With preparations shifting even further to Pit Lane Parley Qualifications Weekend, the drivers and teams of the second annual Open-Wheels 500-Mile Race had another eight hours of practice on iRacing’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday.
Following yesterday’s session, Ryan Schuld of JHR Racing was atop the leaderboard. After posting the second-fastest lap in Tuesday’s session, the No. 06 Daredevil Brewing JHR Honda clocked a best lap of 38.609 (233.106 miles per hour).
“Went after another big tow for fun and found one in Happy Hour,” Schuld reflected.
“We still have some speed to find for quals. At least we think so. A busy couple days lie ahead and we’ll see what we have come Saturday morning.”
In second, Team Talent with Kinetic Racing’s Rob Powers clocked in just .024 of a second behind Schuld, Powers also noted that he caught a big tow during his best lap.
In third, Marco Brasil led the Chevrolet-powered drivers in the field, two days after posting the fastest lap in Tuesday practice. Rounding out the first five were Schuld’s teammate Hunter Smith, and Connor Baldwin for Happy Cow Racing.
Following Thursday’s practice, Smith noted the challenges he and his team faced.
“Honestly it’s tough to predict where we stand at the moment,” he noted.
“Our Dare Devil car is very quick in the corners, but we are struggling to find the speed on the straights without unsettling the car. It’s a real grind but Ryan Schuld and I are pretty happy with the work we’ve put in this week and look forward to Fast Friday.”
The 110 participants will look to put up a big lap during “Fast Friday” in the last pre-qualifying session.
Following Thursday’s on-track time, positions were drawn for Saturday’s Day 1 Qualifying.
During the random draw for qualifying positions, Stephen Aboagye drew first and the rookie independent will be the first on track during Saturday morning qualifications in his Dallara-Chevrolet. In fifth, Simon Briant of Sadi Sim Autosport will be the first former iRacing Indianapolis 500 winner to attempt a run to make the field of 33.
After winning the pole for last year’s inaugural running, Yang Ou will be the 30th driver to qualify. Late in the afternoon, 2019 race winner Michele Costantini will be the 95th entrant to make a qualifying attempt. Each driver will be allowed three attempts at qualifications, in keeping with past traditions at the “500”.
Friday will again see practice run from 1:00 to 9:00 PM Eastern each day before two days of qualifying on Saturday and Sunday. On November 15, the 200-lap race will begin at 11:45 a.m. Eastern. For a full schedule, click here.
Friday’s practice leads into Pole Day on Saturday, November 7. The first run of the day will roll off at approximately 6:10 AM Eastern, and qualifications attempts will be made live throughout the day on Open- Wheels.com/TV (until 5:00 PM) as well as RaceSpot TV (from 5:00 to 5:50 PM).
The Pit Lane Parley Pole Award winner will be crowned at the end of the day on Saturday while the rest of the field sweats their way through one more day of qualifications. Sunday, November 8 will bring Bump Day – the final 12 hours of first-come, first-served qualifications which will end with the field of 33 drivers being set.
The fastest 33 make the show, and again, final hour coverage of Bump Day will be shown live on RaceSpot TV (beginning at 5:00 PM ET) while the rest of day two qualifications can be found at Open-Wheels.com/TV (6:00 AM to 5:00 PM).
With qualifications out of the day, drivers will practice again from 1:00 to 9:00 PM on Tuesday (November 10) and Thursday (November 12) before hitting the track for the final time on Saturday, November 14 at 12:30 PM on Open-Wheels.com/TV.
Race day for the 2020 Open-Wheels 500 presented by Mitchell Transmissions is Sunday, November 15.
The Today at the 500 Pre-Race Show will begin at 9:00 AM Eastern (live on Open-Wheels.com/TV) which will carry all of the traditional ceremonies – such as Taps, the National Anthem, Back Home Again in Indiana, and more! Following the pre-race show is the live, worldwide broadcast of the second annual Open-Wheels 500 on RaceSpot TV – their coverage beginning at 11:30 AM Eastern with a scheduled green flag of 11:45 AM.
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels.com for in-depth coverage of the 2020 Open-Wheels 500 presented by Mitchell Transmissions, as well as our social media channels for the latest news and updates on this year’s ‘500’.