IndyCars - The off-season: Series news and comment until the March 2014 kick-off


#1

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For the faithful, this is the continuing place…

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…to get IndyCar series news and comment, both in and out of the season. The same thread at the old site has lasted since late October of 2013. We’d like to see it continue and we HOPE it works, here. So, let’s give it a shot!
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This, and any associated race weekend threads, are not discussion threads, as followers of the old site thread well know. They are just as the name implies - News and comment that we HOPE informs and entertains, so enjoy!

To catch up where we left off, go HERE:

http://forums.hannity.com/showthread.php?2444671-IndyCars-The-off-season-Series-news-and-comment-until-the-March-2014-kick-off&p=106092845#post106092845

…and go backwards as far as you’d like, for as long as it lasts…Or just go forward and ride along.

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#2

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The Stadium SuperTrucks had a GREAT weekend in Perth, Australia…
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…in support of the Supercars at the Perth SuperSprints at Barbagallo Raceway near Wanneroo, in Western Australia. And we have the video!

Race 1 of the two races was as full if action as it gets in Super Trucks and that means a lot. Here was the starting line-up for the race, with the IndyCar drivers shown bolded:

  1. Matt Nolan
  2. Bill Hynes
  3. Arie Luyendyk Jr
  4. Greg Gartner
  5. Cole Potts
  6. Jeff Hoffman
  7. Gavin Harlien
  8. Paul Morris
  9. Blade Hildebrand
  10. Travis Milburn
  11. Robby Gordon
  12. Matt Brabham

As always in Super Trucks, the starting line-up is the reverse of the qualifying order - the fastest guy in qualifying, Matty Brabham, starts last, and so on. Take a look:
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continued…
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#3

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The Stadium SuperTrucks had a GREAT weekend in Perth, Australia…(part 2)…
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The 2nd race of the weekend was equally fun and we have that here. Here is the starting line-up for this event:
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  1. Bill Hynes
  2. Greg Gartner
  3. Cole Potts
  4. Gavin Harlien
  5. Arie Luyendyk Jr
  6. Blade Hildebrand
  7. Jeff Hoffman
  8. Travis Milburn
  9. Paul Morris
  10. Robby Gordon
  11. Matt Brabham
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Points for the weekend have yet to be awarded. We’ll let you know who is on top when they are. The next outing for the Super Trucks will be at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan, June 1-3, in support of the IndyCar race weekend.
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#5

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Conor Daly goes tin-top racing this fall…

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The IndyCar driver from Indiana still only has one ride secured this year - the 102nd running of the Indy 500, where he will drive for Dale Coyne Racing in the # 17 Honda with sponsorship from the Air Force. He will do his refresher for that event this coming week.

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Conor Daly

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Since he is free to drive elsewhere, Daly will join Roush Fenway Racing in a third Ford Mustang for the team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America, this August, as a road-course specialist. Other IndyCar drivers have made significant impact in NASCAR events at Road America in the past - James Davison and Alex Tagliani, for instance - but for Conor this will be his series debut. He has raced at Road American many times and even has race WINS there.

For Daly the tie-in to sponsor Lilly Diabetes is significant, as Daly suffers from Type 1 diabetes, as does one of his teammates, good friend Ryan Reed. The other Roush car will be driven by Ty Majeski. Daly has been talking about trying the tin-tops for many years, so this will be an opportunity to do so.

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Daly’s Xfinity car

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#7

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Alfonso Celis is going to drive for Juncos Racing at Road America in a big car

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Young Mexican Alfonso Celis was supposed to run the 2018 season of Indy Lights for Juncos but missed the two races at St. Pete and the two races at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and has only joined the fray for the two race at Barber Motorsports Park where he placed last of the running cars in both races. Nevertheless, he has decided that he wants to race IndyCars.
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Alfonso Celis

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Celis is not entirely unfamiliar with high-horsepower cars. He drove for Fortec Motorsports in World Series Formula V8 3.5 in 2017, giving them a WIN and 7 podiums. He has also been a development driver for Force India in Formula One for two years.

