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.”

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By: Jenna Fryer — Associated Press

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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.”

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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. ”

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“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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Tony Stewart – from Columbus, Indiana – will take his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at The Brickyard (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Starting from the inside of the second row, Stewart is very optimistic that he is in the position to capture his third Brickyard 400 win.

In 17 starts at Indy, Stewart boasts two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s and 227 laps led.

He also owns the second-best average finish (9.6) and third-highest average running position (11.6)

Stewart heads to the 2.5-mile track with plenty of momentum. He has three top-five finishes in his last four starts, including a runner-up showing last Sunday at New Hampshire and a win at Sonoma.

For his career, the No. 14 Chevrolet driver claims three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, 49 wins, 105 top fives, 305 top 10s, and 12,818 laps led. 

A 50th win would tie Stewart with NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett for 11th on the all-time list.

Every eligible driver with as many wins as Stewart is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

“It’s a big deal to us to win here (at Indianapolis),” Stewart said. “This is an event that I definitely circle on the schedule and emotionally have a lot invested in it. To us, it’s definitely not just another stop that’s on the calendar and on the schedule. You don’t just pull in and say, ‘we’re going to go in, try to win the race and then pull out of here.’ When you’re here, you’re amped up because you’re at Indianapolis.”

Tony Stewart receives a piece of old track fence from IMS President Doug Boles during a press conference at IMS -- Photo by Bret Kelley

Tony Stewart receives a piece of old track fence from IMS President Doug Boles during a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway –IMS Image by Bret Kelley

Kyle Busch celebrates his first Sprint Cup pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- Image by Chris Jones

Kyle Busch celebrates his first Sprint Cup pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Image by Chris Jones

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 23, 2016 – On a hot day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, no one was hotter than Kyle Busch. A winner a year ago at NASCAR’s spotlight midsummer event, Busch will start his title defense from the pole for Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Warrior Coalition 400 at the Brickyard.

Busch posted a speed of 184.634 mph in the third round of NASCAR Sprint Cup knockout qualifying in the No. 18 Skittles Toyota, topping 2014 pole winner and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards by .023 seconds.

Later on Saturday, Busch defended his title at the Lilly Diabetes 250 with a dominant win in his No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, leading 62 of 63 laps in a green-white-checkered finish. He also led all 20 laps in his heat race.

Kyle Busch with a dominant Lilly Diabetes 250 win in his No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, leading 62 of 63 laps - Image by Walt Kuhn

Kyle Busch with a dominant Lilly Diabetes 250 win in his No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, leading 62 of 63 laps – Image by Walter Kuhn

“Overall, man, just a great day,” Busch said. “It’s fun to run here and get some more experience for tomorrow. I feel like this car’s really helped me in the last few years at being able to excel here at the Brickyard and I’m looking forward to what we’ve got for them tomorrow.”

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In 11 previous Brickyard Cup starts, Busch had never qualified better than seventh. Now, the 31-year-old Las Vegas native will start from the pole as he tries to score Toyota’s second consecutive win in the event after it had never won before at Indy.

“I remember the days when I didn’t have such good cars here,” Busch said after winning his 19th career Sprint Cup pole and second of the season. “But we’ve been doing a good job of working hard, keeping our head down and doing what we need to be doing and focusing on our own thing.”

Tony Stewart at Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- Image by Chris Owens

Tony Stewart at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Image by Chris Owens

Denny Hamlin qualified fourth in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, giving Joe Gibbs Racing three of the top four spots. Tony Stewart, making his final IMS start, broke up the Gibbs party by qualifying third in the No. 14 Mobil 1/Chevy Summer Sell Down Chevrolet.

“I feel like we left the pole out there, and I think the guys who were ahead of us felt the same way, thought they could do something a little better on their lap,” Stewart said. “But a top-three starting spot here is … I’ll live with that, for sure.”

Brad Keselowski qualified fifth, the only Ford in the top 12. Jeff Gordon will start 21st in the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“We’ve got some work to do. I’m looking forward to the challenge tomorrow,” said Gordon, a 5-time Indy winner. “Today, I felt more relaxed and comfortable in the car. I hopefully will feel the same way tomorrow. Tomorrow’s challenge is going to be around traffic, and also getting the balance of the car right, and do that when you’re by yourself as well as when you’re around other cars.”

