Chaves Confirmed To '500' Ride With New Team

The worst kept secret in INDYCAR was finally announced...

Napa Returns With Rossi

A.J. Foyt Racing announced...

Carpenter Signs Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing announced...

Monday, May 30, 2011

'500' Payday Breakdown

With an overall purse payout of $13,509,485 for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500, the breakdown:
  1. Dan Wheldon - $2,567,255
  2. JR Hildebrand - $1,064,895
  3. Graham Rahal - $646,945
  4. Tony Kanaan - $438,745
  5. Scott Dixon - $519,345
  6. Oriol Servia - $364,845
  7. Bertrand Baguette - $256,255
  8. Tomas Scheckter - $253,805
  9. Marco Andretti - $311,245
  10. Danica Patrick - $321,745
  11. Ed Carpenter - $251,655
  12. Dario Franchitti - $369,695
  13. Charlie Kimball - $251,555
  14. Will Power - $318,745
  15. Vitor Meira - $306,745
  16. Justin Wilson - $309,995
  17. Helio Castroneves - $320,245
  18. Buddy Rice - $252,805
  19. Alex Lloyd - $254,805
  20. Pippa Mann - $251,555
  21. Ana Beatriz - $306,745
  22. John Andretti - $251,305
  23. Ryan Hunter-Reay - $252,805
  24. Davey Hamilton - $251,305
  25. Paul Tracy - $252,805
  26. Townsend Bell - $252,805
  27. Ryan Briscoe - $356,745
  28. Alex Tagliani - $492,245
  29. James Hinchcliffe - $256,305
  30. Jay Howard - $251,555
  31. Simona De Silvestro - $311,745
  32. EJ Viso - $306,745
  33. Takuma Sato - $310,245

From On The Line To Victory Lane

Just over a year ago Bryan Herta Autosport was in trouble. Flashback to May 2010, entering the month Herta made it quite clear that if Rookie Sebastian Saavedra couldn't get their #29 entry into the Indianapolis 500, it could spell the end for the young cash-strapped team.
"We put everything on the line to make this race," Herta said.

Following a crash in practice, Saavedra was unlikely at best to make the field of 33.

With a 4-lap qualification average of just 223.634mph, it appeared a second attempt would be necessary. On a practice run later in the day, the William Rast entry was a victim of the first turn wall destroying the car, sending Saavedra to the hospital and leaving the helpless entry on the bubble.

Struggling all month, Tony Kanaan was on his third rebuilt car but still managed to put the #11 into the field, bumping Saavedra.

Although temporarily back in the field when Mario Romancini withdrew his time in an attempt at a quicker speed, the spot didn't stay his long as the Conquest driver bumped Saavedra once again.

KV Racing Technology's Takuma Sato was next in the qualification line attempting to bump Jay Howard who was now on the bubble, successfully doing so. Sarah Fisher Racing's second entry in Howard was back in the race when Paul Tracy's time was withdrawn. Failing to get up to speed Tracy was much slower than his original time and with the clock just moments from 6 o'clock his day and Month of May were over.

Worried that the speed wasn't good enough, Sarah Fisher Racing withdrew Jay Howard's qualification run, pulling Bryan Herta Autosport and Sebastian Saavedra back into the field. As the gun shot off the final attempt of the day failed, sending Howard home and Saavedra into the show.

Although the $255,555 check was welcomed for their 23rd place finish, due to another crash on race day, it didn't go as far as I'm sure they'd have liked.

The returning support of William Rast made a second run at the Indy 500 possible. But for a small single car team 40 entries and better competition, it made a run at the Borg Warner nearly impossible.

With 3 Penske, 4 Ganassi, 5 Andretti Autosport, 4 KVRT, and 4 Dreyer and Reinbold entries among the 40 cars vying for a spot on the 11 rows of 3 grid, just making the field appeared to be a task, even with the 2005 Indy 500 Champ behind the wheel.

15 days from opening day, when just making the race was a question mark, their white and orange Dallara was being pushed to victory lane, a glass bottle of milk was being poured over their heads, a wreath was placed around the driver's neck, and a $3million check was waiting on them.

In May of 2010 the future of Bryan Herta Autosport was dim, a year later it couldn't be brighter.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wheldon Wins

On the final corner of the final lap of the 2011 Indianapolis 500, Rookie JR Hildebrand was in the catbird seat. With a healthy lead, and plenty of fuel, all the Panther driver had to do was execute his 800th turn of the day like he had the first 799 and keep his $25K steering wheel straight down the front stretch.

Entering Turn Four the only driver standing between Hildebrand and his face on the Borg Warner was Ganassi Rookie Charlie Kimball. Kimball, one lap down, was riding the low line. In an attempt to pass, Hildebrand moved up into the gray and into the marbles.

Hitting the very end of the SAFER barrier with his right side, the #4 National Guard Dallara slid along the front straight outer wall and through the Start/Finish line. Unfortunately for the Panther crew their streak of 3 straight second place finishes in the Greatest Spectacle would continue as Bryan Herta Autosport veteran Dan Wheldon blew past with just a few hundred yards to go, for his second Indianapolis 500 victory. Following just over 2-seconds behind was the destroyed #4 entry of Hildebrand.

Rumors of a possible protest by Panther Racing on the grounds that Dan Wheldon passed Hildebrand under yellow were squashed when the team confirmed on their Twitter page that a protest would not be made. Even if questions were raised about the legitimacy of the win, it's likely they wouldn't last long as the above video clearly shows the #98 passed the #4 when the yellow light comes on.

The win by Wheldon will also go down in the record books as least laps led by a winner. In 1912 Joe Dawson led the final two laps of the 500 mile contest, while Wheldon led just the final few hundred yards.
Without a ride for not only the remainder of the season but at this point for any other events, Wheldon admitted in a post race press conference that his contract with BHA was up at midnight tonight.

