Archive for February, 2015

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A few brief notes from the racing scene …

Kyle Busch headed to Charlotte

Kyle Busch was discharged from the Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida and has been transported to North Carolina for further treatmentThis photo above was posted on twitter by Kyle’s wife, Samantha (@SamanthaBusch) with the comment: “Off to NC! Thank u to everyone at Halifax for taking such good care of Kyle n to all of U for the continued prayers!”

David Ragan has been named as the interim driver for Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing for at least the next few weeks … see USA Today’s report by Jeff Gluck here.

In the case of an interim driver for Atlanta, Stewart-Haas Motorsports has named Regan Smith as its Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend Feb. 26-March 1st. Atlanta will be Smith’s second race in the No. 41 car. He drove the Haas Automation Chevrolet to a 16th place finish last Sunday in the Daytona 500. Smith already had some history with Stewart-Haas prior to Daytona. He subbed for Tony Stewart in the team’s No. 14 car last August at Watkins Glen.

Smith was the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year and won the 2011 Southern 500 at Darlington, South Carolina Raceway. He is a fulltime driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and finished 2nd in the 2014 championship standings. Smith, 31, is from Cato, New York.  An interim driver for the No. 41 team at next weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and subsequent races has not yet been determined.

Kevin Harvick - RacerDefending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick stated that Kyle Busch’s Daytona accident was a wake-up call to NASCAR tracks that should have been more proactive on safety. His position was clearly stated in a piece published on Racer.com.  “I hit the same wall further up last year and voiced my opinion and unfortunately I was just a dot on the chart and there was no reaction,” he said. “Hopefully this is a lesson learned. You don’t want to have a reaction, the tracks have to be proactive, they have to look ahead for accidents that might happen.”

 In IndyCar … 

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For a Rahal Racing snapshot of how the 2015 season is shaping up so far — Click Here

Also related to Indycar and the Indianapolis 500: Michael Andretti, owner of Andretti Autosport and Ryan Hunter-Reay, reigning Indianapolis 500 Champion discuss how they are looking ahead to both the 99th and 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

In an interview with MotorSport.com‘s Covy Moore, Tony Kanaan spoke candidly about the loss of the Verizon IndyCar’s first scheduled race of the season in Brazil and how the cancellation affected him, the fans and Team Chip Ganassi … see the interview here 

photoLarge_GA32Announced Tuesday in Indianapolis that seven-time TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Champions and six-time Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) that reigning Rolex 24 At Daytona Winner and three-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon will join Scott Pruett and Joey Hand in the driver lineup of the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost Riley Prototype for the historic 12 Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway on March 21.  Dixon competed once with CGRFS this season in a second Prototype fielded in the Rolex 24 At Daytona where the team scored their first victory of the season and Dixon’s second overall win in the event (2006).

scott dixonDixon will enter his 14th season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2015. He is a three-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion (2003, 2008, 2013) and won the Indianapolis 500 in 2008. Dixon’s 35 INDYCAR wins are tied for fifth on the all-time list, and he has 18 CGRFS sports car starts resulting in two wins, three pole positions and six podium finishes.

Dixon commented: “Sebring is one of those iconic motor races in the world and I think we’ll have a good chance. The team started strong with a win in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with the No. 02 car this season, and the No. 01 car won in its Sebring debut last year. I’m looking forward to working with Scott and Joey again, and the whole IMSA program.”

Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include four cars in the IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and one Prototype in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.  Overall Ganassi Race Teams have 17 championships and over 160 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and six Rolex 24’s at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Brownsburg, Indiana and Concord, North Carolina, with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

tumblr_nk0j05WiVz1u13oxwo1_540INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 24, 2015) – Race fans will recognize the familiar sound of a Verizon IndyCar Series car when heading to theaters Feb. 27 to catch the opening of “Focus,” a Warner Bros. Pictures film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie.

Scenes with Verizon IndyCar Series cars were shot at NOLA Motorsports Park, which hosts the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana on April 12, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Indianapolis 500-winning team owner and former Indy car driver Bryan Herta of Warren, Mich., and Carlos Muñoz, the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year from Colombia, made their feature film debut.