The green flag for the 23rd Running of the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled for 3:19 p.m. Sunday.

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Tickets are now on sale for the Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard and the Red Bull Air Race. Fans have three quick, convenient methods to buy tickets:

Online: Visit www.ims.com/tickets — Tickets are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Phone: Call 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

In Person: Visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building east of the 16th Street roundabout and outside Turn 1 of the oval between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at 866-221-8775 for more information.

Information on parking and camping at IMS events is available at www.ims.com/tickets

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Lilly 250 Qualifying

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway Image by Wm. LaDow

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Image by Wm. R. LaDow

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (July 18, 2016) – Tony Stewart’s 2016 NASCAR swan song has already given motorsports fans the indelible memory of a last-corner pass at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June that preceded one of the more emotional victory lane celebrations of the season. 

It was a victory that likely earned the 49-time winner a place in NASCAR’s 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs and, given recent success and his historic prowess in Chase races, the three-time champion will likely add to his career highlight reel this summer and fall.

Since announcing in September he would make 2016 his 18th and final season of Sprint Cup racing, it was obvious this Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway might be one of the landmark races of the season. After 17 Brickyard 400s, five Indianapolis 500s, three IROC races and a lifetime of reverence, Tony Stewart will say a final farewell to the track he’s admired since his boyhood growing up in nearby Columbus, Indiana.

- Photo by Jim Haines

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Image by Jim Haines

Some of the greatest sports figures in the history of Indiana include names like John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Peyton Manning, Bob Griese, Bobby Knight, Jeff Gordon and Stewart. Watching one of the state’s greats make a final shot, throw a touchdown pass or take a final lap around the revered speedway is never easy, but tens of thousands of Hoosiers will gather Sunday at the Brickyard to say goodbye to one of their own. “I grew up and lived my whole life in Indiana,” Stewart said. “I didn’t move to Indiana. I didn’t move away from Indiana. I’m the only NASCAR driver in the Cup Series who’s from Indiana and who still lives in Indiana, and I’m proud of where I was born. I’m proud to be back. I still live in the town I was raised in. I take a lot of pride in that. I think the state of Indiana takes a lot of pride in that, and that’s why it makes it a big weekend.”

But spare him the emotional goodbyes.

Stewart, who’ll drive the No. 14 Mobil 1/Chevy Summer Sell Down Chevrolet this weekend, insists, “I’m not going away. I’ll be around. I just won’t be driving in NASCAR. Heck, around Indiana, the fans will probably have more chances to watch us race on dirt than they would if I stayed racing in NASCAR. I’ve got a lot of racing left in me. I look at it like 2017 will begin the second half of my driving career.”

Stewart understands the historic significance of Sunday’s race and the role he’s played at the world’s most famous racetrack. The former USAC & IndyCar Series champion grew up about 45 minutes from the historic track and once drove a tow truck while trying to make ends meet as an aspiring USAC driver. Stewart would drive down Georgetown Road toward 16th Street, running parallel with the speedway’s 3,330-foot-long frontstretch wondering what it would be like 300 feet to the left running at 200 mph. 

“I’m not going to downplay it because it’s one of the most important weekends of the year for me, being at home and racing in front of friends and family for the last time there. It’ll be an emotional weekend, for sure, but I’ve got a plan on how I’m going to approach the weekend, and I’m just going to stick to that plan and go about our work.” 

Like one of the sports stars he admires, Peyton Manning, Stewart wants to walk out of his final season with his head held high carrying a trophy. He arrives at Indianapolis after finishing second at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon last weekend. The performance is the latest in several consecutive weeks of running at the front of the field. Stewart has the second-most points of any driver in the last five races and the eighth-most in the last 10.

