Mans native is not happy…

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I am really looking forward to this year’s 500 tomorrow. As always I will pray for a safe race.
And as always I am pulling for a first time winner.

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Friday afternoon - The annual Pit Stop Challenge goes off…

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…and this year the perenial favorite Team Penske was eliminated in the semi-finals, as Marcus Ericsson defeated Josef Newgarden and Will Power. Ericsson’s Arrow Schmidt Peterson # 7 pit crew then went on to defeat Scott Dixon’s # 9 Chip Ganassi crew in the finals to take the crown as the 2019 Best Pit Crew.

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Marcus (center) and his winning crew
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Here was the final:

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Arrow Schmidt Peterson has been the runner up in the competition for the last thrree years, so this was sweet revenge…and the crew gets to split $50,000.00 between them, and that ain’t hay!

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Saturday in Indianapolis - the Indy 500 parade…

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Downtown Indianapolis becomes a party zone for families each year on the Saturday before race day and this year the weather was perfect, as the drivers and other IndyCar luminaries paraded before the crowd.

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Meanwhile, out at the Speedway, the infamous Snake Pit is filled to capacity, as music fans enjoy the outdoor concerts that will go on late into the night

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It’s May. It’s Indy. You should be there!

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Spotter’s Guide - changes in livery since the Grand Prix of Indianapolis…

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There are a ton of both changes in livery and additions of new cars for the 2019 Indy 500, so let’s get started:

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Josef Newgarden was in the black Fitzgerald car for the GP but is in a white and red Shell V-Power car for the 500. The colors mimic the Virgin Australia Supercar colors of DJR Team Penske’s Ford Falcons and looks great:

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Felix Rosenqvist was in the two-tone all-blue NTT Data car for the GP. The sponsor remains the same but a lot of white is added to the car:

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Ed Carpenter takes over the blue and white Preferred Freezer Services # 20 car at Indy, but it was Ed Jones who was in the same car for the GP.

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Ed Jones will instead jump into a one-off car, the # 63 WeatherTech car of red and white, for the 500. He will be back in the PFS # 20 car for Detroit’s double-header.

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Charlie Kimball returns to the fray after a lengthy absense to drive the FIASP car of white with blue and yellow accents:

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Sage Karam comes into the Speedway to drive the WIX Filters car in the 500. The good-looking car is black and chrome yellow:

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Conor Daly gets a great ride with Andretti Autosport for the 500 in the US Air Force car of grey and blue, with a shark’s mouth on the side, mimicking the A-10 Warthog attack aircraft:

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continued…

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Spotter’s Guide - changes in livery since the Grand Prix of Indianapolis…(part 2)…

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Takuma Sato was in the blue and white Mi-Jack car for the GP. For the 500 the sponsor stays the same but the colors change to white, red and yellow:

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James Davison comes to the 500 in the black and orange Jonathan Byrd’s car, with a multiplicity of small sponsors adornng every available panel:

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Pippa Mann makes another run at the 500 in the Driven to Save Lives car, with a base colors of grey and white onto which blue, green and some orange is added:

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Jordan King returns to IndyCars for the 500, driving a # 42 Rahal Letterman Lanigan car of a simple scheme of black and white:

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JR Hildebrand makes another shot at the 500 driving the SalesForce car, two tones of blue with a white combing over the front and an orange underwing on the bottom:

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Sebastien Bourdais was driving a blue and white Geico car at the GP but returns to the black and yellow SealMaster car for the 500:

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Santino Ferrucci was in the white with red-winged Cly-Del car for the GP. For the 500 the car is mostly the same but the front wing is black now, and there is a splash of black on the engine combing, too:

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continued…

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Spotter’s Guide - changes in livery since the Grand Prix of Indianapolis…(part 3)…

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Oriol Servia makes yet another run in the 500, this time for Team Strange with Arrow SPM in the # 77 car of black with a green top, sponsored by Lucas:

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Ben Hanley comes to his first Indy 500 for DragonSpeed, driving a white car with a blue banner with white stars on both the bottom and the top combing:

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Colton Herta was in the green and white Gess car at the GP of Indianapolis but the car has a lot less green on the upper surfaces, replaced by more white:

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Marco Andretti has been in the US Concrete car since the start of the season but it is no longer white for the 500, but a screaming orange instead:

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Graham Rahal was in a Mi-Jack-sponsored car for the GP but jumps into the white and blue United Rentals car for the 500:

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Kyle Kaiser was supposed to be in a # 32 green, white and orange NFP speedway car for the 500 but sponsor NFP pulled out at the last minute and the car became the unsponsored “white rabbit” for Kyle. Then Kyle wrecked that car a week ago Friday, so the road course car was put into service. That car was qualified on last Sunday, bearing the colors that it had at Circuit of the Americas but still with no sponsorship:

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Kyle’s white rabbit is no more

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Then, when the little team that could got into the 500 on the final lap of qualifying, not only did they pick up new sponsor 250ok, but they reacquired NFP and added GMR, Subduction Coffee, Haggerty, Club Atletico River Plate and several other associate sponsors…and they all personally signed the car:

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The car, as it will race on Sunday:

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Kyle%20car

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Nothing breeds attention like success.
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Following 2 days of qualifying, last Saturday and Sunday…

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…here is the grid for the 103rd running of the Indy 500:

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Row 1

P1 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske

P2 - Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing

P3 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing

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Row 2

P4 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing

P5 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing

P6 - Will Power, Team Penske

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Row 3

P7 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser Sullivan

P8 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

P9 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

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Row 4

P10 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport

P11 - Conor Daly, Andretti Autosport

P12 - Helio Castroneves, Team Penske

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Row 5

P13 - Marcus Ericsson [R], Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

P14 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

P15 - James Davison, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Byrd, Hollinger, Belardi

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Row 6

P16 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

P17 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

P18 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing

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Row 7

P19 - Oriol Servia, Team Stange w/ Arrow SPM

P20 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin

P21 - JR Hildebrand, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

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Row 8

P22 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport

P23 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing

P24 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

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Row 9

P25 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing w/ Arrow SPM

P26 - Jordan King, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

P27 - Ben Hanley [R], DragonSpeed Racing

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Row 10

P28 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport

P29 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing

P30 - Pippa Mann, Clauson-Marshall Racing

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Row 11

P31 - Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

P32 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

P33 - Kyle Kaiser, Juncos Racing

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Godspeed them all.

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