Archive for July, 2014

Milwaukee IndyFest


INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, July 27, 2014 —

I was here in 1994 when Jeff Gordon won his first Brickyard 400 and I am thrilled to say I was here today when he won his fifth.

Gordon was clearly the class of the field for the Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard Sunday afternoon and his victory here brought many Hoosier fans to their feet, feeling a favorite son (albeit adopted from his birthplace in California) had triumphed once again.

JGS_8154-1When we arrived here at the epicenter of motorsports history at 6am Sunday morning, we were greeted by heavy rains, lightning and weather reports threatening the running of the very race itself.  Although the rains subsided, the clouds continued to cast a gray hue over the great speedway throughout the morning.  Humidity was high, but so were hopes that the race would be run its full 400 miles. Indianapolis Motor Speedway and NASCAR track officials dried & prepared the Brickyard track perfectly and many fans waited in anticipation for what record speeds might be challenged by the now “green” or tire-rubber-free track.

They were not disappointed. The gray day turned to one filled with bright sunshine, along with a mild breeze from the west and fans witnessed a virtually error-free race to the checkered flag.

Pittsboro, Indiana’s Jeff Gordon, in his 21st consecutive Brickyard 400 start, made history on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, winning for the fifth time on the iconic 2.5-mile oval.  Gordon with Brickyard wins coming in 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2004, had been  previously tied with four-time Indianapolis 500 winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears on the IMS win list. All legends in their own right.

IMG_1162--THGordon now leads the Sprint Cup points standings by 24 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr. His wins at Indianapolis in 1998 and 2001 were a prelude to his winning NASCAR Cup Championships those seasons. His win today was his 90th in the series and he became the first Sprint Cup Series driver to lead over 500 laps (528) at IMS.

Gordon took the lead from Kasey Kahne with a stunning move on the Lap 143 restart in his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet and held off Kyle Busch the rest of the way, thrilling his many fans and rewriting the record book at the Racing Capital of the World.

From lap 143 till the checkered flag, Gordon sped away from the field as he increased his lead by a total of 2.408 seconds, being followed across the finish line by a trio of Joe Gibbs Racing entries; Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth. Busch summed up the feelings for most of the race teams in the field saying: “There was no catching Jeff Gordon, I don’t think anybody had anything for the 24.”

A clearly emotional Gordon said: “I don’t think there’s a greater feeling as a racecar driver, and a race team. I finally made the restart of my life when it mattered most. I cannot believe this just happened. I was trying so hard with 10 to go not to focus on the crowd, I was trying not to let it get to me. You can’t help it, it’s such a big race, such an important victory. This one is for all those fans throughout the years and all weekend long who said, ‘go get No. 5.”  As is the tradition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Gordon issed the bricks and allowed himself to finally soak in the moment with his adoring fans.

Mike Roth 2When asked if he ever thought he’d win the Brickyard 400 five times?:  Gordon replied “Certainly not in 1994 I didn’t. You never know when your next win’s going to come. We’ve been close a number of times to getting number five. But every time I come here to Indianapolis I feel like we have a shot at winning. It’s just a special place and I love racing here. This weekend in particular, you know, the first couple laps that I felt this racecar, I knew that we had a racecar that was capable of winning this race. It just had the feel.  It had the balance that I love to have. I think we showed that today, just how strong this car is. We got behind a couple times. Pit strategy changed for some people. It threw some people off. I think it made for a great race. Throughout all of that, I think we showed the speed our car had. There at the end, had a great battle with Kasey Kahne.  I didn’t know how it was going to end up. I didn’t want to see that caution because I thought I could push him to slide the back, he was sliding the back a little bit. But I don’t know if I would have gotten by him. I’m terrible on restarts. Restarts didn’t go great for us all day today. I didn’t think I wanted to see a restart. Out of nowhere, I have the restart of my life at the most important moment that you could ask for in a race, in a season, at a race like this. So that was awesome, just awesome.” (Comparing emotions with 1994) “Very, very similar. I remember in ’94, you know, in the closing laps of just disbelief. You don’t want to see a caution. You’re leading the Brickyard 400 with just a handful of laps to go. You want to take that moment in and look into the crowd and see what they’re doing, but at the same time you don’t want to lose focus. You know it’s not over till in this case the white flag waves. I kept going in and out of those emotions of, All right, don’t get off track, what’s going on. Remember, still got to get to the end. Be ready if there is a caution.”

