Qualifying Continues At IMS
Well the sun has come out and it is a very nice day at the track – albeit a little bit sticky. It’s a far cry from last Saturday when we froze here. All cars have been through the line at least once. Conor Daly had his engine let go on his attempt, and he was the only driver not to complete his run.
With the rain delay, track officials have decided to extend qualifying to 6:00 and the Fast Nine Shootout will begin at 6:30. Currently, the Fast Nine consists of (in order):
12 – Will Power
1 – Ryan Hunter-Reay
26 – Carlos Muñoz
3 – Helio Castroneves
20 – Ed carpenter
25 – Marco Andretti
2 – AJ Allmendinger
5 – EJ Viso
27 – James Hinchcliffe
You’ll notice that not a single car in the current Top-Nine runs a Honda engine. I knew the Honda was slightly slower than the Chevy, but I never expected that type of discrepancy. Last year, Honda came alive on Carb Day and Race Day. They have a lot to overcome to repeat that effort.
The current Fast Nine is subject to change as there is still time (until 6:00) for a team to knock someone out of the Fast Nine. There is also still time for a team to get into the Top 24. Otherwise, a team that qualifies tomorrow cannot start any higher than twenty-fifth. Right now, cars on the outside looking in include Ryan Briscoe, Sebastian Saavedra, Tristan Vautier, Ana Beatriz, Pippa Mann and Buddy Lazier, in addition to the aforementioned Conor Daly. I would look for many if not all of those cars to make another run before 6:00 today.
Qualifying has gained even more importance with the confirmation that Katherine Legge has been confirmed in the third car with Sam Schmidt. One of those cars not in at the end of the day will not be in when the gun goes off tomorrow.
As I typed, Ryan Briscoe made another run, but Chip Ganassi waved it off.
I don’t know if NBCSN is planning to extend their TV Coverage. Fortunately, I can control my DVR from my phone s I can still get it to watch when i get home. I have an idea that the 5:30 to 6:00 time-frame is going to be very interesting. We’ll see what unfolds.