So, qualifying for the ISOWC Indianapolis 500 has been and gone, and what a weekend it was. 40 sim-racers attempted to make the field, 33 secured a spot in the race, and seven drivers were left disappointed, none more than John Schilling, who missed the cut by just 2/1000th of a second after using his runs too early in the day to be able to react when needed. Drama was the order of the weekend. Not “Put on your boxing gloves and prepare for a fight” drama, but of the “ Edge of the seat, too scared to look at the scoring tower” style. The inclusion of Happy Hour really added some spice to the mix, and through the field all weekend long, there was action, jubilation and heartbreak.
Big surprises of the weekend? Let’s start with 15 year old Brandon Traino, who’ll be bringing the field to the green flag on Sunday, September 16. Traino set the fastest four lap average of his career to put him in prime position heading into the Fast 9 Shootout, then he held his nerve to become the youngest driver in ISOWC history to score Pole Position for a race. He will be joined on the front row by Randy Freeman and David Ward, whom were separated by just 1/100th of a second in the battle for second position.
One of the bigger surprises came from the P1 Racing camp, where John Paquin made a rare error on his Fast 9 Shootout run. Coming out of pit lane, his right hand side tires just caught the first blades of grass that lie between the access road and the track, and this speared him into the inside retaining wall, ending his run before it even started. The IndyCar veteran will line up in ninth, in what is rumored to be his last ever IndyCar race.
Jon Porzuc caused a big surprise on Saturday afternoon during Happy Hour, when he proved just how risky withdrawing a run in the attempt to go faster could be. Attempting to help his Slowpoke Racing teammate Brad Sanford, in the dying minutes of Happy Hour, Porzuc grazed the wall and ended-up dropping all the way back to 23rd position. The fact that he lines up in 10th is testament to what could have been had he not have taken the risk.
In all honesty, there were surprises up and down the field, not least due to the tightness of the grid itself. In total, four pairs of drivers were separated by 1/1000th of a second or less, gaps of less than four inches after 10 timed miles around the historic 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A number of drivers also had the drives of their lives to make the field, showing true grit, determination and just what can be achieved if you just believe, and place it all on the line.
Of course, the drama, the surprises, and the excitement have barely just begun. This Sunday, the 33 qualifiers will do battle at the Brickyard for 200 laps, to determine the winner of the 2nd Annual ISOWC Indianapolis 500. The action will be live and in HD on GlacierTV, with enhanced timing and scoring available at http://www.isowc.org/live
And finally, a reminder that the race is benefitting the Lance Armstrong Foundation. For more information, and to donate, visit: HTTP://LAF.LIVESTRONG.ORG/GOTO/ISOWC
BY THE NUMBERS
0.001s– The gap between Randy Freeman, and David Ward, in the battle for second position. Two other pairs of drivers were also separated by this amount.
0.002s– The difference between being in the field, and being out. John Schilling missed out by just 0.002s come the end of bump day. That’s a gap of eight inches after 10 miles around the Speedway.
0.006s– The gap between Randy Freeman’s fastest and slowest time in his Fast 9 Shootout Run. With all the pressures placed upon drivers, and everything else considered, this is as near to a perfect run as you’ll ever likely see.
0.007s– The gap that covers the front row of the grid. Nerves got to Brandon Traino, and he grabbed the pole by 0.006s from Randy Freeman. David Ward was 0.001s further behind.
0.016s– The gap that covers Row 4: All times were set on Bump Day, and all drivers would have made the Fast 9 had they have made their runs on Saturday.
0.308s– The gap between the time Brandon Traino set in the Fast 9 Session to claim pole, and John Ahles in 33rd Position. That’s less than half the field spread seen in last year’s race.
1– Only one driver wrecked both his primary and T cars. That unfortunate honor went to Hernando Isidro, who lost both his cars in less than 15 minutes in the dying moments of Bump Day, struggling to get back into the field.
1.6– The average finish of Tim Doyle in the iRacing Indy 500. He lines up 20th for this race after having time to make only one attempt.
3– The number of drivers who would have failed to have made the Fast 9, had the session have been run at the conclusion of Sunday: Denis Garese, Sam Bonsett, and Brad Sanford.
4– The number of drivers who set a time of 39.246s over the course of the weekend, making it the most commonly run four lap average time.
5– The number of drivers who had to make use of the T-Car over the course of the weekend.
6– The number of drivers who made just one run all weekend long.
8– The number of places lower down the field John Paquin will start the race this year, compared to last. He rolls off in 9th.
11– The number of rows that will line up coming to the Green Flag. 33 drivers in all.
28– The number of corners it takes to complete a qualifying run, from Pit Out to Pit in.
40– The number of drivers who attempted a qualifying run.
229– The number of live updates posted over the course of the weekend (Meaning 229 tweets were also posted).
229.498MPH– The speed of Brandon Traino’s Pole Position run.