Archive for July, 2016

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Race Weekend: Friday, July 29 – Sunday, July 31

Track: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio

Race Distance: 90 laps / 203.22 miles

PushtoPass Parameters: 10 activations for 20 seconds each

Firestone Tire Allotment: Eight sets primary, three sets alternate

Twitter: @Mid_Ohio @IndyCar, #Honda200, #IndyCar

Event Website: www.MidOhio.com

INDYCAR Website: www.IndyCar.com

MId-Ohio Entry List 7-28

2015 Race Winner: Graham Rahal (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda)

2015 Verizon P1 Award Winner: Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet), 1:04.5814, 125.869 mph — Qualifying Record: Scott Dixon, 1:04.5814, 125.869 mph, Aug. 1, 2015

NBCSN Television Broadcasts: Practice, 2 p.m. ET Friday, July 29 (live); Qualifying, 2 p.m. ET Saturday, July 30 (live); Race, 2 p.m. ET Sunday, July 31, CNBC (live); 5:30 p.m. ET Sunday, July 31, NBCSN (re-air); Brian Till is the lead announcer for the NBCSN broadcasts this weekend alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller. (See graphic above)

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network Broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Jake Query and Nick Yeoman are the turn announcers with Dave Furst, Rob Howden and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races as well as qualifying sessions are broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app. All Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile App.

Video Streaming: All practice sessions for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season not covered by television will be available on RaceControl.IndyCar.com

INDYCAR Mobile App: Verizon Wireless puts fans around the world in the driver’s seat with its INDYCAR Mobile app. The app has been enhanced with new features to keep fans in the know of the latest race-day action. Exclusive features of the INDYCAR Mobile app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and includes enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; the ability to follow the race in real time with the interactive 3D track; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

AtTrack Schedule (all times local):

Friday, July 29
10 – 11:15 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
2 – 3:15 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, NBCSN (Live)

Saturday, July 30
9:45 – 10:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
2 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of knockout qualifying), NBCSN (Live)

Sunday, July 31
10:15 – 10:45 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warmup, RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
1:58 p.m. – Driver Introductions
2:38 p.m. – Command to Start Engines
2:45 p.m. – The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (90 laps/203.22 miles), CNBC (Live); re-air 5:30 on NBCSN

Race Notes:

• There have been seven different winners in the 11 previous Verizon IndyCar Series completed races in 2016: Juan Pablo Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Phoenix International Raceway), Simon Pagenaud (Streets of Long Beach, Barber Motorsports Park and Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Alexander Rossi (Indianapolis 500), Sebastien Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Will Power (Raceway at Belle Isle-2, Road America and Toronto) and Josef Newgarden (Iowa Speedway). Dixon’s win at Phoenix on April 2 tied him for fourth on the all-time Indy car victory list with Al Unser at 39. He is the active leader in wins. Bourdais’ win at Belle Isle on June 4 tied him with Bobby Unser for sixth on the all-time list with 35 wins. Power’s win at Toronto on July 17 gave him sole possession of 13th all-time with 28.

• The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be the 32nd Indy car race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Graham Rahal won the race in 2015. Johnny Rutherford won the first Indy car race at Mid-Ohio in 1980.

• The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be the ninth race on a road/street course in 2016. The first eight races were won by Juan Pablo Montoya (St. Petersburg), Simon Pagenaud (Long Beach, Barber and Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Sebastien Bourdais (Belle Isle-1) and Will Power (Belle Isle-2, Road America and Toronto).

• Scott Dixon is the winningest Indy car driver at Mid-Ohio with five victories (2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014). Emerson Fittipaldi won at Mid-Ohio three times, while Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Teo Fabi, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser Jr. and Alex Zanardi have all won at Mid-Ohio twice. Past winners Dixon, Castroneves (2000 and 2001), Montoya (1999), Charlie Kimball (2013) and Graham Rahal (2015) are entered this year.

• There have been five different pole winners since Helio Castroneves won back-to-back poles in 2007-08. Other Mid-Ohio pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Will Power (2010 and 2012), Scott Dixon (2011 and 2015), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2013) and Sebastien Bourdais (2014).

• Ten drivers have won the race from the pole – Mario Andretti (1984), Bobby Rahal (1985), Roberto Guerrero (1987), Teo Fabi (1989), Michael Andretti (1990 and 1991), Al Unser Jr. (1994), Alex Zanardi (1996), Patrick Carpentier (2002), Paul Tracy (2003) and Scott Dixon (2011).

• At least 17 drivers entered in the event have competed in past Indy car races at Mid-Ohio. Tony Kanaan (14) has the most starts at Mid-Ohio among the entered drivers. Twelve of those drivers have led laps at the track (Scott Dixon 223, Helio Castroneves 147, Will Power 87, Juan Pablo Montoya 49, Charlie Kimball 46, Sebastien Bourdais 38, Ryan Hunter-Reay 33, James Hinchcliffe 30, Graham Rahal 23, Simon Pagenaud 14, Kanaan 13 and Josef Newgarden 5).