“We were approached about providing cars for the movie and two other drivers had conflicts, so I thought, ‘What the heck; I’ll drive it,'” said Herta, who resides in Valencia, Calif. “I hadn’t driven an Indy car since ’06 or the new car ever, so I thought it would be fun to get in the car and see what it feels like for first-hand knowledge.

“Obviously, movie driving is a little different than racing, but it was still good to get out there and feel the downforce, the power and all those sensations again,” he continued. “I think the contract said we couldn’t go over 100 mph. I’m not going to say we didn’t though.”

Muñoz, 23, who resides in Miami, said he’s eager to point out the racing scenes to his friends on the big screen. “After those days, I knew for sure I wanted to be a Hollywood star,” the Andretti Autosport driver laughed. “It was my first time with such an experience and probably my first and last time in a movie. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie and how our scenes turned out. I think it’s great for INDYCAR to be featured in such a manner.”

Leading up to the movie opening, several Verizon IndyCar Series race markets will play host to private screenings organized by Warner Bros. Show cars will be present at screenings in Tampa, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Indianapolis and Detroit. Drivers Ed Carpenter and Jack Hawksworth will be on hand to introduce the movie in Detroit and Milwaukee, respectively. Bryan Herta Autosport driver Gabby Chaves and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe will attend the Indianapolis screening.

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal and his fiancée, Courtney Force of NHRA fame, will join the star-studded red carpet premiere at the famed TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Rahal, son of Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, and Force, daughter of NHRA legend John Force, announced their engagement and the joining of two of racing’s most well-known families in November. The No. 15 Midas Indy car, which Rahal drove in 2013, is featured in the movie.

“Aligning the stars and cars of the Verizon IndyCar Series with the stars of a major motion picture like ‘Focus’ made a lot of sense to us,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent company of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Warner Bros. and the entire ‘Focus’ production staff have been great partners throughout this process, and we look forward to positioning our brand with more of these opportunities in the future.”

“Focus,” written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.”) centers around Nicky (Smith), a seasoned master of misdirection who becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess (Robbie). As he’s teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame – now an accomplished femme fatale – shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of the high stakes race car circuit. In the midst of Nicky’s latest, very dangerous scheme, she throws his plans for a loop and the consummate con man off his game.

Denise Di Novi produced the film, with Charlie Gogolak and Stan Wlodkowski serving as executive producers. Cast includes Rodrigo Santoro (the “300” films) and Gerald McRaney (TV’s “House of Cards”).

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, a Di Novi Pictures Production, A Zaftig Films Production, “Focus.” The film is being released in theatres and IMAX® and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company. www.focusmovie.com

“Focus” has been rated R by the MPAA for language, some sexual content and brief violence.

Data and Images provided by IndyCar

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February 22, 2015

Holly Cain, NASCAR.com

First victory in the Great American Race for Team Penske driver

RELATED: Get full race results | Series standings

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — No one seemed more surprised than Joey Logano as he stood atop his No. 22 Penske Racing Ford in Daytona International Speedway Victory Lane celebrating his first-ever Daytona 500 victory on Sunday.

Logano — who in 2009 at the age of 19 became the youngest winner in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series history — emerged from a tight pack of pre-race favorites on a green-white-checkered overtime restart and held off reigning Cup champion Kevin Harvick as the caution and checkered flag flew to win at Daytona.

“I can’t believe it,” said Logano, whose previous best finish in this race was ninth in 2012. “That is really amazing. The Daytona 500. Oh my God. Are you kidding me?

“I was so nervous pretty much the whole race. We worked so hard in the offseason and this is my weakest race track, the superspeedways, and we worked so hard at them. I couldn’t be more proud.

“Unbelievable.”

Defending Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third, frustrated after having what he thought was a race-winning car. Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.

Jeff Gordon, who started on the pole for the race and led six times for a race-best 87 laps, was collected in a last-lap wreck on the backstretch. But he drove his dinged-up No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet around the track to take his final Daytona 500 checkered flag in 33rd place.

“For some reason I’m still smiling and enjoyed every moment of it,” said the four-time Cup champ, who is stepping away from full-time NASCAR competition after this season. “I obviously enjoyed the first half (of the race) more than the second half. … This is an amazing week and an amazing day. I’m just in this different place that is so foreign yet so incredible, just soaking it all in.

