Archive for April, 2014



Greenwood, IN (4/21/2014) – In the wake of announcing major changes to their operations, and as part of the new era of restaurant operations for Jonathan Byrd’s, the Byrd family is excited to announce the return of the Jonathan Byrd’s Racing team.  Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, a long-time fixture at the Indianapolis 500, will be returning to competition beginning with the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May of 2016. 

“From the beginning , racing has been part of the DNA of our business” said Virginia “Ginny” Byrd, wife of the late Jonathan Byrd and owner of Jonathan Byrd’s, “and the Indy 500 has been an especially important part of shaping our identity in central Indiana.  The annual participation of the various Jonathan Byrd’s Racing teams in the Indy 500 from 1985 through 2001, and again in 2005, which allowed us to have a place in the event that has provided an identity to the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana, and to which hundreds of thousands of our fellow Hoosiers have such a strong emotional attachment, enabled us to connect with the greater central Indiana community in a profound way.  Since we have been away from Indy, I believe that connection has been missing.” 

Ginny Byrd continued: “Being part of the Indy 500 in the way that we were, as both an entrant and as a team owner that also sponsored our own cars, provided our family business with amazing benefits, both tangible and intangible.  Quite frankly, we have been away for far too long.  With today’s announcement, to go along with the recently announced changes to our business and with what we have planned for the future of the Jonathan Byrd’s brand, we are rectifying that situation and we are going back to Indy.  Even though we won’t be back until the 100th running of 500 in 2016, we thought it would be good to make our efforts on this front public and to share this news with our customers and all those that have supported us over the years.  Not only does it give us something to look forward to, we have what I think is a brilliant plan in place as we will be taking steps to tie our brand to our participation in the Indy 500 in a very meaningful way.  Now that we’re going back, we intend to be there for a long time to come.”

To his mother’s comments Jonathan Byrd II added: “Whether we are talking about the members of our family or our business itself, the Indy 500 is in our blood.  It’s exciting for us to be going back, and that excitement stems largely from being able to once again be part of something about which so many are so very passionate.  Because Jonathan Byrd’s Racing exists to support the Jonathan Byrd’s restaurant brand and banquet and catering operations, it certainly makes us unique among similar businesses here in our community.  We think that uniqueness is important to acknowledge and emphasize, and makes us stand out among all of the players in the foodservice community.   By going back to Indy, we are building on our past while we adapt for the present and embrace the future, while also letting all of our customers know that, even in the midst of some big changes for Jonathan Byrd’s, that we are still here for them, that we’re still open for business and we’re not going anywhere, and that we have even better and exciting things in store for us and for them.”

Spearheading the return of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing to the Indy 500 is David Byrd.  He added “Even though we were never able to make a trip to victory lane at the Speedway, the Jonathan Byrd’s Racing teams have a strong history at Indy.  There have been a lot of highs and a lot of lows, and with seventeen successful entries, six top- ten finishes with Vogler, Johncock, Fox, Brayton, John Andretti, and Buddy Lazier, the all-time track record with Luyendyk, and the very first ‘double’ with John Andretti in 1994, Indy has been very good to us, but there is obviously some unfinished business.  Going back in 2016, to kick off the next era of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing’s participation in the 500 with the 100th running, and maybe even defending our track record on the 20th anniversary of Arie Luyendyk setting the all-time qualifying mark in a Jonathan Byrd’s Racing car, seems entirely appropriate.   Our being involved at Indy again is going to give us a fantastic platform from which to do a lot of interesting and valuable things for our business, for our customers, and for our community, and those efforts can start with this announcement.  So even though it may seem like a long way away, the 2016 Indy 500 will be here before we know it.  We want to do this right, and we can’t wait to get there.“

Jonathan Byrd’s Racing will be announcing its partner team and its driver in the coming weeks.  To keep up with Jonathan Byrd’s Racing and to learn about its history, follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @ByrdRacing.  To learn more about Jonathan Byrd’s, visit and


Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, in its various forms, has successfully fielded 17 entries in the Indianapolis 500 beginning in 1985, scoring 6 top ten finishes.  A Jonathan Byrd’s Racing car currently holds the all-time Indianapolis 500 qualifying speed record.  Jonathan Byrd’s Racing has won 2 IndyCar races, along with 2 United States Auto Club National Midget Championships, and numerous regional and short-track championships in both midget racing and late model stock cars.  Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, along with its partner teams, was responsible for the first ever “double,” in which John Andretti raced in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the same day. 

