Davison’s best shot at Indy glory
James Davison believes he has his best shot yet at claiming Indianapolis 500 glory as preparations for the 102nd running of the great race near climax.
Davison had a smooth Carb Day practice session, running 31 laps in his AJ Foyt Racing Dallara-Chevrolet.
Davison’s Foyt teammate Tony Kanaan paced the hour-long Carb Day practice at 227.791mph (366.594km/h).
The Australian racer said his car felt better in traffic after running a fast lap clocked at 223.241mph (359.272km/h), good for 13th on the time charts.
With Chevrolet enjoying a small power advantage over the competition from Honda, Davison believes he is in position to improve on his best Indianapolis finish of 16th place.
Last year, he subbed for the injured Sebastien Bourdais with Dale Coyne Racing and contended strongly until crashing with 17 laps remaining.
“There is a lot of luck involved in winning this race – track position, not being in the wrong place at the wrong time, being in the right place in the right time and the strategy,” he said.
“It’s crucial to us to get a handle on the car in race trim.
“It’s a matter of being in the right situation, having the right car, and we worked toward having a strong car on Carb Day.
“We’ve all heard that this race picks the winner and I feel like I was ready to win last year.
“I was racing my way toward the front and pulling off some moves around the outside.”
This year, instead of prowling the garage area looking for a ride, Davison knew in advance that he would be racing for Foyt.
His program suffered what could have been a major setback when he crashed heavily on May 18, the day before qualifying.
The Foyt/Belardi crew hustled to repair the car and Davison survived Bump Day drama as the 33rd and slowest first day qualifier.
He then made a substantial gain on Pole Day, improving his speed from 224.798mph (361.777km/h) to 226.255mph (364.122km/h) to qualify 19th.
“The crash proved to not be the biggest of setbacks, but we were sceptical that it was going to be,” Davison said.
“Generally your back-up parts aren’t going to be as good as your primary stuff, and we were struggling for speed.
“You wonder what your back-up parts are going to be like, and in the morning, we only ran 224.5mph (361.3km/h) by ourselves and that wasn’t going to cut it.
“To overcome that adversity our team was incredible.
“We punched above our weight to lay down a 227 (365km/h) on Pole Day and put ourselves deep into the field.
“We made it into the race against some odds and it was a great surprise.
“I’m really proud of the team and happy that they were rewarded two days in a row after our earlier mishap.
“Unexpected results are always really nice in motorsports and we want to keep the momentum going in the race.”