JGAs a bit of unique circumstance, on Friday Gordon had been honored on the 20th anniversary of the first win. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles presented the 42-year-old with a No. 24 placard from the IMS scoring pylon that was removed last month, and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard had proclaimed Sunday “Jeff Gordon Day.”

Chevrolet now owns a 12-year win streak at the Brickyard, winning 16 of 21 Brickyard 400s overall. Ford last won in 1999 (Dale Jarrett). Toyota has never won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

2014 IMSBY 400 Race Results

Photos & Data Courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

No. 5 Corvette DP Wins At Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Fittipaldi Earns Victory 19 Years After Indianapolis 500 Debut INDIANAPOLIS (July 25, 2014)

By Matt Cleary


The calculators in the Action Express Racing pit got nearly as much action as the race cars on Friday night as the team No. 5 Corvette DP was able to go the distance on fuel on just two pit stops and emerge with the team’s first-ever Brickyard Grand Prix victory in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With four classes and 49 cars in competition, the race made for a non-stop passing festival through the full two-hour, 45-minute race distance to open the Kroger Super Weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Action Express Racing drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi added a second big feather to their cap for 2014 after having opened the season with a victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with the victory in the Brickyard Grand Prix to continue to build their IMSA championship momentum.

Fittipaldi opened the race from behind the wheel and emerged from a wild start to muscle his way into the lead, which he held for the opening 24 laps.

“It was definitely a smart, exciting race,” said Fittipaldi, who scored a runner-up finish in his rookie Indianapolis 500 outing in 1995. “Action Express gave me a very, very good car. We had the consistency; we had the speed throughout the race. Just had to keep it cool at the beginning of the race for my stint. Had to push but couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. We are really, really happy. Took a monkey off of our back, like we were knocking at the door a couple of times. I don’t know what to say. It is fantastic  And I think we are unofficially back in P1 in the points right now. It couldn’t have been better.”

Barbosa took over with over two hours of the race yet to go, but only made just one more pit stop as he was constantly checking with the team on the radio to make sure that the Brazilian had all the fuel he needed to get to the finish.

“I was saving fuel the whole time once I got in the car,” Barbosa said. “We knew that would be the difference between one less pit stop at the end. That proved to be just a perfect decision. I was struggling a little bit in the beginning. It was hard to keep the other cars behind me. I was able to keep a good pace. The Corvette DP was awesome. Action Express did an excellent strategy, excellent pit stops. and gave me the lead at the end for the last hours. I was able to manage the fuel consumption, the traffic, avoid mistakes and bring it home. I am very proud of winning at Indy with such a great bunch of guys at Action Express. It is awesome to win here. Such a great place with such great history. To win Daytona and Indy in the same year – what an unbelievable achievement and feeling.”

The Action Express drivers crossed the line nearly 50 seconds ahead of the second place car of Scott Pruett and Sage Karam, who only got the call to race a few days ahead of the event as he was called in to replace an injured Memo Rojas. The young Pennsylvanian had a break-out drive on Friday, moving from deep on the grid to lead the race before turning the car over to his Ganassi teammate Scott Pruett. The race was the second of the year at the Speedway for Karam, who also impressed in his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the Indianapolis 500.

