Archive for May 8, 2015

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Second Annual Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis
Saturday May 9, 2015
Schedule of Events
  • 08:00am – Gates Open
  • 08:00am – 04:30pm – IMS Midway Open
  • 10:00am – 10:15am – Indy Lights Warm Up
  • 10:40am – USF2000 Race #2 (30 Min.)
  • 11:30am – 12:00pm – Verizon IndyCar Series Warm Up
  • 12:25pm – Pro Mazda Race #3 (30 Min.)
  • 01:25pm – Indy Lights Race #2 (35 Laps)
  • 03:00pm – 03:30pm – IMS Bronze Badge Holder Grid Walk – Enter Through Victory Podium or South Pit Gate — Purchase Bronze Badge
  • 03:00pm – Driver Introductions – Victory Podium
  • 03:27pm – National Anthem – Indianapolis Childrens Choir
  • 03:50pm – Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis (82 Laps)
  • 05:45pm – Track Invasion – Post Race — View Track Invasion Entrances
  • 06:00pm – Gates Close

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Marco Andretti Walter Kuhn

By: Jeff Majeske — Special Correspondent to Speedway Sightings

A fair chunk of Sunday afternoon was spent assembling a kitchen island for my wife. Of course, I would have rather have been at the track on a beautiful and busy opening day.

But with Mother’s Day and a trip to the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis coming up, a bit of domestic engineering was in order.

Fortunately, I was able to watch and listen to the feed from the track, which is much appreciated by us Indianapolis ex-patriates. While wrenching on this kitchen island, pretending it were an Offy, I noted the progress of Marco Andretti up the speed charts.

The third-generation driver wound up third-fastest, behind Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves. Each had a lap above 226 mph; Ed Carpenter took the pole last year with an average above 231 mph. The entire list of Sunday’s practice speeds is here.

Of course, we’re talking about practice and specifically aero kit testing, so drawing any conclusions is a risky proposition.

Still, it reinforces the notion that Andretti, often lackluster at other venues, gets around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pretty well.

Here’s the data of his entire IndyCar career, according to racing-reference.info:

  • Average start: 11.1
  • Average finish: 11.7
  • Wins: Two in 155 races over nine-plus years
  • Poles: Four
  • Laps led: 930

Andretti’s Indianapolis 500 stats:

  • Average start: 9.8
  • Average finish: 11.3
  • Wins: Zero (thanks to Sam Hornish Jr.)
  • Poles: Zero
  • Laps led: 141

Not much difference on the surface, right?

A closer look, though, shows seven top-10 starts in nine races and six top-10 finishes, including five in the top four.

I’m not sure how much of a lift an Andretti win in the Indianapolis 500 would give to the event, the sport and the series, but it would be fun to find out. 

Photo credit: Walter Kuhn/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

New 500 book

By: Jeff Majeske — Special Correspondent to Speedway Sightings

Long before you could carry the entire world in your hand in the form of your phone, the Indianapolis News produced a pocked-sized history of the Indianapolis 500.

Each volume was packed with text-heavy information – driver head shots along with a few other photos accounted for the art in the book.

Each race had a box score that included car name and number, qualifying speed, starting position, finishing position, laps completed and race speed or reason out, along with highlights and key moments in the summary.

Performance histories of all Indianapolis 500 drivers were included, along with other tidbits like birthplaces of all 500 champions (did you know that 1932 winner Fred Frame was from Exeter, New Hampshire?), rookies of the year, qualifying records and a lot of stuff that hardcore Indianapolis 500 fans ate up.

The books also had accounts of the other 500-mile races at Ontario, Pocono and Michigan.

It was a tremendous resource for ending – or starting – arguments.

Generally speaking, the cover subject was the previous year’s winner. Drawings were the norm up until 1990, when photos were used. The 1993 book had a nice photo of Al Unser Jr. nipping Scott Goodyear at the checkered flag – you had to turn that one sideways.

I’m not sure how long these were produced. The oldest I’ve seen on eBay is from 1966, with the “newest” from 2003. The Indianapolis News, the afternoon paper, closed in 1999, but the morning paper, the Indianapolis Star, continued the book for at least a few more years.

All this data is available on your phone now, of course, but it sure was fun to whip one of these books out during a lull and ask the person sitting next to you if he knew how many times the one-lap qualifying record was broken and reset in 1972.

The answer, by the way, is five, accomplished by Bill Vukovich, Joe Leonard, Mario Andretti, Gary Bettenhausen and Bobby Unser. Found on page 144 of the 2002 book.