• Chip Ganassi Racing has won 10 times at Mid-Ohio, including six of the last seven races at the track. Ganassi’s winning drivers are: Alex Zanardi (1996-97), Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Scott Dixon (2007, 2009, 2011-12 and 2014), Dario Franchitti (2010) and Charlie Kimball (2013).

• Team Penske has seven wins at the track: Emerson Fittipaldi (1992-93), Al Unser Jr. (1994-95), Helio Castroneves (2000-01) and Ryan Briscoe (2008).

• Scott Dixon has finished in the top five in nine of his 11 races at Mid-Ohio, including five wins between 2007 and 2014… Will Power has finished in the top five in four of his seven starts at Mid-Ohio…Simon Pagenaud has finished on the podium three times in his previous five starts. Sebastien Bourdais has three top-five finishes in six starts.

• Four rookies – Max Chilton, Conor Daly, Spencer Pigot and Alexander Rossi – are expected to compete. Rossi leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 89 points over Daly, with Chilton 127 points behind.

• Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 261st consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 202 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.

• Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 323rd career Indy car start, which ranks fourth on the all-time list. Tony Kanaan will attempt to make his 322nd Indy car start, which is fifth all-time.

• The 2016 season is the second in which aerodynamic bodywork component kits are used. The aero kits, produced by engine manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda for their respective supplied teams, are the latest technical innovation to enhance on-track performance through competitive aerodynamic development. Each manufacturer produces two kits for teams – one for short ovals/road courses/street courses and another for superspeedway ovals – but within each kit, teams have multiple component options available.

• The second season of aero kit competition complements the fifth year of engine manufacturer competition between Chevrolet and Honda with their 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. It will be another season testing speed and durability to determine the manufacturer champion.

 

Celebration of Open Wheel Racing Planned One Week Before Brickyard Invitational

venue-indianapolisThe Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced an expansion of its events with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the “The SVRA Open Wheel World Challenge,” for June 8-11, 2017. The event, planned to occur one week prior to the 2017 Brickyard Invitational, is expected to showcase as many as 500 cars. SVRA officials describe it as an homage to the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford racing. In addition to Formula Ford, any open wheel car, including Formula One, Formula 5000, Indy cars, Indy Lights, Formula Vee, and Formula Junior will be invited. Specific race groups will be established that combine cars of similar speed and will focus on rules for Monoposto, FIA, and SCCA race cars.

“So many great drivers got their start with Formula Fords so we want to put a spotlight on the importance of that form of racing,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “This is an opportunity for open wheel racers from around the world to experience what it is like to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We expect this event to be the largest gathering of open wheel competition ever assembled.”

The success of the Brickyard Invitational over its first three years positioned the SVRA for expansion of its IMS activities. SVRA officials believe adding the open wheel weekend as a precursor to the Brickyard Invitational further leverages the opportunity to bring the racing community together.

“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway runs many types of races and events, but we are still best known through the Indianapolis 500 – the pinnacle of American open wheel racing,” said Doug Boles, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Fifty years of Formula Ford is a big milestone and we take pride in honoring important history at the Speedway. Tony and all of SVRA have been great partners and we look forward to this event.”

Group

 

By: Jenna Fryer — Associated Press

StewartHaas

Kannapolis, North Carolina – Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) the championship-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, will expand into the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2017.

The organization will field a full-time, single-car team in the XFINITY Series with a driver and sponsor lineup to be announced prior to the conclusion of the 2016 season. The XFINITY Series team will be run from SHR’s headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

“In order to maintain the competitiveness that has earned SHR two championships since our debut in 2009, we needed an outlet to develop drivers and team personnel for the Sprint Cup Series,” said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition, SHR. “People make the difference between winning and losing. An XFINITY Series team gives us added depth that will allow us to promote from within whenever necessary.”

SHR won its first Sprint Cup championship in 2011 with Tony Stewart and earned its second title in 2014 with Kevin Harvick. Since its inception in 2009, SHR has won 33 point-paying races, two non-point races and 28 poles.

“An XFINITY Series team has always been something we would consider when the time was right, and that time is now,” said Stewart, who co-owns SHR with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. “Staying successful in this sport means staying ahead of the curve, and having an XFINITY Series team provides an in-house driver development program and a new channel for personnel to make a positive impact with our race team.”

“This is a natural progression of SHR’s growth and one that allows us to be more self-sufficient,” Haas said. “If you look at all the teams that are successful in Sprint Cup, they have a direct connection to the XFINITY Series where drivers, engineers, mechanics and pit crew members are developed. We’re an established team with a strong infrastructure that is ready for this endeavor.”

