The wait is almost over!! Following a month of preparation the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday and for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports it will be an extra special day indeed.
Following a fantastic two days of qualifying at the Brickyard last weekend, James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda took the P1 Award ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden and Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter Reay.
For the Mayor of HinchTown pole for the Indianapolis 500 marks a fantastic come back to the speedway following his accident last year that forced him to miss the 99th running of the 500. Hinch struggled in the opening races of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season however that all changed earlier this month when he finished the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the podium in third place.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s race and speaking following Monday’s final practice session before Carb Day on Friday Hinchcliffe commented by saying:
Monday was a productive day here at IMS. This session is very important and I’m really glad we get it. During the week, you try and do some race running but guys are on different programs, it’s a six-hour session, some guys are on track, others are in the garage, so it’s a bit tough to get a really good read on what the race will be like. Today, everybody’s on track running race runs all day. It gives you an opportunity to gather some really valuable data and I think we made some positive changes to the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car. Some negative changes too, so at least we learned a direction and at least we can tune on it a little bit for Carb Day and hopefully be in a good position come Sunday.
Oriol Servia is back driving an IndyCar for the first time since subbing for Penske’s Will Power in the opening race of the season, the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg. The Spaniard who will start Sunday’s race from 10th place commented by saying:
I’m very happy. We did lots of miles and tried lots of things. The best case scenario happened, which was that I was the happiest with the No. 77 Jahia and Lucas Oil car on my last run. I’m looking forward to May 29th. I think we have good cars and I couldn’t be happier with the whole team, and what we have in store for the race.
Mikhail Aleshin in the No.7 SMP Racing/Schmidt Peterson Honda will start the race from seventh place and speaking following Monday’s practice, the Russian commented by saying:
The final day of practice went well. I think we’re going to be pretty fast in the race with the No. 7 DOOM and SMP Racing car. All three cars showed some good pace. It’s not going to be easy for anyone. It looked like many people struggled in traffic, but it’s all about having good sets of tires and good luck.