Because he missed the first eight races of the season after sustaining a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in a Jan. 31 all-terrain-vehicle accident, Stewart’s first race in 2016 didn’t occur until April 24 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. NASCAR granted Stewart a medical waiver that made him eligible for the 2016 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs. After the Sonoma victory, Stewart now must race his way in by ending NASCAR’s 26-race regular season in the top-30 in driver points. Heading into this weekend, Stewart is 28th and leads 31st-place Brian Scott by 67 points.

Photo by Wm LaDow

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Image by Wm. R. LaDow

History says Stewart will be a favorite this weekend. He has one pole, two wins, three top-three finishes, seven top-fives, 11 top-10s and has led a total of 227 laps in 17 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis. He only has four finishes outside the top-12 – a 17th-place result in 2001, a 23rd-place finish in 2008, a 17th-place run in 2014 and a 28th-place finish last year. His average Sprint Cup start at Indianapolis is 14.6, his average Sprint Cup finish at Indianapolis is 9.6. His lap-completion rate is 100 percent. His open-wheel career at Indy is impressive, as well. In five Indy 500s, he earned three top-fives and only finished outside the top-seven once. He led four of the five races for 122 of 1,000 laps.

Questions posed to Stewart as he prepares for his final Brickyard 400 …

Q: Did winning the 2005 Brickyard 400 lift a weight off your shoulders ?

A: “I think back in 2005 I was fairly realistic that I was never going to get back to Indianapolis in an Indy car. The one thing that was always on the top of my resume was a blank spot that said Indy 500 winner. I think winning the Brickyard that year took the sting out of not winning there in an Indy car. It didn’t replace it, but it just took the sting out of it. To finally win at home, and to win at a facility that all my life was the holy grail when you grow up in Indiana, to finally be able to check that off the list, to do it a couple of times, now, they are definitely two of the highlights of my career.”

Q: How special was to finally kiss the yard of bricks in 2005 ?

A: “It was everything to me. My whole life, since I was a kid, that’s what I wanted to do. Not that I had some fascination with kissing bricks as a child, but my fascination to do it (at Indianapolis) was pretty obsessive.”

Q: Whats different about driving the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ?

A: “When you come down the front straightaway, there are grandstands on both sides. Visually, it makes turn one seem like you are driving down a dark alley. It’s very intimidating when you are coming down the front straightaway. The back straightaway is, dimension-wise, exactly the same, but there are no grandstands on the inside. The sun, when it is setting in the west, comes across and gives you a better perspective of seeing around the corner. Man, that front straightaway, especially where the start-finish line is, if you are leading that race and you come off turn four, that’s a long way to the checkered flag. If a guy isn’t right behind you, you have a lot of time to savor that moment driving underneath the double checkered flags and the yard of bricks. Man, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling.” 

Q: Why retirement ?

A: “I have spent my whole time doing this. I’ve been racing since I was 8 years old. I definitely feel like we’ve earned it. But I don’t know that it’s an earned deal. I mean, I still want to be a racecar driver. I still want to drive racecars. I still want to be active in racing. But the time demands, I mean, every year – I can tell you over the last 17 years how much more gets added on and added on and added on, and every time they add something, that’s less time we get to do the things we want to do, and I’m just finally to the point where I’m ready to regain some of my time back.”

Q: Will you run in the Indianapolis 500 again ?

A: “Absolutely not. Every year somebody asks me that, and every year I tell them absolutely not, and for some reason they don’t seem to get it. I don’t think 45 years old is an age to try to revive an IndyCar drive. The good thing is, if I want to go to the Indy and watch the 500, now I have the opportunity to go to the Indy 500 again as a spectator and watch, and then get on a plane and fly down and watch our cars race at the Coke 600.”

Q:When you raced in USAC, you had an eye pointed toward Indianapolis, but only in regard to running an IndyCar. Now drivers running in USAC still seem to have their sights set on Indy, but its in regard to running a stock car. What caused this change ?

