- Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make Indianapolis 500 starts 19 years apart, bettering Cy Marshall & Roland Free's 17-year gap set in 1947.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RHR Retains Win

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Ryan Hunter-Reay will retain his win at New Hampshire 10 days ago.

All day Tuesday the three-person panel, appointed by INDYCAR president of competition and racing operations Brian Barnhart, heard the presentations of Newman Haas Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing in which they tried to support their claim that the finishing order of the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 needs to be adjusted following the race's green, yellow, red finish. The panel consisted of Jerry Gappens (VP and General Manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway), Rollie Helmling (former team owner and president and CEO of USAC) and Jeff Stoops (former car owner and current Chairman of the Board for USAC).

Finishing 2nd behind announced winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, Oriol Servia and Newman Haas representatives attempted to make the case that they passed the Andretti Autosport driver when the green flag was dropped and was still holding the lead when the yellow flag/light was posted.

Wednesday morning the panel announced that they've voted unanimously to uphold the original results, citing that Barnhart had the authority to make the decision.

The panel released the following statement.


"After hearing the excellent presentations by each of the participants in the protest hearing and after reviewing and being sympathetic with each of their positions, the Protest Panel was unanimous in its decision. It is this Protest Panel's conclusion that INDYCAR Senior Official Brian Barnhart had the authority under the governing 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook to render the decision that was made. We also agree that his decision to abort the restart and set the finishing positions that existed before the attempted restart to be an exercise of reasonable discretion. The protests as to Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. d/b/a Target Chip Ganassi Racing car number 9 and Newman/Haas Racing, LLC car number 2 are hereby denied."
Andretti Autosport released the following statements.

"We are very pleased with the decision given by the committee on the New Hampshire race finish. Ryan drove a tremendous race in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car at Loudon and his crew was outstanding that day. We, at Andretti Autosport, believed all along that Ryan was the winner of the MoveThatBlock.com 225 and this decision verifies his victory. This was our team's third win with three different drivers this year. We're the only team to have three winners in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series. We have two big road racing events coming up in the next two weeks at Sonoma, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., and we can now focus on getting back to victory lane at those races. Thanks again for the support of our sponsors and fans." - Michael Andretti

"I have always felt that we won the race in New Hampshire. The conditions were not ideal that day. And a proper decision needed to be made. I know that the entire Andretti Autosport team and especially the Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda crew is pleased with the outcome of the hearing. It is a very gratifying feeling to hear from all of our sponsors and fans who have supported us all year long and through the last week or so after the race. It is a relief to now concentrate on the next race at Sonoma this weekend. We have scored more points in the last four races than any other driver, and I would love to continue that pattern at Infineon Raceway. Thanks again to everyone who stood behind us." - Ryan Hunter-Reay

Newman Haas released the following statements:
"The IndyCar Series granted us a hearing and has been very cooperative in providing us with requested information enabling us to adequately present our case. We feel that we gave the panel proof that Oriol was the winner of the event when the checkered flag ended the race. Naturally we are very disappointed in the panel's ruling that five laps of the race be struck from the results but we appreciated the opportunity to state our position." - Newman Haas owner, Carl Haas

“I am very proud of Newman/Haas Racing and how they proved that the restart procedure was correct and that we were leading when the yellow came out. The panel resolution doesn't deny that. Their resolution states that Brian Barnhart has the power by the rulebook to make certain decisions at his discretion, and that is what happened.” - Oriol Servia

No word if Newman Haas will appeal the decision.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Newman Haas, Ganassi Protest Hearing Announced

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UPDATE: INDYCAR announced Wednesday afternoon that Jerry Gappens, VP and General Manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Rollie Helmling, former team owner and president and CEO of USAC, and Jeff Stoops, former car owner and current Chairman of the Board for USAC have been named to the 3-person panel that will hear the protests.  The hearing will take place in Indianapolis August 23rd.

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INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series announced on Tuesday afternoon that a hearing has been set for the protests filed by Newman Haas Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing following the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 last weekend.

Both teams are protesting for a better finishing position, in the case of Newman Haas it's for the win by Oriol Servia. The hearings are scheduled for the week of August, 22nd in Indianapolis and will be heard by a third party panel selected by Brian Barnhart. The members of the panel will be announced on a later date by INDYCAR.

"Given my role in Race Control, I feel that it is in everyone's best interest to have an independent panel hear the protests. I believe a panel will help maintain a fair hearing," said president of competition and operations, & race director of INDYCAR, Brian Barnhart.

In addition to Newman Haas and Chip Ganassi Racing officials, Andretti Autosport and representatives of Ryan Hunter-Reay's race winning #28 entry have also been invited to attend the protest.








Q/A With Dan Wheldon

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Following his first test in the 2012 Dallara Honda prototype, 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon sat down to answer a few questions about the car, the test, his job as test driver and more.


Pantano In At Sonoma And Baltimore

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Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that Giorgio Pantano will run the #22 entry at Sonoma and Baltimore.