“I’m more upset I didn’t have a chance at winning it. … I’m not going to miss those final laps. That was just crazy.”

The final restart came after a 6-minute red-flag period caused by a Justin Allgaier wreck on the frontstretch and created the kind of frantic finish fans are accustomed to in NASCAR’s biggest race.

But for the most part, Sunday’s show on a Chamber of Commerce day with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s was tame by restrictor-plate racing standards.

The final lap eight-car mid-pack melee was the sole “Big One” that most have come to expect on the superspeedways.

Mostly, the day was characterized by exciting three-wide racing with familiar faces leading the way.

Overshadowed amid other dramatic storylines that have dominated the 2015 Daytona Speedweeks, six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson quietly and doggedly went about his business Sunday and looked to be in good position to hoist his third Daytona 500 trophy, and second in the past three years.

Rallying from a mid-race pit road penalty that dropped him to 40th place, Johnson strategically maneuvered his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in the waning laps to be in position for the win, but lamented the fact his line of drafting cars just didn’t have the get-up-and-go when they needed to be gone.

“With 10 to go, I thought we were going to win the Daytona 500, but with plate racing you have no clue what’s going to happen really,” Johnson said.

Earnhardt echoed the disappointment.

“I made a real bad decision on that restart with 19 to go, made a poor choice and got shuffled back and lost a ton of spots,” Earnhardt said. “I’m real disappointed because the guys gave me the best car and we should have run the race.”

It was a touch-and-go day for several race favorites — their strategy complicated after receiving pit road penalties in the season debut of NASCAR’s new high-tech camera monitoring system on pit road.

Johnson was called for a pit road violation when his crew was ruled to have jumped over the pit wall too soon on a mid-race stop. Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. — who like Johnson were running among the top five much of the race — were called for speeding penalties.

And Sprint Cup Series sophomore Kyle Larson was caught speeding and then later for his team “throwing equipment over the wall” on consecutive stops forcing him into a day of catch-up. He was running top 15 in the final 10 laps but also got collected on the last-lap crash and finished 34th.

Fan favorite Tony Stewart continued his dismal Daytona 500 fortune. While running among the top 10 cars 41 laps into the race, his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy suffered from a tight condition and slid up into the outside wall, nicking rookie Ryan Blaney’s Ford. The Toyotas of Matt Kenseth and Michael Waltrip also suffered minor damage in the incident but continued.

“I’ll take the blame for that one, 100 percent my fault,” said Stewart, the three-time Cup champion who is now 0-for-17 in the Great American Race. His 42nd-place effort Sunday is his third finish of 40th or worse in the last four years here.

Former Daytona 500 winners Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman also struggled on Sunday — with McMurray’s No. 1 Cessna/McDonald’s Chevy sustaining body damage in an early race dust-up and Newman — the 2014 Sprint Cup championship runner-up — hitting the wall after getting caught in the aftermath of Blaney’s blown engine with less than 25 laps remaining.

Substitute drivers Regan Smith and Matt Crafton finished 16th and 19th, respectively. Smith drove the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy for Kurt Busch, who has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR following off-track legal troubles.

Crafton filled in for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch, who is recovering from broken right leg and broken left foot suffered in Saturday’s XFINITY Series season-opener at Daytona.

Logano’s triumph was the second Daytona 500 win for legendary team owner Roger Penske and made the 24-year-old Logano the second youngest driver to win the race.

“We knew what we had to do and had a really fast car and just need to make sure I didn’t get snookered on the restarts,” Logano explained. “I can’t explain how cool this is. … It feels just like the way you dream it. This is better than Disney World in here.”

Indy1

SpeedwaySightings Editor Note: 

Let’s remember the SAFER Barrier was a product of IndyCar Racing and NASCAR has been consistently late to the party.  Ed Hinton, one to finest journalists in sports, told the story back in 2002.

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Indy’s SAFER System Living Up To it’s Name

The speedway’s new soft-wall barrier system has drawn some great reviews. In fact, says driver P.J. Jones, `It saved me, big time.’

May 23, 2002
By Ed Hinton — Chicago Tribune auto racing reporter.

INDIANAPOLIS — For most of the 20th century Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the epicenter of death in auto racing, claiming 66 lives from 1909 to 1996. Now the track is a paragon of the sport’s safety revolution.

