Archive for May 21, 2016

Here are the “Fast Nine” — the drivers and teams who have earned the right to run for the Pole position tomorrow afternoon, for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 …

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Information for the 100th Indianapolis 500 Pole Day – Sunday, May 22 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

SCHEDULE  — (All times local)

7am-6pm — Ticket Office Open
10am-6pm —  Public Gates Open
10am — IMS Midway Open
10:30am-11:15am — Enlistment Ceremony – Pagoda Plaza
10:30am-11:15am — Chevrolet Camaro Consumer Lap (300 Cars)
11am- 5pm –Ivy Tech Garage Tours
11:30am-12:30pm — American Dairy Association “Winners Drink Milk” Pin Distribution
Noon-4pm — Pin Trading Program – Plaza Retail Shop
Noon-12:30pm — Indy 500 Practice – Positions 22-33
12:45pm-1:15pm –Indy 500 Practice – Positions 10-21
1:30pm-2pm — Indy 500 Practice – Fast Nine
2pm-2:30pm — Sam Schmidt Arrow Car Laps
2:45 pm-4:45pm — Indy 500 Qualifying – Positions 10-33
5pm-5:45pm — Indy 500 Fast Nine Qualifying – Positions 1-9
5:45 p.m –Verizon P1 Award Presentation – Pit Lane Near Verizon Pit View

TICKETS: General admission $20

PUBLIC GATES OPEN: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Gate 1 – Walk, Gate 10 – Public Drive, Gate 10A – Walk, Gate 12 – Credential Drive/Walk, Gate 1B – Credential Drive, Gate 2 – Credential Drive/Walk, Gate 3 – Walk, Gate 4 – Credential Drive/Walk, Gate 6 – Walk, Gate 7 South – Walk, Gate 7 – Vehicle – Drive, Gate 9 – Walk, Gate 9A Credential Drive, Media Gate-Credential Walk

STANDS OPEN: A Stand (1-4) as needed, B Penthouse (21-25) as needed, B Stand (22-25) as needed, Backstretch family mounds, Backstretch mounds, E Penthouse, E Stand, Gas Alley Roof, North Vista Wheelchair, NW Vista (1-6) as needed, NW Vista Deck, Paddock (9-18) as needed, Paddock Penthouse (10-20), Pit Road Terrace, Southeast Vista Deck, South Terrace, Southeast Vista (1-3) as needed, Tower Terrace (37-42) as needed, Tower Terrace Wheelchair, Turn 2 mounds, Turn 3 mounds, Turn 4 mounds, Wheelchair accessible.

MUSEUM HOURS: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for fans 6-15 years old, with children under 5 free.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Notes

If you are planning to come out to the Speedway for qualifications Saturday or Sunday, we’re hoping you’ll drop by and visit us at the Museum. This weekend only, we are featuring the Pace Car Reunion. Not only do we have cars from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and up to the present, you will also see a 1914 Packard Special Roadster, a 1929 Studebaker President and a 1938 Hudson 112. In all, we have more than 230 Pace Cars on display, all in the parking lot in front of the Museum.

Of course, you’ll also want to come inside the Museum. If you haven’t visited for a while, you’ll be amazed at some changes that have been made. In particular, you’ll want to see our current special exhibit, the Team Penske 50th Anniversary Exhibition Presented by Pennzoil. Already acclaimed as one of the best exhibits the Museum has ever had, it will be here until November.

We also have a visiting collection of Tony Stewart race cars, including both cars he used on May 30,1999 when he did “The Double” and raced in the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte.

Finally, and perhaps the biggest change: we have opened 3000 square feet of additional exhibit space! In there you’ll find some cars you may not have seen for a while. The new space also has a panoramic view if the IMS infield.

INDIANAPOLIS – INDYCAR has updated the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Rule Book to account for any car entered in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil unable to complete a guaranteed qualifying attempt due to a mechanical condition or on-track incident on Saturday, the first of two scheduled days of qualifications.

Per Rule, when there are 33 entries for the Indianapolis 500, any car that fails to complete its guaranteed qualifying attempt on the first day of qualifications because of a mechanical condition or on-track incident, and does not make a second attempt, will be listed at the back of the field after Saturday qualifying and placed in Group 1 second-day qualifying Sunday.

If multiple cars cannot complete their guaranteed attempt Saturday due to those conditions, they will be ordered at the back of the field for Group 1 qualifying based on entrant points. If multiple cars with no entrant points do not complete their guaranteed attempt Saturday, they will be ordered for Sunday qualifying by a blind draw.

