Carb Day At Indy…WOW!

SPEEDWAY, IN: If Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was any indication, the 500 mile race Sunday should be one for the books.

A HUGE crowd, estimated by some to be close to 100,000, was on hand as final preparations for the Race began with final practice for the 33 starters. Under sunny, warm conditions, the one hour session went off without a hitch. Target-Ganassi teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon landed on top of the time sheets, giving the Team Penske squad something to think about. The hour session was incident free; everyone appears to be in good shape for Sunday.

Top five Carb Day speeds:

1. (10) Dario Franchitti 39.8983 sec / 225.574 / 36 laps
2. (9) Scott Dixon 39.9718 sec / 225.159 mph / 45 laps
3. (12) Will Power 40.0012 sec / 224.993 mph / 41 laps
4. (33) Bruno Junqueira 40.0812 sec / 224.898 mph / 43 laps
5. (3) Helio Castroneves 40.0439 sec/ 224.753 mph/ 51 laps

Shortly after the end of Indy Car practice, The Firestone Freedom 100 race for the Indy Lites was ready to roll. History was made even before the event began, as Pippa Mann became the first female pole winner in the 101 year history of Indy. Unfortunately, Pippa’s moment in the bright Indiana sun was short-lived, as Jeff Simmons lost his car in turn one of the second lap, collecting the unlucky pole winner in the bargain. The rest of the event was clean and green, featuring a great dual for the lead between Wade Cunningham and Charlie Kimble, with Cunningham prevailing to rack up his third Indy Lites victory at the Speedway.

Results Friday of the Firestone Freedom 100 Firestone Indy Lights race on the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (2) Wade Cunningham, 40, Running
2. (3) Charlie Kimball, 40, Running
3. (8) James Hinchcliffe, 40, Running
4. (10) Dan Clarke, 40, Running
5. (4) Martin Plowman, 40, Running
6. (7) Philip Major, 40, Running
7. (13) Stefan Wilson, 40, Running
8. (16) Brandon Wagner, 40, Running
9. (12) Sebastian Saavedra, 40, Running
10. (11) Adrian Campos Jr, 40, Running
11. (9) Gustavo Yacaman, 40, Running
12. (14) Rodrigo Barbosa, 40, Running
13. (6) JK Vernay, 34, Running
14. (15) Arie Luyendyk Jr, 24, Mechanical
15. (5) Jeff Simmons, 2, Contact
16. (1) Pippa Mann, 2, Contact

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 150.285
Time of Race: 39:55.4552
Margin of victory: .4368 of a second.
Cautions: 1 for 6 laps
Lead changes: 4 among 2 drivers
Lap Leaders: Cunningham 1 – 9,Kimball 10, Cunningham 11 – 32, Kimball 33, Cunningham 34-40.
Point standings: Vernay 157, Kimball 152, Hinchcliffe 134, Plowman 120, Saavedra 107, Wilson 102, Major 90, Yacaman 87, Clarke 75, Mann 74.

The Carb Day action then switched to the pit lane, for the annual IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge. There was no surprise here, as Team Penske topped the time sheets for the 12th time. Pole Winner Helio Castroneves was in the cockpit, scoring his record-breaking 5th Pit Stop Challenge victory. Newman-Haas Racing, with Hideki Mutoh up, provided a stiff challenge to the Team Penske squad, coming up just short in the final round.

Throughout the day, the enthusiasm of the sun-baked crowd may have been the biggest story. It was great to see the rowdy, yet knowledgeable throng thoroughly enjoying itself. It wasn’t quite like the long-gone days of the snake pit…but it was close.

An then…ZZ TOP began to play!

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