The new soft-wall system here is working, and it has become a sudden monument to what is vs. what was.

In Turn 2, where Scott Brayton was the last driver to die here, in ’96, Paul Tracy’s car hit horrifically May 11. Tracy walked away and will start 29th in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

In Turn 3, where Gordon Smiley never knew his car had become a cloud of shrapnel in ’82, Robby McGehee slammed into the new barrier May 5, on its first day in use. He came away with a sore neck and a hairline fracture in his leg, and he’ll miss the 500 only because he didn’t qualify for the fastest field in Indy history.

In Turn 1, where Jovy Marcello was killed in ’92, four drivers have had severe crashes this month. Two, Max Papis and Alex Barron, walked away, and another, Mark Dismore, received a concussion; each will be in the field Sunday. The fourth was P.J. Jones, and even though he’s wearing a neck brace, his grin is relentless. He’s disappointed he’ll miss the race but joyful to be walking around at all.

His fractured cervical vertebra was the worst injury sustained by any of the five drivers who have given the SAFER (an acronym for “steel and foam energy reduction”) barrier its first real-life tests.

But Jones, son of Indy legend Parnelli Jones, knows the history of this place. He knows how bad his crash in Turn 1 could have been–indeed, would have been, he believes–if not for the new barrier.

“It saved me, big time,” he says.

“The new SAFER wall absorbed the impact,” Barron said of his crash.

“I think I would have had a head injury, for sure, without it,” McGehee said.

Soft walls are the next giant step in recent safety innovation that has included head restraints such as the HANS, more elaborate safety harness systems, stronger seats and–in the case of Indy cars–energy-absorbing materials within the cars.

The SAFER system especially encourages experts, considering how fast the cars are this year. The field’s qualifying average for Sunday’s race is a record 228.648 m.p.h., up more than 5 m.p.h. from last year. And each of the top five qualifiers exceeded 230.

John Melvin, a Detroit-based biomechanical engineer who is considered racing’s leading expert on racing safety, is here as a consultant.

“The cars are going awfully fast,” Melvin says. “And they’re hitting the wall awfully hard. And yet the drivers are coming away pretty darn well. The wall is working. There’s no doubt about that.”

Crash-data recorders in the cars have shown that G-spikes in crashes against the new barriers have been “consistently lower than we’ve ever seen,” says Dr. Henry Bock, the medical director of the Indy Racing League who is in his 20th year as chief physician at the speedway.

“The barrier is very effective in terms of reduction of the forces that we see, and therefore the reduction of injuries we would expect from the severity of the crashes we’ve had.”

In addition, the G-forces are being spread out over a longer period of time. Even though that’s a matter of milliseconds, it’s life-saving.

The system is the result of a project speedway President Tony George initiated nearly five years ago, when most other track owners claimed such a system was next to impossible to develop.

“There’s no other organization out there that’s spending the money or putting in the effort like this,” Jones says. “There’s a lot of lip service, but nobody’s doing it except Tony.”

Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race will be run without SAFER barriers, but “we’re watching what happens at Indy very closely,” Lowe’s Speedway President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler says.

So is every other major track operator in the country. If all continues to go well and engineers give the system a final OK, “I think you’ll see a wholesale response from the [other] tracks,” NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter says.

Bob Bahre, owner of New Hampshire International Speedway, where NASCAR drivers Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin died in 2000, already has committed to be the first track other than Indy to install the SAFER system, pending NASCAR approval.
NASCAR’s interest in the project accelerated with the deaths of Petty and Irwin. After Dale Earnhardt died against a concrete wall at Daytona in 2001, NASCAR joined more actively in George’s research and development, which was conducted at the University of Nebraska.

The SAFER system doesn’t shatter, and damage to the barrier requires “10 to 12 minutes” to repair, says the speedway’s chief engineer, Kevin Forbes. “Clean-up is a non-issue.”

That means that during Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, unless TV announcers point it out, you won’t notice any repairs to the barrier during an average caution period.

Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing Regarding Injury Status of Kyle Busch

Daytona Beach, Florida (Feb. 21, 2015) – Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident.

Busch was transported to a local hospital for treatment immediately following the accident and is currently undergoing surgery on his right leg.

