Archive for July 27, 2014

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

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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.”

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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

STORY

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 BigMachineRecords.com 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 BigMachineRecords.com.

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 BigMachineRecords.com starts Sunday at 1 p.m. 

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2014 Kroger Super Weekend tickets: Ticket orders for the 2014 Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard can be made at www.ims.com/tickets 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 BigMachineRecords.com 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