Hey guys. We've had a few days of running now, very different days for each one of them, and it has not been the kind of month of May that, at least so far, has what you would consider a normal flow.
It has been cold, it has been hot, the winds have been here almost every hour and some people are using old engines, the ones they used from the beginning of the year, and some are using fresh engines they'll go through qualifying with.
All of these things have made it hard to get a real feel for which teams are doing really good and which ones, the ones that haven't run so well, might have more to show. It would be cool if you knew that whatever speeds people were putting up was the best they could do, but right now, it's a mystery.
It is weird because there's now a tradition that, at the end of the day, everybody goes out and does a race simulation. And then you get a six-car draft and then you see big speeds; it's kind of confusing people. So you'll see names back in 20th, 21st, and you think, “Damn, those guys must be struggling.” But it's not true. You've got to look at the non-draft laps and then see who's really fast or not.
So I think it's been weird in many ways: some people got their big speeds in a big draft and you don't know if that's really what their car is capable of or not.
The moment of truth is not going to be in qualifying; that will give you an idea of how much speed the field will have this year, but it won't be until Sunday on race day that I'll feel comfortable saying which drivers are ready to kick some ass. It might even be the end of the race before I'm ready to make that prediction!
So while the days and the speeds have been all over the place, I'm only concentrating on the No. 11 Hydroxycut car. No matter what everybody else is doing, me and my KV Racing Chevrolet crew are working like we have blinders on.
We're running quite a few laps to learn about the car in all kinds of weather conditions so that we have good data to use when we get to Carb Day and the race, but we're not trying to chase big speeds or anything like that. No one cares who was the fastest guy on a Monday in practice, or whatever, right?
We're doing what is in our Indy 500 program; we're doing what we expected to be doing and trying not to worry psychologically how other people are running their programs. It's funny how some seem to get concerned about what their neighbor is doing, but if you've raced here enough times, you know how getting distracted can hurt you. You should make a plan and then you work through it and believe you have the best process to get you into the race in good shape.
And then the race kind of takes care of itself. But everything we're doing right now is about being smarter for the race. That's the part of the month that pays the big money.
We're doing a lot of race work, which means I haven't done a single simulated qualifying run yet. If you asked me right now where I'm at on maximum speed, I have no idea…but I know I'm building a pretty good racecar.
But I'll be on it from tomorrow on, if the weather permits. Qualifying isn't the most important thing here, but you want to start as high up as you can and run with the leaders until it's time to start racing for the win.
That feels like it's a year away right now, to be honest, but we'll switch over to that mind frame pretty quickly. Before we get there, though, we'll wind up the No. 11 Hydroxycut car to see what kind of speed she has with Pole Day almost here.
I'll check back in a few days and let you know where we end up!