Some of the drivers who paced practice at Barber weren’t able to convert in qualifying.
Simona de Silvestro led Saturday morning practice but estimated her KV Racing Technology car didn’t handle Firestone’s alternate red tires as well as the primary blacks.
“On the reds we had a really big balance change,” she said. “It was a really big difference so we’ll have to try and work on that for tomorrow’s warm-up and the race. I think on the blacks we were really quick; even on the older ones. Hopefully we can make up some positions.”
Schmidt Hamilton’s Simon Pagenaud had a couple sessions in the top five but for the second race running was left befuddled by missing the Fast Six, and being outqualified by Schmidt Peterson rookie teammate Tristan Vautier.
“My car was good, we just barely missed it in qualifying,” Pagenaud said. “We’ll just keep digging a little deeper because we aren’t far off at all. I know we’ll have a good car for the race tomorrow.”
Barracuda Racing/BHA’s Alex Tagliani, second on Friday, said a mysterious issue cost him a shot at advancing.
“Honestly it’s difficult to be upset because we have such a great car,” he said. “We were on a projected (1 minute) 6.8 lap and something happened, we were either out of fuel or power, but lost a bunch of time on the backstraight into Turns 12 and 13.”
Pagenaud, de Silvestro and Tagliani start 13th through 15th on Sunday.
Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.