The Official 2011 Indy 500 standings:
  1. Dan Wheldon
  2. JR Hildebrand
  3. Graham Rahal
  4. Tony Kanaan
  5. Scott Dixon
  6. Oriol Servia
  7. Bertrand Baguette
  8. Tomas Scheckter
  9. Marco Andretti
  10. Danica Patrick
  11. Ed Carpenter
  12. Dario Franchitti
  13. Charlie Kimball
  14. Will Power
  15. Vitor Meira
  16. Justin Wilson
  17. Helio Castroneves
  18. Buddy Rice
  19. Alex Lloyd
  20. Pippa Mann
  21. Ana Beatriz
  22. John Andretti
  23. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  24. Davey Hamilton
  25. Paul Tracy
  26. Townsend Bell
  27. Ryan Briscoe
  28. Alex Tagliani
  29. James Hinchcliffe
  30. Jay Howard
  31. Simona De Silvestro
  32. EJ Viso
  33. Takuma Sato

Thursday, May 26, 2011

'500' 2-Seat Rider Announced

Come Sunday at noon, US Army Ret. Sgt. Latseen Benson will have the best seat in the house at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Benson, who served two tours of duty in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, will be the passenger of the IZOD IndyCar Series 2-Seater piloted by legend Mario Andretti as they pace the 33-car field.

While on his second deployment, Sgt. Benson was on patrol in Iraq when an IED exploded causing injuries that later resulted in the amputation of his legs.

Benson will join Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Bruce P. Crandall who was announced earlier this month as the honorary starter.

Inside The Grid

48 - Age of the oldest driver (Davey Hamilton)
22 - Age of the youngest driver (Graham Rahal)
5 - Indianapolis 500 winners (Castroneves Dixon, Franchitti, Rice, Wheldon)
5 - Rookie of the Year candidates (Hildebrand, Hinchcliffe, Howard, Kimball, Mann)
2.5399 - Seconds separating fastest (Tag) Slowest (Beatriz). Closest in history.
87 - Times a driver took to the track attempting to qualify
73 - Number of laps Pole winner Alex Tagliani turned all month in practice. Fewest everybody.
50 - Number of laps Simona De Silvestro turned all month in the car she'll be racing.
6 - Of the 7 drivers not to make the race on time, Jakes, Conway, Saavedra, Matos, Hunter-Reay, & Tung, all ran quicker laps in practice than Simona De Silvestro's best practice lap. Simona qualified P24, in her backup, with second degree burns on her hands.
8,087 - Total laps turned in practice.
11 - different teams qualified before the first Andretti Autosport car
11th - The highest starting Brazilian (Meira). The lowest since 2000.
9 - Different teams qualified in the top 11 spots.
.0128 - Seconds of seperation between Meira, Hildebrand, and Hinchcliffe's qualifying runs.
839 - Total laps the 3 Team Penske drivers turned during the month and averaged an 16th place qualifying position while Tagliani, De Silvestro, Rice, Wheldon, Hilderbrand, Kimball and Howard ran less laps combined and averaged an 11.4 starting spot.

15 different teams represented:

Ganassi - 4
DRR - 4
Penske - 3
KVRT - 4
Andretti - 3
SSM - 2
Newman/Haas - 2
Panther - 2
Foyt - 2
Rahal - 2
Herta - 1
Fisher - 1
HVM - 1
Coyne - 1
Conquest - 1

13 countries represented:

11 - United States (Bell, Rice, Carpenter, Hildebrand, Hamilton, Andretti, Patrick, Andretti, Kimball, Rahal, Hunter-Reay)
5 - England (Wheldon, Wilson, Howard, Lloyd, Mann)
4 - Brazil (Meira, Castroneves, Kanaan, Beatriz)
3 - Canada (Tagliani, Hinchcliffe, Tracy)
2 - Australia (Power, Briscoe)
1 - New Zealand (Dixon)
1 - Spain (Servia)
1 - Scotland (Franchitti)
1 - Japan (Sato)
1 - Belguim (Baguette)
1 - Venezuela (Viso)
1 - South Africa (Scheckter)
1 - Switzerland (De Silvestro)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Q&A With Simona De Silvestro

Less than a week after her horrific crash in Turn 3 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Simona De Silvestro sat down for a quick Q&A. Simona tells us what broke on her car, her thoughts on 'Porkchop's' Twitter account, how she's going to sign autographs here on Community Day and more.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Qual Review and '500' Preview Preview W/ Jake Query

Just five days before 33 drivers take the green flag for the 100th Anniversary Indy 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network and VERSUS talent Jake Query sat down to give a quick review of this past weekend's events and preview Sunday's race.

Be sure to follow Jake on Twitter (@JakeQuery) and tune in Friday at 11am est to VERSUS.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bruno Out, RHR In

For the second time in three years, Bruno Junqueira has been bumped from the Indianapolis 500 the day after Bump Day.
A.J. Foyt Racing and Andretti Autosport have reached an agreement to replace Bruno with Ryan Hunter-Reay.

"We’ve been competitors for many years but still it’s the kind of relationship when someone is really down and out, you can’t turn your back on them—at least I can’t,” said team onwer A.J. Foyt. “This is going back to the way racing used to be, where if people were in a lot of trouble, you tried to help each other out. I know it’s a tough deal for Bruno but he understood the situation. I appreciate that more than anyone knows.”

Hunter-Reay was bumped from the field when his teammate, Marco Andretti, took to the track with 1-minute before the gun for the last qualifying attempt of the day.

Junqueira was in a similar situation in 2009 when his teammate at Conquest Racing, Alex Tagliani, failed to make the field of 33. The following day team owner Eric Bachelart replaced Bruno with Alex.

“I have to thank A.J., Larry and the team for giving me this opportunity to drive at Indy this year because otherwise I would have been riding my bike in Miami," said Junqueira. "I always respected A.J. before, but after working with him, I respect him even more. He has a lot of knowledge and I learned a lot from him. I had a great time working with him and Vitor, and I hope my work helped them this month. I also hope the team has a great race.”

Moving from the #28 to the #41, Hunter-Reay will move to the back of the 33-car field.

