By: Tanner Watkins
May 18, 2019 | 8:00 AM
Can you believe that it has already been a week since Simon Pagenaud’s incredible drive in the rain to win the INDYCAR Grand Prix? More than just the weather has changed in seven days’ time, and today we tee it up for first round Indianapolis 500 qualifications.
While we won’t see any track records on Saturday – expect the top four-lap averages to hover right at or below 230 mph – there is plenty of intrigue on deck. Positions 10 through 30 will lock themselves in at the end of the day while positions 1 through 9, as well as 31 through 36, will re-qualify Sunday.
Look for Ed Carpenter Racing to be front runners this weekend, and of course you can’t rule out Team Penske or Andretti Autosport. There have been a slew of drivers register strong starts to the month, though, so keep an open mind when trying to pick your polesitter this weekend.
Also keep an eye on Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Felix Rosenqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing), Patricio O’Ward (Carlin) and Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) as those drivers continue to play catch-up from crashes earlier in the week.
Contrary to the standard on practice days, the gates opened today at 7:00 AM Eastern time. They will remain open until 6:00 PM Eastern. Track activity begins with practice at 8:00 AM, and qualifications begin at 11:00 AM.
Friday saw temperatures hold steady in the low 80s for the first time this month, and Saturday’s temps will be even higher. AccuWeather is forecasting a high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit today with partly sunny conditions – which will surely make it hard on the drivers.
Bring plenty of sunscreen and water to the track today. You will thank us later!
There is a 12% chance of rain, which is half of the chance we had on Friday. That didn’t stop practice from being halted for an hour, though, as an afternoon thunderstorm passed just southwest of the Speedway.
Well, that does it for our Saturday preview at the track! Come out and catch qualifications this weekend and get excited for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 – it is only eight days away!
What to Know for
Saturday, May 18, 2019
On-Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)
7:00 AM to 6:00 PM | Public Gates Open
8:00 to 9:30 AM | Full Field Indianapolis 500 Practice
11:00 AM to 5:50 PM | Day One Qualifications for the Indianapolis 500
Forecast provided courtesy of AccuWeather
Projected High/Low: 87/68 F
Weather: Partly sunny; very warm. Chance of Rain: 12%
Wind: From south-southwest at 10 mph; Gusts up to 17 mph.
Tickets: $20 (General Admission). Kids 15 and under are free accompanied by adult with ticket.
Public Gates Open: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.: 1, 1B, 2, 3, 4, 5B Media, 6, 7 Vehicle, 9, 9A, 10, 10A, 12
Stands Open: Mounds: Backstretch Family Mounds, Backstretch, Turn 2, Turn 3, Turn 4. Stands: A Stand (1-4), B Penthouse, B Stand (22-25), E Penthouse, E Stand, Gasoline Alley Roof, North Vista Wheelchair, NW Vista (1-6), NW Vista Deck, Paddock (9-18), Paddock Penthouse (10-20), Pit Road Terrace, Southeast Vista Deck, South Terrace, Southeast Vista (1-3), Tower Terrace (37-42), Tower Terrace Wheelchair, South Terrace East.
Parking Lots Open: (Open 6 a.m.) Prepaid Daily: Lot 2, Lot 3P, Main Gate, Parcel B. Limited Free: North 40, Turn 3. ADA: North 40 (Free), West Museum (Free), Flag Lot (Free), Tower Terrace (Free), Lot 3P (Paid Daily), Lot 2 (Paid Daily).
IMS Museum: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., $20 IMS gate admission for Indianapolis 500 plus Museum admission ($10 adult, $5 ages 6-15, free 5 and under).
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.