Indianapolis tire test gathers data for 100th Indy 500, while track springs for free lunch for fans


Wednesday was more than just your typical tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Yes, officially, it was a tire test for Firestone, which gathered data for the rubber compound that will be used in tires in next year’s 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2016.

Unofficially, it was a laid back, fan-friendly affair – but with a very unique twist: the Speedway even catered a free lunch (Jimmy John’s) for those fans that attended.

What a deal!

Let’s go through some of the testing details before we move to some of the top social media elements of the day.

As for the day’s business:

“Every time you have an opportunity to be here, especially with helping Firestone develop even better tires, it’s important,” three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves said after exiting the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. “The beauty of working with Firestone is they try all the details, and that’s why we’re here.

“It’s about grip – left side and right side – and what line you can take, and they really want your feedback after every run.”

In addition to tires, changes to aerodynamic bodywork components this season and potential changes for next season further magnified the reason for Wednesday’s test.

“It’s very important to Firestone,” said Dale Harrigle, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and manager of race tire development. “We were here in 1911 (for the first Indy 500) and we’re going to be here for the 100th running, so it’s a great milestone for Firestone.”

Among drivers that took part in the test – and the concurrent team test that also took place – were Castroneves, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay and others.

“We don’t get much testing during the season, so it’s great to be here to get ready for next year already,” Pagenaud said. “We’re doing a lot of aero testing.

“With the new aero kit, we didn’t really get a chance to extract the best out of it yet. There’s so much potential; we’re trying to understand all the bits and pieces. There are a lot of combinations that we’re trying.”

Now let’s check some of the best bits and hits from the social media world:

It was especially good to see James Hinchcliffe at the track, taking things in as an observer (although at the same time likely chomping at the bit to get back into a car), along with his buddy Conor Daly.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles really got into the spirit, especially proving that there truly still is a thing like a free lunch.

Boles also touted the speeds some cars reached in this video:

Simon Pagenaud was among drivers that took part in the day-long test.

Other drivers that took part included Tony Kanaan, Ed Carpenter, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti.

Marco Andretti ran 525 miles – 25 miles longer than the Indy 500 – in Wednesday’s test.

What did he do for an encore? He hopped a plane to head to Sonoma Raceway for yet another test on Thursday in preparation for the season finale on Aug. 30.

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Kyle Larson wins third consecutive High Limit Sprint race at Eagle Raceway, Rico Abreu second again

Larson High Limit Eagle
High Limit Racing - Twitter

It took four attempts for Kyle Larson to win his first High Limit Sprint Car Series race in the series he co-owns with brother-in-law Brad Sweet, but once he found victory lane, he has been undefeated with his win at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway. For the second week, Abreu led early only to fall prey to Larson.

The win was Larson’s third straight victory and the fifth consecutive top-five, giving him a perfect sweep of the season after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.

Larson started third behind Abreu and Brent Marks but was embroiled in a fierce battle with Anthony Macri for third during the first dozen laps. Larson slipped by Macri in traffic until a red flag waved for a flip by Lachlan McHugh.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Marks retook the lead from Abreu on Lap 18. Larson followed one lap later and then caution waved again. Tyler Courtney lost power and fell to 24th after starting eighth.

Marks scooted away on the restart but tragedy struck in Lap 26. Leading the race, Marks hit a pothole in Turn 1, bicycled and then flipped, handing the lead to Larson.

Abreu caught Larson again during the final laps and in a reprise of their battle at Tri-City Speedway, the two threw sliders at one another for several laps until Larson built some separation and ran away to the checkers.

“I didn’t feel like my pace in [Turns] 1 & 2 slowed down a ton,” Larson said from victory lane. “I missed it once there and then I saw his nose in 3 & 4. I didn’t know if he nailed the bottom that well behind me and I think he might have slid me in the next corner, so he was definitely on the top.

“I was nervous to move up there because my car was really pogoing up in the entry of 1. I got up just in time, made a few mistakes and he threw a couple more sliders at me but he was just a little too far back and I was able to squirt around him. Then I really had to commit to hitting my marks – back my effort down a bit to avoid mistakes.”

After leading early, Abreu fell back as far as sixth, but faith in his car kept hope alive.

“I just needed to do a few things a few laps before I did and fix some angles, then my car got a whole lot better,” Abreu said. “I’m thankful for this team; they do an amazing job. They don’t give up on me. I know my car is going to be there right at the end of these races, so it’s just the discipline of being patient.”

For Abreu, it was his third near-miss this season. He was leading at Lakeside in the 2023 opener until a tire went flat in the closing laps and he lost the lead to Larson late in the Tri-City Speedway race. Abreu has finished sixth or better in his last three High Limit races with each result being progressively better until his pair of runner-up results.

Third-place finisher Scelzi was the hard charger, advancing from 17th.

“I had a very specific plan; don’t go near [the hole in Turn 1],” Scelzi said. “It worked out. No one wanted to start on the top. I think I gained a couple of rows there on the choose cone and ran the middle, which seemed to be better than right around the bottom.”

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid in fourth and Macri rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws star and former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was one of 41 entrants, but he was not among the 26 starters. He failed to advance to the Main after finishing eighth in the B Main and seventh in his heat.

Feature Results

A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[4]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[1]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[17]; 4. 71-Michael Kofoid[5]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]; 6. 9-Chase Randall[9]; 7. 26-Zeb Wise[14]; 8. 1X-Jake Bubak[15]; 9. 8-Aaron Reutzel[10]; 10. 14D-Corey Day[18]; 11. 11-Cory Eliason[12]; 12. 5T-Ryan Timms[11]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon[22]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[16]; 16. 7S-Robbie Price[19]; 17. 21-Brian Brown[23]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[26]; 19. 52-Blake Hahn[25]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 3J-Dusty Zomer[6]; 22. 14-Cole Macedo[7]; 23. 19-Brent Marks[2]; 24. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[8]; 25. 25-Lachlan McHugh[20]; 26. 53-Jack Dover[24]

2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series

Race 1: Giovanni Scelzi wins at Lakeside Speedway
Race2: Anthony Macri wins at 34 Raceway
Race 3: Kyle Larson wins at Wayne County Speedway
Race 4: Kyle Larson wins at Tri-City Speedway