Indy 500 Saturday Qualifying Notes

Fernando Alonso, the fastest Rookie Of The Day. [Russ Lake Photo]

Fernando Alonso,, the fastest Rookie Of The Day. [Russ Lake Photo]

by Paul Gohde

Saturday, May 20, 2017: Formula One visitor Fernando Alonso had some interesting comments after seeing and driving in today’s qualifying runs: “I need to see the crash (Bourdais’) again to see what happened. I know him from Europe. He was fast and I hope to see him back soon. It was difficult to drive today, it was loose after the rain washed off the rubber from the track. Today, for us, was all about making it into the Fast Nine. We need to make the car more consistent. I’ll talk to Marco and the others to see how they prepare their tires for their run”.

… After having the fastest time in Fast Friday practice, and recording his first two qualifying laps at likely pole-winning speeds, Sebastien Bourdais’ vicious crash in Turn 2, that extended down the backstretch, shows how much safety development has gone into the current Dallara IR-12 chassis, first run in 2012. Many likened the crash to Gordon Smiley’s fatal accident here in 1982

…Rain came in torrents this morning, forcing Speedway officials to make today’s “Setting the Starting Field” activities into single-run qualifying efforts. The Fast Nine from today will battle for the pole on Sunday, while positions 10-33 will run to determine their starting spots for next Sunday’s 500

… Six Honda’s and Three Chevrolets will make up Sunday’s Fast Nine that will vie for the pole. Only 31 cars qualified today as Bourdais crashed and Zach Veach’s entry wasn’t ready after his incident on Friday

… Five drivers entered in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 have Formula One experience: Juan Pablo Montoya, two-time F1 champ Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Bourdais, Takuma Sato and Max Chilton. Also, car owner Michael Andretti, along with his father Mario, have both been in F1; Mario having been F1 champ in 1978 for Lotus

…Don Burgoon, the late founder of Performance Friction Inc., along with engineers from that company, have been awarded the prestigious 51st Louis Schwitzer Award for engineering excellence. The company developed the carbon disc brake system used on today’s Verizon Indy Cars

…Earlier in the week Juncos Racing announced that Temple Fork Outfitters has become an associate sponsor for Spencer Pigot and Sebastian Saavedra. Ricoh USA and the Ray Morgan Co. joined the team earlier in the week

…Sage Karam, who is driving a one-off race for Dryer & Reinbold, also races regularly in the IMSA series driving a Lexus GTD entry

…Earlier in the week NASCAR driver and former Indy car pilot AJ Allmendinger visited the Speedway. He was here to visit with Jack Harvey’s car owner Mike Shank. AJ drove for Shank’s sports car program 11 times in the Rolex 24 at Daytona

…Former Indy Car driver Sarah Fisher’s husband Andy O’Gara is the chief mechanic and race strategist for Zach Veach who races for AJ Foyt.

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