Posts Tagged ‘indy 500’

INDIANAPOLIS – Central Indiana based Jonathan Byrd’s and long time Verizon IndyCar Series team Dale Coyne Racing have partnered to bring a pair of young, American drivers to the 2016 Verizon IndyCar schedule.

Conor Daly will pilot the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing entry for the full 2016 season.  Sponsorship for the car will be provided by Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group with the exception of the Indianapolis 500 where it will appear on Clauson’s entry.  Coyne is exploring a number of options for primary sponsorship of Daly’s car for the 500.No18DalyCarBryan Clauson will drive the No. 88 Dale Coyne Racing/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Honda as a one-off entry for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.  This attempt to make the 33 car field will be Clauson’s third, having qualified and raced in the 2012 and 2015 races.

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“All of us at Dale Coyne Racing are excited about the relationship with Jonathan Byrd’s.  Their continued support of Bryan and expanded support of Conor is unique in racing today,”  said team owner Dale Coyne.  “Conor stepped in for us at Long Beach last season and impressed everyone very much.  Bryan has a storied oval racing history at a very young age and together we look for a very competitive Indy 500 in 2016.”

Jonathan Byrd II, team principal of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, added, “over the years, our family has entrusted many great names in racing to be our partner for our IndyCar efforts and being able to add Dale Coyne’s name to that list, with his successes within and passion for the sport, means a lot to us.”

The partnership to bring these talented American drivers back to the Verizon IndyCar series was assisted by John Lopes, CEO of LST Marketing.  Without the help of Lopes and his team at LST Marketing, the early start to the 2016 season would not have been possible.  All parties involved were quick to agree this partnership would be beneficial.

“When my son, David, came to me about this potential arrangement with Dale Coyne and related the story about how much Dale thought of their father, how he respected what he did in racing, and his love for racing in the Indianapolis 500, I was very pleased to give my blessing on teaming with Dale,” said Ginny Byrd, owner of Jonathan Byrd’s.

BryanBryan Clauson may be attempting to make only his third Indianapolis 500 field, but he is no stranger to racing.  The 26 year old has been one of the most prolific drivers to come through USAC by racking up 72 career USAC wins and four championships. Clauson has captured over 160 total career feature wins in the Sprint Car, Midget, and Silver Crown ranks.

Clauson could barely contain his enthusiasm for the partnership between Coyne and Jonathan Byrd’s.  “I’m excited to be returning to the Speedway in 2016 with the support of the Byrd family, the Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group, and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  I hope this is the start of a long and successful relationship between two groups of passionate supporters of open wheel racing.”  Clauson continued, “the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is the centerpiece of what is a very busy schedule for me in 2016 and I’m eager to get on track and build on the things that we learned this year.”

ConorConor Daly has participated in a variety of open wheel racing series in preparation of his debut Verizon IndyCar Series season.  Daly began karting at age 10 and quickly moved into car racing full time.  He completed two seasons in the Star Mazda Championship before moving up to Indy Lights. In 2011, Daly competed in five Firestone Indy Lights races and scored a sensational win at Grand Prix of Long Beach which vaulted him to the lead of the championship. He then made the difficult decision to leave the Indy Lights championship and move to Europe.  Daly spent the next four season racing in GP3, GP2, and acting as an F1 test driver for Sahara Force India.

2015 provided Daly his first chance to prove himself as an IndyCar driver.  With only 45 minutes notice, Daly strapped into the No. 18 entry for Dale Coyne Racing at Long Beach.  With limited practice and without having any experience in the current car, Daly drove to what some described as the most impressive 17th place finish in memory.  Daly went on to make several other starts in place of James Hinchcliffe during the 2015 season and earned a career best sixth place finish in Detroit.  Despite these unexpected opportunities, a full season in the Verizon IndyCar Series was always the goal.

“This is truly the most meaningful announcement of my career,” said Conor Daly.  “After experiencing what I have in my career, especially the last three years, it is an incredible honor and opportunity to work with Dale Coyne Racing for a full season.  To be able to go head to head and take the fight to other drivers every weekend is very exciting.  I cannot thank Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group and all of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing’s partners enough for their effort in putting this program together.  I am ready to get to work and try my best to outwork everyone else in the field every weekend to get results for this team.”

