Archive for May, 2018

Will Power Wins The Indianapolis 500

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2018 by Oilpressure

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I’ve been watching the Indianapolis 500 for a long time now, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a driver so happy to win it. The usually stoic Will Power was completely overcome with emotion in Victory Lane, that he didn’t even seem like the same person. He wasn’t sobbing, mind you – but he was so excited to win that he just couldn’t contain himself.

It was genuine too. Sometimes you see drivers that are so exaggerated when they win a race that it seems disingenuous. I don’t think anyone could say that about Power’s celebration today. This was a well-deserved win and no fluke. He has come close a few times and you wondered if he was going to be one of those drivers like Michael Andretti, Lloyd Ruby, Rex Mays or Ted Horn; that had great careers but never won the Indianapolis 500 after coming close so many times.

This was a good race to watch from the stands. As I type, most of you know more what happened than I do. Such is the case when you attend a race in person, versus watching it on television. But from my seats in Stand A, it was a very compelling race.

Like the entire Month of May, it was tough to get to get a handle on who had the upper-hand. Ed Carpenter was strong at the first of the race. He led the first thirty-one laps and led the most of the day with a total of sixty-five. But his strength was mostly in the first half of the race. Carpenter only led two laps after Lap 92. Still, he was good enough to finish second.

Tony Kanaan had a star-crossed day. He moved up from his tenth starting position right from the start. The first time I looked at the scoring pylon, he was already up to seventh. Then he steadily moved up to second, before passing Carpenter on a restart on Lap 63. Two laps later Carpenter re-took the lead, but Kanaan had served notice.

Kanaan looked strong and I thought would be a factor all day. But a cut tire did him in before the halfway point and he was suddenly an afterthought. But Kanaan fought back and worked his way up to ninth at one point. Then it all went terribly wrong on Lap 189, when Kanaan crashed in Turn Two.

There were no cautions until Lap 48 when defending winner Takuma Sato and James Davison made contact in Turn Three. That opened the gates for a quick series of yellows. After only four laps of green after the restart, Ed Jones had a hard hit in Turn Two. Again, five laps after the restart – Danica Patrick had an equally hard hit in Turn Two.

Finally there was another long stretch of green flag racing for sixty-seven laps. But on Lap 139, Sébastien Bourdais suddenly lost of control of his car in the north chute and slammed the wall in Turn Four. Television probably revealed what happened to the car, but I haven’t heard. I know the replay they showed on the video boards looked like something broke on the car, but I don’t know what happened.

After only two laps of green, Helio Castroneves lost it coming out of Turn Four and hit both the outside and inside walls. After only another to laps of green, Sage Karam had a similar looking crash on Lap 154.

It was during this caution period that several cars made their final stops banking on a lot more yellows, including Scott Dixon, Oriol Servia, Stefan Wilson and Jack Harvey. Servia led sixteen laps, and you wondered if his tactics would pay off. For a while, it looked like they would not come. After the restart for Kanaan’s crash, it looked to be an eight lap shootout. Wilson and Harvey split Servia on the restart and Will Power soon did away with Servia as well. But Power was having trouble getting past Harvey for second place, while Wilson was pulling away.

But Harvey and Wilson peeled off for the pits on Lap 196, clearing the way for Power to lead for four laps before taking his long-awaited checkered flag in the Indianapolis 500.

As I said earlier, Power was one of the happiest winners I’ve seen win this race in quite a while. What you saw in Victory Lane, carried over to the post-race press conference in the IMS Media Center. He was ecstatic.

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This was a popular victory in the stands. Will Power has won a lot of races in the Verizon IndyCar Series over the years, but this one had seemed to elude him – until today. He has paid his dues and he earned this win today. This was no fluke. Power won from the front row today, the first time that has happened since Dario Franchitti won from the same third starting point in 2010.