Another 2014 Indianapolis 500 race starter had a big day as Jack Hawksworth, who races for Bryan Herta in Verizon IndyCar Series competition, scored a victory in Prototype Challenge competition along with his co-driver Chris Cumming.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Hawksworth. “The last 45 minutes were some of the most fun I’ve had in a race car, to be honest. I had a great battle with Bruno (Junquiera), fighting through the traffic and whatnot. I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a great circuit and I enjoyed it when I raced here in Indycar and to finally get a win here, it feels awesome. A big congrats to Chris. Great job in the first stint. We had a great car. Happy day. We led the majority of the Grand Prix here, but the 500 we weren’t really that strong.  Nevertheless it’s nice for me to come away and do a race in another championship and do so well. It was a good event, it was a confidence booster for me.”

It was a history making day as well for the Dodge Vipers as American driver Jonathan Bomarito and his Canadian co-driver Kuno Wittmer were able to bring the snarling V-10 machine and its iconic livery a new benchmark of success with a GTLM victory in the team’s first-ever race at the Speedway.

“Three podiums in a row. It doesn’t get any better than this. We’re all on cloud nine right now,” Bomarito said. “We’re going to live it up tonight. My hat’s off to the whole crew because they did an amazing job tonight. It’s not really scratched in a tough race like this and that’s why we ended up in the front.”

Adding to the international flair was the GTD class victory for the Ferrari of Jeff Westphal and Alessandro Balzan, who brought home the final checkered flag of the day.

“First and foremost thank you to the team. For me, the 60th anniversary of Ferrari in North America. We came off a rough race in Mosport and everybody in the team did a fantastic job. We pushed all the way to the last minute. We tried to make our way up the field when we could. It’s probably one of the more historic wins I’ve had in my career. It’s a really, really nice feeling to win and kiss the bricks.”

Liddell and Davis Scorch the Bricks with Camaro Z/28.R for Stevenson Motorsports

-by Matt Cleary

Don’t lean up against a Camaro Z/28.R, because with three wins in the last three IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races, they are simply too hot to touch.

Friday’s Brickyard Sports Car Challenge saw Stevenson Motorsports score the team’s third IMSA win in a row and fourth of the season as Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis combined to bring the red, white, and blue No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R home in first place after a wild race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday.

The two and a half-hour race saw both the top GS and ST Classes doing battle to kick off the action-packed Kroger Super Weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will also feature races from the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series on Saturday and Sunday.

Coming home in second place in the to add a big dose of strength to his IMSA GS Class championship challenge was Trent Hindman, who with co-driver John Edwards was able to finish second after leading the race near the midway point with their No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3.

The race featured a non-stop series of developments that continued right up to the last lap, with seven lead changes as the battle at the front was waged under changing weather conditions with the last of four caution periods setting up an hour-and-a-half sprint to the checkered flag.

“I’m at a loss for words,” said Davis, who was only able to pose for a few podium pictures before having to dash off to join Patrick Dempsey as his co-driver in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race that started just a half hour after the end of the first race of the day.

“Winning at Indy is something every little boy dreams of for sure. It is a big victory for us, and a great day for points. I’m just so proud of this Stevenson Motorsports group – these guys just fight, fight, fight. Robbie did a superior job. I’m over the moon after a little bit of disappointment in qualifying to have a good run at the start and then be able to bring home our third victory of the season for the Camaro Z/28.R. I’m so happy for everybody. It’s a great day.”

Team manager Mike Johnson, who some might remember from the first ever season of MTV’s “Real World,” has seen his team score several big wins but he was hard pressed to come up with the words to describe the importance of this one.

“It’s awesome,” said Johnson. “It’s the one you always want to win. Just really neat. We’re on a roll and everything is working well. I feel bad for the No. 9 guys because they would have been there as well. We took a real early gamble coming in under green when nobody else did. I was worried that if we got a yellow it could have gone real bad for us and it didn’t happen. The only car that was near us was the guys that did something after we did it. It’s Indy!

While the GS Class battle was waged early in the race, the ST Class saw the lead change on the final lap to keep one young talent from starting a win streak while marking a big accomplishment for another.

Remo Ruscutti won the most recent round at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park as the 20-year-old brought the Porsche Boxster its first-ever IMSA race win and the young Canadian was situated to do the same thing on Friday only to suffer an issue on the very last lap.

