Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Live Thread

Who Will Win The Pole, and Who Will Be Sweating on Bump Day [Indy 500 Time Trials Live Thread]

5/19/12 in IndyCar   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Live ThreadThere is not a more unique and more difficult set of laps in racing than the 4 qualifying laps one must take to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. For those laps, you are on your own, running to you and your car's absolute limit, with all the pressure on you and no margin for error. That pressure is the same for those at the front of the field fighting for the pole as it is for those in the last hour on Bump Day fighting for mere survival.

This weekend Time Trials (qualifying's official name at Indy) return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. By 6:00 Sunday we will now the 33 starters for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. Today, 24 will take those four laps and qualify. The top nine will then take part in a shootout for pole starting at 4:30. One attempt for each, fastest takes the pole.

Who are the favorites to win that pole? Look no further than Andretti Autosport. Their cars have been fast all month, a 180 from the last few years when they struggled to make the race. Until this morning, Marco Andretti had the fastest lap of the month, with a lap of 227.540 mph. His teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe have also been near the top, and the good vibes have continued to the team's Indy only entries, driven by Ana Beatriz and Sebastian Saavedra.

However, this morning Team Penske started to show their hand, and Helio Castroneves, who knows a thing or two about winning the pole, set the new fast lap, at 227.555 mph. Keep an eye on him, and the two primary Ganassi boys: Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon. In fact, Dixon is my pick for pole. No real reason for that, just playing a hunch.

Tomorrow is Bump Day, and unfortunately the focus is will the field fill and will the incredibly slow Lotus cars be able to get in the race. Right now, there are only 33 car and driver combinations. While this is likely a temporarily blip due to the new cars, and more importantly, the new engines, it creates no margin for error. If someone wrecks or loses an engine on Sunday, there might not be 33 cars in the race.

There's also the Lotus situation. Their two cars are a good 10-15 mph slower than the rest. It's not the fault of their two drivers: Jean Alesi and Simona De Silvestro. They're getting everything out of the car, but it's just a dog slow engine. Speculation is rampant that a team with a Honda or Chevy engine will roll out a backup car on Bump Day to bump the Lotuses out. Does that mean we might see Jay Howard or Vitor Meira get a chance? It's still possible. Unfortunately for her fans, Pippa Mann tweeted this morning she will not be participating in the 500.

Pole Day has already begun on NBC Sports Network (at home, so family duty kept me from finishing on time). Coverage will last til 2:30 on TV, then return at 4:25 for the Fast Nine shootout. Bump Day coverage will be on NBC Sports Network from Noon-6. Timing and scoring can be found here. Q it up here throughout the weekend.
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5/20/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Here are today's qualifiers:

25. Sebastien Bourdais 223.760
26. Wade Cunningham 223.258
27. Oriol Servia 222.393
28. Ed Carpenter 222.324
29. Mike Conway 222.319
30. Katherine Legge 221.624
31. Bryan Clauson 214.455
32. Simona de Silvestro 214.393
33. Jean Alesi 210.094

5/20/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The gun has sounded and the field has been set. No one else attempted to qualify. Race polls will come out by me later today, and stay tuned for preview posts by both me and Debi, as well as a ranking of the field by me from 33 to 1. Let's go racing!

5/20/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The field is now full. Here is the grid. It's 99% likely this is what it'll look like at the end of the day.

5/20/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Everyone has qualified except Ed Carpenter. There is no indication that there will be a 34th entry. This is looking like a very boring day.

5/20/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Jay Howard announced this morning that he will not be running in the Indy 500. It's looking like the engine manufacturers have decided no more entries, and thus these 33 will be it.

5/19/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Eric_ wrote:
Yet to Qualify:

Ed Carpenter
Oriol Servia
Sebastien Bourdais
Katherine Legge
Mike Conway
Wade Cunningham
Bryan Clauson
Simona de Silvestro
Jean Alesi

Will these be the only nine to try and qualify tomorrow? We'll find out. See you all at noon.

Working at the golf course tomorrow, but I will have qualifying on, come hell or high water (or snow) although without sound.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Yet to Qualify:

Ed Carpenter
Oriol Servia
Sebastien Bourdais
Katherine Legge
Mike Conway
Wade Cunningham
Bryan Clauson
Simona de Silvestro
Jean Alesi

Will these be the only nine to try and qualify tomorrow? We'll find out. See you all at noon.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

The starting grid as it stands now. Note that for the Fast Nine, the listed times are from the shootout, not the regular runs. TK and Viso did not make an attempt.

