Just one week from the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend continues with Pole Day following the drama found on Bump Day.
In a shocking turn of events, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ veteran and 2016 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter, James Hinchcliffe, did not qualify for next Sunday’s race while Pippa Mann of Dale Coyne Racing also missed the show.
Hinchcliffe is currently 5th in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship and his absence will be felt significantly.
In the waining moments of Bump Day, Hinchcliffe was ready to make one final run when he felt a severe vibration during his warm-up lap and had to bring the car in. The team would later diagnose that a tire pressure sensor had broken loose and was rattling around in the wheel.
“The track kept getting a little bit quicker, so we were pretty optimistic, to be honest,” Hinchcliffe said. “As soon as I left pit lane, I felt a horrible vibration. Called it in. Weirdly, it started to go away. I thought I had some pickup on my tires or something. I called into the team, ‘I think it’s all right, I’m going to keep going.’ (By) Turn Three, it all came back again. It was violent.
Despite a sub-par 4-lap average earlier in the day, Hinchcliffe and his SPM crew had found an issue that was reducing speed in their earlier run just as they did with teammate Jack Harvey’s machine. They were confident the No. 5 would be in the show by 5:50 p.m.
“It worked out timing-wise, not enough seconds in the day to get our last run in,” a reserved Hinchcliffe said. “For sure the car had speed to be in the show. I mean, not the fastest car by any stretch this month, but we weren’t expecting that. But certainly enough to be comfortable in the show.
“Bummed for all the guys on the team. Everybody worked so hard. This race means so much to every single one of us that works in the paddock, not unique to our team by any stretch. Pretty bummed attitude back in the garage at the moment. But we’re a strong group. This track, believe it or not, has done worse to me in the past, and we came back swinging, so we’ll be fine.”
On the other side of the coin, it was veteran Indianapolis 500 starter Pippa Mann who made the final run of the day and was unable to improve her time to reach the fastest 33 drivers. A dejected Mann made note in his post-session qualifying presser that the team knew they were in trouble on Fast Friday after positive days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“(Friday) morning, I rolled out, 226 out of the box. Great, this isn’t bad. Now let’s trim the car, nothing. Went through it again, nothing. That’s when we started to realize we might really be in trouble,” Mann said. “We tried everything we could think of yesterday. The boys stayed really, really late last night. We pulled the rack off the car, we resanded the car, resanded the floor. We went through all the brakes again because we thought we had some brakes that were dragging a little bit out.
“I knew if everything we did last night still hadn’t made us go faster, we were going to be in trouble today. But you have to try and get out there anyway. When we got back in line for the last run, we took every single trim we could possibly could to the racecar, we did everything.”
Aside from the bumping, nine drivers made the Firestone Fast Nine and will compete for the Indianapolis 500 Verizon P1 Award on Sunday while the entire field of 33 has their times reset.
Helio Castroneves lead his Team Penske brigade into the Fast Nine by setting the quickest 4-lap average speed of the day at 228.919 MPH. He was joined in the group by each of his teammates as Simon Pagenaud was 3rd, Will Power 4th and Josef Newgarden slotted in 7th.
Ed Carpenter Racing was also strong in a dominant Chevrolet performance as they placed each of their three team cars in the final group. Ed Carpenter was 2nd-fastest on the day while Spencer Pigot was 6th. Danica Patrick will compete for the Indianapolis 500 pole on Sunday as she squeezed into the final group by being 9th-quickest.
The only Honda representatives in the Fast Nine were Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon. The Frenchman will have a chance at pole after he endured a savage accident in Indianapolis 500 qualifications last year while Dixon will be searching for his third career pole at Indy.
Gates for Pole Day open at 8:00 a.m. with practice kicking off at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. By 2:45 pm., positions 10 through 33 will re-qualify for their final qualifying times to set the grid for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. At 5:00 p.m., the Firestone Fast Nine will have their shootout to find the pole sitter.
Timing and scoring as well as morning practice can be found at RaceControl.IndyCar.com while qualifying attempts up until 4:00 p.m. Eastern will be shown on Watch ESPN.
From 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. the coverage will be shown live on ABC.
Additionally, the IMS Radio Network led by Mark Jaynes and analyst Anders Krohn will be on the air today starting with pre-qualifying practice beginning at noon. You can hear them on RaceControl.IndyCar.com or by visiting IndyCarRadio.com.
Indianapolis 500 Pole Day | Sunday, May 20, 2018
Stream/Timing and Scoring: RaceControl.IndyCar.com
Indianapolis 500 Entry List: Click Here
Qualifications Results from Bump Day: Click Here
Recap from Bump Day: Click Here
Schedule of Events
8 a.m.-6 p.m.: Ticket and Credential Office Open
9 a.m.: Public Gates Open
9 a.m.-6 p.m.: IMS Midway Open
10:30-11:15 a.m.: Enlistment Ceremony, Pagoda Plaza
12-1 p.m.: American Dairy Pin Distribution, Pagoda Plaza
12-12:45 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Practice (Positions 10-33)
1:15-2 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Practice (Fast Nine)
2:45-4:45 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Qualifying (Positions 10-33)
5-5:45 p.m.: Indianapolis 500 Qualifying (Fast Nine Shootout)
5:45 p.m.: Verizon P1 Award Ceremony
6 p.m.: Public Gates Close
Tickets: $20 (General Admission). Kids 15 and under are free accompanied by adult with ticket. Active duty military personnel with valid military ID receive free general admission during Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend.
Public Gates Open Today: Gates open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m.; entry points are Gates 1, 1B, 2, 3, 4, 5B Media, 6, 7, 7 Vehicle, 7 South, 9, 9A, 10, 10A, 12
Seating Options: All stands are general admission. Mounds: Backstretch, Backstretch Family, Turn 2, Turn 3, Turn 4. Stands: A Stand (Sections 1-4), B Stand (Sections 22-25), B Penthouse (Sections 21-25), Gasoline Alley Roof, E Stand, E Penthouse, North Vista wheelchair, Northwest Vista (Sections 1-6), Northwest Vista Deck, Paddock (Sections 9-18), Paddock Penthouse (Sections 10-20), Pit Road Terrace, Southeast Vista Deck, Southeast Vista (Sections 17-20), South Terrace, South Wheelchair Deck, Tower Terrace Wheelchair, Tower Terrace (Sections 37-42).
Parking Lots Open: Limited Free: North 40, Turn 3, Tower/Pagoda, Hulman Lot, West Museum. ADA: Lot 3P (paid daily), Lot 2 (paid daily), Main Gate (paid daily), Parcel B (paid daily)
IMS Museum Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $15 IMS Gate Admission for Indianapolis 500 plus Museum Admission ($10 Adult, $5 Ages 6-15, Free 5 and under). Entrance into the grounds is free of charge on non-event days. However, during events the Indianapolis Motor Speedway charges an admission fee or requires a ticket to enter the grounds. This general admission fee or ticket price does not include admission to the Museum.