Opening Day at Indy Goes Smoothly
INDIANAPOLIS –The venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened up for action today after a delay of nearly three months due to the coronavirus pandemic. With just INDYCAR participants allowed on the grounds, it was eerily quiet until the cars fired up.
Tony Kanaan took to the track in the familiar red, white, and blue livery of the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet while A.J. Foyt made his first appearance at an NTT INDYCAR Series event this season.
Kanaan and his teammate Charlie Kimball, driving the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet, topped the leader board in the first hour of practice on the 2.5-mile super speedway.
Rookie driver Dalton Kellett passed his rookie test in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet. Following are the drivers’ comments from today…
Tony Kanaan (Fastest lap 222.873; speed rank 11th, total laps: 58): “Good first day. I think if you’re gonna hear everybody’s quote it’s everybody’s glad to be back here. It took a lot of effort from a lot of people in the Series, in the teams to be here. That shows how important this place is. A lot of mixed feelings this morning driving in and not seeing anybody. Sitting in Garage 1 at this point in the day today, it would be probably 40 people waiting for A.J. outside. So kind of an odd day. But as far as track time it was awesome. We had plenty of track time. We had a little bit of an issue at the end of the day but it didn’t hurt us and we were getting ready to stop. I’m pretty pleased with the car. It was definitely one of our best opening days that we had. The team came really well prepared and I’m happy so, obviously still a longs way to go but it’s good to be back.”
Charlie Kimball (Fastest lap 222.438; speed rank: 15th, total laps: 102): “I
think it was a really good start to on track activity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The car felt really good right away. I was pretty comfortable. The guys have obviously done a great job preparing. There was some uncertainty about when we’d get on track so I’m glad we were able to get some miles in today. The weather looks pretty good for the rest of the week but we’ve got a lot to do in a condensed schedule. It’s nice to start with a good foundation. Something we can always come back to as needed, but we’ve got to find a little speed – we’re always looking for speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – but I’ve got a lot of confidence in the Tresiba Chevrolet team to find that as we get into Fast Friday. Ideally we’re looking to qualify in the top nine and race into the top one!”
Dalton Kellett (Fastest lap: 220.825, speed rank 30th, total laps: 26): “Finished
up rookie orientation so it’s good to have that box checked off. I did a baseline run at the end on new tires and got a bit of running around some other cars in the draft so the speed’s getting up there. We started very conservatively and we’re working through it, taking understeer out of the car. We were taking small chunks out so it took us a little time to get through everything. I think that analytical, progressive process is going to help us in the end. It feels good to be out on track, the car feels great. The feedback from Tony and Charlie is that everyone’s pretty happy all around. First day at the Speedway, it’s an amazing place to be, I’m really excited. I couldn’t be happier to be here so I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.
“The experience of the first lap is hard to put into words. It’s such a magical place -- the feeling of being out on track and you want to take the moment but you also want to focus on what you’re doing. The first slow stages give you time to get up to speed. The car felt great and I was just grateful and happy to be here and loving every minute of it.”
All of the action from IMS can be viewed via NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN or NBC. Visit IMS.com or INDYCAR.com for a comprehensive streaming and broadcast schedule. The 104th Running of the Indy 500 will take place Sunday, Aug. 23, with national coverage beginning on NBC at 1 p.m. ET.