"For me, this is a very good opportunity," said Pantano. "I want to say thank you to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and the sponsors for giving me this opportunity. I'm here to do the best that I can as always and I look forward to the chance to compete in these two races."

Pantano, who ran 2-races in 2005 with Chip Ganassi Racing,  replaces Justin Wilson who was announced out for the season following an incident at Mid-Ohio.

Simon Pagenaud filled in for the Brit following his injury at Mid-Ohio while Tomas Scheckter ran the #22 last weekend in New Hampshire.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aero Kits Delayed To '13

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The next generation IZOD IndyCar Series chassis is still on track to make it's race debut in 2012, but the aero kits aren't. INDYCAR announced on Sunday that the body skins will be introduced in 2013.

"The most important thing we can do as a series is look at what is in the best interest of both our long and short term," said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR. "It is important that we maintain a high car count next year by ensuring we have cost containment for our teams. We must listen to our team owners and try to help. I'm the biggest advocate of the aero kit and I feel this is by far the best decision for our series. The 2012 season will be exciting with the debut of our new car as we focus on relevancy and technology with engine competition, turbochargers and direct injection among other things."

The delay in body kit designs means that all cars will be referred to as Dallaras next season, but all three engine manufactures (Honda, Chevy & Lotus) are still on pace for a 2012 debut.

Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport completed the first test of the Dallara/Honda formula last week at the Mid-Ohio Motorsports Park.




Thursday, August 11, 2011

Q/A With Lindy Thackston

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Leading into an off-week for the VERSUS crew, pit reporter Lindy Thackston sat down for a quick Q & A. Lindy talks about the Indiana State Fair, the 2011 Championship, life as a pit reporter and more.





Scheckter, SH Racing In At Baltimore

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SH Racing announced today that they'll run Tomas Scheckter in the Baltimore Grand Prix, piloting the Redline Xtreme sponsored Dallara . Earlier this season the newly formed organization teamed up with KV Racing Technology to field the South African at Indianapolis.

Our original plan after forming SH Racing was to concentrate on and run the Indianapolis 500," said SH Racing principal James Sullivan.  "After capturing an 8th place finish at Indy, we decided collectively we’d like to enter at least one more event this season, and Scheckter was the logical choice. This Baltimore race and the months immediately following will be used strategically to evaluate all aspects of our program and build SH Racing’s plans around the IZOD IndyCar series for 2012.”

The team also announced in the press release that they'll "be announcing a new technical partnership next week for the Baltimore Grand Prix where it plans to use the momentum it has garnered off its Indianapolis 500 finish for a great result on the streets of Baltimore and a springboard into the 2012 season."

The technical partnership being an existing team, an SH Racing representitive said that they "assembled a different crew of guys than we used at Indy."







Wednesday, August 10, 2011

'500' On ABC Through 2018

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With the Indianapolis 500 broadcast rights up after the 2012 event, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that the race will return to ESPN on ABC through the 2018 season.

"The Indianapolis 500 and ABC have been together since 1965, and we are very proud to extend the relationship with this new agreement," said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports. "The 500 is a uniquely American event and a Memorial Day tradition, and we especially look forward to televising the 100th edition of the race in 2016."


The Indy 500 broadcast partner since 1956, ABC will remain as the exclusive broadcast network airing four IndyCar events each season. In addition, starting in 2012 live streaming of onboard cameras will be available on ESPN3.com.

"INDYCAR is very excited about our continued relationship with ABC," said Randy Bernard, CEO, INDYCAR. "This allows the series long-term growth on the network. This new contract also helps us expand our presence around the world with ESPN representing our international rights. I want to thank ABC for their strong confidence and commitment in our brand and series. This deal will help our series, team owners, sponsors and fans for the long term with a much more solid foundation."

INDYCAR is in the 3rd year of a lengthy agreement with VERSUS to air the majority of it's events each season through the 2018 season. The television partner since 2009, VERSUS will be renamed the NBC Sport Network later this year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wilson Out 3 Months, Scheck In For New Hampshire

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Following the on-track incident over the weekend at the Mid-Ohio Motorsports Park which sidelined Justin Wilson for the weekend, the veteran driver was transported to Indianapolis on Sunday. Today, Wilson was released with a brace from the Hospital with a stable burst fracture of the T5 with no spinal cord injury.

The Brit is unable to drive for at least three months.

"Obviously, I have a little bit of a backache, but I'm just frustrated to not be at the racetrack. I think that we just started to get our season turned around and the car was really good at Mid-Ohio and I'm disappointed about that. I know that I'm going to miss the ovals and I think we've found some good stuff that was going to help our oval performance. So, I'm just disappointed to not be the car, but my back is the most important thing. I'm going to try and get that to heal and get back to 100 percent as soon as possible and get back in the car. As for myself, I'm feeling good and I'm already thinking about getting back to racing. Also, the response has been incredible and it's really nice to see that rather it's on Twitter from the fans, or drivers and ex-drivers. Everyone has been really supportive, so thank you to all of them. I also want to thank the Safety team, medical staff and AirMed that did the transport from Ohio to Indianapolis. It's been great treatment all the way around. I want to wish the team good luck this weekend and I'm looking forward to see how they do," said Wilson.

