INDIANAPOLIS – Pippa Mann is off to a good start heading into qualifying for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, in more ways than one.
Mann logged the 10th-quickest practice lap Thursday at 226.552 mph with the aid of a tow in the No. 63 Susan G. Komen Honda. She was one of three Dale Coyne Racing cars in the top 10. Gabby Chaves was quickest of all drivers at 227.961 mph in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda and Conor Daly was fourth at 227.524 in the No. 18 ShirtsForAmerica.com Honda.
“We’ve been working really hard on our race car,” Mann said. “Last year we had a really good car until I made a mistake and smashed it into a million pieces. We’ve got a great team here – we’ve got a strong team of four cars. We’re all learning off one another and we’re working really hard with our cars. And so far we seem to be going in the right direction with them.”
Through the three days of on-track action heading into “Fast Friday” practice today, Mann has logged 211 laps. Much of her time has been spent running in race trim in traffic.
“We’ve been focused on finding people to play with and to find out what the car does behind other people in dirty air,” said the four-time Indianapolis 500 starter, “when the track gets hot and disgusting in the middle of the day when nobody else wants to go run.”
Today’s focus shifts to preparation for qualifications this weekend. INDYCAR has allowed turbocharger boost pressure to increase 10 kilopascals to 140 in the 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines, which should yield about 30 added horsepower. Mann will work on running by herself in order to get the optimal four laps she will need to put together in qualifying Saturday.
“You don’t want to be around anybody because you’re really starting to trim out and lay those wings back and try to find the limit of the adhesion by yourself in clean air,” Mann said. “You can feel the wake from another car so far ahead when you’re trimmed out. It’s almost ridiculous, so you’re going to be looking for those holes in the racetrack to try and give you a read going into qualifying.”
Mann is in her third year supporting Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding in the fight against breast cancer, raising more than $100,000. Her #GetInvolved campaign this year has a variety of support packs available, including new artwork from Doug Garrison, the return of the “Turn the Cockpit Pink” option and a run of 300 “Pippa” Bell mini-helmets — 100 of which will be signed and available via the campaign. For more information, visit https://igg.me/at/getinvolved2016.
“Last year when we were running this campaign to raise money for Komen, we set out with a goal of $50,000,” she said. “Today, with 10 days to go in the campaign, we’ve surpassed last year’s goal and we’re already at $53,000 and we think we’re going to be able to raise $70,000 to $80,000 by race day.”