100th Indianapolis 500 Pole Just A Catt, No Mouse, Game
In what may be one of the closest margins in a speed measurement over four laps at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway four cornered oval (someone should check the records), Canadian and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' James Hinchcliffe inched out American and Ed Carpenter Racing's Josef Newgarden by .06 miles per hour.
Let that sink in ...
The Mayor of the fictional internet village of Hinchtown posted a 4 lap average of 230.760 - 02:36.0063 to Indiana's favorite son (but born in Hendersonville, TN) four lap average, who seemed unbeatable with a fastest lap in qualifications for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil with a Lap 1 speed of 231.551, posting of 230.700 - 02:36.0470.
So what exactly is the difference in a 0.0407th of a second in time?
An IndyCar set-up engineer who is teamed up with James Hinchcliffe named ... Ron Catt.
|Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Crew Chief Ron Catt celebrates with the rest of the team as his driver, James Hinchcliffe, captures the pole for the 100th INDY 500 by a mere 0.06 seconds over Josef Newgarden. Image Credit: Doug Matthews via VICS (2016)|
This excerpted and edited from Racer -
INDY 500: Hinch, crew chief relish Indy turnaround
Marshall Pruett - Sunday, 22 May 2016
Moments after he earned pole position for the 100th Indy 500, and once he'd climbed from the car, the first person James Hinchcliffe sought out was Ron Catt. The two locked in a strong, reaffirming hug [after an affirming fistbump - above], and given where they were a year and a week ago, the firm embrace made sense.
Wind the clock back to this time in 2015 and Hinchcliffe was in a hospital undergoing medical procedures to save his life. Catt, his crew chief, was staring at the bloody, tattered remains of Hinchcliffe's No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda, desperately trying to make sense of the crash that nearly ended in tragedy. Through the ordeal, Catt's calm and warm demeanor helped keep the team together as Hinchcliffe healed.
|IndyCar RaceControl graphic showing the relative speeds registered by the Fast 9 Shootout phase of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil qualifications (click image for full size). Image Credit: Verizon IndyCar Series (2016)|
Pole at Indy, 369 days after all Hinchcliffe and his crew chief endured, was a deeply personal accomplishment for both men, and the 28-year-old Canadian leapt at the chance to heap praise on his friend.
"Ron is a leader and that's what you need in a crew chief," Hinchcliffe told RACER. "He's looked up to by those guys, and that's makes such a difference having a guy at the top of that car everyone respects. And your driver respects. He's a great mechanic, but he's also a great human being. He's everything you'd want in a chief.
"For all the work he and the team has done; we've got some in their second year in the sport and some grizzled veterans, but across the board I have a group guys I respect and have a lot of love for, and it all starts at the top with Ron."
Catt did his best to keep his emotions in check, but the gravity of the team's journey since Indy 2015 was clear as he spoke.
"It's a huge emotional roller-coaster," said Catt. "This is a total 180 from where we were a year ago. We went into qualifying with the mindset we just wanted to produce the best car we could and give him the chance to show everyone what this place means to him. For me, that was my train of thought. This was his time to shine. And he did it."
Catt also credited his driver for being his counterpart in driving the No. 5 Honda program to reach its pole-winning capabilities.
"Hinch is a funny guy all the time, but he wants to run up front and be the best he can be," he added. "He demands a lot from the car, and a lot from us, but it's a respectful demand. He wants to win races and that's what it takes to be successful."
|National Flag Field Of 33 Infographic. Tweet Credit: Steve Wittich (2016)|
Ron Catt said it, right there, at the post qualifications interviews ... of James Hinchcliffe, he is no mouse because "He demands a lot from the car, and a lot from us, but it's a respectful demand. He wants to win races and that's what it takes to be successful."
So what does it take, and just what exactly is the difference in a 0.0407th of a second in time? A Verizon P1 Pole Award at the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil proving that team effort in this one was truly a Catt & no mouse (read Hinch) game.
... notes from The EDJE
TAGS:100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, INDY 500, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Ron Catt, James Hinchcliffe, The Mayor, Ed Carpenter Racing, Josef Newgarden, #VICS, #IndyCar, #100thRunning, #Indy500, @IMS, The EDJE