Archive for June 27, 2015

Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar

Photo by Chris Owens for IndyCar

Today Race — MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California

By Dave Lewandowski Director of Editorial Projects –

• Race 11 of Verizon IndyCar Series season …

• Juan Pablo Montoya leads championship standings by 27 points over Team Penske teammate Will Power.

• Qualifying results: Simon Pagenaud earned his first Verizon P1 Award on a superspeedway and his second pole overall with a two-lap average speed of 218.952 mph in the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet. It topped Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves’ 2014 pole-winning speed of 218.540 mph. 

MAVTV 500 Qual Results-1

• He said it: “It’s kind of mind over matter,” CFH Racing driver Ed Carpenter said about the 500-mile race with temperature on the racetrack approaching 140 degrees. “There’s only so much you can do to prepare for this kind of race during the day. The track temp is radiating into the car and you can feel it on your feet. We do hydrate as much as we can beforehand and have fluids in the car, but it’s going to be uncomfortable at some point for everyone, whether you’re having a good day or bad day. It’s easier to stay focused when you’re having a good car and running up front. You have to stay mentally tough and focus on each lap and your line and the car. You have to take it lap by lap.” 

• For spectators: A full-field autograph session is from 10-11 a.m. in the INDYCAR Fan Village. Also, an array of activities will be in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone, including California Amateur Skateboard League exhibition; Lucas Oil Products Slick Mist Summer Shine car show; Ronny North concert (10 a.m.) on main stage; Metal Mulisha Motorcycle stunt show; Lucha Libre wrestling exhibition; Lefty’s Driver Story Time with Gabby Chaves; Walk of Fame ceremony with Tony Kanaan (11 a.m.; Gate C); Mark Mackay concert (11:30 a.m.) on main stage.

• Twitter: @ACSupdates #MAVTV500; @IndyCar, #IndyCar

TV: NBCSN telecasts the race live at 1 pm (Pacific) — 3pm Central — Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer, alongside analysts Steve Matchett and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Kelli Stavast and Robin Miller.

• Web: Real-time Timing & Scoring and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts is available on

• Radio: All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209,, and on the INDYCAR 15 app. Paul Page is the lead announcer with Jaques Lazier the analyst.

• Race laps: 250 on the 2-mile, D-shaped oval with 14 degrees of banking in turns
• Pit box dimensions: 40 x 14 feet
• Fuel: 130 U.S. gallons of Sunoco E85
• Tires: 15 sets of Firestone Firehawks for the race weekend

• 2014 race: Tony Kanaan, who started seventh, led Chip Ganassi Racing Teams teammate Dixon across the start-finish line by 3.6750 seconds to win the 500-mile race. Ed Carpenter, who won the race in 2012 and was runner-up in 2013, placed third.

• Of note: Motorsports journalist Dave Despain is the grand marshal. His weekly TV series “The Dave Despain Show” will return to the MAVTV network July 12. … Monster Jam World Finals champion Todd LeDuc is the honorary starter. … Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power of Team Penske has finished in the top five in 45.6 percent of his 149 Indy car starts. … Paul Tracy, driver analyst for the NBCSN telecast of the MAVTV  500, turned the first practice lap on the Auto Club Speedway oval in 1997. The MAVTV 500 will be the 14th Indy car race at Auto Club Speedway. Mark Blundell won the first Indy car race in 1997. … Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner Jimmy Vasser, Adrian Fernandez and Sam Hornish Jr. are the only drivers to win at Auto Club Speedway more than once. Carpenter (2012), Will Power (2013) and Kanaan (2014) are past winners entered. … Kanaan has finished on the podium in five of his past six races at Auto Club Speedway. Carpenter has finished on the podium in his past three races at the track.

Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar

Simon Pagenaud earned his second career Indy car pole and first on an oval in leading a Team Penske sweep of the front row for the MAVTV 500 with a two-lap average speed of 218.952 mph at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway here in Fontana, California.

Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet, topped teammate Helio Castroneves’ 2014 pole-winning average speed of 218.540 mph and will start on the front row for the third consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series race.

Castroneves qualified second with a two-lap average speed of 218.734 mph in the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet.

It is the fifth consecutive race that Team Penske entries have occupied the front row.

“Thanks to my crew for the preparations and it’s exciting to get a superspeedway pole,” said Pagenaud, who is in his first season with Team Penske. “Qualifying is one thing. It’s a reward for performance. We have a 500-mile race and hopefully I can reward the team for its hard work. It’s a brand new team that is gelling really well. It’s good. We’ve been working really hard on the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet Team. It’s an amazing feeling.

“This (pole) is nice, but frankly you can win from the back in a 500-mile race like (Juan Pablo) Montoya did (in the Indianapolis 500). Lots of traffic tomorrow and it’s going to be important to keep your tires underneath you. Being able to run in different lanes and being smart in traffic is going to be key. And obviously there is going to be a lot of pit stops, too – so there’s a lot for tomorrow, but I’m just going to take this tonight and enjoy it.”

Pagenaud won his first Verizon P1 Award on June 28, 2014, at Houston. He has qualified in the top five in 10 of the 11 Verizon IndyCar Series races this season. Pagenaud also qualified on the front row for the 99th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

MAVTV 500 Qual Results-1Marco Andretti, whose two-lap average speed of 217.797 mph in the No. 27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda was third best of the 22 qualifiers, posted his highest qualifying result since securing the pole for the July 2013 race at Pocono Raceway. “We’ll have a pretty clean view for the start here. I’m pretty excited about the race car; I’m thrilled with where we ended up in quals – but I think my race car is really solid, and thankfully we won’t have to come from the back. Just really proud of everybody, we’re really maximizing everything.”

CFH Racing co-owner/driver Ed Carpenter, who has finished first, second and third in the past three races at Auto Club Speedway, qualified on the outside of Row 2 (217.666 mph) in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet.

Montoya, the Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader who is seeking to complete a career Triple Crown of 500-mile race victories at Pocono Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway, qualified fifth at 217.250 mph in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet.

Montoya will share Row 3 with defending race winner Tony Kanaan, who posted a two-lap average of 217.184 mph. Scott Dixon, runner-up to teammate Kanaan in the MAVTV 500 last August, matched his teammate’s qualification speed average 217.184 mph and will start seventh.

Dixon’s Car Livery Inspiring People to Get Moving …

Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar

Dixon is carrying a special orange and black livery on his No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet this weekend to promote Unilever’s Degree brand and the Degree Get Moving Challenge. The #GetMoving program challenges consumers for six weeks starting July 1 with fitness activities ranging from cardio kickboxing to full-sprint workouts. Participants can earn prizes including VISA gift cards, Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazine subscriptions, workout attire and a destination trip for a one-on-one workout session with celebrity trainer and transformation pro Chris Powell. For more information, visit

Two INDYCAR Events Voted among Top 10 in Motorsports …

The Indianapolis 500 and Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach are among the world’s 10 best motorsports races, according to an online poll conducted by USA TODAY and Results of the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Motorsports Race were released today, with the Indy 500 finishing second and the Long Beach street race ninth among 20 nominees.