“There has been an incredible range of emotion these past few days," Hunter-Reay said. "Commercial decisions and corporate support is what makes it possible for both of our teams to compete and this was a commercially driven decision. I am an IndyCar driver and I’m also a representative for DHL, Dr Pepper and its brands, including Sun Drop Citrus Soda. I know this is not the first time this has happened in Indy 500 history but I feel terrible for Bruno and I thank him for his efforts and I hope he understands. It’s cool to be driving for A.J. again, especially with Michael’s support and encouragement. This is not how I envisioned the month of May this year but we are still committed to winning this race for DHL and Sun Drop.”

The addition of Hunter-Reay to the field leaves just one Andretti Autosport driver rideless come next Sunday, Mike Conway. Conway's attempt to drive in his third consecutve Indianapolis 500 is still alive hower as talks are currently underway to perform a similar deal with another team.

UPDATE: Now Tuesday night, it appears a deal to put Conway into the race is extremely unlikely.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bump Day Wrapup

Wasn't a good situation for Michael Andretti all around.

Mike Conway, the team's only winner this season, had already made his three attempts at making the 2011 Indianapolis 500 field, all unsuccessful. Marco Andretti was on the bubble and teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay was right next to him.

Dale Coyne Racing's Alex Lloyd was on his 3rd and final attempt after making the field before being bumped by Andretti Autosport pilot Danica Patrick. Circling the 2.5 Mile square oval at 223.732mph on his first of four laps, the pace would be good enough to best Marco's 223.668 4-lap average. Three laps and 7.5 miles later, Lloyd's speed was good enough, bumping the 2006 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year from the field.

Moving Ryan Hunter-Reay to the bubble position, Marco Andretti took back to the track at 5:59pm for a final attempt. Running a speed of 224.728mph on his first lap, 224.481mph on the second, and 224.576mph on the third, if he kept the #26 Dallara in one piece he'd probably be safe. Taking the checkered flag with an identical lap to his first, the Venom car qualified in the 28th position, bumping Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Seven entries failed to make the race including 4 full-timers and 3 rookies. Conquest Racing's Sebastian Saavedra, Coyne rookie James Jakes, and Andretti Autosport veterans Mike Conway & Ryan Hunter-Reay, all IZOD IndyCar Series regulars, couldn't muster enough speed. AFS Racing's first foray into the '500' also came up short with driver Raphael Matos behind the wheel as the Brazilian was bumped earlier in the day.

Entering the month with two entries, come Noon on Bump Day Dragon Racing was down to zero. Ho-pin Tung backed his #8 Dallara into the wall Pole Day morning sending the rookie to Methodist Hospital. Although released just a few hours later, Tung was diagnosed with a concussion, sidelining him for the month. Struggling all month, Scott Speed reportedly quit Friday afternoon, then was back in the ride Saturday morning. Not attempting to qualify Saturday, come Sunday morning open-wheel veteran Patrick Carpentier was at the track and behind the wheel of the #20 Fuzzy's car. Sliding into the wall in a nearly identical fashion tat Tung had done just 24-hours earlier, Dragon Racing's day and month were over.

Four rookies, five former winners, 4 woman, 10 Americans, and 14 different teams qualified for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.

2011 Indy 500 grid:

1st Row - Tagliani, Dixon, Servia
2nd Row - Bell, Power, Wheldon
3rd Row - Rice, Carpenter, Franchitti
4th Row - Sato, Meira, Hildebrand
5th Row - Hinchcliffe, Baguette, Hamilton
6th Row - Castroneves, J. Andretti, Viso
7th Row - Junqueira, Wilson, Howard
8th Row - Scheckter, Kanaan, De Silvestro
9th Row - Tracy, Patrick, Briscoe
10th Row - M. Andretti, Kimball, Rahal
11th Row - Lloyd, Mann, Beatriz

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pole Day Recap

UPDATE: Thanks to the hard work of the track crew and the giant bright ball in the sky that's been absent most of the week, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was quickly dried following the rain around 3:30pm est.

The green flag was finally dropped following the nearly 2-hour delay at 5:25 to Buddy Rice who led the group of 9 in reverse order from the original 9 from the 11am-4pm session.

Averaging a 225.786mph speed, Rice was followed by Newman Haas Racing's Oriol Servia who laid down a solid 227.168mph lap, giving him the provisional pole. Weathering the storm through Will Power, Ed Carpenter, Townsend Bell, and Dan Wheldon, the two most obviously threats in Chip Ganassi Racing's Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon where still to come.

Dario Franchitti was next out running 227.061, 227. 038, and 227.031 mph laps, threatening Servia's grasp on the 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole position. On the fourth and final lap of the sole run, Franchitti ran out of fuel slowly coasting down pit lane. 

Next up was Franchitti's teammate, Scott Dixon, who completed the first 3 laps at 227.530, 227.511 and 227.487mph averaging 227.509. On the 4th and final lap the speed dropped to 226.835, pulling the average down to 227.340. Although good enough to sit a top the pole, the last lap dropoff would come back to bite him.

The 9th and final attempt came from Sam Schmidt Motorsports pilot Alex Tagliani who at the end of stage one was at the top of the charts. Tags laid down three consistent laps averaging out to 227.472mph, besting Dixon's speed by .15mph, giving him the pole, payday and bonus points in the championship.

Bump day qualifying is scheduled for Noon tomorrow

The first of two stages for Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is complete, and there are a few surprises.

Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Alex Tagliani is on the provisional Pole with Target Chip Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti rounding out the front row. The other 6 scheduled participants for the Fast 9 include Dan Wheldon, Townsend Bell, Ed Carpenter, Will Power, Oriol Servia, and Buddy Rice.

The Fast 9 are scheduled to take to the track for the final shootout at 4:30, but as of now the circuit is soaked and activity is in question.