About StewartHaas Racing

Stewart-Haas Racing is the title-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned by three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest CNC machine tool builder in North America. The team fields four entries in the elite Sprint Cup Series – the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart, the No. 10 Chevrolet for Danica Patrick, the No. 4 Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick and the No. 41 Chevrolet for Kurt Busch. Based in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Stewart-Haas Racing operates out of a 200,000-square-foot facility with approximately 280 employees. For more information, please visit us on the Web at www.StewartHaasRacing.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/StewartHaasRacing, on Twitter @StewartHaasRcng and on Instagram @StewartHaasRacing.

Kyle Busch about to leave the pits on his to a record-setting Brickyard 400 weekend performance - Indianapolis Motor Speedway Image ©2016 Walt Kuhn

Kyle Busch about to leave the pits on his way to a record-setting Brickyard 400 weekend performance – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Image – ©2016 Walt Kuhn

INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, July 24, 2016 – The 400-mile NASCAR summer classic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway turned out to be a record 425-miler, but the winner was never really in doubt.

Kyle Busch survived four late restarts in the last 18 laps in his No. 18 Skittles Toyota to triumph for the second consecutive year at Indianapolis, winning the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard by 2.126 seconds over Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. He led a record 149 of 170 laps after starting from the pole.

Busch is the second driver to win back-to-back NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis, joining Jimmie Johnson (2008-09). Five men won back-to-back Indianapolis 500s, most recently Helio Castroneves in 2001-02.

Busch began the weekend with a win from the pole in the XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250, making him the first driver in NASCAR history to sweep the poles and races in both national series in one weekend.

“A great weekend for us, and such a special weekend, to be able to win a Brickyard 400, and to have that opportunity come our way last year and to be able to back it up this weekend was special in its own right,” said Busch, who is second in the Sprint Cup Series points standings. “To sweep the weekend, that’s something that doesn’t come along very often. I can’t say enough about the whole group of guys and the people that are around us.”

Car owner Joe Gibbs was able to add to his trophy case with his fifth Brickyard win since 2000. After the 1-2 Toyota finish followed Jimmie Johnson, who came from a lap down to rally for third in the No. 48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin finished fourth in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota and Kyle Larson took fifth in the No. 42 Energizer Chevrolet.

Tony Stewart finished 11th in his final Brickyard start in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Chevy Summer Sell Down Chevrolet, while Jeff Gordon finished 13th in his relief effort for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet. Once the race was completed, the Hoosiers took one more pace lap around the track, perhaps for the last time together.

Tony Stewart an Jeff Gordon take one last lap at the storied Brickyard - Indianapolis Motor Speedway Image by Jim Haines

Fellow Hoosiers Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon take one last lap together, crossing the Bricks at the storied Brickyard – Indianapolis Motor Speedway Image by Jim Haines

“I knew when we got the checkered, I just didn’t want to come in quite yet,” said Stewart, a two-time Brickyard 400 winner. “I wanted to run one more lap, and Jeff was around us before that last green run, and I told my spotter to go get his spotter and say ‘after this thing’s over we need to go a lap around here together, because most likely is the last time we’ll both get to do that.’ I couldn’t think of a better guy to share that with than Jeff.”

Once the lap was complete, the drivers pulled onto pit road together and embraced upon getting out of their cars.

“Well, Tony and I have gone through a lot over the years. But he and I have become really good friends.” Gordon said. “And to see what he’s done and how tough he is as a competitor; I’ve always known what a great guy and what a great race car driver he is, and now I know more about who Tony Stewart really is.”

2016_BY400_RaceResults

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Jeff Gordon‘s commitment to pilot Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Axalta Chevrolet in Sunday’s Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard, came in flourish following the initial announcement several days ago that Earnhardt was stepping away from driving temporarily due to concussion-like symptoms he was experiencing. The announcement let to further information that Earnhardt had not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two NASCAR contests.

Hendrick Motorsports could not have a more talented or proven professional as a better fill-in. Gordon boasts a track-record five victories at Indianapolis, boasting 12 top fives, 17 top 10s and three poles at the iconic speedway. A surefire future NASCAR Hall of Famer, Gordon ranks third on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list with 93 victories. For his career, he boasts 325 top fives, 475 top 10s and 81 Coors Light Pole Awards.

Gordon, who spent the majority of his developmental years in Pittsboro, Indiana, won the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis as a second-year driver in 1994 and he will start 21st for Sunday’s race, having qualified .746 seconds off the pole setting pace of former Hendrick teammate and defending NASCAR Champion; Kyle Busch.

