Overheard at Indy – Friday

In the final practice before qualifications at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, thirty drivers were within 1/2 of a second today of the fastest lap put in by Helio Castroneves. Castroneves was barely an eye blink faster than Will Power – around 2/100 of a second. Alex Tagliani was a surprise third fastest. Helio is on top of the combined practice sheets as well, just barely ahead of Scott Dixon. Except for a minor brush with the wall by Paul Tracy, there were no on-track incidents. Virtually all cars recorded a combined practice time within a second of the top speed for the month.


The day was often interrupted by light rain, was considerably cooler (70 degrees) than the forecast for Saturday — and certainly cooler than the expected 90 degree day on Sunday. Indy is always a temperature-sensitive track, and so the teams will have to dig into their data books for a setup for the next 2 days.


Holding court this morning was long-time Indy announcer Tom Carnegie. According to those in attendance, Tom sounded good, in much better health than in past years. Missing, however, is long-time motorsports reporter Chris Economaki. Normally he has his spot in the first row, first seat of the IMS Media Center, but this year both he and his ancient manual typewriter is missing.


The talk of the day is about the DeltaWing Racing Cars prototype Indy car http://deltawingracing.com/. The prototype was out near the entrance to Gasoline Alley, and DeltaWing engineers were available for people asking questions. Engineers claim that they could make the car to be 1000 pounds (including driver), safer and cheaper than the current Dallara, and since there is a lot less wing area, could be powered by a much smaller motor. Skeptics abound, but it certainly is the most radical design to be proposed for Indy Cars since… well, perhaps since the advent of wings in the early 1970's. (For a mental image of this car, imagine one of Craig Breedlove's land speed record cars – complete with vertical fin on the tail — and you've got the idea).

At any rate — if they build it, you'll want to watch the testing. Given that the front tires on the car are only 30 inches apart, it might stimulate ticket sales in the first corner of Indy.


Tee Shirt of the Week – "Mrs. George — Please Reinstate Tony!" No, they didn't have an AutoRacing1.com logo on them….. Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy

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