“At one point in time, I specifically remember saying to Conor’s father, Derek, that if we ever had a chance to make it work, I would want Conor full time in an IndyCar and now here we are with it coming to pass,” said Jonathan Byrd II.  “What Conor did in Europe with his incredible talent has always impressed me and his dogged determination to work hard to get a ride in the series makes me know he will do incredible work in the Jonathan Byrd’s machine!

When festivities kick off at Indy, Bryan Clauson will be about a quarter of the way through his unprecedented 200 race 2016 schedule before shifting his focus to the Indianapolis 500.  The team and Jonathan Byrd’s Racing will begin preparations to have the car and team in top form for opening day on May 16th.  Conor Daly will begin to acclimate to the updated Honda HPD aero kit on December 14th and 15th as the Dale Coyne Racing team will take part in their second test of the offseason at Sebring International Raceway.

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The Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group has been feeding central Indiana residents for over 63 years. Jonathan Byrd’s flagship location in Greenwood has served millions of meals since its inception in 1988, while also delivering its experience to dozens of partner locations throughout the Indianapolis Metropolitan area through its extensive catering operation. Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group also manages the 502 East Event Centre, located in Carmel, and is Hamilton County’s largest event space. Jonathan Byrd’s will also have a large presence inside of Westfield’s Grand Park, as it lends in name to the newly opening Jonathan Byrd’s Fieldhouse, as well as the currently under construction indoor complex at Grand Park, where it will have restaurant and exclusive concessions operations in place. Jonathan Byrd’s is also the foodservice provider at Camp Atterbury in southern Johnson County, is the Official Catering Company of the Indianapolis Colts, and has recently launched the Jonathan Byrd’s Event & Entertainment Group.

Jonathan Byrd’s Racing was founded by the late Jonathan Byrd in 1982, and traces its roots to the Indianapolis Speedrome, where it found immediate championship-winning success. From there, the Jonathan Byrd’s team spread its wings to begin competing on short tracks across the country. While continuing its winning ways on the short tracks of America, Jonathan Byrd’s Racing made the leap to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In its various forms, Jonathan Byrd’s Racing has successfully fielded 18 entries in the Indianapolis 500 beginning in 1985, scoring 6 top ten finishes, with a best finish of 5th in 2005. The roster of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Indy 500 drivers includes Rich Vogler (‘85,’86,’87,’88,’89), Stan Fox (‘91,’92), Gordon Johncock (‘91), Buddy Lazier (‘91,’05), Scott Brayton (‘93), John Andretti (‘94), Davy Jones (‘95), Arie Luyendyk (‘96), Mike Groff (‘97,’98), Jaques Lazier (‘01) and Bryan Clauson (2015). A Jonathan Byrd’s Racing car currently holds the all-time Indianapolis 500 1 and 4 lap qualifying records (Luyendyk ’96). Jonathan Byrd’s Racing has won 2 IndyCar races (Luyendyk – Phoenix ’96, Paul Jr – Texas ’98), along with 2 United States Auto Club National Midget Championships (’86,’87), and numerous regional and short-track championships in both midget racing and late model stock cars. Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, along with its partner teams, was responsible for the first ever “double” in 1994, when John Andretti raced in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the same day.  Jonathan Byrd’s Racing is also headlining Bryan Clauson’s “Chasing 200 Tour: Circular Insanity”, featuring Clauson’s unprecedented racing fete of attempting 200 race features in a single calendar year. 

Jonathon Byrd’s Racing: www.jonathanbyrdsracing.com 

Twitter: @ByrdRacing 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jonathanbyrdsracing 

Leigh Spargur 1

Simon Pagenaud has watched his teammates since he joined Team Penske at the beginning of the season, but the frenchman stole the spotlight in the fifth practice session heading up into the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race.

Driving the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet, Pagenaud logged the best of nearly 2,000 laps turned on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval, at 228.793 mph. Carlos Munoz, who eclipsed 230 mph in practice Wednesday, was second fastest today in the No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda, at 228.126.