Rows 4-8 which could still get bumped tomorrow are as follows:

4th Row - Sato, Meira, Hildebrand
5th Row - Hinchcliffe, Baguette, Hamilton
6th Row - Castroneves, J. Andretti, Viso
7th Row - Junqueira, Wilson, Howard
8th Row - Scheckter, Kanaan, De Silvestro

The 16 drivers yet to qualify include:
  • Scott Speed (Dragon)
  • Ho-Pin Tung (Dragon)
  • Mike Conway (Andretti)
  • Marco Andretti (Andretti)
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti)
  • Danica Patrick (Andretti)
  • Paul Tracy (DRR)
  • Ana Beatriz (DRR)
  • Sebastian Saavedra (Conquest)
  • Charlie Kimball (Ganassi)
  • Graham Rahal (Ganassi)
  • Ryan Briscoe (Penske)
  • Alex Lloyd (Coyne)
  • James Jakes (Coyne)
  • Raphael Matos (AFS)
  • Pippa Mann (Conquest)
Simona De Silvestro, one of the best stories of the day, was in then out and now back in the preliminary field. She is on the bubble and could be bumped tomorrow if her time of 224.392 doesn't hold up.

Pole Day Morning Warm Up

The Pole day morning practice concluded at the top of the 10 o'clock hour with Sam Schmidt pilot Alex Tagliani once again at the top of the charts, running a 228.184mph speed on lap 3.

Early on in the practice Ryan Briscoe lost grip in Turn 2 sending the #6 IZOD machine backwards into the wall. Sliding into the grass Ryan got out of the car and was helped to the ground. Attempting to stand up the Penske driver was helped back to the ground before being laid on a stretcher and lifted into an ambulance.
Briscoe was later released from the infield IU Health Emergency Medical Center and cleared to drive.

"I'm all right," said Briscoe. "I'm a bit bruised on my knees. My legs knocked the wheel off, actually."
Taking back to the track at 9:42am in his backup Dallara for 16 laps, Briscoe's best speed came on his 9th lap at 223.932mph, good enought for 36th overall.

After meeting with the same IMS and INDYCAR medical officials as Briscoe, Simona De Silvestro's injuries from a Thursday fire were also evaluated and given the go-ahead for the morning warm up. With a best time of 223.357mph in her backup, 'Pork Chop' as the team calls the chassis, ran 32 laps, good enough for 39th of 41 entries.

Qualifications are slated to get under way at 11am est. LIVE on VERSUS.

The complete practice results:
  1. Alex Tagliani 228.184
  2. Buddy Rice 227.849
  3. Will Power 227.766
  4. Scott Dixon 227.642
  5. Helio Castroneves 227.396
  6. Dario Franchitti 227.386
  7. Townsend Bell 227.271
  8. Vitor Meira 227.150
  9. JR Hildebrand 226.912
  10. Bertrand Baguette 226.868
  11. Ed Carpenter 226.778
  12. Dan Wheldon 226.624
  13. Oriol Servia 226.466
  14. Danica Patrick 226.446
  15. Ho-Pin Tung 226.440
  16. Ana Beatriz 226.401
  17. EJ Viso 226.017
  18. Paul Tracy 225.959
  19. Takuma Sato 225.891
  20. Davey Hamilton 225.738
  21. James Hinchcliffe 225.719
  22. Jay Howard 225.676
  23. Graham Rahal 225.641
  24. Tony Kanaan 225.394
  25. Ryan Briscoe 225.101
  26. Justin Wilson 225.086
  27. Tomas Scheckter 224.916
  28. Charlie Kimball 224.903
  29. Ryan Hunter-Reay 224.899
  30. Alex Lloyd 224.540
  31. Bruno Junqueira 224.472
  32. Sebastian Saavedra 224.358
  33. Pippa Mann 224.310
  34. Marco Andretti 224.220
  35. John Andretti 224.060
  36. Ryan Briscoe 223.932
  37. James Jakes 223.446
  38. Raphael Matos 223.382
  39. Simona De Silvestro 223.357
  40. Mike Conway 223.172
  41. Scott Speed 222.803

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fast Friday Wrapup

For the second day in a row practice for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 went green for the majority of the day. Helio Castroneves led the 5 hour 37 minute practice with a 1-lap speed of 228.611mph, the fastest of the month. Castroneves was followed by Alex Tagliani, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, Bertrand Baguette, and Ed Carpenter who all ran in the 228mph+ bracket.

39 of the 40 confirmed car and driver combinations took to the track, leaving Simona De Silvestro and the #78 Dallara the only stationary entry.  De Silvestro suffered burns to each of her hands in an practice crash on Thursday. After meeting with IMS and INDYCAR medical officials in the morning, De Silvestro was not cleared to drive. She will meet with the same officials tomorrow.

Dragon Racing rookie Scott Speed was reportedly upset after practice where his best speed of 222.546 ranked him 39th and last overall. It's unclear whether or not the former F1 and NASCAR pilot will return to the #20 Dragon seat tomorrow or if the team will run a veteran.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Wrapup

For the first time since Monday, more than 13 laps were turned on the 2.5 mile square oval in Indianapolis.

Just a few minutes into the 6-hour scheduled practice session, Simona De Silvestro was involved in the first accident of the month. During the exit of Turn 3, De Silvestro's car suffered a rear end failure, possibly suspension, sending the airborne car backwards into the wall. Making contact with the SAFER barrier, the #78 entry fell back to the track before sliding through the short chute and again taking to the air and plunging into the extreme lower portion of the catch fence. Once hitting the ground for the second time, the HVM driver's primary car flipped, caught fire and slid to a halt at the bottom of the track.

The fire was quickly extinguished and De Silvestro walked away on her own to the safety vehicle. After first being treated in the infield care center, she was transported by ground to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where she was later released with second-degree burns to her right hand and superficial burns to her left.

The #78 primary car was destroyed in the crash with tears in the sidepods, a smashed roll hoop, and major damage to both the front and rear ends. The back up car is expected to be rolled out for a qualification attempt by either De Silvestro or a replacement driver this weekend.

A short scheduled yellow to clean the track was the only other caution for the day, resulting in over 5 hours of green flag track time.

Will Power topped the charts with a late rally running a 227.778mph lap with a tow turned with just minutes left in the session. Alex Tagliani with a 227.652, believed to be without help, and Ryan Briscoe at 227.217 were the only other entries in the 227's.