The car is the # 32 Chevrolet that is currently shared by 2017 Indy Lights Champion Kyle Kaiser and Austrian Rene Binder, but neither of them was scheduled to drive it at Road America, so this keeps the car and the team busy for yet another race this season, and that’s good. As far as the Indy Lights team goes, Ricardo Juncos has 2017 Pro Mazda Champion Victor Franzoni in one car already and promises to seek a replacement in the seat vacated by Celis.

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Victor Franzoni needs a teammate

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Said Alfonso of this new direction, “This is something that I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, and something that we have worked for many years to achieve… The competition in IndyCar is very high and I know it will be hard work, but we will work with the Juncos team so that we can catch up as quickly as possible. I’m really looking forward to Road America and to the opportunities that this will open.”

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Celis is supposedly well-connected as far as sponsorship goes and this is what is making this move possible. In any case, it’s good to have the # 32 in competition at Road America.

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#8

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It’s OUT!..Mazda Road to Indy TV has finally released the 2nd half of their report from Barber…

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This is the companion to the first half which was more about the racing. This half is all personalities, as hosts Tony Laporta and Rob Howden - “the voice” - bring a fresh look at several of the drivers in all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy. Enjoy:

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In case you missed it, here is the part 1 to this part 2:

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#9

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Statistical guru Steve Wittich tells us that there were 262 passes for position made…

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…during the three Mazda Road to Indy races at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. They were:

23 in Indy Lights
61 in Pro Mazda
178 in USF2000…!

If you’re not watching the kids in the Mazda Road to Indy, you’re missing great racing.

Steve Wittich

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Thanks, Steve!

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#10

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James Roe had a busy and great weekend…

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The young Irish driver made his debut in the Mazda Road to Indy as a USF2000 driver at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis over the weekend, driving a Tatuus USF-17 for Swan / RJB Motorsports. In Season Round 3 on Friday he placed P12. In Season Round 4 on Saturday morning he did even better and finished P5 - TOP FIVE in his first MRTI race weekend.

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James Roe

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It gets better. Right after the end of Round 4 James jumped into an airplane and flew from Indianapolis to the Finger Lakes region of New York state, where he rejoined his USAC F2000 team, ArmsUp Motorsports, and drove the two races for them at Watkins Glen in his Elan F2000 car. Saturday afternoon he was able to get P8. Sunday morning he drove a splendid race in the rain and WON!

Last year, James was driving an F1600 in Britain and Ireland and one year later he’s winning races in the States, as his dreams and ambitions begin to be realized.

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James Roe in his Tatuus for Swan / RJB Motorsports at Indianapolis…

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…and in his Elan for ArmsUp Motorsports at Watkins Glen.

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James is scheduled to complete the F2000 season in USAC for ArmsUp. No word yet on whether he will be doing anymore races in the MRTI for Swan / RJB but the MRTI and USAC race schedules do not conflict for the rest of their seasons, so he could, if the ride is offered. Well done, James!

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#11

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On Tuesday, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will come alive…

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…as practice for the 102nd Running of the Indy 500 begins. Tuesday will start with a refresher for former Indy 500 drivers who haven’t driven an IndyCar this year. That will be followed by Rookie Orientation for drivers who have never driven there. The day will end with a chance for everyone who is scheduled to compete to practice.

Dale Coyne Racing will also announce their driver for the # 19 Honda sponsored by Paysafe, replacing Pietro Fittipaldi, the young Brazilian who was recently injured in a crash at Spa Francorchamps, With two broken legs, Pietro will not be back in a car until after the race at Texas Motor Speedway in June.

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Who will get Pietro’s car?

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Zachary Claman DeMelo drove the car for Pietro at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and did well, with a P12 from a P19 start. The Canadian Indy Lights veteran is hoping that good performance will keep him in the car for the 500, but also strong in the running is Colombian IndyCar driver Sebastian Saavedra who has been in the 500 before and has good sponsorship from Gary Peterson’s AFS - Automatic Fire Sprinklers. Dale always likes extra sponsorship.

Sebastian currently drives in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the P class, driving the # 52 Ligier JS P2 for AFS - PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, where he just finished the Acura SportsCar Challenge at Mid-Ohio in P6 - best of the LMP2 cars.