Simon Pagenaud filled-in piloting the #22 entry at Mid-Ohio and Tomas Scheckter will take over the driving duties this weekend at New Hampshire.

"Obviously, it's not the circumstances that you want to get in the car, and I want to wish Justin a quick recovery. It will be great to be back with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and it will also be good to be back on an oval. It looks like a really cool oval that's new to everybody. I'm looking forward to it and I feel at home with the team and I can't wait to get back in the car," said Scheckter.

Monday, August 8, 2011

2012 Formula Test At Mid-Ohio

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Monday morning marked the first day of what's sure to be a busy summer and fall for Bryan Herta Autosport, Dan Wheldon, and INDYCAR officials as they test the 2012 car and engines.

The Dallara prototype chassis and Honda engine made it's debut at the Mid-Ohio Motorsports Park piloted by 2-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Dan Wheldon. Hi-res photos posted below, courtesy of INDYCAR.

The next test is scheduled at Texas Motor Speeday.

(Click to enlarge)


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wilson Injured, Pagenaud In

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Following a single-car incident during Saturday Morning's practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing driver Justin Wilson was transported by ground to MedCentral Hospital in Mansfield, Ohio complaining of back pain.

A few hours later the team announced that Wilson suffered an anterior compression fracture of the fifth vertebra and will be transported to Indianapolis Sunday to see Dr. Terry Trammell, staying overnight at MedCentral Hospital in Mansfield Saturday.

According to an INDYCAR press release: 'Wilson's car ran through the grass entering Turn 1 on the 2.558-mile, 13-turn circuit in the morning practice and made slight contact with a few cones.'

Simon Pagenaud, who filled in for Ana Beatriz earlier this season when she fractured her wrist during an on track incident, slid into the #22 DRR entry for qualifying and will race the Dallara Sunday, starting 18th.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Schmidt Joins Honda In '12

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Honda Racing announced on Friday morning that Sam Schmidt Motorsports will join the growing list Honda powered teams in 2012.

“We believe that Sam, Team Manager Rob Edwards and the rest of the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team have established a solid foundation for future success," said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development and VP, corporate planning and logistics, for American Honda. "We look forward to working with them to achieve our joint goals of race wins and IndyCar Series championships"

Schmidt is the third team to commit to Honda next season. Earlier this year Chip Ganassi Racing and A.J. Foyt Racing announced they'll be sticking with the sole IndyCar engine supplier since 2007.

I have raced with Honda and against Honda, and I would always wish to race with them. Racing is part of Honda’s DNA,” said SSM team manager Rob Edwards. “We look forward to working with the other Honda-powered teams to develop the 2012 IndyCar package and continue Honda’s winning heritage.”

Testing on the next generation Indy car is set to kick-off this Monday at Mid-Ohio Motorsports park. The test is closed to both the public and media.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Conway, RHR, Tag On Probation

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The IZOD IndyCar Series announced today that drivers Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alex Tagliani have been placed on probation through December 31, 2011.


Citing rule 9.3 that says, 'a competitor must not initiate or attempt to initiate avoidable contact that results in the interruption of another competitor's lap time or track position',  President of competition and operations for INDYCAR, Brian Barnhart said, "We are disappointed in these actions, which have exhibited a pattern of driving that endangers on-track safety and adversely affects competition."

Mike Conway, pilot of the #27 Andretti Autosport Dallara was penalized for his incident with Ryan Briscoe at Toronto and Oriol Servia at Edmonton.

Andretti Autosport driver of the #28 DHL/Sundrop entry, Ryan Hunter-Reay, was penalized for his incident with Ryan Briscoe at Barber and Takuma Sato in Edmonton.

Alex Tagliani, pilot of the #77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry was cited for his incident with Will Power in Toronto and Graham Rahal in Edmonton.

Rule 9.2(b)3 in the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebooks states in part: 'During probation a Member is under heightened scrutiny and the Member can be required to abide by specified standards of conduct which are more stringent than those which are otherwise applicable. If a Member violates probation, the Member is subject to a more severe penalty. The duration and conditions of probation are within the discretion of the Officials.'

Snowball Express To Sponsor Plowman

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Following the announcement that Firestone Indy Lights veteran Martin Plowman will compete in 3 races with AFS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports this season, the partnership announced today their sponsorship package.

Snowball Express, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide hope and new memories for the children of fallen military men and women since 9/11, will have their logo on the sidepod of the #27 Plowman entry at Mid-Ohio, Infineon, and Baltimore.

The #27 Snowball Express livery can be viewed, along with all other IndyCar paint schemes on the Livery Page.

For more information on Snowball Express visit Snowballexpress.org

 
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