The complete rundown:
  1. Will Power 227.778
  2. Alex Tagliani 227.652
  3. Ryan Briscoe 227.217
  4. Helio Castroneves 226.927
  5. Townsend Bell 226.741
  6. JR Hildebrand 226.527
  7. Oriol Servia 226.471
  8. Scott Dixon 226.453
  9. Ed Carpenter 226.376
  10. Danica Patrick 226.267
  11. Graham Rahal 226.142
  12. Paul Tracy 225.906
  13. Tony Kanaan 225.906
  14. Dan Wheldon 225.802
  15. Justin Wilson 225.648
  16. Dario Franchitti 225.603
  17. Jay Howard 225.594
  18. Vitor Meira 225.540
  19. Takuma Sato 225.308
  20. Buddy Rice 225.184
  21. Pippa Mann 225.092
  22. Marco Andretti 224.954
  23. Ryan Hunter-Reay 224.873
  24. John Andretti 224.684
  25. Bruno Junqueira 224.644
  26. Tomas Scheckter 224.632
  27. Bertrand Baguett 224.617
  28. Alex Lloyd 224.525
  29. Charle Kimball 224.433
  30. James Hinchcliffe 224.333
  31. Ana Beatriz 224.123
  32. EJ Viso 224.056
  33. Davey Hamilton 223.889
  34. Raphael Matos 223.349
  35. Ho-Pin Tung 223.348
  36. Mike Conway 222.359
  37. Simona De Silvestro 222.192
  38. Scott Speed 222.177
  39. Sebastian Saavedra 221.709
  40. James Jakes 220.709

Simona Crash

UPDATE 5-20 11:20am: Simona met with IMS and INDYCAR medical staff this morning and was NOT cleared to drive. Updates will follow...


UPDATE: Simona De Silvestro has been released from Methodist Hopital and will meet with IMS and INDYCAR medical officials tomorrow.


Just a few minutes into the first real practice since Monday, Simona De Silvestro became the first victim of the the Indianapolis Motor Speedway walls this month.

While exiting the 3rd corner on her 11th lap, De Silvestro's car had an obvious rear suspension failure sending her hard into the wall. While a couple feet in the air, the #78 entry made it's first contact by backing into the safer barrier, sliding through the chute the car got back up into the air again flipping upside down. After catching fire and slowing to a stop, the 2010 Rookie of the Year got out of the car and walked to a safety vehicle on her own.

Simona has been transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis via ground suffering second-degree burns to her right hand and superficial burns to her left.

2011 ESPN Classic Schedule

May 23

Midnight 2000 Indy 500 – Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indy 500 as a rookie.
7 a.m. SportsCentury: Tony Stewart
8 a.m. 1981 Indy 500 – Bobby Unser is penalized a lap giving the victory to Mario Andretti. More than four months later, Unser is reinstated as the winner by USAC.
9 a.m. 1982 Indy 500 – Gordon Johncock won his second Indy 500 with a .16 victory over Rick Mears.
Noon SportsCentury: Tony Stewart
1 p.m. 1967 Indy 500 – AJ Foyt won his third Indy 500 that took place over two days due to weather.
2 p.m. SportsCentury: Tony Stewart
3 p.m. 1975 Indy 500 –Bobby Unser was declared the winner after a downpour on lap 174. The rain stopped a few minutes later.
5 p.m. 2003 Indy 500 – Gil de Ferran held off Helio Castroneves to win the 2003 Indy 500.
7 p.m. 1996 Indy 500 – The race ran under the controversy of the open wheel “split” but Buddy Lazier held off Davy Jones for the win.
9 p.m. SportsCentury: Tony Stewart
10 p.m. 2000 Indy 500 – Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indy 500 as a rookie.

May 24

Midnight 1999 Indy 500 – Kenny Brack took the checkered flag for owner A.J. Foyt as Robby Gordon’s car ran out of fuel out of turn four on the 199th lap.
7 a.m. SportsCentury: Mario Andretti
8 a.m. 1985 Indy 500 – With the famous “Spin and Win,” Danny Sullivan wins his only Indy 500 ahead of Mario Andretti and Roberto Guerrero.
10 a.m. 1986 Indy 500 – Bobby Rahal wins his only Indy 500 while becoming the first driver to complete the race in under 3 hours.
Noon SportsCentury: Mario Andretti
1 p.m. 1969 Indy 500 – Mario Andretti led for 116 of 200 laps winning the Indy 500
3 p.m. 1989 Indy 500 – Al Unser Jr and Emerson Fittipaldi battled to the end until their cars touched wheels sending Unser spinning and allowing Fittipaldi to cross the finish line victorious.
5 p.m. 1997 Indy 500 – This race was spread across three days due to weather. Arie Luyendyk was the winner.
7 p.m. 2007 Indy 500 – First race telecast in HD and was shortened by rain; Dario Franchitti was declared the winner after 166 laps.
9 p.m. SportsCentury: Mario Andretti
10 p.m. 2001 Indy 500 – In his first Indy 500, Helio Castroneves was the winner after leading for 52 laps.

May 25

Midnight 1981 Indy 500 – Bobby Unser is penalized a lap giving the victory to Mario Andretti. More than four months later, Unser is reinstated as the winner by USAC.
7 a.m. SportsCentury: AJ Foyt
8 a.m. 1983 Indy 500 – Tom Sneva takes the lead on lap 190 to earn the win.
10 a.m. SportsCentury: AJ Foyt
11 a.m. 1967 Indy 500 – AJ Foyt won his third Indy 500 that took place over two days due to weather.
Noon SportsCentury: AJ Foyt
1 p.m. 1974 Indy 500 – Johnny Rutherford comes from the 25th starting position to win his first Indy 500.
3 p.m. 1980 Indy 500 – Johnny Rutherford won his third Indy 500.
7 p.m. 2008 Indy 500 – Scott Dixon started from the pole position and won the 92nd Indy 500.
9 p.m. SportsCentury: AJ Foyt
10 p.m. 2002 Indy 500 – Helio Castroneves became the fifth driver to win back-to-back Indy 500 races .

