Posts Tagged ‘Indianapolis 500’

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Car Owner Chapman Root, Chief Mechanic Ray Nichels and Driver Pat O’Connor after capturing the Pole for the 1957 Indianapolis 500. O’Connor would run the same car in 1958 …

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An odds on favorite to win the the Indianapolis 500 in 1958 Pat O’Connor tragically died in the multi-car, first lap crash.

He remains as one of the most popular drivers ever and will be honored with an IRMA historical marker on August 15th, in the North Vernon Indiana, beginning at 10:30am.

A big day is planned by Mayor Campbell of North Vernon, IRMA and the Pat O’Connor family. The event will be hosted by one of the legendary voices of the Speedway, Howdy Bell, with IMS Historian, Donald Davidson the featured speaker.

The event will take place in the North Vernon City Park, 604 N State St, North Vernon, IN 47265. That’s located right along Indiana State Highway 7.

In conjunction with the event, there will be a car show, with proceeds going to disabled veterans. A meal will be available for those interested. Tenderloin with the trimmings for $10.

Steve Perkins will have his Pat O’Connor tribute sprint car there, Dr. Robert Dicks will bring his Parnelli Jones roadster, and Larry Wheat will display his beautiful SUMAR tow car and hauler. A lot to see and do!

Please join us in honoring one of the Indy 500’s finest gentlemen.

For more on the career of Pat O’Connor — please visit this link

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Jennings County Driver to be Memorialized at Ceremony

A memorial to Jennings County racer Pat O’Connor will be unveiled and dedicated in North Vernon’s City Park on Saturday.

Pat O’Connor’s family, representatives from the world of auto racing and others will be present at the public ceremony, which starts at 10:30 a.m. at the north entrance to the park.

Born in North Vernon, O’Connor began his racing career at age 19. His first race was in a roadster in Columbus in 1948, and he drove cheap jalopies at a track in North Vernon called “The Hole.”

He honed his driving skills and scored wins in roadster, sprint and midget races. O’Connor become a well-known Sprint Car driver and was eventually inducted into the Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1995. O’Connor won the first of three Midwest Sprint Car championships in 1953. He also claimed the title in ’54 and ’56.

His racing abilities, charm and good looks brought him national and international recognition.

He became a test driver for the Firestone Co. and a member of Sumar Racing team in Italy.

O’Connor’s success in racing brought him financial profits which he invested in businesses and a home in North Vernon.

His fame grew with his participation in the legendary Indianapolis 500 race.

O’Connor first tried to qualify for the Indy 500 in 1953 but fell short.

He participated in the race in 1954, starting 12th and finishing 21st. O’Connor placed eighth in ’55.

He led 39 laps of the ‘56 race but finished 18th after starting third. O’Connor won the pole for the ’57 race and led seven laps but finished eighth.

O’Connor was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in May of 1958, just days losing his life in that year’s Indy 500. He was one of the favorites, but he lost his life on the first lap.

Two drivers collided and started a 16-car wreck. O’Connor’s roadster flipped and slid down the track, and he was killed instantly.

Local racing enthusiast Ron Clark remembered O’Connor fondly from his days in North Vernon.

“It didn’t matter how famous he got, he was always a good guy. You would see him coming and going around the garages. I was just a kid, and we’d all watch his every move, and he was always a good guy,” Clark said.

“O’Connor’s (second) wife Anne and sons Jeff and Rob stayed in North Vernon. Anne remarried a great guy, and they will all be at the ceremony,” said North Vernon Mayor Harold “Soup” Campbell.

Classic Car Show

Mike and Cindy Corya will present a classic car, truck and motorcycle show in the North Vernon City Park adjacent to the Pat O’Connor Memorial from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. It’s open to the public and food will be available for purchase.

A $15 registration fee is required for cars, trucks and motorcycles participating in the show. Awards will be presented for best vehicles in several categories at 3 p.m. All profits from the car show will be donated to disabled veterans of the VFW Post 2021. Rain date for the car show will be Aug 22.

