The superspeedway versions of
IndyCar’s aero kits for Chevrolet and
Honda teams proved less stylistically
controversial than their more cluttered
road course equivalents, thanks to the
reduced need for downforce-inducing
add-ons. But how much they affected the
competitive picture wasn’t clear.
While Chevy cars again led the way in
the “promoters test” that kicked off the
month of May, Honda teams appeared
closer on pace at Indy than they had
been on the left-and-right tracks that
opened the season. But with tows from
other cars so strongly influencing practice
speeds, it was hard to say for sure.
The sleeker kits did increase the pace,
though, with Juan Montoya’s fastest lap
of 226.672mph pushing up the top speed
by nearly 4mph from Day 1 a year ago.
“Once we trim, we’ll see. Pole will
probably be 233 or 234 this year,” opined
Montoya. “But, really, I think the time
sheet is pretty irrelevant. It’s just a matter
of who is doing the best in the draft.”
So, Arie Luyendyk’s official Indy
records of 237.498mph (one lap) and
236.986mph (four-lap average) from
1996 might still be out of reach this year,
even with the extra turbo boost on tap for
qualifying. Yet at least the possibility of a
record is finally being talked about again.
Superspeedway aero kit could bring records within reach
going with the flow
american tales drive the
early season storyline
Chevrolet teams kept the Bowtie front
and center through the first quarter of
the Verizon IndyCar Series, but it was far
from the Penske whitewash threatened
by that team’s 1-2-3-4 qualifying sweep
at the St. Petersburg opener.
Yes, Team Penske dominated that race,
and the early stages at NOLA before
weather scrambled the order. But Chip
Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon thumped the
Penskes on the streets of Long Beach.
Then, between the manicured sightlines
at Barber, Josef Newgarden’s stirring
drive for CFH Racing answered in decisive
fashion the question of when would
America’s great young hope win (ABOVE).
Still, a common theme remained – one
that had Honda runners eager for a fresh
start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It’s not exactly the way Indiana fans have
dreamed it, but Jeff Gordon will finally lead
an Indy 500 field – in the Corvette pace car.
The NASCAR ace will then head for Charlotte
to complete a new take on “The Double.”
* No Honda-powered cars in Firestone Fast 6 –
comparison is based on qualifying round 2.
KEY Q≠ = QUALIFYING R = RACE
CHEVY RULES THE ROADS
Removing NOLA’s rain-affected event, here’s
how the best Chevy compared with the best
Honda in the early-season road course races
(as a percentage difference in lap speed).
While the road
course aero kits
are designed to
pile on as much
aim to provide
just enough to
keep the cars
with its tiny rear
wing and no end
wing pillars and a
PUSH mE, PULL
admitted that its
aero kit focus was
“to give our drivers
and teams the tools
they need to win the
race that Honda
holds as its most
important goal each
worked for Ryan
year, but 2015 is a
whole new ballgame.