Image and data courtesy of Jonathon Byrd Racing

Mopar Action - Part 7 - 1



April 17, 2014 by

St. James, Ribbs and Dismore Early Entries in Special Feature

The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced an “Indy Legends Pro-Am” race with a field of as many as 25 former drivers of the Indianapolis 500 as a special feature to its June 6 – 8 vintage race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The SVRA, America’s premier vintage racing organization, is creating a return to competition for the famous drivers with a 40 minute race of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course on Sunday, June 8. Three initial entries, Lyn St. James, Willy T. Ribbs and Mark Dismore all made their mark on Indianapolis 500 history. St. James was 1992 rookie of the year while Ribbs became the first African-American to qualify for the race and Dismore came back from a devastating accident in 1991 to nearly win 10 years later before gearbox failure dashed his chances in the 2001 Indianapolis 500.

The cars for the Pro-Am will be 1967 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of “Group 6,” with an engine displacement limit of 355 cubic inches. The Indianapolis 500 veterans will be paired with amateur drivers, each taking a 20-minute stint. Five minutes will be allotted for driver change.

The Indy Legends Pro-Am is the crowning addition to the weekend, called the “Brickyard Invitational.” The weekend promises to be the largest gathering of race cars that has ever been assembled for competition in America. The SVRA has 11 groups of cars spanning 100 years of vintage machines and all will be in action at IMS. The exciting array of entries include exquisite examples of select pre-war machines, classic sports cars, Formula One and Le Mans prototypes as current as 2008. The storied 2.5-mile oval will be utilized as well with exhibition runs by a wide variety of cars including several of the crowd-favorite 1950’s vintage Indianapolis 500 “roadsters.” Race fans can enjoy every minute of the action by taking advantage of overnight camping inside the Speedway.

“The SVRA can think of no better way to honor the tremendous history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway than to showcase some of the great drivers who helped write it,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “We are reaching out to many of the drivers and have heard from so many fans how thrilled they are to see these racing stars in competition again.”

The Pro-Am cars and drivers will also participate in a Fan Walk through the starting grid prior to the opening ceremonies allowing fans to see the cars up close, take photos and chat with the drivers. Driver 2 pairings and starting positions will be determined by a lottery. Entries to this event will be limited and all entry fees will be donated to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum Foundation.

Brickyard Invitational ticket information: A three-day general admission pass including Friday, June 6 through Sunday, June 8 costs $40. Single day general admission tickets are $15 on Friday, June 6, $20 on Saturday, June 7 and $25 on Sunday, June 8. Children 12 and under are admitted free each day when accompanied by an adult. Existing ticket customers to any 2014 IMS event are eligible to receive discounted general admission three-day passes for $30 until May 1 (save $10).

Tent camping passes in Turn 3 of the IMS infield are available beginning Thursday afternoon, June 5 for $30, with RV camping available in the Northwest gravel lot for $60.

Fans can order Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational tickets at, by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8a.m. – 5p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more info.




INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, April 14, 2014) — INDYCAR announced today an addition to the practice schedule and further definition of the qualification format for next month’s 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The schedule change features an extra day of on-track activity with the addition of a Verizon IndyCar Series practice session on Monday, May 19.

In March, INDYCAR announced an enhanced qualification format to increase the excitement level and on-track action during qualifications. The weekend will culminate on Sunday, May 18th with the Fast Nine Shootout, which will determine the coveted Indianapolis 500 pole position and the recipient of the Verizon P1 Award.