Assistant Managing Editor Kirk Johannesen contributed to this story.

JR-CFH

CFH Racing announced that Preferred Freezer Services will be partnering with the team to field a third entry in both Verizon IndyCar Series events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for JR Hildebrand. Hildebrand will drive the No. 6 Preferred Freezer Services CFH Racing Chevrolet for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 and the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24.

Preferred Freezer Services offers the most modern, state-of-the-art, full service temperature-controlled warehouses in the United States. The company partnered with what was previously Ed Carpenter Racing to field a car for Hildebrand in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. With corporate headquarters in New Jersey, the company operates in 35 facilities in nine regions nationwide and has an international presence with cold storage warehouses in China and Vietnam.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with CFH Racing during the Month of May,” stated Trut Edwards, President of Central Security & Communications. “Ed has been a good friend for over 15 years and delivers great value in our partnership. Last year was fantastic; we feel that we can build on it with two races at IMS and JR behind the wheel. It is overwhelming to realize we are partnering with three American drivers on Memorial Day for the greatest race in the world.”

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Hildebrand, 27, will be making his fifth Indianapolis 500 start and his first in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He was named the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year after finishing second to Dan Wheldon and captured the 2009 Indy Lights Championship. In his four races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Hildebrand has two Top 10 starts and two Top 10 finishes.

“We are definitely looking forward to having Preferred Freezer Services back on the car,” commented Hildebrand. “We had a lot of fun with them in 2014 and we be rolling the polar bear back out into the garage area this year! Even though we were a one-off entry last year, we were very fast and had a really easy month. Preferred Freezer Services was a big part of that, they are a great group to work with and it’s going to make this year that much more exciting.”

Sausalito, Calif. native Hildebrand rounds out CFH Racing’s all-American driver line-up for the Indianapolis 500. CFH Racing’s roster also includes Josef Newgarden of Nashville, Tenn. in the No. 21 Century 21 Chevrolet and team co-owner Ed Carpenter of Indianapolis, Ind., driving the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet. All three were part of the Fast Nine Shootout during qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 in 2014, where the nine quickest drivers of the 33-car field compete for the pole position. Carpenter ultimately earned the coveted first starting spot for the second consecutive year; Hildebrand started ninth and finished tenth, the highest-finishing position of the three CFH Racing drivers.

“It was really great working with Ed last year at the 500 and I did a little bit of testing in the offseason with Josef, we got along really well,” Hildebrand said. “I expect the relationship that the three of us have to be potent and for us to have great communication. That’s such a huge piece, particularly at the 500, where there is so much practice, qualifying is so intense and we’ll have the new aero kits. You need every last ounce of speed you can get out of the cars for both qualifying and race day and we can all work together to reach that goal.”

Hildebrand will be making his first start around the 2.434-mile, 14-turn IMS road course. “To have the Grand Prix added onto the 500 program is great,” Hildebrand continued. “Having a race under our belts going into the 500 is a huge difference from a one-off scenario. It can be tough sometimes when you have guys who haven’t done pit stops as a group during a race and you don’t have that chemistry yet. It will be great for my team of guys to have a warm-up heading into the oval race and great for me to get back in a car on a road course.”

CFH Racing’s three-car effort for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis includes Hildebrand, Newgarden and Luca Filippi of Italy, driver of the No. 20 on all road and street course events.

“Preferred Freezer Systems is leading the way in their industry and we hope to set the pace for the Month of May,” said Ed Carpenter, who balances his responsibilities of being a team owner with being a driver. “JR is a driver that we want to work with and it’s great to be able to team up with both JR and Preferred Freezer Services again for the Indy 500 and now the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.”

On-track activity at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will kick off on May 3 for Opening Day with the debut of the oval configuration aero kits. The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis will take place on Saturday, May 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Indianapolis 500 will follow at the end of the month at noon ET on Sunday, May 24. Both events will be broadcast live on ABC.