First-day qualifying runs from 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m. ET Saturday. Cars may make multiple attempts throughout the day. Only the first time through the qualifying line – determined by a random draw today – is guaranteed.

At the conclusion of Saturday qualifying, the fastest nine cars based on their four-lap qualification attempts advance to Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout to determine the Verizon P1 Award pole winner and the rest of the starting positions in the first three rows for the May 29 race. The remaining 24 cars from Saturday move on to Group 1 qualifying Sunday to determine race starting positions 10-33.

All qualifying times from Saturday are erased for Sunday qualifying. Group 1 qualifying runs from 2:45-4:45 p.m. ET Sunday, with each car making one four-lap attempt in order of slowest to fastest based on Saturday’s times. The Fast Nine Shootout takes place from 5-5:45 p.m. ET Sunday, with each car making a four-lap attempt in order of slowest to fastest based on Saturday’s times. The top qualifier in the Fast Nine Shootout wins the Verizon P1 Award and will start on the pole position for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Qualifying airs Saturday on ESPN3 (2pm-4pm ET) and ABC (4-6 p.m. ET) and @ESPN3 & @ESPNNews1  (6pm – 7pm ET).

Sunday on ESPN3 (2:30-4 p.m. ET) and ABC (4-6 p.m. ET). Coverage of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 begins at 11 a.m. ET May 29 on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

The weekend qualifications procedure is outlined here:

05-19-Qualifications-Rules-2016Indy500 -

Chip Ganassi Racing's Tony Kanaan - Image by Jeff Majeske

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan – Image by Jeff Majeske

By: Jeff Majeski

INDIANAPOLIS – When qualifications do get under way, Tony Kanaan is slated to go out first. At this point, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champ does not look a contender for the pole, which he won in 2005, or even the Fast Nine – his best practice speed is 229.753 mph ranks only 20th.

I can’t find a quick link to the qualifying draw, so here’s the order. Mind you, there are only 33 car-and-driver combinations, but a total of 50 spots were drawn – half of which are for cars that haven’t practiced at speed yet, possibly have never even been on the track or maybe are still in the garage or on a transporter.

Anyway, here you go:

  1. Tony Kanaan
  2. Simon Pagenaud
  3. Sebastien Bourdais (backup)
  4. James Hinchcliffe (backup)
  5. Simon Pagenaud (backup)
  6. Marco Andretti
  7. Alexander Rossi
  8. Tony Kanaan (backup)
  9. Sebastien Bourdais
  10. Matt Brabham (backup)
  11. Josef Newgarden
  12. Alex Tagliani (backup)
  13. Oriol Servia (Note: This is listed as 12A because no one wants to be No. 13, right?)
  14. Bryan Clauson (backup)
  15. Max Chilton (backup)
  16. JR Hildebrand
  17. Mikhail Aleshin
  18. Gabby Chaves (backup)
  19. Charlie Kimball (backup)
  20. Will Power
  21. Helio Castroneves
  22. Ryan Hunter-Reay (backup)
  23. Bryan Clauson
  24. Ed Carpenter (backup)
  25. Juan Pablo Montoya (backup)
  26. Carlos Munoz (backup)
  27. Mikhail Aleshin (backup)
  28. JR Hildebrand (backup)
  29. Matt Brabham
  30. Scott Dixon
  31. Max Chilton
  32. Buddy Lazier
  33. Alex Tagliani
  34. Will Power (backup)
  35. Takuma Sato
  36. Helio Castroneves (backup)
  37. Townsend Bell
  38. Conor Daly (backup)
  39. Pippa Mann (backup)
  40. Takuma Sato (backup)
  41. Jack Hawksworth (backup)
  42. Spencer Pigot (backup)
  43. Marco Andretti (backup)
  44. Gabby Chaves
  45. Spencer Pigot
  46. Charlie Kimball
  47. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  48. Sage Karam (backup)
  49. Stefan Wilson
  50. Jack Hawksworth

One thing I noticed is that a number was drawn for Sage Karam’s backup car, but not his primary car, so we’ll have to figure that out.

More later. Off to find a corndog. And, remember, it is perfectly OK to eat a corndog at 8:30 in the morning if you are at the track. 


Editors Note: Speedway Sightings is grateful for the opportunity to publish Jeff Majeske’s work through special arragement. To read more of Jeff’s efforts please visit his site by … Clicking Here

Photo credit: Chris Jones/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Photo credit: Chris Jones/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

By: Jeff Majeske

No car owner has been as successful in the Indianapolis 500 as Roger Penske. His team’s 16 victories with 11 drivers – including last year with Juan Pablo Montoya – are more than three times as many as the next best. (Lou Moore and Chip Ganassi each have five 500 victories.)