The practice session on May 19th will be held from 12-5p.m. (EST) and the extra day of on-track action will be open to the public like any other practice day during May.

“On Sunday teams will be completely focused on qualifying, so we added another practice session to give them a sufficient amount of time to test their race setups,” said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. “Previously a majority of teams have utilized most of Sunday for full-tank running, so it was important for us to continue to give them that opportunity after qualifications are complete.”

“The addition of a post-qualifying practice will be beneficial to the teams as they prepare for the Indianapolis 500, and will also be an exciting, action-packed afternoon of track activity for fans,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles. “We are also thankful to the many staff, businesses and the local law enforcement community for the cooperation in adding another new element to the Indianapolis 500 activities.”

INDYCAR also confirmed an update to the qualification format that allows a competitor that suffers a hardship in qualifying at the conclusion of Saturday, May 17th an opportunity to make the starting field during Sunday qualifications. This revision would also permit teams that want to bring new entries forward after qualifying on Saturday an opportunity to compete for a position in the race. In both cases, these teams would be restricted to the last row of the field.

“As our qualifying format evolves we continue to evaluate what is best for the competitors,” Walker explained. “We realized the need to provide teams that suffer an unexpected hardship on Saturday a second chance to make the Indianapolis 500. The changes apply primarily for cars that crash or suffer a mechanical failure during their Saturday qualifying run. Ultimately, we will capture the fastest 33 cars and that’s who will make the race.”

At the conclusion of Saturday’s qualifications, positions 31-33 will be provisional and those cars, plus any entry not already in the field that has declared its intention to qualify to INDYCAR prior to 7 p.m. (EST) on Saturday – will participate in a separate qualification session on Sunday to determine the 11th row on the grid.

Sunday’s qualifying will include three separate group sessions:

• Group One (10:15-12:15 p.m. EST) – Determines starting positions 10-30;
• Group Two (12:45-1:30 p.m. EST) – Determines positions 31-33; and
• The Fast Nine Shootout (2:00-2:45 p.m. EST) – Determines the Verizon P1 Award winner and first three rows of the race.

Fans will be able to track their favorite drivers’ progress as they attempt to qualify for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” with ABC’s extensive coverage. The network will televise qualifications live from 4-6 p.m. (ET) Saturday, May 17, and 1-3 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 18, in addition to the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500, marking its 50th consecutive year of coverage of the race. Additional hours of qualifying will be carried on ESPN3, ESPN’s multi-screen live sports network, with the full schedule to be announced at a later date.

Photo and Data courtesy of IndyCar



Photos Courtesy of IndyCar — Photographers John Cote (top photo) and Chris Jones (bottom photo)




Part 6 Mopar Action 1 Part 6 Mopar Action 2 Part 6 Mopar Action 3 Part 6 Mopar Action 4 Part 6 Mopar Action 5 Part 6 Mopar Action 6 Part 6 Mopar Action 7

Billy Coy (Mickey Rooney) is from Carrell in California and wants to be a racecar driver. He manages to get hired as a mechanic by Arthur “Red” Stanley (Thomas Mitchell) at his garage, after mentioning that he is the son of a famous driver “Cannonball” Coy, who had died in an accident at the Indianapolis 500 a few years back.  Red used to be a mechanic working for Cannonball, and still has the hots for his widow, Billy’s mother, Mary (Spring Byington).

2At the garage, Billy befriends a tomboy named Louise Riley (Mary Hatcher), whose father owns the nearest racetrack. Soon Billy gets a chance to prove his skills as a driver in a qualifying race, but is too arrogant to follow his employer’s advice and is unsuccessful. He goes on to ask Louise to meet on Saturday night at the racetrack, and thinking it is a date, Louise makes an effort, putting on a dress. It turns out Billy needed her help with changing some carburetors and Louise has to hide her disappointment.