Data and Photos provided by CFH Racing

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The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced it will honor one of auto racing’s all-time greatest champions with a display of his Indianapolis 500 cars at its June 11-14 Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Jimmy Clark, nicknamed by fans and press “The Flying Scot,” will be honored for his many accomplishments in the 50th anniversary year of his 1965 Indianapolis 500 triumph.

Regarded by many of his generation as the greatest race driver that ever lived the Hall of Famer and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) racked up an impressive list of achievements to earn such recognition. His Indianapolis career alone would have made him a legend but the two-time Formula 1 World Champion (1963 & ’65) was one of those versatile drivers who not only won but dominated in numerous branches of the sport from Formula One to Indy cars to saloon cars, stock cars and sports cars. He tackled NASCAR once and scored a third-place overall very early in his career at Le Mans in a private entry Aston-Martin behind two factory-backed Ferraris.

In just five Indianapolis 500s Clark not only won once but also came home second twice, both in controversial finishes that bench racers continue to debate today. He could easily have been a multiple winner. Victory was within sight in 1964 when tire chunking triggered suspension failure on his pole-winning car. On the Formula One front Clark established the all-time record for race victories when he won his final Grand Prix outing at South Africa in 1968. While that record has been surpassed by several drivers Clark’s mark was set in just seven full seasons during an era that conducted about half as many events as are presented today. He still ranks at the top in winning percentage at nearly 35 percent. His record of F1 pole positions (33) even now ranks fifth in the history books.

imsc5578“We just could not come to IMS on the 50th Anniversary of Jim Clark’s victory and not do justice to this great champion,” said SVRA President & CEO Tony Parella. “I also thought it appropriate to announce this decision to remember him on April 7, the anniversary of the very sad day of his passing.”

For Parella and all of SVRA a connection to Jim Clark holds a special and personal meaning. Sally Swart, the former Sally Stokes, who was Clark’s close companion during his most triumphant years from 1963 through ’65, is the wife of West Coast SVRA executive Ed Swart.

“I have nothing but golden memories of Jimmy,” says Sally. “His mastery in the car made him a true artist. I am so pleased Tony and the SVRA have chosen to honor Jimmy in this way.”

While the tribute to Clark has yet to be fully defined it will involve an array of his Indianapolis 500 cars, all Lotus, including the entry he won Rookie-of-the-Year with in 1963, his ’65 winner and the Lotus Turbine he took his very last laps around the Brickyard in just before his fatal accident weeks later in Germany on April 7, 1968.

The SVRA today also announced two more additions to its second annual “Indy Legends” Charity Pro-Am field that has now grown to 12 drivers. Indianapolis 500 veterans John Martin and Scott Harrington, who competed last year, have filed entries.

Harrington began his motorsports career on two wheels earning success in both AMA Motocross and Supercross. He transitioned to four wheels racing in Formula Atlantic and SCCA Can-Am, where he won the 1992 series championship. He earned a starting spot in the 1996 Indianapolis 500 and later won the Rookie-of-the-Year award for the series in 1999, his first year running the full season.

John Martin is a five-time starter in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing but also boasts outstanding credentials in road race competition. Martin, who was featured last year on the cover of Vintage Motorsport magazine, launched his career in sports car racing. An excellent mechanic he converted his 1963 Corvette Sting Ray into an A-Production race car and entered Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) competition. He was national champion in 1964 and went professional in 1966. He drove an AMC Javelin in the classic days of Trans-Am and tackled the Indianapolis 500 in 1972. He is one of those amazing competitors who wore several hats as driver, mechanic, engineer and owner.

Like last year, the SVRA, America’s premier vintage racing organization, is presenting the “Indy Legends” Charity Pro-Am as a return to competition for veterans of the Indianapolis 500. The event is a 40-minute race of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course on Saturday, June 13. The SVRA expects to attract a field of 33 Indianapolis 500 veterans. All the veterans will be in 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of “Group 6,” with an engine displacement limit of 355 cubic inches. Professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, splitting stints at the wheel at their discretion.