1. Ryan Briscoe 226.484
2. James Hinchcliffe 226.481
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay 226.240
4. Marco Andretti 225.456
5. Will Power 225.422
6. Helio Castroneves 225.172
7. Josef Newgarden 224.037
8. Tony Kanaan no time
9. EJ Viso no time

10. Rubens Barrichello 224.264
11. Alex Tagliani 224.000
12. Graham Rahal 223.959
13. Ana Beatriz 223.920
14. Charlie Kimball 223.868
15. Scott Dixon 223.684
16. Dario Franchitti 223.582
17. James Jakes 223.482
18. JR Hildebrand 223.422
19. Takuma Sato 223.392
20. Townsend Bell 223.134
21. Justin Wilson 222.929
22. Michel Jourdain, Jr. 222.893
23. Simon Pagenaud 222.891
24. Sebastian Saavedra 222.811

Stat of the Day: This was the closest margin for pole ever.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Ryan Briscoe has won the pole for the Indianapolis 500! Joining him on the front row are James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Full results coming shortly.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hunter-Reay comes close to Briscoe at first, but can't keep it up. He ends up P3. Power looks like he'll be the last attempt, but this could just be a run out the clock move.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

Hinch tried again, but it wasn't enough and it was called of (for the shootout, you don't have to withdraw your time, so you essentially get unlimited chances til the gun goes off). Helio next. If anyone has a banzai run in them, it's him.

Edit: Nevermind, Helio ran a 224 and got waved off by Race Control. They're only going to let Penske waste so much time.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hinchcliffe looked like he had the pole, but lost it in the final lap by .003 mph. Now the nine can go out as many times as they want.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Ryan Briscoe puts up the first gauntlet in the shootout with a 226.484 average.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The first part of Pole Day is over. Your Fast Nine: Hinchcliffe, Power, Hunter-Reay, Castroneves, Briscoe, Kanaan, Andretti, Newgarden, Viso. 8 Chevys and 1 Honda (Newgarden).

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Carpenter with a big, big crash. Car got airborne a bit, and was alongside the wall, drivers said up. Luckily, Ed is OK.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

TK bounces back from his earlier run getting DQ'ed, and the heat, to get back into the top 9. He bumped Rubens to do it.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Servia wrecks on his warm up lap. Took a hard lick off the pit attenuator, but he's OK.

With that, there are only four cars that could still bump their way into the top 24 today (discounting the two wrecked cars, the blown engine, and the Lotuses): TK, Bourdais, Cunningham, Legge.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Barrichello became the 24th qualifier with an impressive run to take P9. He is currently on the Fast Nine bubble. Ed Carpenter (who was really fighting the car) is on the bubble to get in the race today, in 24th. There are seven that have not qualified that still can, not including the crashed Clauson or Saavedra.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Debi_L wrote:
I don't want to go to work!!!!!! ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH - Text updates would be appreciated, Eric, but I'll only be able to check about once an hour, so pole sitter/crashes are good :) Thanks

Will do. During the break in TV coverage though, I'll be on big brother duty.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Hinchcliffe to P1 with a 225.746 average, including our first 226 lap. Great performance in the heat of the day!

5/19/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

I don't want to go to work!!!!!! ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH - Text updates would be appreciated, Eric, but I'll only be able to check about once an hour, so pole sitter/crashes are good :) Thanks

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Right now the story is Chevy's dominance. Honda's big bullets (i.e. Ganassi) have gone and they're all either already out of the top 9 or barely in it.

Also not helping speeds right now is the track temperature. The track is cooking.

5/19/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

Just turned on the TV, getting ready for work....hearing Bryan Clauson for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing crashed :(

And just heard TK's time was disallowed because of no ballast.  UGH

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Unfortunately, Bryan Clauson has crashed, the first big crash with the DW12. Bryan's OK, but it's going to be a long night for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Shame, since he was less than a lap away from qualifying.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Helio slots in P2 behind Power. Saavedra, meanwhile, blows up during the warm-up lap. First bullet for Andretti Autosport and the engine goes kerblammo. The plot thickens.

5/19/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

My pick for the pole, Dixon, wasn't very quick. He kept hitting the rev limiters, slowing him down. Power and TK are currently top 2, but Helio just took the green flag.