May 26

Midnight 1991 Indy 500 – Rick Mears started on at the pole position and went on to win his fourth Indy 500 – 20th Anniversary of this race
2 a.m. SportsCentury: Rick Mears
7 a.m. SportsCentury: Rick Mears
8 a.m. 1994 Indy 500 – Al Unser Jr started on the pole position and won his second Indy 500.
10 a.m. 1984 Indy 500 – Rick Mears won his second Indy 500 while Pat Bedard survives a horrific crash that destroyed his car.
Noon SportsCentury: Rick Mears
1 p.m. 1991 Indy 500 - Rick Mears started on at the pole position and went on to win his fourth Indy 500 – 20th Anniversary of this race
3 p.m. 1979 Indy 500 – Rick Mears wins his first Indy 500 after Al Unser ran into car trouble halfway through the race.
5 p.m. 1984 Indy 500 - Rick Mears won his second Indy 500 while Pat Bedard survives a horrific crash that destroyed his car.
7 p.m. 1988 Indy 500 – Rick Mears outlasts Al Unser and Emerson Fittipaldi to win his third Indy 500.
9 p.m. SportsCentury: Rick Mears
10 p.m. 1991 Indy 500 - Rick Mears started on at the pole position and went on to win his fourth Indy 500 – 20th Anniversary of this race

May 27

Midnight 2010 Indy 500 – Dario Franchitti won the 94th Indy 500 ahead of Dan Wheldon & Marco Andretti.
7 a.m. SportsCentury: Al Unser, Sr
8 a.m. 1970 Indy 500 – Al Unser wins his first Indy 500 in which he led only 10 total laps.
10 a.m. 1978 Indy 500 – Al Unser held off Tom Sneva to win his third Indy 500.
Noon SportsCentury: Al Unser, Sr
1 p.m. 1987 Indy 500 – Al Unser, Sr wins his fourth Indy 500 beating out Roberto Guerrero & Fabrizio Barbazza.
3 p.m. 1990 Indy 500 – Arie Luyendyk finishes ahead of Bobby Rahal and Emerson Fittipaldi to win his first Indy 500.
5 p.m. 2006 Indy 500 – Sam Hornish Jr won the race by 0.0635 second over Marco Andretti and featured the first final lap pass in race history and was the second closest finish in race history.
7 p.m. 1992 Indy 500 – Al Unser Jr wins his first Indy 500 by beating Scott Goodyear in the closest finish in race history, 0.043 second.
9 p.m. SportsCentury: Al Unser, Sr

May 30 – 100th Anniversary Marathon

Midnight 1969 Indy 500 - Mario Andretti led for 116 of 200 laps winning the Indy 500
2 a.m. 1970 Indy 500 – Al Unser wins his first Indy 500 in which he led only 10 total laps.
4 a.m. 1971 Indy 500 – Al Unser wins his second Indy 500 in a row and his second of four in his career.
6 a.m. 1978 Indy 500 – Al Unser held off Tom Sneva to win his third Indy 500.
8 a.m. 1992 Indy 500 – Al Unser Jr wins his first Indy 500 by beating Scott Goodyear in the closest finish in race history, 0.043 second.
10 a.m. 2005 Indy 500 – Danica Patrick lived up to the hype and finished fourth while Dan Wheldon won the 2005 Indy 500.
Noon 2006 Indy 500 – Sam Hornish Jr won the race by 0.0635 second over Marco Andretti and featured the first final lap pass in race history and was the second closest finish in race history.
2 p.m. 1977 Indy 500 – AJ Foyt became the first driver to win four times at the Indy 500 by passing Gordon Johncock after the crankshaft broke on his car.
4 p.m. 1987 Indy 500 – Al Unser, Sr wins his fourth Indy 500 beating out Roberto Guerrero & Fabrizio Barbazza.
6 p.m. 1991 Indy 500 – Rick Mears started on at the pole position and went on to win his fourth Indy 500
8 p.m. 2009 Indy 500 – Helio Castroneves became the first driver born outside of the US to win the race more than once while Danica Patrick finished third.
10 p.m. 2011 Indy 500 (Classic replay)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Q&A With James Hinchcliffe

During the rain/cold delay this afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IZOD IndyCar Series rookie James Hinchcliffe answered a few questions. Hinch talks about the rain, Hot-Wheels style Slip-N-Slides, a 'moment' and Canadians!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Greatest 33 Announced

Announced late last year at the INDYCAR winter meetings, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had reached out to a panel of experts to create a list of the 100 best drivers in the tracks long history.  Of those 100, fans were able to vote on who they believed were the 33 greatest for a May unveiling.

Today, the 33 drivers most deserving of the honor, as voted on by the fans, were unveiled on the Greatest33.com. In alphabetical order:
  • Mario Andretti
  • Michael Andretti
  • Tony Bettenhausen
  • Helio Castroneves
  • Jim Clark
  • Ralph DePalma
  • Scott Dixon
  • Mark Donohue
  • Emerson Fittipaldi
  • A.J. Foyt
  • Dario Franchitti
  • Dan Gurny
  • Ray Harroun
  • Graham Hill
  • Gordon Johncock
  • Parnelli Jones
  • Arie Luyendyk
  • Rick Mears
  • Louis Meyer
  • Tommy Milton
  • Juan Pablo Montoya
  • Bobby Rahal
  • Jim Rathmann
  • Mauri Rose
  • Johnny Rutherford
  • Wilbur Shaw
  • Tom Sneva
  • Danny Sullivan
  • Al Unser
  • Al Unser Jr.
  • Bobby Unser
  • Bill Vukovich
  • Rodger Ward

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Opening Day Morning Photos

It's Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the 40 car and driver combinations are scheduled to take to the famed oval at Noon est.
Dragon Racing's Scott Speed signing for fans...
 Ryan Hunter-Reay's DHL entry in final preparations before opening day...
 Conquest Rookie Pippa Mann making time for fans...
 Mike Conway's crew working on the rear end of the #27 entry...
 Cars entered into the Celebration of Automobiles in the Pagoda Plaza...
Buddy Rice signing as he enters the drivers meeting...
Indianapolis 500 legend Parnelli Jones on the Coke Stage before a morning autograph session...
 2012 Dallara road course concept on display next to Victory Lane aside an F2000, Star Mazda, Firestone Indy Lights and 2012 oval concept car.