You might be surprised, though, that Penske, whose businesses generate an estimated $26 billion annually, was a fan long before he started entering cars in 1969.

He attended his first 500 in 1951 with his father, Julius.

“My dad worked for a company that sponsored a couple of laps, and (as a lap sponsor) he had a couple of tickets and asked if I wanted to go to the race,” Penske said during a press conference on Friday morning.

Like many other fans, he also listened to the radio broadcasts led by Sid Collins, the “voice” of the Indianapolis 500 from 1952-76.

Penske and his father had driven in from Cleveland, but arrived late and missed a lunch date. They went to the site anyway, where young Penske had his picture taken with a show car wearing a Cromwell helmet.

“I think that day I thought I wanted to drive,” said Penske, who became an accomplished road racer before turning his focus to business and running a racing team.

Penske was 14 at the time of his first visit. Lee Wallard won with an average speed of 126.244 mph.

“I think the speed here, the sensation of the track, and if you love cars like I did in those days, it was a place you wanted to be part of,” Penske said.

This year, Penske has a four-car team, and each driver is a potential winner. In addition to reigning champ Montoya are Helio Castroneves, a three-time 500 champ; Will Power, who finished second to Montoya by just 0.1046 of a second; and Simon Pagenaud, who has won the last three Verizon IndyCar Series events.

Team Penske in the Indianapolis 500

  • First start: 1969 (Mark Donohue)
  • Wins: 16
  • Winning drivers: Mark Donohue (1972), Rick Mears (1979, ’84, ’88, ’91), Bobby Unser (1981), Danny Sullivan (1985), Al Unser Sr. (1987), Emerson Fittipaldi (1993), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Helio Castroneves (2001, ’02, ’09), Gil De Ferran (2003), Sam Hornish Jr. (2006), Juan Pablo Montoya (2015)
  • Poles: 17
  • Pole-winning drivers: Tom Sneva (1977, ’78), Rick Mears (1979, ’82, ’86, ’88, ’89, ’91), Bobby Unser (1981), Emerson Fittipaldi (1990), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Helio Castroneves (2003, ’07, ’09, ’10), Sam Hornish Jr. (2006), Ryan Briscoe (2012) 


Editor’s Note: Speedway Sightings is grateful for the opportunity to publish Jeff Majeske’s work through special arrangement. To read more of Jeff’s efforts please visit his site by … Clicking Here

Photo Courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Photo Courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

By: Jeff Majeske

INDIANAPOLIS – Rick Mears is arguably the greatest driver in Indianapolis 500 history. He’s tied for the most victories with four (matched earlier by A.J. Foyt and then Al Unser Sr.) and won the most poles (six).

The Bakersfield, California, native’s four victories came in a span of 13 races (1979 to 1991), less than Foyt (17; 1961-77) or Unser (18; 1970-87). Mears’ first Indy pole – first pole of any kind, in fact – came in 1979.

That year, his was the last car eligible for the pole, and he was trying to dislodge Tom Sneva.

Sneva, incidentally, had won the pole in record-shattering fashion the previous two years driving for Roger Penske – who let Sneva go despite winning the national championship in 1977 and 1978.

And just to add a little more drama and pressure, Sneva and Mears were teammates in 1978, when Mears was a rookie and a part-time driver for Penske. For 1979, Mears was full-time and paired with Bobby Unser.

Mears was considered as smooth as he was fast, making his record-breaking four-lap, 10-mile qualifying runs look effortless. His pole effort in 1979 offers a glimpse as to how hard it really was.

“I was still learning the limits,” Mears recounted Friday morning during a press conference. “I was trying to run wide open, and coming through Turn 3 on I think the second lap, I started losing the front end right in the middle of the corner.”

Usually that means the driver is about to crash.

“I thought, ‘Oh, man, this is going to be close. I can either lift and make sure or leave it and hope,’ “ he said.

Mears didn’t lift. And his further explanation gives you some insight as to why Mears is considered by many to be the best ever on ovals.

“When I came around the next lap, going through Turn 3, I was looking at my black mark (from the tire), and I still had about 6, 8 inches left, so I had a lot more room out there than I thought,” he said.

Six to 8 inches of margin. At nearly 200 mph.

“I thought I was going to bounce off the fence off of Turn 3, but we made it, we cleared it,” Mears said. “When I came in and saw those smiles on all the guys’ faces, to me it was kind of payback for all the hard work they do.”


Editor’s Note: Speedway Sightings is grateful for the opportunity to publish Jeff Majeske’s work through special arrangement. To read more of Jeff’s efforts please visit his site by … Clicking Here