Saturday, May 29, 2010

Countdown to Indy (#8): Franchitti, Target Chip Ganassi Flies in Miller Carb Day at Indy

Photo by: Dan Helrigel

For a long time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Carburetion Day (known as more recently simply as Carb Day) has been an established day where qualified Indy 500 teams get their final practice opportunities on the 2.5 mile oval. With only the greatest American open wheel race ahead, Miller Carb Day is time spent wisely by 33 IZOD IndyCar teams as they determine the potential winning set-up for Sunday as each team averaged between 30-45 laps on the track.

Taking fastest time through the final practice, Scot Dario Franchitti launched his #10 Target/Chip Ganassi Racing with a 225.574 mile per hour average speed. The 2007 winner of the Indy 500, Franchitti and his #9 car teammate Scott Dixon mounted a strong 1-2 punch on Miller Carb Day. Qualifying 3rd and 6th, the Target Chip Ganassi Racing cars are seen as the top challenger against the favoured three-car team of Penske Racing. Of the Team Penske group, Australian Will Power made it to the highest spot on the Carb Day time sheet for the Verizon-sponsored trio with a 3rd fastest run just 1/10th of a second off Franchitti's time.

In 4th place, the one-off FAZZT Race Team #33 car driven by Bruno Junqueira posted a time 1/10th of a second slower than Will Power. Starting the Indy 500 in 25th place Sunday, Junqueira spent most of the week prior to Indy 500 qualifying weekend waiting for the sponsorship check to clear for his FAZZT Race Team ride. Unable to make a run on Indy 500 Pole Day, the 225.662 mile per hour four-lap average speed posted on Bump Day could have scored the #33 car a 7th place run one day before. Very satisfied with the fact that former Indy car team owner Derrick Walker will be operating as his Team Strategist, Junqueira summarized the his attitude when starting Sunday's race by saying "We need to be very patient, but that is OK because we have a fast car." Possessing a strong well-rounded team, FAZZT Race Team's full-time #77 team posted a strong 10th place run in what has been a remarkable month of May for Canadian driver Alex Tagliani.

Fifth on Carb Day practice is where 2010 Indy 500 polesitter Helio Castroneves settled. Leading several practice sessions, Castroneves and his #3 Penske Racing team Pole Day lap was about 1.5 miles per hour faster than any lap shown through warm ups. Rounding out the top-10 in Carb Day final practice is KV Racing Technology's E.J. Viso, Dan Wheldon, Mario Moraes, Raphael Matos and the before-mentioned Alex Tagliani.

Recovering from terrible memories of the two-day qualifying session last weekend, Tony Kanaan was going to start in the back of the 2010 Indy 500 after finally qualifying after two crashes. Struggling to find speed with his third car, the #11 Andretti Autosport team has elected to switch to their back-up car. Since Tony Kanaan qualified 32rd, the Brazilian loses only one position as he is sent to the back of the field for the car change.

This year, Miller Carb Day also consists of a IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition and the Firestone Indy Light's 40 lap race called the Firestone Freedom 100. While Wade Cunningham won the Firestone Freedom 100 for the third time, the pit stop competition was taken by the #3 Penske Racing team. Winning the pole last Saturday for the 2010 Indy 500, Team Penske is now 2 for 2 in official competitions with other IndyCar organization.

If the luck holds for the #3 Penske Racing car, Helio Castroneves could drinking milk for the fourth time in Indianapolis Motor Speedway victory lane. However, 32 other drivers will definitely mount a collected effort to keep the Brazilian and his Penske Racing team out of victory lane.

No comments:

Post a Comment