“Today was a really good day for the Avaya car,” Pagenaud said. “We’ve been focusing on understanding what the car does in qualifying runs. Very happy to see the preparation from Penske and how fast the 22 car is. So far, so good.”

Pagenaud is teamed with a pair of Indianapolis 500 winners – Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya – and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power in the Penske armada. Montoya and Power have each won a race this season, while Castroneves has won two Verizon P1 Awards for taking the pole position.

“We’re happy but we can be happier,” Pagenaud said. “At the end of the day we did some pack running and once again we’re very happy so far. What’s difficult is it’s really cold right now, so you get more downforce because the air is so thick. We know it’s going to be warmer in the race, that’s what makes it tricky. You’re trying to understand what the car’s going to do in the race. It’s definitely going to be warmer.”

Following Pagenaud and Munoz on the speed chart were Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Sage Karam (227.683), Scott Dixon (227.634) and Tony Kanaan (227.527). Friday marks the final day of practice prior to two days of qualifications that will set the lineup for the 500-mile race on May 24.

The lone incident of the day came in the last of the six-hour practice session. Josef Newgarden was uninjured when his No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet spun and hit the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 1 in nearly the same spot where Castroneves’ car hit a day earlier. Newgarden’s car slid on its top before coming to rest in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2.

“I got around pretty quick in Turn 1; it definitely surprised me,” Newgarden said. “I knew it happened when it did, so I’m just lucky that everything’s good. The Dallara tub held up pretty well. I just want to get back to my guys and see what the damage is. I’m sure it’s bad but we’ll see what we can do going forward. It was a hard bit, (but) I feel fine.”

Chris Jones SDSAndretti Autosport driver Simona de Silvestro returned to practice today, two days after her No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda sustained heavy damage from a fire sparked by a fuel leak. De Silvestro was uninjured in the on-track incident and the team rebuilt the car at its Indianapolis shop. “Today we ran mostly in traffic … we learned a lot,” de Silvestro said. “I have a little bit of work to do, and I’m looking forward to going back out there tomorrow and working on it.”

Meanwhile, Pippa Mann spent the day recuperating and watching her No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda being repaired after a crash Wednesday that saw her car hit three different walls. She hopes to be back on track Friday afternoon to log important laps prior to qualifying this weekend.

MWY_3145“I can’t overstate how horrible I feel for these guys,” Mann said of her hard-at-work crew, “but at the same time, unfortunately it is a part of racing. … It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we’re going to work hard. That’s the biggest thing, the amount of work it’s created for these guys.”

Tristan Vautier will drive the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda in Indianapolis 500 qualifications this weekend in place of James Davison, who will be competing in a sports car race in Canada. Davison, who finished 16th in his first “500” start a year ago, is expected back in the car for the final two practice sessions, on Monday and May 22, before the race on May 24.

Vautier, meanwhile, is scheduled to compete in the Blancpain Endurance GT Series event on the same day as the “500.”

“It is an interesting tradeoff,” said Vautier, the 2011 Pro Mazda and 2012 Indy Lights champion who earned Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2013 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. “Obviously, we’re not going to get out there trying to break records but work toward the qualifying. It’s an interesting task to be in an Indy car and qualifying it for another driver, but I’m approaching it like I would any other race.”

Vautier completed his refresher program on the 2.5-mile oval today and logged 93 laps with a top speed of 225.406. Davison recorded the fourth-fastest lap (228.043 mph) in practice Wednesday before departing for Canada.

“It all came together last minute, but we have been talking about it for quite a while: that if James’ deal would come through I would qualify the car,” Vautier said. “So, yeah, it was not really a surprise for me but more of a long wait to see that everything was confirmed. But it’s really cool. I was happy to get back in an Indy car – it’s been a year and a half now. The first two or three laps were kind of weird, but it came back pretty quickly, so really cool. It was cool to have Simon (Pagenaud, his former teammate) on the track with me for quite a while. It reminded me of the Schmidt (Peterson Motorsports) days, so it was fun.

IMS to Honor World War II Vets at Race

In observance of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, 11 WWII veterans will be honored before the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500. Among those honored will be U.S. Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin, 91, of Fairfield, Iowa, who flew the final combat mission of the war on Aug. 14, 1945, the day the war ended.

