With the tires on, the rear tire changers move behind the car to help get it rolling. Once the fuel tank is full, the jack man pulls the air hose and gets ready to grab the starter motor (sitting on the wall at the bottom of this shot) in case the driver stalls the engine. A well-executed pit stop can make or break a race, so teams rehearse them many times to get them perfect.
Hildebrand didn’t have the best of days in his first race of 2015. He qualified 15th, but would finish a lap down in 21st. Hildebrand is best remembered for nearly winning the 2011 Indy 500, crashing in the very last corner of the last lap, handing the win to the late Dan Wheldon.
Considering Dixon restarted the race half a lap down in 24th (the race should have been held under yellow for one more lap to allow him and Newgarden to catch the field), his 10th place finish is more than respectable. Dixon and his Target Chip Ganassi crew used smart pit tactics and Dixon’s master class driving to salvage a decent finish from a bad day. One wonders what might have been had he not been spun on Lap 1.
The same could not be said for Newgarden. When the green flag flew, he was only a few hundred yards in front of the leaders (you can see them in the background) and spent the entire day trying not to go a lap down, praying desperately for a yellow to allow him to catch up. That yellow would never come and he would finish 20th.
One of the best battles of the day would be between Steffano Coletti and Tony Kanaan. The two battled for a number of laps, with rookie Coletti just quick enough to hold off the veteran TK. TK would eventually pass Coletti and the two would finish 7th and 8th. Coletti had a rough start to 2015, but has been steadily improving.
Andretti and Filippi fight for 15th. Filippi splits his driving duties with team owner Ed Carpenter. Carpenter drives all of the ovals in the #20 Fuzzy’s Vodka car, while Filippi drives the road and street courses. Both drivers will compete in the 500. Filippi finished 14th, while Andretti would eventually drop to 16th.