This is how the weather affects the race
The rain can put a sudden end to qualifying, but other weather elements also impact qualifying for the Indy 500.
INDIANAPOLIS – As qualifying begins for the Indianapolis 500, the stakes are high.
Conor Daly said the whole year was based on racing.
“Our entire year is based on the 500. Qualifying is, without a doubt, the most important time I think of the year, until you get to racing,” said Daly.
Daly wants one of the 33 starting positions again this year. He not only needs to do quick laps during the 500 qualifying weekend, but Daly also needs to know how the weather is going to affect his car and race for pole.
“I fought for success in the race,” said Daly. “But I also fought to try to be in the quick nine as well, so there were several different scenarios, and I hate bad weather, just because I just like when the schedule rolls out.”
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But this schedule can be affected by rain and the race car has to adapt to the wind, humidity and temperature.
“So the weather and what we’re doing in preparation for qualifying is huge,” said Daly. “If it’s warmer, our cars have less downforce. If it’s colder, we have more downforce and more grip. You know, ‘we adjust for the conditions’ is a phrase we say. let’s use it. So for qualifying and qualifying you want to be as cut as possible. “
Daly said temperature has a direct correlation with drivers’ ability to control the car because “you want the car to be sliding as low as possible.”
Cooler days add some grip, while warmer temperatures make it a bit smoother.
“When you try to shut off the car, it’s a lot harder because you don’t get that natural support from the air – from the temperature and whatever is going on – basically to create that feeling of security,” Daly mentioned.
It’s not just the heat, even the threat of sprinkling disrupts the team’s strategy.
“The rain can play a massive role because if you’re not on the pitch and you have to run it, you have to line up as early as possible,” said Daly. “If they’ve gone through the whole peloton, and you still need to race. You need to be able to do this race before it rains.”
And the weather changes rapidly, not just hour to hour, but minute to minute.
“We see the rain all of a sudden come in, change tracks and now the winds are going in a different direction,” said Daly. “The car can be completely different from morning to afternoon, especially if it is raining.”
Race observers are above the stands watching the weather from north to south, east to west, and all can play a vital role on qualifying days.
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“We use two spotters at Indy because the track is so big,” said Chris Simmons, Chip Ganassi Racing performance director. “Whenever the time comes, yes we are on the radio for the watcher.” What do the clouds look like? How far is it? “”
Daly has stated that the wind at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the enemy, and he constantly looks at the flags around the track to see how the wind is changing.
“If it’s very windy on qualifying day, it’s your nightmare, it’s your ultimate nightmare. For qualifying, that support is as deployed as possible, and you try to go as fast as possible, and so when you pin it up front with the wind, there’s not as much to catch up to you in the back with the rear wing and whatever else you use, ”Daly said. even more sketchy and much more difficult to drive on a qualifying day is when it’s windy. It’s essentially the worst thing there is, but sometimes you have to face it. “
So what’s the dream weather for the race? Daly said most wanted a cloudy, cool day.