The veterans recently took a trip to Washington, D.C., on an Indy Honor Flight, a program that offers free-round trip travel to veterans so they may visit the memorials in our nation’s capital that stand in their honor.

MWY_3143The No. 91 Wynn Iowa Vision Research Chevrolet driven by 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier became the 34th entry to take to the track this week. Larry Curry is team manager for the Lazier Racing Partners entry, with David Cripps the engineer. … All entries will receive an additional 10 kPa of engine turbocharger boost beginning in practice Friday, which should equate to approximately 40 additional horsepower. The engine boost bump will continue through qualifying weekend, with the original limit of 130 kPa reinstated for next week’s final two practice sessions and the race. … INDYCAR announced that the chassis centerline wickers, added to all cars prior to the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9, are optional for the Indianapolis 500.

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Photos courtesy of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Images created by Leigh Spargur, Chris Jones and Mike Young

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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IndyCar has announced an increase of $250,000 to its Leaders Circle program, which raises the total annual payment for eligible Verizon IndyCar Series entrants to $1.25 million.

A total of 21 entrants are entered in the Leaders Circle program for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

“INDYCAR is invested in the continued support of its teams,” said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. “The Leaders Circle program rewards INDYCAR teams for full-season participation and helps each of them with an additional source of funding. The program is also an asset to our promoters as it guarantees over 20 cars at each Verizon IndyCar Series event. As IndyCar continues to grow we’re excited about opportunities like this that are beneficial to the teams that compete in our series.”

The Leaders Circle program was established in 2002 to provide incentives to teams that participate full time in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Each Leaders Circle member is assured a minimum of $1.25 million if the entrant successfully qualifies for all of the 16 Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2015, including the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Twenty-one entrants were selected based on final 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series final entrant points.

Click here to see the entire list of 2015 Leaders Circle members …

All Leaders Circle entrants will continue to compete for bonuses that will now be paid to the top-12 finishers – an increase of two positions compared to 2014 – at each Verizon IndyCar Series race aside from the Indianapolis 500. Non-Leaders Circle entrants also will compete for payouts awarded to the top-three finishers in each race excluding the Indianapolis 500.

The Verizon IndyCar Series driver champion and championship entrant again will share a $1 million bonus, with second through 10th in the standings sharing bonuses totaling $320,000. The recipient of the Verizon IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award will receive a $50,000 bonus.

Contingency awards will continue to be presented at all Verizon IndyCar Series events. See the full story.

— The 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring …

The No. 5 Action Express Racing Mustang Sampling Corvette Daytona Prototype team scored the overall victory Saturday in the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the first overall victory for Chevrolet in 50 years. Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais combined as the winning drivers. It was the fifth Prototype victory for defending champions Fittipaldi and Barbosa.

Corvette Daytona Prototypes swept the podium. Richard Westbrook, Michael Valiante and Mike Rockenfeller took second in the No. 90 VisitFlorida,com Corvette DP, followed by Max Angelelli and brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. Scott Pruett, Joey Hand and Scott Dixon placed fourth in the 2014 race-winning Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Riley.

In the GT Le Mans class as Ryan Briscoe, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen co-drove a Corvette Racing entry to its second victory this season. 

SebringPole1Martin Plowman‘s qualifying run in the #16 BAR1 Motorsports machine earned him the Total Oil Pole Award, clocking in at 1:55.257.  The BAR1 Motorsports team spent much of the night rebuilding the #16 car after a crash during Thursday’s night practice. The car was immediately taken back to the paddock for repairs. Plowman tested the car in this morning’s practice session, where his time was the fastest of the morning grid. Plowman noted: “This was a massive effort by the whole team. The guys spent a lot of the night building the car. I told the engineers to give me a fast car, and I’d get the result that they wanted. They definitely delivered on that. I focused on hitting every apex, every breaking zone, and the time just appeared out of nowhere.