Jeff Gordon with Rick Hendrick during a press conference at IMS -- Image by Bret Kelley

Jeff Gordon with Rick Hendrick during a press conference at IMS — Image by Bret Kelley

In a Friday morning press conference at IMS, Gordon and Rick Hendrick discussed Dale Jr.’s status following a tweet Earnhardt posted earlier in morning, writing: “Today is the 1st day in many that I sensed improvement. Seen small gains during my physical therapy as well. Light at the end of the tunnel.” Hendrick further commented: “I think you saw Dale’s tweet this morning. Wednesday he came by the shop, and we got to visit. He looks good; he is encouraged. He is following the Dr.’s orders. We’re really excited. He is in great spirits. He wants to get back in the car. He wants to race, but he also knows that the regime they have him on will get him right for a long time. He’s following Dr.’s orders, but I can tell he is getting antsy. But, he is going to do what they say.  He is doing well.”

In telling the story of how he learned about Rick Hendrick’s need for his help, Gordon described receiving the initial Hendrick text: “If I could scroll through my phone, and look at the texts I have gotten from Rick that said ‘Call me’, I can tell you that you sit down when you call him in those instances.  It hasn’t happened a lot, but the times that it has it is usually pretty big.”

“I was in the South of France at that time. I think it was the second day of our vacation. Ingrid and I had planned a vacation to go over there.  I get that text, and I looked at her and said ‘Oh boy, here we go’.  I had no idea.  When Rick said to me ‘Are you coming to Indianapolis?’ I said ‘Yes I am. I am coming on Saturday’. He said ‘Well, you better bring your uniform’. I asked what he was talking about and he started to tell me about what was going on.  I thought he was messing with me. I knew he was messing with me. I knew right away the seriousness after that, and that he wasn’t joking. That it was serious. Honestly I didn’t have to think twice about it. When Rick calls, he has that confidence in me, and asked me to step-up and do something for the organization – whether it was driver, or other responsibilities. The way he has been there for me. The way this team and organization has been there for me over the years, I didn’t anticipate this. This is certainly the last thing that was going to happen. But I knew it was Indianapolis. I didn’t think about it. I felt like if there was one place that I was capable of doing it, it would be here. “

Describing how quickly plans to race at Indianapolis came together, Gordon went on to say: 

“First off I will just walk you through a little bit.  I got back from France on Tuesday.  I landed in New York; Mr. Hendrick was kind enough to have a plane there waiting for me to bring me to Charlotte.  I landed in Charlotte, drove straight to the shop and spent the evening with the team.  They had already put the seat in and the steering wheel and had been working with the No. 24 team that had access to everything the seat and the liner.  Luckily, we have archived and kept a lot of these things.  Really, this is basically my seat from Homestead, probably my steering wheel as well.  So, I spent the evening and it was really close, there were just a couple of little minor tweaks.  I came back the next morning to the shop and started that process.  I had to get a physical.  I had to do all the NASCAR requirements. I have an owner credential I don’t have a driver credential, so had to go through that process and spent the whole day there with Greg Ives.”

“The cool thing about Greg Ives is he reminded me that he worked for Robbie Loomis when Robbie was my crew chief and he was telling some great stories about working with Robbie.  I’ve known Greg for a long time and always been impressed with him.  But, I have never had the opportunity to work with him.  I’m looking forward to working with him.  I think he’s a great crew chief and they have a great race team.  I spent a lot of time with him and his team and the engineers going over data from the test that were here.  We have video, we have like Go-Pro video from inside the cars that I can watch Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, they both tested here and all their data.  And then it was not about 2015, it was about 2014 because in 2015 we had that huge spoiler… everything was different, but if you go back to ’14 even though it was more power, the traces are more similar.  I kind of like ’14 it was a good year.  I was happy to see that. ”

JeffGordonChevySimulaor

“Then I took that information and went to the simulator the next morning in Huntersville (North Carolina) with GM (General Motors/Chevrolet) and they put those set-up’s and this aero package in the car in the simulator and I was able to drive it.  I had been in the simulator last year and I drove here as a matter of fact after a tire test that I did.  It was more of a verification trying to get the simulator continued to advance.  They have advanced a lot.  I thought that and I will be able to verify that today that is was very close.  Much closer than in the past of the breaking points, turning points, car handling, all those types of things.  I’m hoping that really pays off for me.”

Just prior to the announcement by Hendrick Motorsports that Gorden would be filling in for Dale Jr., the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had to pull the announcement out of the cue for publication, naming Gordon as the Brickyard 400’s Pace Car driver. Asked about his role as a Pace Car driver and would he be willing to fulfill that role at next year’s race he replied: “Absolutely!  I owe you one, for sure, on that; and I would be honored to be able to do it. Thank you for considering me and yeah, that was another part of this. I sent Jon Edwards a text and said, ‘Um, have you spoken to the speedway?’  And he goes, ‘Yeah, the announcement is getting ready to come out’. I said, ‘You need to hold off on that announcement.’  So, I apologize about that.”


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