Eager to pick up where he left off was the fellow Boxster driver of Corey Lewis, who took the point on the back stretch to score his first ever win along with co-driver Cody Ellsworth.

“I couldn’t believe it when I passed for the lead,” said Lewis. “Cody drove a hell of a race in the first stint, and the Continental tires handled beautifully. The Berg Racing guys did a great job with the pit stop and the driver change and we were right there close to the front. I was screaming on the radio, ‘is this really happening?’ To take lead on the last lap, really amazing. I can’t believe it, it’s our first win and it comes at Indianapolis, just unbelievable.”

Photos & Data courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

MIke Harding 1Ty Dillon captured his first victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series by winning the third annual Lilly Diabetes 250 Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Our Bass Pro Chevy had speed all weekend,” Dillon said. “I’m so happy. That was all I had out there. You’ve got the best guy in the business behind you (Kyle Busch), it’s tough. I’ve battled against Kyle a lot, the confidence it gives me is awesome.”

doug matthewsWith his win in the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, the 22-year-old Dillon not only joined an impressive list of legends as race winners at the “Racing Capital of the World,” he also won the third round of the Nationwide Series ‘Dash 4 Cash’ and a $100,000 bonus. Dillon’s team owner is his grandfather, Richard Childress.

(On closing laps) “A lot of praying,” Childress said. “It was really cool to see him (win),” “To come up here and win at Indy and race with the guys he was racing with, it was a great day for RCR.”

Dillon, whose previous best Nationwide Series finish came when he placed third at Indianapolis in 2012, led 24 laps en route to his victory, and held off pole-sitter and defending Lilly Diabetes 250 winner Kyle Busch, who finished as the runner-up in his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota after leading 11 laps.

19SG6958“Just not enough,” Busch said. “It’s unfortunate that we weren’t as good as we were last year. I thought we were — but we weren’t. Maybe it was the cloud cover today or whatever. And there at the end I had a restart and couldn’t get through Turn 1. Just slipped — I don’t know what happened. He [Ty Dillon] got right by me. Just drove right underneath me. That was it. That was the race.”

Rounding out the top five were Matt Kenseth in third place in his No. 20 Resers Toyota, fourth-place finisher Kevin Harvick in the No. 5 Morton Buildings Chevrolet and Joey Logano was fifth in his No. 22 Discount Tire Ford.

“We were in good shape until that caution came out when we were leading the race,” Logano said. “Some of those guys pitted before and then re-cycled themselves up; we had to save fuel to make it. The car was good enough to win. We were better than the No. 3 car when we were out front. Up front was better; that’s why strategy and restarts are so important because you are always trying to make up as much time as you can. It was so hard to pass. We also had an alternator go bad. The car got really tight at the end. I have to wait a whole year to try again.”

Photos and Data courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway


INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Kevin Harvick set a new track record and won the pole position Saturday for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

During the first knockout qualifying session, Harvick posted a lap of 188.889 mph in his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, which bettered the previous standard of 187.531 mph set last year by Ryan Newman, who won from the pole at the 2013 Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by

Harvick secured the pole position in the third knockout qualifying session with his lap of 188.470 mph. Harvick also won the pole at IMS in 2003 prior to winning the race the next day.

Four-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon was the second-fastest qualifier in his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet. Gordon’s lap of 187.770 mph places him on the front-row for the fourth time, tying Mark Martin for the most front-row starts in the Brickyard 400.

Brad Keselowski qualified third with a lap of 186.893 mph in his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, and Newman drove his No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet to a lap of 186.765 mph and will start fourth in his eighth start inside the top 5, most in Brickyard 400 history.

Other notables include two-time Brickyard 400 winner and Indiana native Tony Stewart, who qualified sixth in 186.193 mph in his No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet; Kurt Busch, who qualified seventh in 185.943 mph in the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified eighth in 185.924 mph in his No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Ford.

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and four-time Brickyard 400 winner Jimmie Johnson qualified 11th in his No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet in185.468 mph, and Danica Patrick qualified 14th in 185.391 mph in her No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet.