For the last couple of years, the Indianapolis 500 was won by someone that was not a favorite. Alexander Rossi won a fuel-saving race as a rookie in 2016, then Takuma Sato was a surprise winner last year. Surprise winners are nice every now and then, but if it becomes an annual occurrence – I think it cheapens the race. Will Power was no surprise winner.

That will do it for today. There will be no post here on Monday, but I will have my “Random Thoughts” post here on Tuesday morning. After that – I’m taking a break until next Monday after Belle Isle. But please remember to check back on Tuesday morning. Thanks for following along all through the month. Come back Tuesday.

George Phillips

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Good Morning From IMS!

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2018 by Oilpressure

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What a beautiful morning for a race! There is no threat of rain, the sun is already shining against The Pagoda and the place is already filling up. We made it just inside the gate when the opening bomb went off at 6:00. Once we made it through the tunnel and into the IMS Media Center, I made the obligatory photo of The Pagoda with the darker southwestern sky behind it.

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I also made the usual shot of the track from inside the Media Center, although it was not as early as last year’s – accounting for the lighter sky in this year’s photo.

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The Media Center was already buzzing at 6:00. By 10:00, there will not be an empty seat. Most days in May, this place is only one-third to one-half full. But on Race Day, it’s packed.

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There was quite the storm here last night – literally. We left the track around 6:00 last night to meet my brother at a restaurant near our hotel in Avon, about ten miles from IMS. A sudden shower popped up out of nowhere while we were eating. While we were in there, we suddenly started seeing random pictures and videos that people were posting from the Legends Day concert at the track. It looked like a hurricane was going through. Apparently the parking lot across 16th Street from the track, where IndyCar headquarters are located flooded and was dubbed by some as Lake IndyCar. I was glad we left when we did.

The sun is now fully in the sky and I can hear the Gordon Pipers playing down below. Now that we’re settled, Susan and I are going to go wander the grounds and meet up with my brother. It’s going to be a great day.

Please follow us along on Twitter for photos. But please note – there will no tweets during the race for two reasons. One is that I plan on watching the race and not tweeting about it. The other is that with over 300,000 people on the grounds, it’s difficult to tweet or text from the stands during the race. You may follow me at @Oilpressureblog or Susan at @MrsOilpressure.

I may or may not have something else up here before the race. Regardless, I’ll definitely have a wrap-up here after the race, so check back later. But in case I don’t come back here beforehand – enjoy the race, everyone!

George Phillips

Legends Day Drivers Meeting & Photos

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2018 by Oilpressure

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Legend’s Day is probably the most laid-back day at the track. Once the drivers leave for the parade and the Vintage cars drive around the track there’s not a lot to do. If you want to wander the grounds at IMS, this would be a good day. It’s also a good day to get any of your souvenir purchases or just soak in the ambiance of the track.

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Legends Day Foul Up

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2018 by Oilpressure

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Actually I had decided that I had nothing really worthy of posting today. Susan got some great photos of the Driver’s Meeting this morning that she is probably going to post up here later this evening. But something happened today that infuriated me, so I decided to go off on a rant here.

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One Of My Biggest Highlights

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 25, 2018 by Oilpressure

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First of all, The Carb Day practice went off with no incidents, which is good. You don’t want anyone to wad up the car forty-eight hours before the race. Danica Patrick had an engine issue and missed most of the practice, but was able to get back out to run a total of fifteen laps. She was still fast enough to be eighth quick in the session.

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Carb Day at IMS

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 25, 2018 by Oilpressure

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Good morning from a hot and already crowded Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s Carb Day and the place was packed and buzzing with early morning partiers when we were sitting in traffic at 9:30. It’ll be a good crowd today. Susan took a panoramic shot of the crowd already here at 10:00.

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Indianapolis 500 Preview

Posted in Indianapolis 500 on May 25, 2018 by Oilpressure

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The practices have all been run, qualifying runs have taken place, drivers have been bumped and the field has been set. Now all that’s left to do is run the race. Ok…there is Carb Day today, but it’s been a while since anything significant came out of Carb Day – other than more than a few unclean and unsightly people.

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