Chicago: Friday thoughts

IndyCar commentary — By on August 28, 2009 6:35 pm
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(Originally posted by Paul to Planet-IRL.com.)

The day has wrapped up for the IndyCar Series, and if today is any indication, tomorrow is going to be a hell of a race!

Yes, the Penske duo swept the front row, but things start to get very interesting behind orange and white chevrons with AGR’s Tony Kanaan in row 2, Graham Rahal on the inside of row 3, Marco Andretti and Mario Moraes in row 4, Oriol Servia flanking Danica in row 5, and Wheldon and Carpenter making up row 6.

The excitement wasn’t in qualifying, though. The final practice session was extremely exciting with cars running two, three, even four-wide at some points. Looking over the time sheet from the final practice, seven teams are represented in the top 1o, including Penske, Ganassi, KVRT, NHL, Panther, AGR, and Vision Racing. The entire field was separated by only 0.75 seconds, and positions 1-19 were within a half-second.

One of the interesting aspects of today was seeing which teams were using different aerodynamic configurations. After the Kentucky race, everyone was ready to proclaim the problem had been fixed and that the oval racing we had loved for years was finally back. Tomorrow is really going to be a test of whether the rear-tire ramps and the sidepod extensions really made much of a difference. I have heard several drivers indicate that those aero pieces likely won’t make that much of a difference and that the reason Kentucky was successful was due to the removal of the half-inch vertical wicker. Thankfully, that piece is still gone, so if the drivers are telling the truth, tomorrow night’s race should be a good one. Let’s hope so! One thing I have not been able to pin down is whether teams must race with the car in the same configuration that they qualified. I would assume so, but I’ve yet to confirm that.

Tomorrow’s weather may be an issue as well. Though we are not expecting rain, temperatures are expected to be in the lower 60′s with pretty stiff winds. If that turns out to be the case, that will really throw a monkey wrench in folks’ plans and pretty much make today’s running a moot point. Let’s hope the breeze will not turn this into another Kansas race.

As a final note: I am all for teams using different paint schemes for their cars. Yes, I am talking specifically about Penske, Ganassi, and NHL. I only hope that after they are done with it this weekend, Ganassi will kindly return the car that they apparently stole from Luczo Dragon. Dario’s Lifelock livery today looks nearly identical to the Symantec scheme that Tomas Scheckter ran at several races last year.

With that, I am going to process the photos from this afternoon’s practice and then endure some of the truck race. For today’s pictures so far, check out the following links:

Practice 1: http://picasaweb.google.com/Indy1911/2009IndyCarChicagolandSpeedwayPractice1#
Qualifications: http://picasaweb.google.com/Indy1911/2009IndyCarChicagolandSpeedwayQualifying#
Practice 2: http://picasaweb.google.com/Indy1911/2009IndyCarChicagolandSpeedwayPractice2#”

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