Busch’s injuries will sideline him for an undetermined period of time. Veteran Matt Crafton will serve as the interim driver for Busch’s No. 18 Toyota during Sunday’s 57th Daytona 500. An interim driver has not been determined for the following race March 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, or for any future races.

Peter Casey USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Gluck, USA TODAY Sports

6:14 p.m. EST — February 20, 2015

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR has suspended 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch in the wake of a Delaware court’s ruling on a domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend.

The decision comes on the eve of NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500 scheduled for Sunday.

Busch was found to have “more likely than not… committed an act of domestic violence,” Kent County Family Court commissioner David Jones wrote Friday in an opinion regarding the protective order he granted to Patricia Driscoll on Monday.

Busch was to start 24th in the Great American Race. He drove Thursday night in the second Budweiser Duel, a qualifying race that helps set the field, and helped Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Danica Patrick make the race. Afterward, he hugged Patrick on pit road and cupped her face.

The Delaware Attorney General is still evaluating whether to charge Busch with a crime. The Dover police investigated the alleged incident, which occurred in Busch’s motorhome Sept. 26 at Dover International Speedway.

This marks the third career suspension for Busch. He was suspended by former team Roush Racing in 2005 after he was detained by Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff’s deputies during a Phoenix International Raceway weekend. He was then suspended in 2012 after threatening a reporter on pit road at Dover.

Busch has also clashed with drivers, NASCAR officials and reporters at times throughout his career, developing a reputation as a volatile personality.

A Las Vegas native, Busch is considered to be one of the most talented drivers in NASCAR. He won the 2004 Cup championship and has 25 career victories, but his behavior issues have seen him lose rides with Roush and Team Penske.

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France has pledged to take a tough stance on domestic violence since the Busch news first broke in November.

He has said that although NASCAR has not taken action for such instances in the past – most notably for driver Travis Kvapil’s domestic violence incident in 2013 – the national conversation around domestic violence has changed. France said NASCAR would wait until there was some form of legal action against Busch before acting – and apparently, the commissioner’s written opinion on Friday was enough to make the call.

“Until they make some judgments on that investigation, it wouldn’t be right of us to just intervene before they’ve even gotten the investigation completed,” France said in November. “So that’s our position. We’ll respect their process. It’s in their hands.”

And in January, France took a similar stance.

“I’m sure most other leagues, as well, when there are those clear circumstances, have a much more severe reaction to how you deal with those things, and that will be no different with NASCAR,” he said. “The only thing we want to do is, and this is important, we’ve got to let the facts come in. There would be no reason for me or NASCAR or anybody else to get ahead of those facts given that they may change. Let’s let the facts come in, and if there’s something for us to react to, you can appreciate that we will be very careful and very aware of what the circumstances are.”

Driscoll asked the Kent County court for a protective order, and unusual testimony played out in a four-day hearing that took place over two months. Busch accused Driscoll of being a trained assassin who would have no reason to fear him; Driscoll said she feared for her safety after Busch allegedly slammed her head against a wall three times.

There was no immediate word on who would replace Busch in SHR’s No. 41 car, which carries sponsorship from co-owner Gene Haas’ machine tools company, Haas Automation.

In his reasoning Jones said he believed Busch abused Driscoll “by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motor home, thereby recklessly placing (Driscoll) in reasonable fear of physical injury.”

The Sept. 26 incident at Dover International Speedway caused Driscoll “to suffer bruising and substantial and prolonged pain to her head, neck and throat” and that “a reasonable person would have found it threatening or harmful.”

Although the court agreed their relationship was over, it said a protective order was “necessary and appropriate to reduce the likelihood of domestic violence.”

SHR did not immediately comment..

Photo Credit — Peter Casey USA TODAY Sports

Daytona 500 starting lineup …

Posted: February 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Chevrolet is prepared for the next bold step in manufacturer competition with the introduction of aerodynamic bodywork kits to the Verizon IndyCar Series, according to Jim Campbell, GM’s U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports.

