INDIANAPOLIS – It’s hard to believe but the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 is now in our rear view mirror. It seems like the last 365 days flew by. Now, we have a full year ahead of us until the 103rd Running next May. But, now that we’re a few hours after Will Power crossed the yard of bricks first, here are a few thoughts on this year’s race.
The Race Was Much Different Than Years Past
The new car has done its job on road/street courses. Heading into Sunday’s Indy 500, we had over 1,300 on track passes. That was an over 110-percent increase over this point last year. But, Sunday’s race saw just 633 on track passes. That’s far fewer than last year’s Indy 500.
The 30 lead changes were the least amount since 2011. Most of those too were on pit sequences. Other than restarts or pit sequences, there were no passes for the lead in Sunday’s 200 Lap race.
Jay Frye told me that the goal of this car was to race here like it did in the past. Well, the first year it didn’t. Most of the drivers are already asking for more downforce for next year. They say that will help the action.
But, can they do it?
Car Was Harder To Drive Which Took Out Several Big Named Drivers
This new car is obviously harder to driver. The lack of passing and lead changes further proves that. But, look at the list of drivers that crashed out on Sunday. Takuma Sato, Ed Jones, Danica Patrick, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Sage Karam and Tony Kanaan. The final six crashes were all single car wrecks where the cars just got loose and into the SAFER barriers.
That just goes to show you how difficult it was on track today.
Chevrolet Class Of The Field
The last two years, Honda drivers led 78-percent of the overall laps at Indy. This year, they only led 50 total laps. While the finishing order will show three Honda driver resulting in the top five and four of the top seven, Chevrolet was by far the class of the field this month.
Chevy earned a clean sweep of the front row. They also had seven cars in the Firestone Fast Nine and nine of the top 11. In the race, they had a 1-2 finish with the top three overall cars today (Will Power, Ed Carpenter and Tony Kanaan) all being part of the bow ties.
2nd Hottest Race Ever
The 91 degree high temperature on Sunday makes the 102nd Running the second hottest race in the history of the event. The 1937 race saw a 92 degree high.
Almost A Fuel Mileage Race
Three drivers nearly stole the show in the end. While it looked like Power or Carpenter would win, Stefan Wilson, Oriol Servia and Jack Harvey were running 1-2-3 over the final 20 laps. When Tony Kanaan crashed out with 11 to go, it appeared that the threesome may be able to stretch it out and make it until the end.
They were all four laps short and came in early. That handed the lead to Power. He’d never look back. But, think about if they made it.