|Helio Castroneves getting a jump on preparation for the 100th Indianapolis 500|
It is a beautiful August day here in Indy. With temperatures in the low 70's it feels more like May. Helio Castroneves agreed with me that the conditions today are similar to practice sessions for the actual Indy 500.
The three-time Indy winner noted "the beauty of working with a company like Firestone is they end up giving you some interesting things. Are we sure these changes are going to work? We are going over 200 miles per hours here. That is why we are here, to make sure we try all the little details. I already did 124 laps this morning, that is half the distance of the race. It is about size, it is about grip, it is about what line to take. Great to be part of a this test. I still have some long runs to do this afternoon."
Castroneves also commented on the possibility of breaking the track record next year. "It is always great to go fast in this place. This is what is it all about, finding the limit. I believe the 100th is more important than just breaking the record. It is all about what we are going to do. The first year we have the aero kit, I am the first one to experience the effect. But at the end of the day, you want to be fast and be safe."
Simon Pagenaud was also smiling after his morning run. "I love this place. This test is good for Team Penske to participate in. We are working on the aero and tire testing today, not speed. Firestone needs lots of time to prepare all the tires for the 100th Indy 500. Each team gets 33 sets of tires."
Dale Harrigle, chief engineer of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and manager of race tire development, had good things to say about today. "Everything has been going great here in Indianapolis. We have to take all the data from every driver and talk about everyone's feedback. We will start talking at lunch and come up with a plan."
I asked when the tires for the Indy 500 actually go to production and Dale replied, "these tires will be made sometime this winter and the tires for the other races in the series, we will start production fairly quickly."
Tony Kanaan talked about the 100th Indy 500 and was interrupted by the Mayor of Hinchtown driving by us as we talked. "They have already started changing the track," said the 2013 500 winner. "We won't recognize it by next May. Every time I drive into the track through the tunnel, I still get goose bumps. Having won this race before, no matter what number the race is, it is always a great feeling." When asked about the speed of the cars, he replied "As a fan watching the race, you cannot tell if the cars are going 230 or 240. But if you have a package that allows the cars to spread out and pass for the lead, the fans are going to enjoy the exciting race."
Finally, I bumped into Marco Andretti. "I think about what it would be to win the 100th.
And it should be an Andretti. Just think of our history here."
Yes, that would be something.
Although May is 9 months away and there is still an IndyCar season to wrap up, the drivers are already thinking about the excitement of what will surely be a historic race next May 29th.
Lucille Dust reporting from Indianapolis Motor Speedway
|Ed Carpenter's car being prepared|
Good morning from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There are still remnants of the MotoGP being disassembled but some IndyCars are back on this magnificent track this morning. Today we are testing tires for the most anticipated 100th running of the Indy 500 next May.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves are testing other tires compounds while Simon Pagenaud, Marco Andretti and Ed Carpenter are testing the Indy 500 tires.
Firestone annually tests at IMS "as we're continuously seeking to innovate and make the tire better and make sure we're prepared for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500," according to Dale Harrigle, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and manager of race tire development.
|Workers continue grandstand upgrade|
"We have a right- and left-side compound to evaluate. We have 24 different specs of tires to evaluate and that will make up 10 sets of tires," Harrigle said, adding that introduction of aerodynamic bodywork components to the race cars this year makes testing to determine the 2016 IMS oval tire compounds more essential.
"It's about how to improve the tire to give the drivers a better feel with the aero kits," he said. "It's also to make sure we're comfortable with the speeds that we'll be running next year. I expect to see an increase in speed with just the continuation of development of the aero kits and the engines."
I will be reporting on the results of the testing later today. Lucille Dust reporting live from IMS for AutoRacing1.com