A Boost For The 500

Speedway, IN – As the gift of increased turbocharger boost pressure becomes a reality today, teams continue to prepare for tomorrow’s Indianapolis 500 time trials with just one day of track time left to find out what affect that will have on tomorrow’s runs. Remember, too, that the boost will revert back to its original settings for the 500.

Here’s what some on pit road are saying:

• Ben Bretzman, lead engineer for Simon Pagenaud’s Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda
“The biggest thing, honestly, will be gearing. We’re going to go quite a bit faster, so we’re going to need to make sure we have the gears right. Unfortunately, we’re not going to have a lot of running on it. From a chassis standpoint, it’s a bit of an unknown. It will get a little bit more load in the corner because you’ll be going faster, so you might need to adjust the platform. But, in general, we’ll just need to make sure we are geared right.”

• Townsend Bell, driver, Braun Ability -Schmidt Pelfrey Motorsports Honda
“We expect it to be faster and we’ll be disappointed if it’s not .The chance to go qualify as fast as you think you can go at Indianapolis is what it’s all about. I don’t think we’ll be flirting with any track records just yet, but I think it (increased boost) is a step in the right direction. Speed is what our sport is all about.”

Along with added boost for qualifying, the new body style on the Dallara DW 12 has changed the way drivers approach traffic, especially on the long straightaways here at Indianapolis.

• Will Power, driver, Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet- (About running in traffic)
“It’s the opposite to what was said in the preseason. I think you can run closer with this car than with the old car. It punches a massive hole in the air, so the tow effect is huge. You could be leading doing a 217 (speed) and the guy behind you could be 5 mph quicker. It’s been more of a challenge to understand the setups. As far as driving, it’s been a bit easier. It’s more grip and less power, so it’s stuck more to the road. You have less chance of making a mistake. Josef New garden made a mistake (Wednesday, when he spun and made contact) and that’s the first I’ve seen. The car is pretty forgiving- it’s stuck. You do get a big draft and lose some grip. I think it will be a good race and once it’s said and done, it will be like last year.”

• Ryan Hunter- Reay, driver, Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet
“In order to get that moment where the car really sucks up, you have to somewhat be on the throttle on the corner following them. You have to have a good run to the corner. You can’t be pedaling it through there or you’ll drop back. There’s a big penalty for a lift in traffic. You’ll drop back farther. There’s ups and downs. I think it’s going to be a real exciting race. I think we’re in for something that we haven’t seen in a while. There’s going to be a lot of passing here at Indy.”

• Simon Pagenaud, driver, Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda
“The track is not slippery when you get the car nicely dialed in. It’s not slippery; you just have to feel the air on the car and feel what the car is telling you through your butt. You really feel if you get understeer or oversteer, and you really have to learn to manage that from the car with the steering wheel and your foot. It’s really a fine line. You want to be neutral by yourself and safe in traffic. But traffic usually brings you understeer. So it’s difficult to find the right balance. There is a lot more thinking and processing than on a road course.”

• But Oriol Servia, Panther/Dreyer& Reinbold Racing Chevrolet, paints, perhaps, an ominous picture of running in race traffic. Ominous because after Dan Wheldon’s tragedy last season, many called for the new Dallara to spread out traffic and not run as close as before.

“It’s going to be an interesting race because I think we are going to be in a pack, but it will be a good one.”
We can only hope he’s right.

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