We’re Off To Great Weekend

As you read this, I should be en route to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I plan on arriving at the Speedway around noon Indianapolis time – just in time for Fast Friday practice to begin. This will be the last practice before tomorrow’s run for the coveted pole position. But other than pocketing a check for $100,000 and getting your name in the record books, is the pole position really that coveted?

Well, a look at history would indicate that it is. The winner of the Indianapolis 500 has come from the pole position more times than any other starting spot. When Helio Castroneves won from the pole in 2009, it was the twentieth time that the pole winner ended up in Victory Lane.

Oddly enough, however, the pole winner has finished thirty-third five times, with Scott Sharp being the most recent when he got into the grass of Turn One on the first lap in 2001. More embarrassing than that was when pole-sitter Roberto Guerrero spun on the parade lap in 1992. I was there that frigid day. It was a sign of things to come as most drivers had problems getting heat in their tires for grip.

The weather forecast looks good for today, but tomorrow and Sunday look iffy. If they don’t get the field qualified by 6:00 on Sunday, they’ll have to go to the next available day. This is where lopping off the extra week of practice and the extra weekend of qualifying, has the potential to bite. I’m sure there will be as many eyes on the radar this weekend as there will be on the track.

Of course, the biggest question now, is the status of Simona de Silvestro after her terrible crash yesterday. Her hands are burned and her car is destroyed. I had counted her as pretty safe to make the race. Now I’m not so sure.

Once Susan and I get settled at IMS, I’ll be posting updates today and all through the weekend. Check back often. It should be a great weekend.

George Phillips


6 Responses to “We’re Off To Great Weekend”

  1. I’m jealous George. Have a great weekend. We’ll be living vicariously through your posts.

    As a follow on to your post yesterday about Bobby Marshman, Simona’s crash really brought home the advances in safety that racing has made since the 60’s. Just like Conway’s crash at last year’s 500, I thought there was no way she would come out of it, much less walk away from it. As much as we hate the look of those old Dallara sleds, they have been life savers time and time again.

  2. The Lapper Says:

    Winning the Pole for the Indianapolis 500 is bigger than winning some of the other races in the series. That statement will make some upset and angrey, but that is the reality and it has always been that way. It’s Indianapolis.

    • Agree 100%. Pole is a big deal, and I’m surprised it doesn’t get more attention. In my youth (1980s-early ’90s) I seem to remember the front row getting interviewed on Good Morning America every year the Monday after Pole Day.

      • bentwickerbill@gmail.com Says:

        Not to disparage the current field of fine drivers in the least, because it has much less to do with them than the series, but the Indy 500 held a great deal more intrigue even back in the 80’s than it does now (IMHO). A much greater sense of danger and a more palpable sense of adventure and the unknown than it does now, speaking for myself anyway. Not that the 500 is not exciting, it is certainly, but since becoming a spec. series, it has become a great deal more predictable, with much less unexpected outcomes.

  3. have fun, george. should be a great weekend if you can keep the rain clouds away. my fingers are crossed for Simona!

  4. I hope that by now you’re havin’ fun in the sun & getting your fix of SPEED.

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