Campbell was joined by Chevrolet Racing director Mark Kent and Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing’s IndyCar program manager, in unveiling renderings of its road/street course and short oval aerodynamic package during the Verizon IndyCar Series media day on Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A speedway configuration will be introduced ahead of its competitive debut in May at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

“This is an important milestone in Chevrolet’s involvement in IndyCar racing,” Campbell said. “We focused on developing an aerodynamic package that delivers an optimal balance of downforce and drag, along with integrated engine performance. It’s a total performance package.”

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks INDYCAR’s introduction to chassis competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series based upon aerodynamic bodywork components designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda. Cars will be differentiated by their shape on the 1.8-mile temporary street course. References to the cars will incorporate the name of the corresponding manufacturer.

The road/street course and short oval configuration’s changes over the 2014 Dallara IR-12 package are easily identified by major components, including:

  • Front wing that features new pedestal-mounted “front uppers” toward the outer edges.
  • New sculpted “wheel wedges” in front of the rear tires.
  • An engine cover and sidepods that have more compact shapes, achieved through a revised turbocharger and exhaust system layout.
  • New larger rear bumper pods.
  • A multi-element upper rear wing, along with louvered end plates.

“This new aero kit provides Chevrolet drivers the capability to enter and exit corners faster, while maintaining high speeds on the straights,” Berube said.

Development of the 120-plus parts consisted of nine key phases:

  • Baseline analysis of the Dallara IR-12 aerodynamics.
  • Establishing clear design goals for the new aero kit, which included making the most of downforce, drag and engine performance.
  • Developing design concepts using computer-aided design.
  • Analyzing structural properties, using finite element analysis.
  • Simulated aerodynamic properties using computational fluid dynamics.
  • Produced test parts using rapid prototyping processes, such as 3D printing.
  • Conducting testing of a 50 percent scale model in a rolling road wind tunnel.
  • Conducting testing of a full-scale race car in a rolling road wind tunnel.
  • Conducting track testing of prototype aero kit on select racetracks, including Homestead-Miami Speedway, Circuit of The Americas (Austin, Texas), Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.

“We took a clean-sheet approach to the aero kit, delivering an optimized and efficient design that should really give our Chevrolet teams an edge,” Berube said.

The manufacturer on-track testing window opened Oct. 6 and closed Jan. 18 — the same date as homologation of components. Chevrolet and Honda teams are due to received the full-scale road/street course and oval aero kits March 1. Team on-track and wind tunnel testing is allowed starting March 13. Promoter Day testing is scheduled for March 16-17 at Barber Motorsports Park.

“When we decided to come back into the series leading into 2012, we really worked with INDYCAR on a few priorities,” Campbell said. “We love the engine formula in this series, smaller displacement engines, direct injection, boosting, turbo charging, use of smaller V6 powerful engines, then use of a biofuel. We came with a 2.2-liter twin-turbo direct-injector V6. That was one of the key reasons we came back in the series and why we still love the series. It relates to what we sell in the showrooms that delivers that great combination of power, fuel economy and durability.

“Secondly, we were looking to bring world-class racing to the City of Detroit with Belle Isle. We appreciate the support of INDYCAR to make that happen. We’ll be kicking off our fourth season. “Finally, we wanted to come back in IndyCar because we had the opportunity to develop aero kits. It was our opportunity to differentiate our look, drive innovation, look for ways to improve performance and speed, lap times. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing.”

The speedway aero kits are to be delivered to teams April 1st.

Photo and Data supplied by the Verizon IndyCar Series

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From an Opening Day featuring restyled race cars, the second Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, a practice session with after-hours running and the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, the 2015 Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be full of action and a series of new twists.

The stars of the Verizon IndyCar Series will take to the 2.5-mile oval for the first time on May 3 for a test session featuring the debut of oval aerodynamic bodywork kits supplied by Chevrolet and Honda.

IMS will then take three days to transition from the oval configuration to the 2.434-mile, 14-turn road course for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. The road course incorporates portions of Turns 1 and 2 and the front straightaway of the oval with the remainder of the circuit within the infield, allowing for great spectator viewing beginning with a free-admission practice day May 7 and qualifications May 8. Simon Pagenaud will look to successfully defend his title on May 9.

“Winning the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in 2014 was definitely one of the highlights of my career. It’s a beautiful circuit and it represents a great way to kick off the on-track activities for the Month of May,” said Pagenaud, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske car. “The Verizon IndyCar Series is the most fan-friendly series in the world. To open up the practice on May 7 and the garage on May 8 — for free — is an amazing treat for our fans. I hope many of them come out to see our new 2015 body kits and the high-speed racing that is sure to be thrilling.”