We have also heard rumor that IndyCar driver Katherine Legge may have a remote shot at driving the car. She is currently driving an Acura NSX GT3 in the GTD class of the WeatherTech series, and pulled down a P2 in class at Mid-Ohio.

Left to right, Zachary Claman DeMelo, Sebastian Saavedra and Katherine Legge

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It could be one of these three or someone else entirely. We will let you know!

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#12

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It’s going to be ZCD in the # 19 for Dale Coyne Racing…

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The word came down today. Despite several drivers making their own bid to get in the # 19 Paysafe Honda for Dale Coyne, vacated by an injured Pietro Fittipaldi, the team and the sponsor have decided to stick with a team member - Zachary Claman DeMelo.

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The young Canadian Indy Lights veteran and race-WINNER has shared the # 19 with Pietro this season and has already raced at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Barber and the GP of Indianapolis. He was previously scheduled to drive the car at Detroit 1/2, Road America, Iowa, Toronto, Pocono and Gateway. He will likely not only run at Indy, but also at Texas, while Pietro heals from two broken legs suffered in qualifying a WEC SportsCar at Spa, this month.

That leaves Mid-Ohio, Portland and Sonoma for a healed Pietro to take on, if and when he returns to action. The likely reason for the nod today was that Zachary has experience at IMS in two previous Indy Lights Freedom 100 races and he knows the team and the team knows him. Since he is already schedule for Pocono, why not give him the chance to run the other two Super Speedway races on the calendar - Indy and Texas?

Said Zachary, “I’m very much looking forward to turning my first laps aboard the No. 19 Paysafe Indy car on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s an iconic venue and I’m extremely fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to drive here. Again, it’s unfortunate that it’s under these circumstances with Pietro’s injuries so I realize how lucky I am to have this chance.

“I want to thank Dale [Coyne] and Paysafe for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to get on track to complete my rookie orientation program.”

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#13

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Tuesday at Indy - They’re practicing at speed on the big oval…

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On Tuesday the Speedway hosted a group of refreshers and a rookie, all of whom passed their respective tests to get into the game. Prior to that a number of veterans had their P-1 practice session. Following the refreshers, 34 of 35 drivers who are entered in the 102nd running of the Indy 500 came out for another practice session. Everyone went faster in session 2 except for 3 of the 4 entered Team Penske drivers - Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Will Power.

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At the end of the day here was the COMBINED order of speed for both sessions, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske - time of 00:39.8605s for a speed of 225.787mph

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2 - Helio Castroneves, Team Penske - time of 00:40.0597s for a speed of 224.665mph

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3 - Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing - time of 00:40.0850s for a speed of 224.523mph

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4 - Jay Howard, SPM / AFS - time of 00:40.0858s for a speed of 224.518mph

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5- Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:40.1153s for a speed of 224.353mph

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6 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta
7 - Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
8 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin
9 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing
10 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport

11 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
12 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
13 - James Davison, Foyt with Byrd / Hollinger / Belardi
14 - Takuma Sato, Rahal letterman Lanigan
15 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
16 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
17 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan
18 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing
19 - Will Power, Team Penske
20 - Danica Patrick, Ed Carpenter Racing

21 - Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport
22 - Oriol Servia, Scuderia Corsa with RLL
23 - Stefan Wilson, Andretti Autosport
24 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
25 - JR Hildebrand, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
26 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
27 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
28 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing with SPM
29 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
30 - Max Chilton, Carlin

31 - Zachary Claman DeMelo [R], Dale Coyne Racing
32 - Kyle Kaiser [R], Juncos Racing
33 - Jay Howard, SPM / AFS
34 - Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing dba Thom Burns Racing
35 - Pippa Mann, Dale Coyne Racing

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Notable:

  • Really, none of this TOP TEN are a surprise to us save one. All of them have shown speed at Indy in the past. The exception is Zach Veach for Andretti. Zach debuted at Indy last year in one of only two races he ran all season. He competed at Indy for AJ Foyt and went out with a mechanical failure on lap 155 of the 200 for a P26 finish. We had no idea he could be this fast, as a result.

