Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pole Day Recap

UPDATE: Thanks to the hard work of the track crew and the giant bright ball in the sky that's been absent most of the week, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was quickly dried following the rain around 3:30pm est.

The green flag was finally dropped following the nearly 2-hour delay at 5:25 to Buddy Rice who led the group of 9 in reverse order from the original 9 from the 11am-4pm session.

Averaging a 225.786mph speed, Rice was followed by Newman Haas Racing's Oriol Servia who laid down a solid 227.168mph lap, giving him the provisional pole. Weathering the storm through Will Power, Ed Carpenter, Townsend Bell, and Dan Wheldon, the two most obviously threats in Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon where still to come.

Dario Franchitti was next out running 227.061, 227. 038, and 227.031 mph laps, threatening Servia's grasp on the 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole position. On the fourth and final lap of the sole run, Franchitti ran out of fuel slowly coasting down pit lane. 

Next up was Franchitti's teammate, Scott Dixon, who completed the first 3 laps at 227.530, 227.511 and 227.487mph averaging 227.509. On the 4th and final lap the speed dropped to 226.835, pulling the average down to 227.340. Although good enough to sit a top the pole, the last lap dropoff would come back to bite him.

The 9th and final attempt came from Sam Schmidt Motorsports pilot Alex Tagliani who at the end of stage one was at the top of the charts. Tags laid down three consistent laps averaging out to 227.472mph, besting Dixon's speed by .15mph, giving him the pole, payday and bonus points in the championship.

Bump day qualifying is scheduled for Noon tomorrow

The first of two stages for Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is complete, and there are a few surprises.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Alex Tagliani is on the provisional Pole with Target Chip Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti rounding out the front row. The other 6 scheduled participants for the Fast 9 include Dan Wheldon, Townsend Bell, Ed Carpenter, Will Power, Oriol Servia, and Buddy Rice.

The Fast 9 are scheduled to take to the track for the final shootout at 4:30, but as of now the circuit is soaked and activity is in question.

Rows 4-8 which could still get bumped tomorrow are as follows:

4th Row - Sato, Meira, Hildebrand
5th Row - Hinchcliffe, Baguette, Hamilton
6th Row - Castroneves, J. Andretti, Viso
7th Row - Junqueira, Wilson, Howard
8th Row - Scheckter, Kanaan, De Silvestro

The 16 drivers yet to qualify include:
  • Scott Speed (Dragon)
  • Ho-Pin Tung (Dragon)
  • Mike Conway (Andretti)
  • Marco Andretti (Andretti)
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti)
  • Danica Patrick (Andretti)
  • Paul Tracy (DRR)
  • Ana Beatriz (DRR)
  • Sebastian Saavedra (Conquest)
  • Charlie Kimball (Ganassi)
  • Graham Rahal (Ganassi)
  • Ryan Briscoe (Penske)
  • Alex Lloyd (Coyne)
  • James Jakes (Coyne)
  • Raphael Matos (AFS)
  • Pippa Mann (Conquest)
Simona De Silvestro, one of the best stories of the day, was in then out and now back in the preliminary field. She is on the bubble and could be bumped tomorrow if her time of 224.392 doesn't hold up.


Excuse me . . . but the way I read the Qualifying Procedures posted on the INDYCAR website, and various comments I have heard today on the online audio streaming and in print, indicate to me that the first 24 spots after close of qualifying today are locked in. Am I missing something?

Only the top 9 are locked in. Positions 10-24 can get bumped tomorrow.

There has to be 9 drivers that go faster than a time today to bump them, but it is possible and almost happend last year.

Wonder if conditions improve tomorrow if someone could run 226 and not make the show? It looks like you'll need at least 225.500 to get in

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