INDIANAPOLIS – May is normally a busy month for all Verizon IndyCar teams, but this one was especially trying for the Dale Coyne Racing team. A car was crashed and rebuilt. The team had not one, but two driver changes in two different cars. Practice sessions were threatened by typical May showers. Despite these hurdles, the team qualified all three cars for the Indianapolis 500 for the second consecutive year.
Mann’s impressive rebound from a vicious crash saw her qualify 28th but she started 25th after several cars were relegated to the last row. She hung tough with the other cars in the rear and did well to avoid several crashes in front of her. Despite her quick reflexes to avoid major damage, she was forced to make a handful of unscheduled pit stops for cut tires. Avoiding the carnage allowed Mann to come home in 22nd. Perhaps on another day with more luck and less crashes in front of her, Mann’s result would have been better.
James Davison and Tristan Vautier shared an interesting month of racing and found themselves sharing cars more than once leading up to the race. After qualifying the No. 19 car for Davison, Vautier made a last minute substitution in the No. 18 car for Carlos Huertas, who was ruled out due to a medical condition. Despite qualifying 21st, Vautier was forced to start 32nd because of INDYCAR rules about driver changes.
From James Davison’s perspective, the month went according to plan by having Vautier qualify his car and starting the race last because of the driver change after qualifying. Davison was the hardest charger of all the Coyne cars early in the race. He was up to 17th place before the midway point. A caution at lap 112 gave most of the cars in the race a chance to pit for fuel and tires, including all three Coyne cars.
Mann had just left her pit box and was in the slow lane with a car alongside in the fast late. She was just preparing to slow and pull in behind that car when the No. 19 Always Evolving/Replay XD car pulled out of its pit and made contact. In a sport where every tenth of a second counts, minimizing time on pit lane is key. Unfortunately, the gap just wasn’t as large as it appeared. The contact forced Davison into the pit box of the No. 18 where its crew was still performing service.
The results of this collision forced Vautier and Davison to retire their cars and sent two crew members to the infield care center for evaluation. The No. 18 team’s crew chief was released with just a few aches and pains. The outside rear tire changer, Daniel Jang, suffered a broken ankle and is having an operation performed at Methodist Hospital on that ankle as of this release.
The Verizon IndyCar Series teams will spend a day in Indianapolis to regroup before heading to Detroit for a Saturday/Sunday doubleheader race on Belle Isle. Both the May 30th and May 31st races will be shown live on ABC at 3:30 PM EST.