Billy gets another chance to drive in a qualifying race, for different car owner. The car is green, which is the same color as the one his father drove when he crashed. Despite the superstition, Billy drives in the race, but is run off the track by a driver named Vic Sullivan (Michael O’Shea). Billy survives the crash, and after another man driving for Deacon Jones injures his hand, Billy is offered his ride instead.

Billy wins the next race and gets to continue driving for Jones, together with his other driver, Happy Lee (Steve Brodie). But Billy manages to get arrested for speeding after a night out at a club when he has too much to drink. Red comes to the rescue and bails him out, and contrary to Red’s advice, Coy goes on to race that same night. When the steering wheel in Happy’s car fails during the race, Billy crashes into his car and Happy dies in the flames. After the race, the other drivers avoid Billy, and he is fired from Deacon Jones’ garage. He decides to move from California.

Billy stays in contact with Louise, and promises to meet her again on the next Memorial Day, at Indianapolis. He travels east and starts over as a race car driver. During the time he is gone, his mother and Red become a couple and get married.

On the day of the next Indianapolis 500, Mary, Red and Louise are all at the race track and about to watch Billy’s return as he drives one of Red’s cars. He drives well, but when he has only on lap left, the engine catches fire. He still finishes the race, ending up in third place, and manages to save himself by leaving the car just before it explodes in a sea of flames. The 500 winner gives the trophy to Billy for his bravery, and he reunites with Louise.


WISH for OUR HEROES (W4OH), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indiana National Guard are teaming up to provide fans with an opportunity to help send active United States military or veterans to the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Indianapolis 500, Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard or Red Bull Indianapolis GP in 2014.

The “Wish Fund” program gives fans four ways to salute American service members through contributions or donations at or

– Text to donate: By texting the word ‘America’ to 20222, a $10 donation will automatically be deducted from the sender’s telephone bill.

– Contribute funds: Contribute $5 or more toward the purchase of a 2014 IMS event ticket for an active-duty service member or veteran.

– Purchase tickets: Purchase a 2014 IMS event ticket for an active-duty service member or veteran.

– Donate tickets: Donate extra or unused 2014 IMS event tickets to an active-duty service member or veteran.

WISH for OUR HEROES is a national charity dedicated to “Helping Heroes Battle Hardships” by granting wishes to military and their families. WISH for OUR HEROES is a volunteer-based organization, allowing every dollar donated to directly assist the troops. Since 2009, more than $7 million has been granted to military heroes. To assist with a $10 donation, text “AMERICA” to 20222.

For more information visit:

“Honoring active and retired servicemen and women at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of our longest and most important traditions,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with Wish For Our Heroes and look forward to once again hosting military personnel and their families as guests during all of our racing events this year.”

Fans who donate the purchase price of a ticket to the “Wish Fund” can designate the service branch and service status (active, reserves, National Guard, veteran, wounded veteran) of the ticket recipient. “Wish Fund” contributors who donate tickets or the purchase price of a ticket also can receive a picture of the military recipient and learn more about their dedicated service to the country.

“We are proud to enter our third year working alongside IMS and ING to reward our brave men and women serving our country,” said Erich Orrick, WISH for OUR HEROES president. “The strains of military life take their toll on Military families, and through this program, our mission is to provide them with the experience of a lifetime and do our part to thank them for all of the sacrifices they’ve made for us.”

Wish For Our Heroes was launched in November 2009 to grant wishes for active-duty soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and their families and is a tax-exempt charity under Code Section 501(c)(3). W4OH strives to relieve the burdens of family separation, reintegration for deployed soldiers, hardship circumstances and other means of assistance not covered by existing military charities.

The purpose of W4OH is simple: Reward brave men and women who make so many sacrifices for our great nation every day.

2014 ticket information: Ticket information is available for the four events in 2014 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, 98th Indianapolis 500, Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP.

Fans can order tickets at, by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.


Data & Graphics courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway


Bobby Rahal and son Graham Rahal — Photo by: Chris Owens

Data and Photo courtesy of IndyCar 


Photo courtesy of IndyCar / Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher

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