The Indy Legends Pro-Am is the crowning event of the Brickyard Invitational but there is literally a festival of other activities. Like last year, the storied 2.5-mile oval will be utilized with exhibition runs by a wide variety of cars including several of the crowd-favorite 1950’s Indianapolis 500 “roadsters.” The 2015 weekend not only promises a huge gathering of race cars but also some of the finest collector cars. Motostalgia, with offices in Austin, Mexico City and Monaco will stage a June 12 auction of select automobiles from around the world. The Brickyard Invitational will also expand out onto the world-famous infield IMS golf course with car corrals for organizations and clubs united by special marques and vintages.

The SVRA has 11 groups of race cars spanning 100 years of vintage machines and all will be at IMS. The array of entries include select pre-war machines, classic sports cars, Formula One and Le Mans prototypes as current as 2009. Race fans can enjoy every minute of the action with overnight camping inside IMS. Pro-Am cars and drivers will also participate in a Fan Walk through the starting grid prior to the opening ceremonies allowing fans to see the cars up close, take photos and chat with the drivers. All entry fees will be donated to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum Foundation.

Brickyard Invitational ticket information: Fans can order Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational tickets for all or any one of the four days of the event online through the Speedway or by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Fans can also visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at 4790 West 16th Street between 8 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. Children 12 and under are admitted free each day when accompanied by an adult. Tent camping passes in the IMS infield start at $30 and are available all four days.

Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Data courtesy of SVRA

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Your 2015 Indianapolis 500 tickets have been mailed via the U.S. Postal Service.

Do open the envelope upon receipt to ensure that your order has been processed correctly.

If you have any questions or if we can be of additional assistance please call the IMS Ticket Office Monday through Friday (8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET) at 317-492-6700 or 800-822-4639.

Indianapolis 500 Schedule
Sun. May 3 Opening Day
Mon. May 11 Practice
Tues. May 12 Practice
Wed. May 13 Practice
Thurs. May 14 Practice
Fri. May 15 Fast Friday
Sat. May 16 Qualifications
Sun. May 17 Old National Armed Forces Pole Day
Mon. May 18 Practice
Wed. May 20 Fan Experiences
Thurs. May 21 Indy Lights Practice & Qualifying
Fri. May 22 Coors Light Carb Day
Sat. May 23 Legends Day presented by Firestone
Sun. May 24 Race Day
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INDYCAR Up Close & Personal
Complete your Month of May with tickets to the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Saturday, May 9. See the stars of the Verizon IndyCar Series as they battle on the IMS Road Course. Purchase Tickets
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Jane’s Addiction, O.A.R and 38 Special are going to rock IMS on Friday, May 22, for Coors Light Carb Day! Purchase Tickets Florida Georgia Line headlines the Legends Day concert presented by Firestone Saturday, May 23 Purchase Tickets The biggest party on race day is inside the Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite. Purchase Tickets
Parking & Camping
Make sure you have your parking or camping spot reserved at IMS for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Reserve Your Spot Today
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Be sure you know what you can and cannot take into the gates at IMS on Race Day. From cooler restrictions to food and beverages we cover it all. Learn More
Directions to IMS
There have been some improvements outside of IMS that could affect how you arrive. Make sure you plan your trip to find the fastest routes around the Indianapolis area to IMS. View Directions
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Honda 2015 IndyCar Series Aero Kits

  • Road Course/Short Oval package shown
  • Efficient development utilized CFD and multiple simulation tools
  • Wide range of aerodynamic tuning options available to teams

TORRANCE, Calif. (March 9, 2015) – Honda today debuted the package of aerodynamic upgrades and components its teams will use in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series, as the manufacturer seeks to add to an already impressive list of accomplishments in American open-wheel racing.

The 2015 Honda Indy car “aero kit”, produced by Honda Performance Development, Honda’s racing arm in North America, includes nearly 200 individual pieces that can be fitted to the existing Honda-powered Dallara Indy car chassis.  All are intended to give Honda’s six IndyCar Series teams the ability to maximize performance at each of the 15 circuits that make up the 2015 championship schedule.

