Marioandretti Indianapolis500practice By Danagarrett Refimagewithoutwatermark M104045
Mario Andretti signs an autograph on pitlane Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (IndyCar photo)

KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race

It’s time for our weekly Friday tour around the racing world. From hot laps to the main event, here’s what’s on our mind this week.

Hot Laps: Six-For-Six?

There have been five (Matt Hagan, Austin Prock, J.R. Todd, John Force, Bob Tasca III) different Funny Car winners in five events for the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series this season. Will there be a sixth as the series returns from a three-week break this weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.? Well, three-time series champion Ron Capps is among those winless this season.

Qualifying: It’s Not Going Away

If you think the suspension of Tim Cindric and three weeks of competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will make the Push-to-Pass scandal involving Team Penske fade into the darkness, think again. It will be discussed as long as Roger Penske owns race cars competing in the series he owns.

First Heat: The Legends

Whether there in person, watching streaming video coverage or perusing photographs, one of the great attractions of the Indianapolis 500 is seeing the legends who made the race and Indy car racing what it is on full display.

A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti have both been prominent among the greats of the sport active on pitlane so far this month.

Let’s see more of them.

Second Heat: Fitting Winner

It took 13 races for Ford to win its first NASCAR Cup Series race of the season. There may not have been a more appropriate driver to break that winless streak than Brad Keselowski, who earned his first triumph in 110 races May 12 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Since taking co-ownership of RFK Racing three years ago, Keselowski has been deeply involved in all things Ford, and while the team had won during that span with Chris Buescher, Keselowski had missed out on victory lane.

Third Heat: One Will Miss Out

While many of us motorsports “veterans” long for the days when bumping was a huge deal during Indianapolis 500 qualifying with as many as 10 entries missing the race, there is still plenty of intrigue around this year’s field as there are 34 cars for 33 positions.

With the field as close as it is in the modern era, one good car and team will experience the ultimate disappointment on Sunday afternoon.

Indianapolis, IN - during the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by Joe Skibinski | IMS Photo)
Kyle Larson climbs aboard his Indy car Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (IMS photo)

Fourth Heat: Held Over?

There’s a part of me who would love to see Kyle Larson get held over in Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon while attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and miss Sunday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

It’s not because of Larson. I’d love to see his substitute driver, retired champion Kevin Harvick, get his hands on the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports machine in a $1 million-to-win scenario. I think ole Kevin still has it, and would like to see him in action.

Dash: Watch SS1 & SSTV

If you like live racing, remember SPEED SPORT 1 and SPEED SPORT TV have you covered with plenty of live events every weekend.

If FREE racing is what you like, the SPEED SPORT 1 network will offer live Australian Supercar events and the GT America races from Circuit of The Americas this weekend. To stream a collection of live short-track events, SPEED SPORT TV has a huge slate this weekend, including the All-Star Showdown super late model race at California’s Irwindale Speedway.

B Main: Indy Rain

The typical May rain at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has drastically limited track time during practice for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The rain has also added plenty of intrigue and strategy to the proceedings. For all teams, it has created difficult decisions, such as working on race setups versus qualifying setups when the track was open for practice.

In the case of NASCAR champion Kyle Larson, it has cut into the amount of experience in the seat of an Indy car that he could have gained had it been dry every day.

It will be interesting to see how the weekend plays out.

Feature: A Sad Day

Thursday was a sad day for the motorsports industry with the death of a pair of giants. Legendary DIRT modified racer “Barefoot” Bob McCreadie and noted race track promoter Eddie Gossage each succumbed to long illnesses.

McCreadie, who is one of the most successful modified racers in history, was 74 years old, while Gossage, who is best known for his 25 years leading the charge at Texas Motor Speedway, was only 65.

Both made their mark on the sport. Rest in peace fellas.