LIVE BLOG: Grand Prix of Indianapolis

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

9:17 AM ET — Good morning from Sat… er… Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway! I still can’t get used to the idea that we’re a day behind this weekend. That said, it was clearly Friday on the freeways this morning as people headed off to work. (People in Indianapolis think they get rush hour “traffic.” That’s cute.)

First order of business: I really cannot emphasize enough exactly how different the weather conditions are today from yesterday. It’s almost chilly here today, and there’s a thick and steady cloud cover. I had a few spits of drizzle on the windshield as I headed down 465 from College Park where I’m staying this weekend. Normally when en route to IMS rain elicits heart palpitations, but for this weekend a little bit of dampness isn’t such a bad thing! The forecast is still calling for it to get worse, though, and if we end up with lightning in the area we can expect to see on-track action halted until it moves through. We’ll keep an eye on it.

If you’re headed to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis today, don’t forget to join us after the track closes for the Speedway Festival on Main, a street party running from 6:00 to 10:00 PM tonight. Admission is free, and proceeds will benefit the Indy Family Foundation, an organization that helps people in the racing community who become impacted by hard times. Rumor has it you’ll be able to pay money to send Robin Miller into the dunk tank. Come on, people — you can’t put a price on that kind of entertainment! It’s rain or shine, and I’m planning to be there outside the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing shop and the Dallara factory along with plenty of others. It should be a good time.

A couple of things went up last night here at More Front Wing that are worth bringing to your attention. First, IMS released a traffic flow guide and some other fan guidelines for the Month of May that are very important reading for anyone planning to be here for the GP of Indy or the 500. Second, I spent yesterday walking around the facility and used the information and photos I gathered to put together a Spectator Seating Guide for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the first in a new series of guides that we’ll be creating for the tracks that the Verizon IndyCar Series visits. I hope it helps you plan your race experience.

And now that that’s done, I can do a little bit more serious reporting today. I’ll be spending practice on pit lane this morning — another gloriously late start today as IndyCar practice gets things under way at 10:00 AM ET.  The full schedule and statistic rundown of the weekend can be found at our Grand Prix of Indianapolis Event Summary, and if you’re into Twitter you can follow along with our live updates at @MoreFrontWing!



5:58 PM ET — I’m back in the media center wrapping things up after spending the day walking around IMS. I think I did about one and a half laps of this place today and walked up roughly 1000 stairs. I’m not going to worry very much about calories at dinner tonight! I’m glad to have done it, not only so that I can put the viewing guide together tonight but also just to take in the different stands and angles and just generally be better informed about what can be seen from where, not only for this race but also for the 500. It was a very fruitful exercise. But I’m very glad I wore good shoes.

The press conference wasn’t riveting: everyone thinks the track is great (Scott Dixon thinks it might be the best road/street course race of the year), and it’s very grippy and fast. Both Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin were there for being among the fastest of the day, and they both agreed that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is just working on the finer details now and they’re very happy. We also learned a little more about Aleshin: he had never been to the US before his Sebring test last November; the most surprising thing he found was that the winter weather in Indy is not all that different from in Russia; and he says that IndyCar had never really been shown in Russia before but that TV is starting to show it and some people are enjoying it more than Formula 1.

Here are the top 5 from each of the Mazda Road to Indy afternoon sessions. In USF2000: Aaron Telitz was fastest followed by Florian Latorre, Colton Herta (yes, son of Bryan Herta), RC Enerson, and Henrik Furuseth. (No offence intended, RC, but it’s nice to see some different names at the top of the leaderboard in this series for a change this season!) In Pro Mazda, Scott Hargrove was on top followed by Spencer Pigot, Kyle Kaiser, Neil Alberico, and Jose Gutierrez. In Indy Lights: Gabby Chaves led the way again followed by Jack Harvey, Luiz Razia, and Andretti Autosport teammates Matthew Brabham and Zach Veach.

The full results of today’s action and the schedule for tomorrow can be found at our Grand Prix of Indianapolis Event Summary.

I’ll post the Verizon IndyCar Series practice reports here shortly and then head back to the hotel to keep working from there. You’ll hear some more from me later on tonight!


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