The 160-lap Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by starts Sunday at 1 p.m. 

2014_400_QualifyingResults-page1 2014_400_StartingLineup

2014 Kroger Super Weekend tickets: Ticket orders for the 2014 Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard can be made at and through the IMS Ticket Office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday, July 27.

General admission tickets will cost $30 for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by on Sunday, July 27. Children ages 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult with a general admission ticket. Reserved Seats are also available on Sunday, and include full general admission access.

Photo and data courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

app1Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard fans looking to upgrade their race day experience can do so by downloading the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard Mobile app and purchasing exclusive, limited-quantity upgrades to their already-existing tickets.

Fans with the IMS Brickyard Mobile app will have the chance to purchase unique items such as a Sunday pit pass for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by, seat upgrades, a post-race chance to “Kiss the Bricks,” VIP access to the Brickfest Music Festival concert and the opportunity get their picture taken with the race winner in Victory Circle. All experiences have limited quantities.

The free IMS Brickyard Mobile app is available for Apple devices through iTunes and for Android devices through the Android Market and Google Play.

app2Many features are included on the app, such as ticket purchasing, event schedules, photos, news feeds, race results, track maps with key points of interest, Know Your Zone parking information and much more.

Fans using the IMS Brickyard Mobile app automatically receive updated information on their mobile device, such as schedules, track action reports and more.

Vital information, such as maps and schedules, also are stored within the app so fans can access it even without mobile connectivity.

All information available in the Brickyard Mobile app also is available at the IMS mobile-optimized website,



Chris Jones IMS 1

Indianapolis Motor Speedway introduced its third-generation scoring pylon to the media on Tuesday, July 22, on the main straightaway of the iconic 2.5-mile oval.

Located just south of the entrance to Gasoline Alley, the newest pylon features full LED panels on all four sides providing improved messaging capabilities to fans that include animation and video.

Made by Panasonic, the pylon has 1,320 panels on each side and 5,280 combined on all four sides. It stands 92 feet, 2 inches tall, replacing the second-generation pylon that stood 90 feet, 4 inches and was removed on June 30, 2014, after 20 years of service.

The original IMS scoring pylon was built in the spring of 1959, then a one-of-a-kind model which featured a lap counter, average speed indicator and positions for 33 cars.

Among the many tricks on the full-LED-paneled pylon is the ability to completely flash with green lights. Or yellow. Or with an American flag look for pre-race, then, in a blink, the 92-foot, 4-inch pylon can look just like the one that was removed last month.

Chris Jones IMS 3“We wanted to generate more information, to give more information to the fans in their seats,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles. “That old pylon was iconic, so we wanted to make sure the size was similar – we’re about two feet taller and three inches wider (with the new pylon) – but we wanted the ability to light it like everybody’s used to, especially for the Indianapolis 500.”

For the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by, the pylon can display the top 10 on the track while also circulating through spots 11 through 43. It can also provide enhanced stats information like lap times, miles per hour and time behind the leader.

Needless to say, that’s a far cry from the pylon erected in 1994 that stood sentry over the first 20 Brickyard 400s, two decades of Indianapolis 500s and other events. That pylon, powered by 6,496 30-watt light bulbs, could only display basic race scoring with a space at the top for race logos.

The new pylon can fully light up with “Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” race logos or other digital artwork. The possibilities are considerable.

“I think the fans, even fans that are a little concerned about it, are going to find that we’ve done a great job of paying real close attention to our tradition but also giving them something that makes their experience here at the Speedway better,” Boles said.

Looking at the new Panasonic-built model, it’s hard to fathom the first IMS pylon that went up in 1959 and was manually operated. More than a half-century later, the pylon now has animation and video capabilities. 

And the enhancements at IMS won’t stop there. Boles added that in the coming year, video boards around the track will be added that have the same digital capabilities.


Photos, Data and Graphics courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Photos by Chris Jones – Indianapolis Motor Speedway