Conor Daly PodiumLate addition to the speed and endurance race at Sebring was American driver Conor Daly whose debut in the event saw him behind the wheel for 6 hours and 27 minutes in the Performance Tech Motorsports No. 38 Ric Man Construction/GO PUCK ORECA FLM09 car. Daly joined Jerome Mee and James French in rounding out the Prototype Challenge class podium.

IndyCar Notes …

— Allison Transmissions will celebrate its centennial in part by being an associate sponsor on the No. 20 CFH Racing car driven by Luca Filippi in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 and by Ed Carpenter in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 24Allison traces its corporate lineage to the founding of the Indianapolis Speedway Team Co. on Sept. 14, 1915.

As a co-founder of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and part-owner of several racing teams, James A. Allison established a precision machine shop and experimental firm on Main Street in Speedway called the Allison Experimental Co. to support his racing endeavors. As a race team owner, Allison won the 1919 Indianapolis with driver Howdy Wilcox.

“We’re honored that Allison Transmission chose to celebrate their centennial with CFH Racing,” said Carpenter, a team co-owner. “In addition to producing world-class products, they are great neighbors and supporters of the community.”

bhacastrol— Castrol EDGE returns as Bryan Herta Autosport associate sponsor: Bryan Herta Autosport announced that Castrol EDGE has extended its associate partnership with the team for the Verizon IndyCar Series season. “We are very pleased to continue our association with the Castrol EDGE brand, which includes promotion of Castrol EDGE to customers in our great new car dealer network,” team owner Bryan Herta said. “With Castrol’s support, 2015 is shaping up to be our best yet.”

Gabby Chaves, the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion, will drive the No. 98 Honda in the 16-race season.

“Castrol EDGE is our most advanced motor oil, providing superior motor oil strength for engines that work harder due to higher engine pressures, helping vehicles to maximize performance, ” said Dan Hanson, Castrol’s OEM workshops director. “Our partnership with Bryan Herta Autosport gives us a tremendous platform to showcase that performance and to connect with IndyCar fans.”

Click here to read more about the partnership.

Conor Daly Photo courtesy of of Darren Pierson Motorsports Photography

Other images courtesy of IndyCar and the 12 Hours of Sebring

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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
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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
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By: Wm. R. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Published by the Chicago Sun-Times Newsgroup — May 22, 2008
Speedway, Indiana

Granatelli Chicago Store

When racing fans hear the name Granatelli, the first image that usually comes to mind is that of a large, jovial man wearing a white sport coat, covered in red, oval-shaped, STP decals. Although an accurate image of Andy Granatelli, it is a far, far cry from what the Granatelli name really means to the legacy of American motorsports.

You see there wasn’t just one Granatelli, there were three and each contributed significantly to how Americans eventually nurtured their cars. It was the Granatelli Brothers who brought the word “high” to high-performance, creating a multi-million dollar business based on the automotive parts aftermarket. It was the Granatellis who would create the concept of the “Speed Shop” as we would come to know it, and they would do it by example, becoming a major force in American motorsports.

Tough Beginnings

As youngsters growing up in Depression-era Chicago, the three Granatelli boys, Joseph (born 1919) Andrew (born 1923) and Vincent (born 1927), leaned about life the hard way.

Their father, Vincent, an immigrant born near Palermo, Italy, became a widower when the boys were just 16, 12 and 8, respectively. In the 1920s, Papa Granatelli worked as a grocer during the day and taught himself how to read and write English at night. It was his work ethic that seemed to catch fire in the hearts of his young sons.

As they got older, they hauled around a car battery during cold Chicago winter mornings and gave jump starts to stalled cars for a dollar. All three of the boys worked multiple jobs, pooling their money together to fund their various money making schemes until Joe was finally old enough to get a job as a mechanic. It wasn’t long till he was one of best “wrenches” on the north side. He then taught Andy and they both taught Vince.

Getting into Cars

With all three becoming master mechanics, their wallets began to thicken with cash. They bought new cars and souped them up, racing on rural roads for money. Fast cars brought easy money, and that bought the boys more high-performance parts to make their cars even faster. Again they pooled their cash and opened up Andy’s Super Service at 4506 N. Clarendon, just off Lake Shore Drive. The business was a huge success.