A: “Jeff Gordon was probably the biggest influence. He had a lot of success in USAC – won a lot of races. He wasn’t just handed an opportunity in NASCAR. He earned his way down there. When he got the opportunity to go to NASCAR, he opened up a lot of opportunities for drivers like myself. And the TV package that USAC had at the time with the Thursday Night Thunder Series on ESPN, it brought guys from all over the country because of the recognition that could be earned from running USAC. We had guys coming from Pennsylvania, California, Colorado, Wisconsin and Illinois to participate in USAC races because of Jeff’s success and the opportunity that he had to come to NASCAR. Indy cars weren’t an option at the time because, unless you brought a big-dollar sponsor, you weren’t going to get a ride. When Jeff had his success down South, it boosted everybody’s spirits and helped show everyone in USAC that it was a reality and that if they had the same kind of results that Jeff had on the track, then it could happen to them, too.”

Q: Does your experience at Indianapolis in both NASCAR and IndyCar make it the more comfortable to you, or is it just another track where you have a couple of victories ?

A: “No, it’s definitely not just another victory to us. It’s a big deal to us to win here. This is an event that I definitely circle on the schedule and emotionally have a lot invested in it. To us, it’s definitely not just another stop that’s on the calendar and on the schedule. You don’t just pull in and say, ‘we’re going to go in, try to win the race and then pull out of here.’ When you’re here, you’re amped up because you’re at Indianapolis.”

Q: What was your first childhood memory of Indianapolis ?

A: “I came with my father. We were in some bus that had a luggage rack in the top of it. You had to get up at o-dark-30 to get on the bus to ride up to Indy for race day. They threw me up in the luggage rack. Somebody gave me a pillow and everybody started throwing their jackets on top of me to keep me warm. The ride home wasn’t nearly as cool because, after a long day at the track, everybody but my dad and I were kind of rowdy. I was probably 5 years old. We sat in turns three and four. We were two rows up, right in the middle of the short chute. The hard thing was you could hardly see anything. The cars were so fast. They were a blur. But to see those cars under caution and smell the methanol fumes and everything, it was still pretty cool.”

Data Provided by True Speed Communications

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Dear Race Fans,

As temperatures this weekend could be warm, please take note of these preventative measures. The best defense against heat related illness is prevention.  As you prepare to attend the Brickyard 400 consider the following:

  • Conditioning
    • Slowly build up your exposure to hot, humid environments the week prior to the race so that your body has a chance to acclimate
  • Dress
    • Wear light, loose fitting clothing
    • Wear a wide brimmed hat
  • Fluids
    • Drink more fluids regardless of activity level
      • Don’t wait until you feel thirsty
      • Hydration is a continuous process
      • Electrolyte drinks (sports drinks) are best
    • Drink it. Don’t pour it!
      • While pouring fluids over your head may temporarily feel great, it will not help restore your body fluids or lower your temperature.
    • Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine
      • Alcohol and caffeine both act to increase fluid losses through a process called diureses which will worsen dehydration
      • Alcohol will alter your mental status and judgment and may mask symptoms of serious exposures
  • Protect yourself from the sun
    • Protect you eyes from UV radiation with sun glasses
    • Apply sunscreen frequently
  • Take frequent shade breaks
    • Take advantage of shady areas under stands or trees
    • Take advantage of the misting stations situated around the property
  • Know the symptoms of heat illness
    • Seek treatment if you or anyone around you becomes ill
    • Identify in advance the nearest first aid station to your seats
    • If you need help summon the nearest safety patrol

Please remember that individuals at both extremes of age (very young and very old) are at much greater risk for developing heat related illness.  Use the “buddy system” and check frequently on your friends and family members and make sure they are doing everything they can to keep themselves hydrated.  Remember, never leave anyone in a parked closed vehicle.

If you take these simple precautions, you can help make the weekend enjoyable and safe for yourself and your family and friends.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey L. Billows, MD

Medical Director

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Brickyard 400

Hauler Parade – Thursday, July 21, 2016

This event located on Main Street in Speedway, Indiana, is FREE with a suggested donation of a backpack or school supplies benefiting the Haughville Back to School rally.

