IndyCar – Pole Day Results

I will admit that I was a bit skeptical when the IZOD IndyCar series decided that they were going to switch up the qualifying events for the Indianapolis 500. However, I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised with today’s proceedings. Helio Castroneves as well probably has no gripes as he has taken his fourth pole position for the greatest spectacle in racing.

The day would start before the qualifying even began as Takumo Sato would crash his Lotus sponsored KV Racing technology car. Sato would be taken to Methodist complaining of pain in his upper back. He would be released with no injury. Will Power would also set the fastest speed (227.971mph) of the month as the conditions would be prime in the early hours with cool temperatures and cloud cover. A far cry from the 80’s and sunshine that was forecasted but never fear…the track would heat up and the sun would be blazing during the afternoon.

The early sessions would see 226mph as the bar set by Alex Tagliani. The speed would hold for most of the day as the likes of Mario Moraes and Tony Kanaan would reach out and touch the safer barrier. Not to be outdone, Helio Castroneves would pull his P2 speed off the board in an attempt to get P1. One may ask themselves why? As long as you are in the top 9 you get into the pole shootout right? Well as we discussed on episode 39 of the podcast, this year your pit selection is based off of your pre shooutout times. As was mentioned on the coverage, Castroneves had transmission problems last year and the first pit box really saved his tale in regards to track position. So it was a gamble worth taking in Penske’s eyes and who questions the master of Indy? Castroneves would put a blinding 226.7 to secure the first spot heading into the pole shootout. The second reason this was important was because Helio would now have the power to pick when he completed his pole shootout run. Would he just bite the bullet and go first or wait for the last spot in favor of maybe having a cooler track?

Helio would take the first run with his selection and he unleashed on the other competitors a time that was not to be beaten. His efforts in the Penske would see him go 227.971mph. The Penske boys would really have it dialed in as all three car would fill the top 5. In fact, they would take 1st, 2nd, and 4th. Chip Ganassi would struggle all day to match the pace of his Penske rivlas. Franchitti would take the third position with Scott Dixon taking sixth right next to Alex Tagliani’s FAZZT entry. Tagliani’s efforts must be praised as he was in the hospital earlier this week with bronchitis. Last year the Canadian did not make the show but took Bruno Junqueira’s car and started 33rd. An excellent job for the new team and a promising starting position come race day.

Graham Rahal would put together a great run for his father’s Rahal Letterman Racing outfit. The young American just had the deal put together a couple weeks ago when it was determined that he would not have a ride in time. RLR has been out of IZOD IndyCar racing since last year’s 500 mile race and will start an impressive seventh place. Hideki Mutoh would also have an impressive run and will be joined by Ed Carpenter in his Vision/Panther entry. Townsend Bell also put together a great run and will be locked in at the 10th position. Brilliant result for a guy who always rises to the occasion for this great race.

All in all the spectacle that was pole day has garnered very positive reviews from fans and teams alike. There was excitement all day long and some very impressive speeds given the conditions. All in all I think it was a positive change for the series and a move in the right direction to getting the event back to past glory. I had numerous tweet reports from the track telling me that the attendance was as high as it has been since the split! Stay tuned as tomorrow is bump day and the whole OP crew will be at the track. Look for tweets live from the speedway as we still have some very quick cars to qualify. Kanaan and Moraes are two of the names as well as Sato.

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4 Thoughts to “IndyCar – Pole Day Results

  1. ATB73

    The attendance was visibly better than anything the last 15 years has produced. You failed to mention that Danicar won 23rd. lol (ESPN bottom line makes my stomache churn). “It was scary” ” the car just isn’t comfortable” I didn’t know the cars were supposed to be comfortable during quals. ” The only thing I know to do is add downforce” I think cabs are her future, she will certainly lanquish there as well. Her career is in its twilight. AGR cannot expect TK to solve all, I question his ability to setup a car now.

    Jack Arute mentioned something startling, Wheldon has 1000’s of fans that are serving our country in “Iraq AND IRAN!??”
    This guy has got to go immediately, before he sparks a nuclear holocaust between several nations. yikes.

    Penske crop dusted the field setting the stage for a foreigner to waltz into a 4th 500 victory. The only thing that can stop him will be the “ghost of Indy” , whom has traditionaly made that 4th win very difficult to achieve. A.J. , Big Al, and Rick took nearly a decade to finally win their respective fourth 500 victorys. That #1 pit stall and the traditional late race caution makes Helio’s outlook seem very bright, but 500 miles lie ahead. I believe he will run in his own zip code. Only backmarkers and a narrow pit road can halt his progress, it is doubtful the bullet proof Honda engine will falter.

    The real excitement came in the final minutes of the “Fast nine” as Cheap Ganassi tried stirring up controversy and said ” bullshit ” twice on live television thus prompting apologies from Bob Jenkins. Sorry Chip, it took more than illegal shocks for RP to smoke you this time. A slow warm up lap almost gottcha, but Dario never had a chance anyhow

    Aside from my cynical commentary, I believe the new format brought spectators back to the track and made the telecast worth watching, aside from Jack Arute who continues to blunder bust everything he touches. I hate the guy with a passion, his days of glory never occured and he ought to be among the growing ranks of unemployed Americans, or make him a combat correspondent in Iran. Little Al said it best ” You just don’t know what Indy means, Jack.” never did, still don’t.

    Overall, Quals were a success. The future hope lies in a slight rumor from Curt Cavin. He believes there may be more than 1 chassis allowed, barring the complete collapse of the Euro which would take us with it, thus eliminating all hope. Also, the greatest ecological disaster ever to strike this planet may also open the eyes of many as to the viability of ethanol fuel, Perhaps if Obama accepted his invite to the Indy 500, he will see first hand how viable this alternative fuel really is.

  2. ATB73

    Paul Tracy shoots himself in the foot, along with Jay Howard. Although, I only heard one pistol shot at 6:00 p.m. I believe we call that reverse engineering. I can sorta understand PT’s engineers assuming he could better his time, But after PT nearly knocked down all the walls what was Howards engineers thinking?? How about it for Saavadera (sp?). Gets the call while at Methodist, You’re bumped. 1 hour later, You’re in!! That may have been the move of the day, wrecking in a practice run. That prevented his engineers from reverse engineering themselves.

    Poor Sarah, I can see her firing a bunch of people tonight. Poor Paul Tracy can ponder shooting off at the mouth as he relishes in instant Karma on that long, long Winnebago trip back Nord to Canada.

    Quote of the day ” We are just 2 guys and a truck” – Bryan Herta More of that Karma thing

  3. I didnt mention Danicar for a reason…lol…she was sweating bullets today! PT and Jay Howard pulled completely unecessary moves…pull out of line and let the next go…the track was slow at that point minus TK and Sato who should be fast…the other guys just needed to wait it out…and instead a guy who wrecked hard (which we wtnessed) gets in the field…that gun shot you heard went through PT and Jay with one shot.

  4. ATB73

    LOL , thanks shaun, It didn’t seem wise to me for them to bump themselves out. Danicar wasn’t worth the mention, so respect to you for not giving it. TV needs to get over her, like she is some legendary talent whose input is valued. Good job for Ana and Simona, maybe they will get some credit next Sunday. So it was a single gun shot afterall! lol

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