On May 11, the oval will be host to eight consecutive days of on-track activity with a unique late afternoon / evening practice session from 4-7 p.m. in preparation for the Indianapolis 500. Practice sessions will be held from May 11-15, culminating with Fast Friday (May 15), followed by qualification weekend on May 16-17, including Old National Armed Forces Pole Day on May 17. The next day will feature the final full day of practice, which is always one of the busiest on the track.

“I am really excited for the Month of May activities. Opening Day will be even more interesting this year with the introduction of aero kits, it will be the first time we get on track with them at IMS,” said two-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter of CFH Racing. “The qualifying format last year was a lot of fun, and I look forward to trying to be part of the action again, but more importantly I can’t wait to get another chance to fulfill my dream of drinking milk.”

Fans can enjoy their own experiences on the oval May 20 with the IMS Racing Experience and Fan Track Laps. Fans will be able to take Indy Racing Experience two-seat rides around the oval and drive their own cars on the track from 4-7 p.m., while many of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers will go into the community visiting schools and participating in other outreach activities.

On-track activity continues with Coors Light Carb Day on May 22. In addition to the final Indianapolis 500 practice session, Carb Day will feature the Indy Lights Freedom 100 (practice and qualifying is May 21), TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge and Coors Light Carb Day Concert. The eve of the Indianapolis 500 (May 23) features Legends Day Honoring Al Unser presented by Firestone, the traditional full-field autograph session, public drivers meeting and a concert presented by Firestone.

“Anticipation is already building and we are once again excited about our on track schedule as well as the other activities that will make this a special Month of May,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “Starting with the debut of the aero kits on the oval, followed by the second running of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the first week of activity will provide a perfect lead up to Indianapolis 500 practice, qualifying and the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500. May can’t get here fast enough!”

Tickets for all Month of May activities at IMS are available at www.ims.com/tickets by calling  800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 and in person at 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.

2015 INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MONTH-OF-MAY SCHEDULE

Saturday, May 2, 2015

OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon

Rev: Methodist Health Foundation charity kick-off event at IMS

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Verizon IndyCar Series Oval Aero Kit Debut, Opening Day

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Practice (free to the public)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Qualifications

Indy Lights – Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Race 1

Pro Mazda Championship – Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Race 1

Cooper Tires USF2000 – Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Race 1

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis

Indy Lights – Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Race 2

Pro Mazda Championship – Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Race 2

Cooper Tires USF2000 – Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Race 2

Monday, May 11, 2015

12pm-7pm: Indianapolis 500 Practice

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

12pm-6pm: Indianapolis 500 Practice

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

12pm-6pm: Indianapolis 500 Practice

Thursday, May 14, 2015

12pm-6pm: Indianapolis 500 Practice

Friday, May 15, 2015 (Fast Friday)

12pm-6pm: Indianapolis 500 Practice

Saturday, May 16, 2015

8am-6pm: Indianapolis 500 On-Track Sessions and Qualifications

Sunday, May 17, 2015 (Old National Armed Forces Day)

8:30am-3pm: Indianapolis 500 On-Track Sessions and Qualifications

Monday, May 18, 2015

12:30pm-4pm: Indianapolis 500 Practice

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 (Community Day)

8am-4pm: Indy Racing Experience

9am-4pm: Victory Lap Riding Experience

9am-5pm: Museum Hours

10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm: IMS Bus Tours

4pm-7pm: Track Laps

Thursday, May 21, 2015

9am-4pm: Indy Lights Practice and Qualifications

Friday, May 22, 2015 (Coors Light Carb Day)

12:30pm: Indy Lights Freedom 100

1:30pm: Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge

3:30pm: Coors Light Carb Day Concert

Saturday, May 23, 2015 (Legends Day honoring Al Unser, presented by Firestone)

9:30am-10:15am: Vintage Car Laps

3pm: Legends Day Concert presented by Firestone

Sunday, May 24, 2015

6am: Gates Open

7am: Indy 500 Snake Pit Opens

12pm: 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race

Photography and Data supplied by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway