Saturday, May 19, 2012

Indy 500 Pole Won by Penske's Ryan Briscoe

Ryan Briscoe celebrates his first Indy 500 pole position
It was a sweltering day at Indianapolis today for Indy 500 Pole Day and Penske's Ryan Briscoe took the pole position after the final Fast 9 qualifying session by millimeters over James Hinchliffe of Andretti Autopsort. Hinch made a last ditch effort to unseat Briscoe but could not muster the necessary speed  and wound up second ahead of his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, who also tried unsuccessfully in the last hour to snatch the pole from Briscoe. Once again, Penske has shown the way to go fast at Indianapolis but I'm sure it was closer than Roger would have liked today. He will still cash the $100,000 check though.

Three drivers hit the wall today but they were all able to climb out unharmed. Rookie Bryan Clauson did a half spin into the Turn 1 wall at the start of his fourth qualifying lap on what would have been a solid run shortly after noon. The track continued to heat up and then Oriol Servia lost it coming off of Turn 4 as he was about to take the green flag to qualify. Servia's accident was scariest looking as he spun into the inside wall and then smacked the end of the wall which separates pit lane from the race track which sent him into several more violent spins. Ed Carpenter had the day's hardest hit in Turn 2 but he was in pit lane during the Fast 9 session talking with Tony Kanaan so he's OK too. Thankfully the new Dallara design seems to be quite crashworthy, although I know no one really wanted to test that out this weekend, especially with the short car count where virtually everyone who makes a qualifying attempt is assured of racing in the 500 next Sunday. Except perhaps those who have Lotus power, and other than an early appearance in the morning practice session by Simona DeSilvestro, those with Lotus engines were nowhere to be seen the rest of the day.

One of the coolest things that happened all day was the ceremonial lap turned by Parnelli Jones in the #98 roadster which became the first car to be driven to an average qualifying speed in excess of 150 mph at Indy. He clearly enjoyed the laps and the sound of that old Offy sure was sweet. They will run for final qualifying tomorrow and another hot day is forecast so the old Brickyard will be as tricky as ever. I'll be back Carb Day for the final practice and the Freedom 100. Until then enjoy this cumulative slideshow of photos from today's action.

2012 Indy 500 Pole Day Photos

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