  • Jay Howard went out in his own car, the # 7 Honda, and then later in Schmidt Peterson teammate James Hinchcliffe’s # 5. That is why he is listed twice - once in P4 and once in P33. No word on why he needed to.

  • Rookie Zachary Claman DeMelo did his Rookie Orientation Program and James Davison, Oriol Servia and Stefan Wilson did their refreshers today.

  • Rookie Matheus Leist did not practice for AJ Foyt. No word from the team as to why.

Matheus Leist

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They will all be out to do it again on Wednesday.

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#14

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IndyCar has released Day 1 highlights…

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#15

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Racer Magazine’s Marshall Pruett speaks with Sebastien Bourdais on Day 1…

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#18

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IndyCar has released a Race Re-Mix of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis…

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#19

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Wednesday at Indy - another productive day of practice, as everyone goes faster…

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…Everyone except Simon Pagenaud for Team Penske, whose P1 time from Tuesday was still his best time of the two days.

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Here was the order of speed for the day, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta - time of 00:39.6383s for a speed of 227.053mph

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2 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:39.7651s for a speed of 226.329mph

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3 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 00:39.8039s for a speed of 226.108mph

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4 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 00:39.8078s for a speed of 226.086mph

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5 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin - time of 00:39.8430s for a speed of 225.887mph

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6 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
7 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing
8 - Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing
9 - Oriol Servia, Scuderia Corsa with RLL
10 - Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

11 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
12 - Danica Patrick, Ed Carpenter Racing
13 - Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport
14 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
15 - Jay Howard, SPM / AFS
16 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises
17 - Max Chilton, Carlin
18 - Helio Castroneves, Team Penske
19 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
20 - JR Hildebrand, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
21 - Will Power, Team Penske
22 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
23 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing with SPM
24 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
25 - Pippa Mann, Dale Coyne Racing
26 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport
27 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing
28 - Kyle Kaiser [R], Juncos Racing
29 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
30 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan

31 - Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing dba Thom Burns Racing
32 - Stefan Wilson, Andretti Autosport
33 - James Davison, Foyt with Byrd / Hollinger / Belardi
34 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
35 - Zachary Claman DeMelo [R], Dale Coyne Racing

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Notable:

  • All of the TOP TEN are guys who have always been fast at Indy, with the exception of Robert Wickens, who is an Indy rookie, but Wickens has been fast everywhere he has run, this season. Why should Indy be any different?

  • Danica Patrick is remembering how to go fast at Indy. She too is one of the Speedway rabbits and we expect her to stay in the top half, easily.

  • Struggling oddly are the Dale Coyne cars. The team has been fast all season thus far, but can’t seem to get out of their own way at the Speedway, yet. Their best driver today was Pippa Mann in P25, while Sebastien Bourdais, Conor Daly and Zachary Claman DeMelo are 30th, 31st and 35, respectively.

  • Best no-tow speed yesterday was put in by Ed Carpenter at 221.564 mph, but today that went up, as Tony Kanaan busted out a 223.048 mpg no-tow speed.

Ed Carpenter (left) and Tony Kanaan - best no-tow boys.

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Tomorrow we do it all again.

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#20

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IndyCar has released a Day 2 Highlights reel…

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#21

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Thursday at Indy - Day three of practice for the Indy 500 is in the books…

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…and after 7 hours of running in beautiful conditions, the fastest guy on the track today was Graham Rahal for Rahal Letterman Lannigan, followed by Tony Kanaan for AJ Foyt Enterprises, while 3rd fastest was Marco Andretti for Andretti Herta. This was officially the P-4 session, as Tuesday had both P-1 and P-2. Since we are deep into the sessions we will present the combined sessions for the week, thus far.

