Count on a well-recognized Indy 500 spectacle, veteran drivers say
Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou and Tony Kanaan consider the battle on the entrance of the sphere for this yr’s 107th operating of the Indianapolis 500 will look much like that seen in 2022.
Whereas it seems comparatively simple for the vehicles to draft up and run shut, the drivers counsel that 4 or 5 vehicles again in a pack, really finishing a passing maneuver is as troublesome as earlier than.
“In case you’re not within the high 5 on the ending of the race, I don’t suppose you’ve got an opportunity,” mentioned 2013 winner Kanaan, looking forward to his 390th and remaining IndyCar begin. “Final yr I used to be third and I couldn’t do something. Particularly with the brand new zig-zag mannequin of racing that we created within the final two laps currently, it’s powerful.”
Newgarden, nonetheless looking for his first high three within the 500 since switching from Ed Carpenter Racing to Staff Penske in 2017, mentioned: “I simply don’t suppose it’s going to be that totally different from final yr, outdoors of the very entrance.
“The primary two vehicles, it’s simpler to comply with. We’ve got extra downforce. However the impact behind the primary two vehicles is form of much like the place we’ve been, so I don’t suppose that’s going to be drastically totally different.”
Polesitter Palou, who completed runner-up to Helio Castroneves in 2021, mentioned that he’s anticipating to be swapping backwards and forwards with different drivers for the lead of the race, to be able to save gasoline. However having beforehand cited Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay as his almost certainly drafting companion, on condition that he’s beginning second, Palou advised that is probably not the case.
“I don’t actually know as a result of he didn’t wish to move as we speak,” he commented. “He simply needed to avoid wasting gasoline on Carb Day and I didn’t actually perceive what he was doing on monitor.
“But when he drives regular, yeah, we’re going to be exchanging so much. I don’t know if it’s going to be me or any individual else. However yeah, I feel if you end up second, it’s simple to move, and if you end up first, you can not actually do a lot .
“I simply hope that they don’t go loopy on the man that’s main, making an attempt to avoid wasting gasoline when you’re main, as a result of that doesn’t work after which it’s loopy behind. If I’m in management, if I’m main, I’ll try to play with any individual, and in the event that they don’t wish to, like Rinus didn’t wish to as we speak… we’ll see what occurs.”
Palou did say it could be a very totally different story from the mid-pack again — as he found final yr after his pit cease technique was ruined by an premature yellow.
“I feel on the entrance it’s not going to be too aggressive,” he mentioned, “however once you’re on the again, you probably have an opportunity, it’s worthwhile to go for it, after which everyone goes to be diving in fairly late. However I don’t suppose it’s very totally different to the previous.
“Like final yr, I keep in mind after I dropped to the again … I used to be like, ‘Oh, wow, these guys are going for it actually laborious.’”
Newgarden may have lots of passing to do to stand up the place he desires to be, however is assured he’ll have each the automobile and the time to do it. Michael Levitt/Lumen
That mentioned, Newgarden insists that in climbing from his seventeenth grid slot, “there’s no rush with 500 miles.”
He went on: “When there’s a chance to make passes firstly or restart, these are your finest alternatives so that you’re going to try to maximize that. However there’s not a rush, I feel, beginning seventeenth. I don’t suppose there can be a rush in the event you’re beginning twenty fifth.
“You’ve simply bought to have a very good, constant day and march your approach ahead. We began fairly far again final yr and had the identical trajectory going that I feel it’s worthwhile to have. Then we had a foul pit cease in the midst of the race and it completely derailed the race for us. So, I don’t suppose there’s urgency.
“I’d a lot choose to start out up entrance subsequent to my pickleball teammate , however we’re the place we’re, and we’ve bought to take advantage of it. I feel we’ve bought loads of time to stand up there.”