Thursday At The Speedway Notes

Marco Andretti - Indianapolis Motor Speedway. © [Jamie Sheldrick/ Spacesuit Media]

Marco Andretti – Indianapolis Motor Speedway. © [Jamie Sheldrick/ Spacesuit Media]


by Paul Gohde

May 16, 2019

It was by far one of the largest mid-week crowds in recent years that showed up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday to watch a day of high-speed practice on a cloudy, rain-threatening day.

But those who hoped to see Fernando Alonso’s orange McLaren get back on the track after his Wednesday crash were disappointed as the team’s move to a Carlin-prepared car, that was a backup for Alonso, didn’t get trackside in time to run laps. The usually patient Spaniard looked somewhat nervous with Saturday’s qualifying looming. Two non-productive days of practice (the crash and Tuesday’s electrical woes) were about all he had to show for three practice days; and now he could only hope to get back on track Friday in an unfamiliar racer.

Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist, pole-winner at the recent Indy Grand Prix, was another victim of a Wednesday crash that put his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda crew to work on a backup car. Unlike Alonso, Rosenqvist did get some laps recorded today, but sits 34th of the 35 cars with a rather slow 221.697 mph after just 41 circuits.

  • Ed Jones sits atop the 35-car field with a speed of 227.843 mph in Ed Carpenter’s Chevrolet. Trailing are: Takuma Sato (226.699 – Rahal Honda), Zach Veach (226.070 – Andretti Honda) and Sebastien Bourdais (225.996 – Dale Coyne Honda).
  • NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson visited IMS today and made the rounds with some of his IndyCar friends. He was seen chatting with Veach and he spent quite a bit of time with Alonso, who has voiced a desire to try the Daytona 500 someday. “Damn, that was fun today. I’m going back to see the (Indy 500) next weekend.” Could we see JJ in the Indy 500 some day (would he fit?) and Alonso in the Daytona 500? Maybe that was what they were discussing.
  • Another crash victim was Pato O’Ward who hit the turn two barrier and went airborne in his Carlin Chevrolet. He emerged uninjured and was seen signing autographs for a visiting school group while his crew worked to put the car back together.
  • Alexander Rossi (winner of the 2016 100th 500) on the work that goes on before and after a practice session. “It was a good day. Just running through a checklist of things to try and understand everything that we learned over the offseason and applying it to kind of all five (Andretti Autosport) cars in different ways and compiling as much information as we can. That’s the advantage about being on a big team for this event. When you have this much practice you can really kind of divide and conquer and I think we’re doing that well so far.”
  • A heavy thunderstorm put an end to practice just before 4:00 pm. Teams that have not put in many laps this week will be scrambling to gain speed, which should make Friday’s practice an “interesting” one.




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