The main event has arrived; the Indianapolis 500 is upon us. Whilst practice and qualifying for the famous race which will be run for the 99th time has been nothing short of controversial and a touch on the dangerous side, the show appears to be continuing pretty much as planned – unlike the 2005 United States Grand Prix held at the same venue. However, no less than five nasty shunts and a fire to go with it across the last week and a bit, safety is quite clearly a concern for drivers, fans and everybody involved.
The Ganassis and the Penskes were the ones to really watch during practice, who run the Chevrolet engine and controversial aero kit to go with it. The Chevrolet speedway aero kit, which is being run in race trim for the first time here, has been a likely factor in three spectacular flips for the Penske of three-time winner Helio Castroneves, and for the CFH cars of two-time polesitter Ed Carpenter and Alabama race winner Josef Newgarden. Pippa Mann was also involved in a nasty accident, but her car did not flip over. Simona de Silvestro was the driver who had a car go up in flames, although she was not harmed in the accident. However, none of these came close in terms of consequences compared to the accident that SPM’s James Hinchcliffe had. The Canadian had a front-right suspension failure in the middle of a corner and went straight into the SAFER barrier, but his tub was penetrated by said suspension and this pierced both of his legs and his pelvis. This has therefore ruled him out of the race on Sunday.
Qualifying points were scrapped and cars were notably slowed down for qualifying. Double points for the race remain however, and this will have a big impact on the championship should a title contender exit proceedings early on.
The famous 2.5-mile oval appears quite simple but in reality it is not. It is very easy to get wrong in race conditions as has been seen in the past on many occasions, but it unsurprisingly boasts many overtaking opportunities. Into turn one and into turn three are the obvious hotspots as they are situated immediately after long straights. Passing into turns two and four is possible, but more difficult to pull off.
The 2015 Indianapolis 500 grid is as follows:
- Scott Dixon (NZL) – Chip Ganassi Racing No. 9 Chevrolet – 226.760mph – Winner
- Will Power (AUS) – Team Penske No. 1 Chevrolet – 226.350
- Simon Pagenaud (FRA) – Team Penske No. 22 Chevrolet – 226.145
- Tony Kanaan (BRA) – Chip Ganassi Racing No. 10 Chevrolet – 225.503 – Winner
- Helio Castroneves (BRA) – Team Penske No. 3 Chevrolet – 225.502 – Winner
- Justin Wilson (GBR) – Andretti Autosport No. 25 Honda – 225.279
- Sebastien Bourdais (FRA) – KV Racing Technology No. 11 Chevrolet – 225.193
- Marco Andretti (USA) – Andretti Autosport No. 27 Honda – 225.189
- Josef Newgarden (USA) – CFH Racing No. 21 Chevrolet – 225.187
- R. Hildebrand (USA) – CFH Racing No. 6 Chevrolet – 225.099
- Carlos Munoz (COL) – Andretti Autosport No. 26 Honda – 225.042
- Ed Carpenter (USA) – CFH Racing No. 20 Chevrolet – 224.883
- Oriol Servia (SPA) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing No. 32 Honda – 224.777
- Charlie Kimball (USA) – Chip Ganassi Racing No. 83 Chevrolet – 224.743
- Juan Pablo Montoya (USA) – Team Penske No. 2 Chevrolet – 224.657 – Winner
- Ryan Hunter-Reay (USA) – Andretti Autosport No. 28 Honda – 224.573 – Winner
- Graham Rahal (USA) – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing No. 15 Honda – 224.290
- Carlos Huertas (COL) – Dale Coyne Racing No. 18 Honda – 224.233
- Simona de Silvestro (SUI) – Andretti Autosport No. 29 Honda – 223.838
- James Jakes (GBR) – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 7 Honda – 223.790
- Alex Tagliani (CAN) – A. J. Foyt Enterprises No. 48 Honda – 223.722
- Sage Karam (USA) – Chip Ganassi Racing No. 8 Chevrolet – 223.595
- Conor Daly (USA) – Dale Coyne Racing No. 43 Honda – 223.482
- Townsend Bell (USA) – Dreyer and Reinbold Kingdom Racing No. 24 Chevrolet – 223.447
- Takuma Sato (JPN) – A. J. Foyt Enterprises No. 14 Honda – 223.226
- Pippa Mann (GBR) – Dale Coyne Racing No. 63 Honda – 223.104
- Gabby Chaves (COL) – Bryan Herta Autosport No. 98 Honda – 222.916 – Rookie
- Sebastian Saavedra (COL) – Chip Ganassi Racing No. 17 Chevrolet – 222.898
- Jack Hawksworth (GBR) – A.J. Foyt Enterprises No. 41 Honda – 222.787
- Stefano Coletti (MON) – KV Racing Technology No. 4 Chevrolet – 221.912 – Rookie
- Bryan Clauson (USA) – Jonathan Byrd’s Racing No. 88 Chevrolet – 220.523
- James Davison (AUS) – Dale Coyne Racing No. 19 Honda – 223.7471
- Ryan Briscoe (AUS) – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 5 Honda – 223.5192
1 As Tristan Vautier qualified the No. 19 car which will be driven by James Davison in the race itself, Davison will start the race from the back as per regulations.
2 James Hinchcliffe qualified the No. 5 car but suffered a serious accident in practice on the day after qualification. The car was moved to the back as per regulations.