LIVE BLOG: Grand Prix of Indianapolis

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on May 9, 2014 10:45 pm


11:46 PM ET — Now that the Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying report and the Mazda Road to Indy race reports have been posted here and some photos have gone up on Twitter, I’ll just add a few thoughts before packing up for the night.

First, I was remiss in not mentioning this earlier, but expectant mom Sarah Fisher will be the honorary starter of Sunday’s events at the Speedway as a nod to her and to Mother’s Day. From a team release:

Verizon IndyCar Series team owner and Indianapolis 500 veteran Sarah Fisher will be honored on Mother’s Day/Opening Day of the 98th Indianapolis 500 at noon (ET) Sunday, May 11 when she waves the green flag for the start of practice.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles will make a surprise presentation to Fisher, who is expecting her second child June 19, after she waves the green flag.

Second, I made it out to the Speedway Festival on Main tonight to see what all the fuss was about. I arrived just as Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star was sitting in the dunk tank, still dry and awaiting his fate. Several people ponied up donations to the Indy Family Foundation to take a shot — and without a word of a lie, Tony George was there and made no less than 12 attempts — but it was a young pitching prodigy who eventually sent Curt into the water to the delight of the crowd. (I’m told I missed seeing Robin Miller dunked by Tony Kanaan on live TV by mere minutes. Devastated!)

As I explored a little more I found a beer garden, food trucks, a rock climbing wall, plenty of bouncy castles for the little ones, Takuma Sato die-casts being given away, and a good time being had by all. It’s a very cool event for a good cause, and I was very glad to have a chance to go out and support it. (Bonus shout to Chris, @andhesonit, who I had a very nice long catch-up with, and Ed, @500oldtimer, who I got to speak with as well. And major shout to Amy, @IndyCarMom, and Aaryn, @AarynNC, for organizing the dunk tank and just generally being awesome and doing lots of cool things for IndyCar.

Time to call it a day — it’s IndyCar race day tomorrow at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis!


6:44 PM ET — Well, it’s been a fascinating afternoon here at IMS. On-track action picked up massively with IndyCar qualifying leading into a full afternoon of Mazda Road to Indy races.

The full results of IndyCar qualifying can be found in our Grand Prix of Indianapolis Event Summary, so I’ll just add a couple of comments here. It was interesting to see which teams rose to the top through the rapidly changing conditions — six different ones, in fact, and not all of them the ones that you’d expect. And if rain is meant to be the great equalizer, then a couple of people will have raised some eyebrows today. One thing is guaranteed: with the front row of Saavedra and Hawksworth and the track conditions set to change dramatically yet again, tomorrow’s race start will be very interesting!

As for Aleshin feeling slighted by the penalty from IndyCar (as indicated by his tweet in Russian earlier today), I didn’t see the incident that drew the penalty, so I can’t speculate on whether to say “a rule is a rule” or “gee, Bourdais seems to ask for a lot of interference incidents lately.” But Aleshin might want to watch what he tweets. Translations aren’t terribly hard to come by in the internet age.

We’ll post full race reports for the Mazda Road to Indy later today, but here are some quick summaries.

In USF2000, Will Owen and his team at Pabst Racing made a gamble on a drying track to put slicks on the car, and it paid off mightily for them. Joining Owen on the podium was Jake Eidson of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing and MFW blogger Aaron Telitz with ArmsUp Motorsports. Points leader RC Enerson ended up 7th.

In Pro Mazda, there wasn’t a whole lot of green flag running as the conditions caught a number of drivers out. Pigot was caught up in a lap 1 turn 1 incident and fell to the back early, opening the door for a new winner in the 2014 regular season. After numerous incidents — most notably contact by Ryan Booth, who had a promising start but made an ambitious pass attempt and made race-ending contact with Neil Alberico — the eventual victor was Scott Hargrove of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing followed by Andretti Autosport’s Shelby Blackstock (also a MFW blogger) and Alberico in third.

In Indy Lights, Matthew Brabham has rediscovered his form as he started on pole and opened up a lead early that no one was able to make up. He was smiling from ear to ear as he was joined on the podium by Luiz Razia and Jack Harvey. Title leaders Zach Veach and Gabby Chaves both had issues during the race — Veach had a spin early on and wasn’t able to climb any higher than 9th, and Chaves lost an engine about three-quarters of the way through and dropped to the bottom of the time sheet.

A couple of quick event notes for those trackside. The Rev Indy event is taking place tonight. It starts in an hour, so it’s probably too late to organize attending (apologies for not remembering to mention it earlier), but you can learn more about it at

The Festival on Main is also about to get under way in downtown Speedway. The event is meant to be rain or shine, so let’s hope the weather holds out! It’s been off and on all afternoon, but it doesn’t look too terrible at the moment. I’m hoping to head over there once I’m finished here — hope to see you there!

And tomorrow, a tweet-up is coming together! If you’ll be at the track tomorrow, please join us in the Pagoda Plaza at 10:20 AM.

Back later on with a wrap-up!


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