But as with just about every Granatelli success there came a setback. As the boys were beginning to bank some serious money, they showed up for work the morning of Aug. 6, 1944, to find that they had been the victim of a heist. Not only was everything in the shop gone — tools, equipment, parts, and cash register — but the boys’ two hot rods and tow truck also were driven away by the thieves. With no insurance, they had to start over from scratch.

They devoted their next business strictly to speed. Opening up a shop at 5058 North Broadway, they continued their mechanical mastery working on cars and began to contract out their sales services for other companies that were producing high-performance parts, such as cams, crankshafts, intake manifolds and superchargers. Their business took off as they became known for their engineering expertise building high-performance Ford V8 engines.

Their dedication to selling the “secret of speed” took them racing, first as drivers, then as promoters. The Granatelli Brothers founded the Hurricane Hot Rod Racing Association and put tens of thousands of racing fans in the seats of Chicago’s Soldier field, night after night. Short tracks, drag strips, anywhere people could race, the Granatellis were right there to manage the racing and sell the racers some more “speed.”

Their reputation growing, there was only one more place for the Granatellis to challenge, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Off to Indianapolis

They showed up at Indy in 1946, right after World War II. The Granatellis ran Grancor cars out of their own speed shops from 1946 through 1954, but didn’t make it to the winner’s circle. Their best showing was a second place with Jim Rathmann in 1952. All the while they continued to grow their reputations as some of the finest engineering minds in the racing business, all with very little formal education.

By 1956, the Granatelli Brothers were doing $14 million a year with Grancor as masters of the concept of mass merchandising high-performance auto parts. In 1957, they walked away from it all and retired — or so they thought.

Relocating to California, Andy got the bug to get back in business and he and Joe purchased the supercharger business of Paxton Products Corporation.

They sold it for a hefty profit three years later to Studebaker, with Andy joining the management of South Bend automaker in the deal. (Joe reacquired the company years later, serving as president until 2003.)

Enter the Novis

The next few years, pushing the high-performance benefits of their superchargers, the company set more than 300 land speed and endurance records at various racing venues. These successes led to opportunities with Chrysler and ultimately, engineering a redesign of the famed Indianapolis Novi engine. It was during this time that the Granatelli Brothers started racing the fan favorite Novis at Indianapolis.

Then the one product that would define Andy Granatelli as the guru of auto product sales and marketing surfaced in 1963, when Studebaker’s Chemical Compound Division was looking for guidance. Andy took over as CEO, leaving his other businesses in the sound hands of his brothers and took a product by the name of STP, short for Scientifically Treated Petroleum and grew the business to a level of more than 80 percent market share.

It was a marriage made in heaven. Granatelli mass-marketed his product like none ever before. The STP logo became the most recognizable in all of advertising, as the company became the advertising “voice” for all of motorsports through its huge (and overly generous) advertising budget. So powerful was the image of Granatelli and STP’s marketing, that a cartoon was published in the New York Times of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon and the first thing he saw was an STP decal.

Heartbreak and Triumph

The meteoric growth of their businesses allowed the Granatelli Brothers to go racing more than ever before. They became an institution at Indianapolis. They raced at the Brickyard over the course of the next three decades.

Their most defining moments were: 1) dominating and almost winning the 1967 Indy 500 with Parnelli Jones piloting the STP Turbine “Whooshmobile” before a $3 gearbox bearing cost them the race with just three laps to go; 2) winning the 1969 Indy 500 with Mario Andretti driving and; 3) winning the 500 in 1973 with Gordon Johncock. The Granatelli brothers were so innovative that race sanctioning bodies soon began to legislate their cars out of existence.

Next they went to stock car racing first with Nichels Engineering and Fred Lorenzen in 1971 and Petty Enterprises, in 1972, a relationship that continues to this day.

The myriad of their automobile related businesses kept the boys busy into the new millennium. Joe, Andy, and Vince continued to be leaders by example and amassed personal fortunes during the course of their lives.

Joe passed away in 2003. Andy resides in southern California and spends his time as a philanthropist. Vincent is retired and resides in Arizona.

The Granatelli brothers story is one of hard work, commitment and never giving up, all qualities they learned growing up on the streets of Chicago.