“We’re excited to reveal our aero kits as Honda welcomes this era of enhanced competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” said Art St. Cyr, president of HPD and vice president, auto operations, for American Honda.  “Coupled to our proven Honda Indy V6 engines, these aero kits are the products of literally thousands of hours of research, development and testing, as we seek to give our drivers and teams the tools they need to win races, the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series championship.”

Following in the proven path of the successful Honda-powered prototype sports racers – winners of 74 American Le Mans Series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and World Endurance Championship races and multiple titles since 2007 – the Honda Indy car aero kits were developed by utilizing the latest in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technology.

Concepts for the Honda aero kit were validated using Driver-In-Loop (DIL) Simulators, minimizing waste at the prototype stage and allowing aerodynamic direction to be determined prior to the creation of full-size components.

Components were then tested in a full-scale wind tunnel to confirm actual aerodynamic performance characteristics, and create aero maps to be used during on-track testing.  Final proof-of-concept correlation then took place in a series of on-track tests, totaling six days at various circuits, conducted by HPD with the assistance of the Honda-powered Andretti Autosport team.

The complete kit provides Honda drivers and teams with a significant range of available configurations to tune the cars to their desired characteristics and provide additional visual variety to engage fans at all IndyCar Series circuits.

In addition to improving performance, aerodynamic safety was a primary consideration in aero kit development.  Working with INDYCAR, Honda has a well-established record of utilizing its development resources to produce a safer racing environment, including the design and development of the fuel safety interlock system, now standard on all Indy cars, and more recently the 2015 chassis floor and other future safety developments to be fitted to the Dallara chassis.

“We’ve been encouraged by the performance of the new Honda aero kits in testing, but of course the end goal is to win races, the Indy 500 and the championship,” said St. Cyr. “We believe we have a superior aerodynamic and engine package.  We’re looking forward to the start of the 2015 season on the streets of St. Petersburg, and taking on the battle for the Manufacturers’ Championship.”

Honda’s Indy car aero kits will make their public debut next week at the Verizon IndyCar Series “Open Test”, March 16-17 at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama.  The 2015 season opens March 29 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.

About Honda Performance Development

HPD was founded in 1993 to spearhead Honda’s entry into Indy car racing.  No other manufacturer has matched Honda’s success in Indy cars, which includes 211 race victories, 15 drivers’ championships, six competitive manufacturers’ championships and 10 Indianapolis 500 victories since 2004, including the 2014 event won by Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport. 

HPD and Honda have a history of success in the classic endurance sports car races, including a pair of LMP2 wins and a privateer LMP1 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2010; as well as multiple American Le Mans Series championships and five LMP2 class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring since 2007.  HPD’s Honda engines have recorded 74 race wins at endurance sports car races around the world, with 70 of those victories coming in the HPD-developed line of sports prototype cars.

HPD offers a complete line of race engines for cars from grass roots to pinnacle; for professional, amateur and entry-level racers. For more information about HPD and the company’s racing product lines, please visit http://hpd.honda.com 

Data and Images courtesy of Honda Performance Development

Ryan Hunter-Reay video courtesy of Racer.com 

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Bowers & Wilkins has expanded its role with Bryan Herta Autosport in partnership with Bowen Motorsports to be the primary sponsor of the No. 98 Honda driven by Gabby Chaves for the Verizon IndyCar Series season that starts March 29 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Since 1966, Bowers & Wilkins has developed high-end audio equipment, including recording studio, automotive, home and theater applications. The company, with headquarters in England, has been an associate sponsor of the team since 2012.

Technology is at the forefront of Bowers & Wilkins’ business, which correlates to the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“IndyCar provides a great opportunity for us to engage our national dealer network and expose the brand to our target demographic,” Bowers & Wilkins chairman and CEO Joe Atkins said.

Chaves, the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion, will be in the No. 98 entry March 16-17 at Barber Motorsports Park as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series Promoter Test of the new aerodynamic bodywork components supplied by Chevrolet and Honda.