It was a quick and busy afternoon at the World’s Greatest Race Course as drivers prepared for the second annual Open-Wheels 500 presented by Mitchell Transmissions on Wednesday. In total, 68 drivers posted laps at the virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway in anticipation for the November 15 iRacing event.
Brazilian driver Marco Aurelio Brasil was quickest on the day, posting a draft-aided lap of 232.618 miles per hour during the late afternoon session. Drivers were allowed on-track from 12:00 to 3:00 PM Eastern, then from 4:00 to 7:00 PM Eastern to close the day. All sessions were shown live by Open-Wheels TV on their Twitch and YouTube platforms.
Rounding out the top five fastest laps of the day were Tim Doyle (232.384 mph), Dakota DiCienzo (232.234 mph), Sileo Angelo Luigi (232.156) and AJ Burton at 232.001 mph. Across the 68 participants, 2,994 laps were completed on the afternoon and there were a total of 11 drivers with 100-or-more laps logged.
One driver who put in a thorough test day was DiCienzo, the Total Downforce Racing with Team Talent driver who made his way into the 2019 field by qualifying 27th overall last year. On Wednesday he joined the OWTV broadcast and spent a few moments explaining why qualifying for the Open-Wheels 500 is such a challenge.
“It is really stressful but at the same time it is really fun… Knowing that you only have three attempts to get it, it definitely adds to everything,” said DiCiezno. “When you are doing practice runs you want to make sure you are hitting everything perfect, and hopefully the muscle memory is there for when you do your actual runs.”
On the other side of last year’s coin, Irish driver Niall McBride fell just short of qualifying for the 2019 race as he was bumped from the field late in the afternoon on Bump Day. McBride took to the track on Wednesday to shake down his No. 41 Team Talent Chevrolet while beginning his effort towards qualifying for the 2020 race – and avoiding the fate that he endured last November.
“I was just short on preparation (in 2019)… which is what you need a lot of to do qualifying on iRacing,” said McBride. “I had a lot of things going on last year – came back from Brazil and I wasn’t really sure when I’d be able to do qualifying with work and other stuff going on. This year, I know that I’m off for the weekend of qualifying and the race, so hopefully this time I’ll have a better chance of making the field.”
Excitement is building around the possibility of a new track record at the Open-Wheels 500, as the increased engine boost implemented with the new aeroscreen on the Dallara IR-