Event Coverage: 2019 Indianapolis 500

The Month of May is always an especially crazy period for the NTT Data IndyCar Series: two races at the same track in three weeks, with two weeks of practice, qualifying, and media tours crammed in between, and you’ve got for one busy three weeks.  While it’s expected that the Indy 500 will be crazy, the 2019 edition of the storied event was especially so. There were a ton of stories, good, bad, and ugly, that dominated the Month of May. Along with the play by play of the race, we will highlight some of those more interesting stories that lead up to what ended up being a wild Indianapolis 500.

Marco Andretti
One of the never ending stories at Indy is always: Will an Andretti end up in Victory Lane? The Andretti Curse has in some ways become a distant memory since Michael began winning Indy 500s as a team owner (five of them to be exact), but in terms of drivers, the Andrettis have been in a drought since 1969. Grandfather Mario is still the only Andretti to win Indy as a driver, and his win in the Summer of ‘69 was commemorated in the Speedway’s museum, as well as on Marco’s car, a throwback to the STP orange of Mario’s winning Hawk. Grandson Marco is typically good at Indy, and 2019 looked like a year he could threaten. While he never made waves in Practice, come qualifying, he was able to place his car 10th in the field. Unfortunately on Race Day, the car was never there and Marco slipped through the field, finishing 26th, 5 full laps down on the leaders. As Marco said later, “Today was for sure the wrong day to have a bad day.”
Will Power
Defending Indy 500 Champion Will Power had a relatively quiet Month of May. He was always in the top portion of the time sheets, but never seemed to be in the conversation about who would be competitive at Indy. Will still had a strong car, starting 7th and leading a few times during the day. But a mistake in the pits, that lead Will to clip his fueler, forced Will to the pack of the field and he was forced to work his way to the front again. He was able to make his way back to 5th, but it was not the race the defending champion really wanted. 2019 has been a difficult year for Power overall: Two poles have not translated to wins for Power and it’s been a few years since he’s gone this far into a season without a win.
Robert Wickens
It was very refreshing to see Robert Wickens again. A year ago he was competing in his first ever Indy 500, finishing a respectable 9th. Then in August he was involved in a horrifying wreck where his car nearly went through the fence after tangling with Ryan Hunter-Reay early on in the Pocono 500. The accident was devastating and while Wickens survived, he has been recovering from a spinal cord injury ever since. Believe it or not, he can actually walk with assistance, but he is still a long way from racing again. It’s a true miracle Robbie is still with us and is as enthusiastic about racing as he ever was. I have no doubt that when he’s ready, he will be a driver once again.
Marcus Ericsson
The one benefactor to Wicken’s injuries was Marcus Ericsson. Fired from the Alfa Romeo Sauber team at the end of 2018, Ericsson was hired to replace Wickens while Wickens recovers from his injuries. He’s been a bit slow to adapt to IndyCar, but he’s been enjoying the experience and there have been flashes of brilliance from the one time Formula 3 champion. He and his team won this year’s Pit Stop Competition (that winning moment seen here) and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a driver so excited to win this event. His team beat Scott Dixon’s much more experienced Ganassi Racing crew and that was a big boost for him. Sadly, his Indy 500 was a mixed bag. He started a solid 13th in the field, and slowly crept his way up to 8th. Unfortunately a rookie error as he came in for a late pitstop put him out of the race. Ericsson forgot to warm his brakes as he came in for his fourth stop. When the carbon brakes on an IndyCar are dead cold (as they are on a flat out oval like Indy), they have zero stopping power. A driver has to ride the brakes slightly before coming into the pits so they bite when needed. Ericsson forgot to do this and flew into the pits, finally locking the rears and banging both ends of his car on the pit walls, ending his day.


  1. Some interesting stuff going on with the compressor housing of the turbo…. looks like it has two outlets. Indycar running anti-lag these days?

  2. I don’t think anti-lag is allowed, but they may be using some other method of keeping the turbos spooled. Anti-lag wouldn’t really help at Indy anyway since they’re full throttle through the entire lap. Might be more to do with boost control, which is heavily restricted by IndyCar.

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