22 August 2020 – The DragonSpeed team today completed preparations for its sophomore tilt at the Indianapolis 500, after its late call-up just two weeks ago. The championship-winning sportscar outfit will take the green flag for the 104th edition of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ at 2:15pm this Sunday, 23 August, with live coverage on NBC starting at 1:00pm EDT.
Having missed the first two days of practice, DragonSpeed focussed on developing its race set-up during qualifying, as reflected in the team’s 33rd qualifying spot on the starting grid. Britain’s Ben Hanley put in a four-lap average of 220.946 mph on his first run followed by a second effort of 222.917 mph later in the day, evidence of further aerodynamic and chassis improvements.
The late afternoon practice session on Sunday saw the entire field reverting to race boost and concentrating on evaluating their cars’ handling in traffic, along with fuel consumption and tire wear. DragonSpeed continued to evaluate set-up options over the course of 84 laps, demonstrating solid pace in traffic and recording a best lap of 217.640 mph.
Friday’s traditional Carb Day final pre-race practice saw Hanley slightly better his Sunday pace on the way to racking up 104 laps – second highest of the 33 runners – as the DragonSpeed crew continued to tune the car for race conditions and also took advantage of the practice pit stop segment at the end of the session.
DragonSpeed team principal Elton Julian said, “We’re happy with the progress we’ve made in the last week. It’s a different place in August than in May, and a different car with the Aeroscreen as well, which has meant a near total reset in our set-up. Today was encouraging. The car was very driveable in traffic and we could hang with some cars we didn’t expect. Now we simply want to go the distance and get the best result we can, which would be just reward for our incredible crew and their fantastic efforts preparing and dialling in the car, and for Ben’s cool and skill behind the wheel.”
Driver Ben Hanley said, ”It’s been a positive week in the end. Looking ahead to the race, it’ll be all about keeping things simple, avoiding mistakes, running our own race, fine tuning the car along the way, and seeing where that puts us towards the finish. We’re obviously still learning a lot each time on track and Sunday will be no exception. We had decent pace at times today and were more comfortable running in traffic, but the conditions were still very tricky and we expect the same for the race, so it won’t be easy out there.”
DragonSpeed’s iridescent red, white, and metallic blue number 81 Chevrolet-powered Dallara IR18 will carry sponsorship from Flex-Box, Chevrolet Accessories, 10Star Solutions, Rembrandt Charms, Toledo Building Services, Endeavor Business Media’s Electronic Design and Machine Design magazines, and Motul.