Sign reads: 2012 Dallara Aerokit Road Car Concept. The innovative showcar you are viewing could be ripping through city streets and roaring around scenic road courses during the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series race season.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Q&A With Randy Bernard

Just a few hours before jumping in a USAC Silver Crown 2-seater at the Indiana State Fairgrounds piloted by Firstone Indy Lights Rookie Bryan Clauson, INDYCAR's CEO Randy Bernard sat down to answer a few questions from yours truly. Bernard gave his thoughts on the aero kit situation, when we'll hear about the $5 Million contenders, if the current car will be grandfathered into Indy, and whether or not he thinks Arie Luyendyk's IMS track record could be in danger.

16thAndGeorgetown: Last year's Firestone Indy Lights champion J.K. Vernay wasn't able to use his scholarship winnings to earn an IndyCar ride this year. Have there been any thoughts about awarding the funds to another competitor if the winner can't or doesn't use it?

Randy Bernard: No, it needs to be for that Champ. What I would say though is we still don't have a successful ladder series until every rung of that ladder is successful. And unfortunately $1 Million doesn't buy a ride. We even took it further than that, I think we offered him up to $1.5 Million so we could try this first year to make it successful. Unfortunately $1.5 doesn't buy you much in an Indy car. So, were working on some other options.

16th&GT: Obviously the aero kits are a very tender subject for both the owners and fans. The great majority of fans want them, while many of the owners don't. It's really a tough situation all around. What are your thoughts on allowing the kits next season?

RB: It's important that we maintain a very balanced approach on our decision. I've heard from the fans, which definitely want the aero kits. I've heard from the team owners that definitely don't want the aero kits. Most importantly there was some unknown expenses that the team owners are getting hit with right now and I can see their concern. I don't want to lose the momentum of having 26 or 27 cars and go down to 16 or 17 because of affordability. I have to play this out and determine whats going to be in the best interest of INDYCAR as a whole. I don't think we'll make that decision before the Indy 500 for sure.

16th&GT: You mentioned the concern for a possible dip in car count next season. Could the current Dallara be grandfathered in, at least at Indy to help car count.

RB: I think our new car, this is from what Tony Cotman says, our new car is going to be so much less drag and so much more efficient that with the power and the turbo, that the old car couldn't compete with it.

I think that there is three things we have to deliver to fans to give them a great experience. We have to give them great competition, we have to give them great entertainment and great value. I don't think that's the right story either to just let a car be grandfathered out there to compete if its not competitive.

16th&GT: It's fairly obvious for a couple teams which engine manufacture they'll be paired with next season, but have the rules for how the engines will be distributed been laid out?

RB: We're very close to determining that, but no its not been set in concrete yet.

16th&GT: There was talk of possibly going after the track records at IMS this year with demonstrations laps, that plan seems to of been put on the back burner, but where does the league stand on track records in 2012 and beyond?

RB: I think that would be a great question for Brian Barnhart, Tony Cotman and all of our experts on safety. After we see the car run I think we'll have a better idea. I'm a big believer that fans always looked forward to coming here and having the opportunity to see records broke. I am one to think that is something we should put into our sights, but I can't guarantee that will be in 2012 or 2013 or 2014. I'm still very confident, that eventually, that's a directions we need and want to go.

16th&GT: Dragon Racing just announced that Scott Speed will join the team for Indy and the finale at Vegas where he expects to run for the $5 Million. When should we expect to hear the 5 running for the money?

RB: You won't hear all of the decisions until August 15th, but I would think we might possibly roll one out per month.

16th&GT: Are the drivers and teams going to have to bring sponsorship for the $5 Million dollar challenge?

RB: Yes, exactly.

16th&GT: One major draw back to the $5 Million challenge at LV is that many of the other leagues are running that weekend as well. What's the chance that if the promotion returns next year of moving the challenge to a different track or date when more drivers are available?

RB: I think that's a good date. I'm hoping it's a perfect storm. You have NASCAR on ABC Saturday night, so they will be able to promote our race on Sunday on ABC. There will be a couple promotions I'm sure in that ABC race Saturday night for the Sunday. I'm rather confident on it that it's a good weekend. I think also that once the chase is situated, I still am confident that we will get some NASCAR drivers that will want to compete for that.

They do their qualifying on Thursday, were doing our qualifying Friday. They race Saturday, were going to race Sunday. It's very doable, we have probably 25 names and there are some fantastic names right now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2012 Concept Car Unveiled

Unveiled live on today's edition of VERSUS' IndyCar Open-Wheel Weekly, pictures of the 2012 concept design for both a road/street courses and oval package were finally shown to the masses.

Keep in mind, the designs are just concepts to show what can be done and not the actual car that'll be on track next season.

Potential oval package....

Potential road & street course package....

More photos will be posted....

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bieber A Better Choice

With 4 Indianapolis 500 wins, 57 total race victories, 53 poles, 7 series championships, and the owner of the 1999 Indy 500 winning entry, I'd prefer A.J. Foyt before Justin Bieber when it comes to pretty much anything, but not when it comes to the 2011 '500' pace car driver.

Nothing against A.J., I absolutely love the guy. I challenge you to find better footage than that of the angered driver unbelting, wiggling out of his ride, throwing his gloves and helmet into the seat, tossing away cowlings and pounding away at his 1982 '500' entry with a hammer. Mid-race. But he's just not what the IZOD IndyCar Series or Indianapolis 500 need in a pace car driver.

