INDIANAPOLIS – While qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 can be a nervy process for teams, Dale Coyne Racing put forth an effort that easily earned three of the thirty three starting spots in the world’s greatest motor race, The Indianapolis 500. Not all preceding events went according to plan, but the team accomplished its weekend goals and can now look forward to race day.
Pippa Mann joined the No. 18 and No. 19 entries the team runs all season as a third Indianapolis 500 car. She was involved in one of many on track incidents during practice which forced the crew members to build a new car in less than 48 hours. The feat was no less than extraordinary and their efforts got Mann back out on Friday for a shakedown before qualifying weekend began.
Carlos Huertas participated in all practice sessions in the week leading up to qualifications and did so without a lot to note. He worked with team engineers on a combination of race setup and qualifying setup as both are key to a successful Indianapolis 500 race.
The No. 19 Always Evolving car saw a combination of James Davison and Tristan Vautier drive this past week. Davison agreed to pilot the car for the infamous race but had a previous racing commitment for qualifying weekend. Vautier was tapped to qualify the car on May 16th and 17th in place of Davison. Having previously raced in the 500 mile race, Vautier didn’t have too steep a learning curve and felt comfortable from his first day on track.
Huertas drew the number 1 qualifying spot and made his speed the initial speed to beat. After a short delay on Saturday, he made his qualifying effort, but it was later voided because the session was canceled due to rain. An adjusted format and schedule was required for all 33 cars to qualify on Sunday.
Huertas again kicked off Sunday’s qualifying session and averaged a speed of 224.233 MPH. He would progressively fall down the grid a bit but settled in 18th starting position. This is a strong improvement over his 2014 effort which pleased driver and owner alike.
Mann was next to qualify for Coyne and she put enough cars below her with her speed of 223.104 MPH to guarantee she wouldn’t have to participate in the bump session. This was very much a relief for her as she was forced to fight her way into the field in years past. She will start the race in 27th position.
The final Coyne car to qualify was Vautier. Despite difficult conditions at the end of the session, he put the No. 19 Always Evolving Honda in 21st position with a speed of 223.747 MPH. Unfortunately for Davison, he will have to start last on the grid per INDYCAR rules in regards to changing drivers between qualifying and the 500 mile race.
Over the next few days, drivers will have some additional practice opportunities on track but will focus a lot of attention to promoting the greatest race on earth, The Indianapolis 500. The race takes place on Sunday, May 24 and can be seen live on ABC at 12:00 AM EST. Fans should also download the INDYCAR15 app for live timing and scoring, unique driver tracking tools, and live onboard video feeds.