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Here is the order of speed for all sessions COMBINED, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie and the session that the position was taken in is listed in ( )

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1 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta - time of 00:39.6383s for a speed of 227.053mph (3)

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2 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:39.7651s for a speed of 226.329mph (3)

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3 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 00:39.8039s for a speed of 226.108mph (3)

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4 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 00:39.8078s for a speed of 226.086mph (3)

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5 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 00:39.8148s for a speed of 226.047mph (4)

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6 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (4)
7 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin (3)
8 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske (1)
9 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing (3)
10 - Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing (3)

11 - Oriol Servia, Scuderia Corsa with RLL (3)
12 - Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (4)
13 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske (3)
14 - Zachary Claman DeMelo [R], Dale Coyne Racing (4)
15 - Helio Castroneves, Team Penske (2)
16 - Danica Patrick, Ed Carpenter Racing (3)
17 - Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport (3)
18 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing (3)
19 - Jay Howard, SPM / AFS (3)
20 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises

21 - Max Chilton, Carlin (3)
22 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport (3)
23 - JR Hildebrand, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (3)
24 - Will Power, Team Penske (3)
25 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport (3)
26 - Jack Harvey [R], Meyer Shank Racing with SPM (3)
27 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan (4)
28 - Pippa Mann, Dale Coyne Racing (3)
29 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport (3)
30 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing (3)

31 - James Davison, Foyt with Byrd / Hollinger / Belardi (2)
32 - Kyle Kaiser [R], Juncos Racing (3)
33 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (3)
34 - Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing dba Thom Burns Racing (3)
35 - Stefan Wilson, Andretti Autosport (2)

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Notable:

  • While Marco Andretti has been consistently fast, as has Tony Kanaan, it’s not the case that the whole team for each guy is fast. But with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, there are two drivers in the TOP FIVE and their Indy add, Oriol Servia, is P12 thus far for the week. As a team they have to be happy.

  • Fastest guy today without a tow was Will Power for Team Penske, posting a speed of 223.971 mph. But Power is mired in the bottom half for the week, as are a few other big names on big teams.

  • While RLL is happy, Dale Coyne Racing is perplexed. The speed they have had lately seems to be eluding them. Even their big gun, Sebastien Bourdais, is bottom half and not improving as he should. Their best driver is the guy who almost wasn’t here - Zachary Claman DeMelo in P14, subbing for injured Pietro Fittipaldi.

  • Two other wonder boys are Charlie Kimball and Gabby Chaves. Both have struggled for most of this season but they have consistently been TOP TEN this week. However, that isn’t a surprise if you know their history at Indy. This is where both guys shine.

  • The first wall-slapper occurred today, as JR Hildebrand in the # 66 Chevy for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing drifted into the wall in Turn 3, and scraped along it to Turn 4. Not much damage and JR is fine, but doesn’t know why the car did what it did, which is unsettling.

Lookin’ good, left to right, Charlie Kimball, Gabby Chaves and Zachary Claman DeMelo

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Friday is the last day of practice and the turbo boost level will be upped to qualifying level, which is higher than race level. Everyone will be trying out their qualifying set-ups for Saturday - the first day of qualifying.

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#22

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Racer’s Marshall Pruett and Robin Miller discuss Day 3 with Dario Franchitti…

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…as the three-time Indy 500 WINNER comments. Crashing the video is Simon Pagenaud for Team Penske. Take a look:

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The boys were LATE to produce their Day 2 video, but it’s so entertaining that we wanted to bring it. It features Catalan Oriol Servia who is driving for Scuderia Corsa Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and whose accent is always delicious. Enjoy:

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#23

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IndyCar has released Day 3 highlights…

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#24

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It’s OUT!..Mazda Road to Indy TV has released Episode 4 - the GP of Indianapolis weekend…

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Hosts Tony Laporta and Rob Howden report from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where 1 week ago all three series that make up the Mazda Road to Indy competed in 2 races each.

Featured is an interview by Rob with team owner Ricardo Juncos who is competing in Pro Mazda, Indy Lights and the big cars this season. Tony then has a contest with USF2000 pilot for Team BENIK Michael D’Orlando. The guys then do some reporting on the racing over the weekend.

"False Grid True Talk" features South African Julien Van der Watt and Kyle Dupell from Team Pelfrey’s USF2000 squad, Sabre Cook from Team BENIK, Max Peichel and Keith Donegan from ArmsUp Motorsports and former TEAM USA Scholarship partners Kyle Kirkwood and Oliver Askew.

Rob then gives us his “Insider” information and then the boys close it out describing the rest of the month ahead.

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