In no way do I blame IMS brass for letting Donald Trump, the originally scheduled pace car driver, go. At the time of the announcement back in early April that Trump would be piloting the car, rumors of his run at the White House were just that. Rumors. There weren't daily segments on national news programs calling into question his latest statements, or growing amounts of outrage to his repeated request for the publication of a certain persons birth certificate. Right or wrong it doesn't matter, Trump was receiving a lot of bad press, and that's obviously not something the track wants to be associated with. I can't blame them for that. But the loss of a celebrity such as Trump leading the 33-starters in their parade laps leaves a gaping hole in what could be a highly productive position.

While your searching for that nonexistent superior video on YouTube, I also challenge you to find someone that believes the TV ratings and popularity level of the series and race are where they need to be. They're absolutely not, you know that, I know that, and I'm sure the decision makers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway know that as well.

The only way to gain ratings is to create an attraction that others want to watch and then publicize it. Pretty simple. One way of achieving that is by taking a well known celebrity and inserting them into the race festivities. Honors such as singing the national anthem, dropping the green flag, and driving the pace car have historically been some of the better ways to highlight a celebrities attendance.  In doing so the announcement and both pre and post race footage of the celebs is is often aired on various television programs, and wrote about in magazines, newspapers and internet articles. With the boom in social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook in recent years, and the growing audience for celebrity gossip shows and websites, the benefits a celebrity could bring has only grown.

In a recent article written by SPEED's Robin Miller the veteran writer reports that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been contacted by various driver hopefuls including Andy Granatelli and representatives for Justin Bieber. If true, and I have no doubt that it is, IMS has to at least look at Bieber. Yes, he has no connection to the Speedway or racing at all, that I'm aware of. Yes, I understand that many of you can't connect with him. But he deserves a look.

Should the powers that be sign the 17-year-old to a deal tomorrow? Absolutely not. Should they do their research? Without a doubt. Fly the kid out, or for that matter go to him. Have one of the many replica Chevy Camaro's waiting along with Al Unser Jr. or Johnny Rutherford and see what he's got. If he can't handle it, fine, you've gotten some great publicity and maybe he'll attend in a different role. But if he is up for the task, you've hit gold.

Personally I'd much rather see a legend like Foyt, Mears, Unser, or Andrett leading the 33 cars around the historic 2.5 mile track. But the reasonings behind filling such a position shouldn't be made to satisfy me. They already have me, and if you're reading this they probably all ready have you as well. The decision makers need to satisfy the outsider. They need to make a choice that creates a splash, and Bieber would create a huge one. He has 9.4 Million followers on Twitter, the 2nd most of anybody. Over half a billion views on his most recent YouTube music video. Billion as in B! Type a 'J' in Google and tell me what the search engine recommends. Justin Bieber is in the top 4. I guarantee you that if Justin was driving the pace car, more eyeballs would be on the television set than if he wasn't. How it would effect ratings or attendance I don't know, but the needle would move, and media coverage would grow. And that's exactly what we need.

Tung, Speed In At Dragon

After parting ways with his de Ferran Dragon partners in the off-season, Jay Penske's revamped IndyCar team will field 2 cars at Indianapolis.

Both rookies, Ho-Pin Tung was signed earlier this week to run the #8 entry for Dragon Racing in collaboration with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Tung tested over the winter with FAZZT Race Team before it was bought out by Schmidt just days before the season opener.

The second entry and much more surprising of the two came late last night when the Penske confirmed the addition of Scott Speed to the team. Speed, whose competed in both F1 and NASCAR in recent years will run both the '500' and season finale at Las Vegas in the #20 Fuzzy's Vodka sponsored car.

The two announcements pushes the confirmed car/driver car count to 40 entries, with a few more last minute deals still possible.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lloyd In At Coyne

Missing the first four races of the season, Alex Lloyd will be back behind the wheel at Indianapolis. Lloyd has signed on to pilot the #19 Boy Scouts of America entry for Dale Coyne in the '500' and seven other ovals this season.

"I'm pumped to be back with the Dale Coyne Racing team, and running not only at Indy, but at the remaining oval track events in 2011," said Lloyd. "I think the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America team has a legitimate chance to win. I'm very excited to have this chance."

Sharing the ride with Sebastien Bourdais, who will run the remaining road and street courses, Lloyd will will team with DCR full-time pilot James Jakes
Lloyd finished last years Indianapolis 500 in 4th position.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Brazil Postponed To Monday

After attempting to run Sunday's Sao Paulo Indy 300 in wet conditions, the red flag was quickly dropped putting an end to what was at that point a disastrous first few laps, but waved a bit to late for some.

Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Simona De Silvestro and Danica Patrick who were all involved in an early accident which resulted in the #78 entry sitting atop the #7, and a hand injury to Kanaan after his arm made contact with Patrick's car.

"I got hit from everywhere. I don't want to blame anyone because we couldn't see anything," said Kanaan. "I'm pretty sure I got hit from behind and hit from the side. And Danica's car came over top of mine and hit my hand pretty hard"

Luckily for Castroneves, De Silvestro, Patrick and TK, the race was red-flagged after 10 laps for 2 hours, 23 minutes, giving the opportunity for teams to repair crash damage. Following the lengthy delay, all 26 cars returned to the track at 4:25 local time in a failed attempt to restart the race.

The remaining laps will be picked up LIVE from Brazil at 8am est on VERSUS and the IMS Radio Network. With a scheduled green flag drop at 8:05, the race will resume on lap 15 with one hour, 19 minutes remaining in the two-hour timed event.

Restart order:

1* Conway

2 Power
3 Briscoe
4 Sato
5 Rahal
6 Franchitti
7 Andretti
8 Kimball
9 Tagliani
10 Servia
11 Saavedra
12 Viso
13 Dixon
14 Jakes
15 Hinchcliffe
16 Beatriz
17 Hildebrand
18 Wilson
19 Matos
20 Bourdais
21 Meira -2 Laps
22 Hunter-Reay -2 Laps
23 Castroneves -9 Laps
24 de Silvestro -9 Laps
25 Patrick -9 Laps
26 Kanaan -9 Laps

*On tail end of lead lap and will be waived around prior to the restart