Pole Day is special. After days of practicing hard, trying to figure out the proper setup, cars hit the track Saturday looking to start at the top of the field.
With only 33 cars signed up, all 33 cars will qualify. It’s just a matter of where. At the top, Ryan Briscoe edged out James Hinchcliffe for the No. 1 starting spot. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who didn’t qualify for last year’s race but bought his way in, will start third.
– Once the tech and qualifying line opened, they were very busy for the first two hours. Once teams past technical inspection, they wait in line on pit road for their run. Teams wanted to get a good time in before the track got even warmer. There were about 19 cars in line from the outset. And at that time, it was 81 degrees out and the track was 111. A few hours later, it was 128 degrees on the track. Big difference.
– One of my favorite traditions is the post-qualifying photo. After a driver turns a four-lap average that is in the field, the entire team takes a photo at the yard of bricks. Pretty cool.
– Noblesville-native Bryan Clauson was involved in the first accident of the day. His car was tore up, especially the left side. Clauson, driving for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, does not have a backup car but was positive that his team would get the wrecked car fixed for bump day.
– Bump day is Sunday. With limited numbers because of the new car, bump day won’t have the anticipation or drama as usual. Still, there will be a ton of action and drivers hope to bump up their position.
– Finally, the crowd was pretty weak. There was a lot going on — Pacers playoffs, Fever, graduation, parties, etc. — but that’s no excuse. I don’t like the condensed month either — it just doesn’t feel right.