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Chris Breisch   .NET Data Practices
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Speeds are definitely down this year.  Yesterday had perfect weather (until it started raining, of course),  overcast and no wind, good temperature, and here are the top 5 speeds:

Sam Hornish Jr. 226.056
Dan Wheldon 225.636
Kosuke Matsuura 225.150
Tony Kanaan 224.500
Byran Herta 224.292

Compare with the top 5 speeds from the same day last year:

Tony Kanaan 227.453
Danica Patrick 226.994
Scott Dixon 226.816
Dario Franchitti 226.253
Scott Sharp 226.159

So, the top 5 speeds from last year are all better than the #1 of this year.  As for Danica Patrick’s speed issues, or even Rahal-Letterman in general, the prevailing theory is that the Panoz chassis just isn’t up to snuff.  However, Rahal-Letterman used the Panoz chassis last year, and Buddy Rice had the fastest qualifying time, and Danica Patrick had the fastest practice lap of the month at 229.880.  No one looks like 229 is even remotely possible so far this year.

There’s some thought that the Rahal-Letterman people might be sandbagging a little and not showing what they’ve got.  Danica did make it up to 12th yesterday and Buddy to 15th. They were out here last month for some tire testing and ran a bit faster, so that may be correct.  It certainly wouldn’t be unheard of to do that during the first week of practice out here at the Speedway, but it doesn’t seem likely to me.  Both Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick are too fierce of competitors to “slow down” on the track.  They could be running race setups instead of qualifying setups, thinking that they have their qualifying setups all dialed in from the tire testing.  Still seems a stretch, but I guess we’ll find out this weekend.

Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 5:55 AM General | Back to top

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