Download IMS Mobile to stay up to date during your stay at IMS

Schedule of Events
  • 5:00pm – Hauler Parade Begins
  • 5:30pm – Doug Boles Q&A with Crown Royal Hero Jason Redman
  • 6:00pm – Haulers Arrive on Main Street
  • 6:00pm – 87 Southbound Concert
  • 7:00pm – Greta Sparks Concert
  • 7:55pm – Haulers Depart Main Street
  • 8:00pm – Hauler Parade Ends

Hauler Parade

NASCAR Practice – Friday, July 22, 2016

Download IMS Mobile to stay up to date during your stay at IMS

Schedule of Events
  • 8:00am – Public Gates Open
  • 8:00am – 06:00pm – IMS Midway Open
  • 8:00am – 09:30am – Chevy Driver Autograph Session Wristband Distribution – Chevy Display
  • 9:30am – 10:30am – Chevy Driver Autograph Session – Chevy Display
  • 12:00pm – 01:25pm – NASCAR XFINITY Series Practice
  • 1:30pm – 02:55pm – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice
  • 3:00pm – 03:55pm – NASCAR XFINITY Series Practice
  • 4:00pm – 05:25pm – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice
  • 6:00pm – Public Gates Close

Purchase Practice Tickets

Tony Stewart

Lilly Diabetes 250 Race and NASCAR Qualifying – Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hot pass in effect from 1 p.m. to conclusion of Lilly Diabetes 250 race.

Download IMS Mobile to stay up to date during your stay at IMS

Schedule of Events
  • 8:00am – Public Gates Open
  • 8:00am – 05:05pm – IMS Midway Open
  • 9:00am – NASCAR XFINITY Series Autograph Session Wristband Distribution – Pagoda Plaza
  • 10:00am – 10:45am – NASCAR XFINITY Series Autograph Session
  • 10:00am – Youth Only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autograph Session Wristband Distribution – IMS Kids Zone
  • 11:40am – 01:00pm – NASCAR XFINITY Series Qualifying
  • 12:00pm – 12:30pm – Youth Only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autograph Session – IMS Kids Zone
  • 1:45pm – 02:45pm – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying
  • 2:30pm – 03:00pm – NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver Brick Walk
  • 3:00pm – Driver Introductions
  • 3:30pm – Presentation of Colors
  • 3:30pm – Invocation – Rev. Byron Fritz
  • 3:31pm – “National Anthem” – performed by Amanda Jo
  • 3:32pm – “Drivers Start Your Engines”
  • 3:49pm – Lilly Diabetes 250 Heat Race #1 (20 Laps)
  • 4:26pm – Lilly Diabetes 250 Heat Race #2 (20 Laps)
  • 5:09pm – Lilly Diabetes 250 Feature Race (60 Laps)
  • 6:00pm – Concert Gates Open
  • 7:00pm – Parmalee Concert
  • 8:00pm – Kid Rock Concert
  • 9:00pm – Public Gates Close

Purchase Saturday Tickets

Lilly Diabetes 250

Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard – Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hot pass in effect from 2 p.m. to conclusion of Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard race.

Download IMS Mobile to stay up to date during your stay at IMS

Schedule of Events
  • 10:00am – Public Gates Open
  • 10:00am – 03:19pm – IMS Midway Open
  • 11:30am – 12:45pm – Track Walk – Need Pass to enter. Enter North Pit Gate, Exit South Pit Gate
    Purchase Track Walk
  • 2:00pm – 02:30pm – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brick Walk
  • 2:05pm – Military Silverado Laps
  • 2:05pm – Jason Redman Speech – Victory Podium
  • 2:30pm – Driver Introductions
  • 2:57pm – “America the Beautiful”
  • 3:00pm – Presentation of Colors
  • 3:00pm – Invocation – Howard Brammer
  • 3:01pm – “National Anthem”
  • 3:07pm – “Drivers Start Your Engines”
  • 3:19pm – 23rd Running of the Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard (160 Laps)
  • 6:00pm – Public Gates Close

Purchase Race Day Tickets

130-A

The majority of the Chrysler Stock Cars seen in the videos below, have one thing in common …

They began their racing lives at the Nichels Engineering — “Go-Fast Factory” in Griffith, Indiana …

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Photographs property of the Nichels Engineering Archives


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