Running with the big
dogs... Although his
shot at a decent result
was pretty much gone
after a delay on his
first pit stop,
Newgarden still spent
plenty of time mixing it
up with the leaders
competitive lap times
throughout the day.
one spot behind eventual winner Dario
Franchitti, who had been turned around by
E.J. Viso in the pits. From there, Newgarden
methodically gained around 10 spots in the
next 30 laps, before his next stop on lap 48.
But the new set of tires proved his undoing.
“The rear’s loose, and I just got a huge
vibration in the tires,” Newgarden said
on the radio, calmly but firmly.
The resulting, unscheduled third stop,
this time on lap 69, dropped him a lap
down and unable to recover fully.
The rest of the race saw a pattern: a
slight gain in position among the cars also
one lap down before, several laps into a
stint, his tires would fall off. Adjustments
were made to the front and rear wings,
but the handling was never entirely right.
“The tires only help me for so long,
they go off pretty quick,” he radioed in,
just past the 150-lap mark. “The thing
has gotten scary, it’s moving everywhere.
The rear is unpredictable. Every stint, I
am really struggling in traffic.”
CLAUSON’S ROLLER-COASTER RIDE
T WO-CAR ROOKIE TEAM
Newgarden wasn’t Sarah Fisher’s lone
rookie in this year’s field. He was joined
in an all-newbie lineup by Bryan
Clauson, the USAC champ who used a
scholarship from IndyCar to help him
make his Indy 500 debut. Clauson
impressed throughout the first week of
practice and probably would have
qualified in the fourth or fifth row, had
he completed his final qualifying lap.
Instead, he got a little too low
through Turn 1 and lost control in what
was the first major oval crash of the
DW12 chassis. Given fairly limited
resources, the SFHR team repaired
Clauson’s primary car rather than
switch to Newgarden’s spare.
“The car was damaged pretty badly,”
SFHR general manager Andy O’Gara
surmised. “It was a $200,000 hit –
left-side body work, left-side
suspension, front and rear wings,
engine, gearbox, side covers, drive line,
radiators, and exhaust.”
While the car was repaired overnight,
the approach for both cars shifted to a
more conservative one, knowing the
team couldn’t afford another impact.
Still, it seemed Clauson had showed
enough promise before the accident to
deserve another shot in an IndyCar.
USAC ace Bryan
Clauson (LEFT) had
one prior race at the
Speedway, in Indy Lights
in 2011. His Indy 500
some decent speed
but was knocked out
of equilibrium by a
Pole Day crash.