Indy 500 qualifying update: Positions 10-33 are set

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Qualifying, day two, for this year’s Indianapolis 500 saw the runners 10-33 from Saturday qualify in reverse order today.

With the exception of Buddy Lazier, they all eclipsed the 227 mph mark, which should make for a faster field average once the Fast 9 run later today.

Mikhail Aleshin, Sunday morning practice leader, and Scott Dixon were the first to burst into the 230s on their Sunday runs. Dixon’s 230.928 was faster than Saturday’s fastest four-lap average set by Ed Carpenter, 230.661.

Juan Pablo Montoya then posted the first 231-plus mph four-lap average, with 231.007. He headlines a storyline filled Row 4 with defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Dixon in the middle and Kurt Busch on the outside, after a qualifying run of 230.782 was enough to start 12th for the first of his 1,100-mile race day.

Row 11 will have the youngest driver in the field, Sage Karam, 19, on the inside, the oldest in 46-year-old Lazier on the outside and Grand Prix of Indianapolis polesitter Sebastian Saavedra, 23, in the middle.

After this group has completed their runs, here’s how they’ll line up from positions 10-33:

ROW 4
2-Juan Pablo Montoya, 231.007
9-Scott Dixon, 230.928
26-Kurt Busch, 230.782

ROW 5
98-Jack Hawksworth, 230.506
19-Justin Wilson, 230.256
7-Mikhail Aleshin, 230.049

ROW 6
10-Tony Kanaan, 229.922
11-Sebastien Bourdais, 229.847
16-Oriol Servia, 229.752

ROW 7
28-Ryan Hunter-Reay, 229.719
15-Graham Rahal, 229.628
18-Carlos Huertas, 229.251

ROW 8
63-Pippa Mann, 229.223
14-Takuma Sato, 229.201
68-Alex Tagliani, 229.148

ROW 9
6-Townsend Bell, 229.009
83-Charlie Kimball, 228.953
5-Jacques Villeneuve, 228.949

ROW 10
33-James Davison, 228.865
41-Martin Plowman, 228.814
8-Ryan Briscoe, 228.713

ROW 11
22-Sage Karam, 228.436
17-Sebastian Saavedra, 228.088
91-Buddy Lazier, 227.920

For a breakdown of how each driver’s four-lap run went, refer to the below screen cap from INDYCAR Timing & Scoring. Each driver’s warmup lap is first, followed by Lap 1, Lap 2, Lap 3, Lap 4, and the four-lap average.

source:

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Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

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But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds