Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Power Doubles Up At Barber

Will Power Fastest On Day Two
New day, same result. Will Power was fastest for the second consecutive day of IndyCar testing, setting a lap of 1:07.0608. Justin Wilson was second quickest, 0.0038 seconds back with Scott Dixon rounding out the top three, 0.0183 seconds back of Power. Takuma Sato was fourth with Ryan Briscoe rounding out the top five.

Helio Castroneves was sixth quickest ahead of the Andertti Autosport teammates of Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe. Juan Pablo Montoya was ninth on day two and Simon Pagenaud roundedout the top ten. The top ten was split 5-5 between Chevrolet and Honda with all the Chevrolet cars represented by Penske and Ganassi while Coyne, Foyt, Andretti and Schmidt Peterson Hamilton represented the Honda teams.

Tony Kanaan was eleventh with Jack Hawksworth twelfth, the top rookie on day two. Charlie Kimball was thirteenth ahead of Sébastien Bourdais and Marco Andretti. Andretti's teammate, rookie Carlos Muñoz was sixteenth ahead of fellow Colombian Sebastián Saavedra. The top seventeen was covered by 0.9128 seconds.

Josef Newgarden was eighteenth ahead of Graham Rahal and Mikhail Aleshin. Mike Conway was twenty-first with Oriol Servià rounding out the field in twenty-second, 1.3335 seconds back of Power.

A dozen thoughts from two days of testing.

1. Is anyone willing to bet against Will Power?

2. Despite losing key engineers Bill Pappas and John Dick, Justin Wilson is still at the top. More on Coyne Racing in a moment.

3. Ganassi made a seamless switch to Chevrolet and Ryan Briscoe is still the forgotten signing of the offseason.

4. Takuma Sato was fourth. He was seventh in preseason testing last year and look how that turned out.

5. Andretti Autosport appear to have had almost no issues moving to Honda. Not the quickest Honda team but consistent over two days.

6. Another good day from Juan Pablo Montoya in ninth. Going to be interesting to see what he does at St. Petersburg.

7. Jack Hawksworth had a much better day two. Still a little surprised Carlos Muñoz wasn't the top rookie in either day of testing but let's wait and see what happen at the first race weekend.

8. Sébastien Bourdais had a nice recovery after a rough first day.

9. A little concerned for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Nineteenth and twenty-second today. It's only testing but after a rough 2013, you'd think they'd like to start 2014 on a better foot.

10. Back to Coyne. The #18 Honda never got on track during this test, meaning the first we will see that car is at a team test or at St. Petersburg. The car has a leader circle position meaning it has to attempt a full season or could face a penalty from IndyCar. Its a shame they haven't announced a driver because that car won a race last year and pair up a talented, young driver (Sam Bird, Conor Daly, Sage Karam) with Justin Wilson and that team could become the 1994-95 Blackburn Rovers of IndyCar (if you don't get that reference, look it up).

11. Something that I noticed is the imbalance of teams per manufacture. Honda has Coyne, Foyt, Andretti, SPH, Herta, Fisher Hartman and RLLR. Chevrolet has Penske, Ganassi, KV, Carpenter and Panther Racing is MIA. It looks to me that come St. Petersburg Honda teams will out number Chevrolets 7-4 and cars on the grid 12-10. It appears two Chevrolet teams have dropped to limited time roles in the past two seasons (not to forget mentioning the loses of Conquest and HVM) and that is a little worrying but even more so is who is looking to enter IndyCar and field a team? Remember the Coloni rumors? Or Carlin? Or Oreca possibly making aerokits? How are those three doing in IndyCar? Don't get me wrong, it's not the end of the world and Oreca may still field an aerokit (doubt it but being optimistic) but two more cars on the grid from two, single car teams would be nice and it'd be nice to see the amount of full-time entries remain consistent and not take another dip.

12. The season cannot start soon enough. Twelve days until the first race.