Friday, April 17, 2009

INDY Long Beach - Dallara's First Practice Sessions

Hot Wheels IndyCar Dallara - Hot Wheels take to the track at Long Beach the first time in unification of North American Open Wheel Automobile Racing. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

INDY Long Beach - Dallara's First Practice Sessions

The sound of the Dallara Honda engines filled the air and bounced/reverberated off of the buildings in downtown Long Beach for the first time today.

Here is a sample of the experience with updates to follow.

At the end of the first practice session, three of the top five lap speeds were registered by Transition Players from the former ChampCar World Series!

Top Five As Follows (** denotes Transition Player):

Dario Franchetti - 1:11.1915
Ryan Briscoe - 1:11.5385
Mario Moraes** - 1:116395
Will Power** - 1:11.6512
Graham Rahal** - 1:11.6777

All covered by less than a half of a second on the clock!

Dallara Logo painted on the side of the manufacturer's transport truck. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

Well, it's back to the track for the 2:00 PM PT session #2.


Second practice leaderboard. Screen Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

The second practice ended and the Transition players did not fare as well as expected. It was the general consensus around the track that local knowledge would win out given all other things being equal. Guess again.

Penske Racing has a manufacturer's knowledge, a ChampCar ex-patriot as one of it's drivers, and a former home field advantage to take into account as the team has placed last year's winner Will Power in the lead speed position with Ryan Briscoe taking station at P9 - This just in ... Helio Castroneves, the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, was just acquitted by a Florida jury of six counts of tax evasion and he will drive the #3 Dallara platform.

Chip Ganassi, team owner of the cars driven by ICS Champions Scott Dixon (2008) and Dario Frachetti (2007). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

Closely following Will Power and Penske (who will be assigned a third Dallara sponsored by Verizon Wireless and it will carry the #12) is Target Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon in P2 and his teammate, Dario Franchetti notching in at P6.

Positions 3, 4, 5 are held by relative rookies to the track with Luczo Dragon Racing's Raphael Matos, Panther's Dan Weldon, and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Mike Conway.

This leaves the Transition Players (after Will Power who has to take on an untested chassis) struggling along at positions 10 - Graham Rahal, 11 - EJ Viso, 12 - Justin Wilson, 14 - Robert Doornbos, 15 - Mario Moraes, and finally, 17 - Alex Tagliani.

A slow, sad day for the merged ChampCar crowd and the people who follow their fortunes.

... notes from The EDJE

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