Event Coverage: 2017 IndyCar Grand Prix


Mechanics for 2016 Indy 500 champ Alexander Rossi wait for the call to bring cars to the grid.  
Rossi has had a decent season, but the Indy champ would certainly like to see Victory Lane a few more times.
This is a shameless bit of self-promotion for my day job. Though this is a good spot to mention that in 2017, IndyCar is in an aero freeze. In 2015, IndyCar allowed Honda and Chevrolet to produce their own aero kits. After the costs became too unruly, IndyCar froze the kits at the end of 2016 and in 2018 will be reintroducing a brand new spec kit that relies more on underbody downforce and less on wings. This should make the cars faster and allow for better drafting and passing while being cheaper for the teams. A win for everybody!
With the cars on the track, the field of 22 was whittled down to 12, and then 6. Most of the mid-field starters weren’t much of a surprise, but Simon Pagenaud getting bumped out of the Fast 6 was. Pagenaud has won 2 of the 3 Indy GP races, once with SPM Racing, and last year with Team Penske. The Indy road course is very fast and flowing, and the car has to be 100% right to get the absolute lowest laptime. It makes for tough passing, but the cars absolutely dance around the quick track. Fast laps land in the 195 MPH range, which is pretty amazing when you realize that this is as fast as Phoenix, an oval where the cars are running 100% flatout.
Of the fast 6, four, were Penskes. Power and Castroneves dueled for fastest laps throughout the first qualifying sessions. So who would come out on top?
This guyyyyyy.
Power snapped up his 3rd pole in five races. He set a new lap record of 1:07.7044, an average speed just over 196 MPH. When asked if he was excited to land the pole, he answered “I’d be much happier to win a race.”  Castroneves would start 2nd, with Newgarden 3rd, Dixon 4th, Montoya 5th, and Bourdais 6th. JPM is still on the Penske payroll and is contesting both Indy races in 2017. Placing his car in 5th after not even sitting in an IndyCar for 6 months showed he hasn’t slowed down one bit.

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