Race preparation wins over Indy 500 practice qualifying
INDIANAPOIS – The first IndyCar competition on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval this month will be a race for pole, Saturday and Sunday through qualifying and Pole Day. In the first two days of testing the Indianapolis 500, it’s the race setup, not qualifying, on most riders’ minds.
“We’re just really focused on the traffic right now,” says Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP, “trying to find the best we can for the race. We all know we need a good qualifying car, but we need an ever better race car to be able to win this race.
“We’re trying to get some Q (qualifying) simulations just to try to get a basic understanding of what our car is, what the speed of our car looks like,” adds Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing. “Especially today, tomorrow it’s going to be a lot of race car stuff. Friday it will be entirely, only in qualifying, then Sunday afternoon we will be back in the race car.
Building a solid knowledge base about the car is crucial for teams hoping to compete on race day.
“The car was really good at the start,” said Felix Rosenqvist, O’Ward’s teammate at AMSP. “That’s the bottom line here: when you come here you just want to deploy with a good balance, and I think the three of us (in the team) had a good starting package.”
“That’s what we’re working on,” continues O’Ward. “I was pretty happy yesterday. We made some changes and I think we found the right direction to where I wanted to go. “
IndyCar drivers get four full days of testing, Tuesday through Friday, before qualifying begins on Saturday. A final day of practice is scheduled for Friday May 28, before the 105th Indianapolis 500 race on Sunday May 30.
“It’s so easy to get out of the window here with such small margins,” Rosenqvist adds. “That’s why we’re here now, just to learn these few days in traffic what the car looks like. Soon we will start to focus more on qualifying. I generally think our car is fast so I’m really excited for next week. “
“There is so much to do in a short period of time,” says Harvey. “The guys from Meyer Shank Racing did really well I think with that.”
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