News for the Week of May 12 – May 18, 2014

Carpenter wins 2nd straight pole for the Indy 500 – Ed Carpenter wins the pole again at 231.067mph beating James Hinchcliffe’s time on the last run of the day. Once again all drivers and cars went through their qualifying attempts without an incident. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/18/14)

Newton-John to run Freedom 100 again – Emerson Newton-John will run the No. 22 Team Moore Racing machine in the Indy Lights Freedom 100 at IMS on Carb Day. “Getting back to Indy has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs to put it mildly. It’s been almost 2 years since I have been in a racecar, and missing the open test on May 3rd isn’t ideal, but knowing that I’m going to be with a team as experienced and successful at IMS as Team Moore Racing, makes the task at hand that much more manageable,” said Newton-John. – – (5/18/14)

Schmidt returns to the race track on 500 qualifications weekend – Good work from the Indianapolis Star on the quadriplegic former IndyCar Series driver and now team owner Sam Schmidt’s ceremonial laps around IMS this morning in a semi-autonomous Corvette. – Indianapolis Star – (5/18/14)

Aleshin sets fastest lap of the month in Sunday’s 500 practice – Mikhail Aleshin drove a lap at 232.917mph this morning in the final practice before Sunday’s qualification session. Josef Newgarden also went over 232mph. Full combined results here. – INDYCAR – (5/18/14)

Carpenter leads the way in FAST qualifying day at IMS – Ed Carpenter was fastest on Day 1 of Indy 500 qualifying on Saturday at 230.661mph. The new qualifying format was a huge hit on social media as fans grasped the drama it created as time began to run out. The race for the Fast 9 spots (and thus the fight for pole tomorrow) was fascinating. The Top 9 were Carpenter, Munoz, Castroneves, Hinchcliffe, Power, Andretti, Pagenaud, Newgarden, and Hildebrand. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/17/14)

Busch’s double is his chance to shine – Cool story from the AP on Kurt Busch’s attempt at the Memorial Day weekend. Great quotes – Roger Penske: “I think he wants to show people he’s the most versatile driver in the paddock.”, Tony Stewart: “I think the hardest part is going to be the 500 just because it’s new to him and he doesn’t know what to expect.”, Kurt Busch: “It took me a long while to learn that I just needed to worry about the results in the race car and drive my own race.” – AP – (5/17/14)

Marco faster than 232mph in Saturday warmup – Marco Andretti went over 232mph with a tow in an fast cold-weather-shortened pre-qualifying practice Saturday morning. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/17/14)

Carpenter hits 230+mph in short Fast Friday action – Fast Friday was a lot faster than what we’ve seen lately in both speed and duration. Rain delayed the start of the action by almost three hours but it didn’t take long for Ed Carpenter to go over the 230mph mark with 6 others reaching 229+mph. Unfortunately more rain quickly followed those quick speeds and practice was rained out the rest of the day after only 19 minutes of green flag activity. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/16/14)

Official Indy 500 qualifying procedures – The following link has the full details on the new procedures, schedules, and points distributions for Indy 500 qualifying. – 500 Qualifying Procedures – (5/16/14)

Clauson named driver for Jonathan Byrd’s Racing for 2015 500 – Bryan Clauson will drive for Jonathan Byrd’s Racing in their return to the series in the 2015 Indy 500. The USAC legend raced in the 2012 Indy 500 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. The team had originally announced they would return in 2016 for the 100th running of the Indy 500 but have decided to return a year earlier. – Jonathan Byrd’s Racing – (5/16/14)

Pagenaud to pay tribute to Senna with his 500 helmet – Simon Pagenaud’s 2014 Indy 500 helmet will be a tribute to F1 legend Ayrton Senna’s famous helmet livery. Picture at the link – INDYCAR – (5/16/14)

More “defense” to be allowed at this year’s 500 – AUTOWEEK is hearing that defensive maneuvers will be more tolerated at this year’s 500 and that seems to be acceptable to defending race winner Tony Kanaan. “We’re going to try to defend,” Kanaan said. “My opinion, it’s the right thing to do. You’re there, and if the guy is good, he’ll go around you. We go from there, instead of leaving the decision up to the race stewards at the end of the race, who blocked who, why did that happen.” – AUTOWEEK – (5/16/14)

Standing starts here to stay – “The system we have on our cars is not as good as it needs to be,” said President of Competition Derrick Walker. “It’s tricky to set up. The manufacturers set that up, the way the system behaves. It’s enough to say it’s not foolproof. It needs a lot more work than we’ve given it…They want us to modify it a little bit, so we’re looking into it, getting input on improving it. I don’t think it’s all thrown out the window. I don’t think you toss it out just because we’ve had a couple of tough ones.” – AP – (5/16/14)

Helio leads interesting Thursday 500 practice – Helio Castroneves was quickest at 227.166mph at Thursday practice for the Indy 500 on an eventful day. James Hinchcliffe was cleared to drive but was limited to one installation lap after his car’s engine blew with E.J. Viso at the wheel earlier in the afternoon.  Rookie James Davison completed both his opening laps of the month and all of ROP. Buddy Lazier made his first appearance on the track for the month as well. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/15/14)

GP of Indianapolis In-Car Theater – INDYCAR’s usual post-race compilation of in-car camera shots is awesome from the start. As always, it’s a must watch. – INDYCAR – (5/15/14)

Hinchcliffe cleared to drive – Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe was cleared to resume driving duties after being re-evaluated May 15 by the INDYCAR medical team and passing the post-concussion ImPACT test, according to INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger. – INDYCAR – (5/15/14)

Legge still working on options for 2014 Indy 500 – Katherine Legge is desperately working on racing in her third straight Indy 500. Here’s what she told RACER Magazine about her situation: “I have spoken to every team trying to get an opportunity. At this stage it is likely limited to Chevy teams. Honda have been great, and have tried to help, but they already have 18 cars. Of the Chevy teams out there, it then becomes a case of who has a car, and the capability to make this happen. Obviously they don’t want to take away from their existing programs, so if it gets to later in the week and they don’t need their spare car, maybe there will be a couple of teams willing to take a shot at another qualifying entry.” – RACER – (5/15/14)

Davison ready to get on track for the 500 – Australian James Davison is set to make his Indy 500 debut this month and is excited to get on track for it to all sink in. “I worked from a very young age to get to this point and had to work a lot harder than some of my colleagues due to circumstances outside of my control with the financial side,” said Davison. “But it’s better late than never. Hopefully those five years from my early to mid-to-late 20s pay off in terms of using my head, with the many tricky situations the race no doubt will present.” – NBC Sports – (5/15/14)

Pagenaud enhances IMS first-timer’s visit – US Navy veteran and cancer patient Mike Pyle and his family made their first visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month as part of Kingdom Racing’s Miles of Smiles program and got to meet Simon Pagenaud. The article is a great insight into what IMS, INDYCAR, and drivers do to help the community. “I feel very blessed to have a good life and to do what I love as a job every day,” Pagenaud said. “When I can give back anything, a bit of happiness, a bit of the dream, that’s what I should do.” – Indianapolis Star – (5/15/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 5/14/14 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is loaded as always. It’s filled with Robin’s perspective on the GP of Indianapolis and the month ahead at IMS.  – RACER – (5/15/14)

Thackston a new voice on IMS PA – Nice article on former Boilermaker and 500 princess Lindy Thackston serving her new role on the PA system at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Lindy has been involved in the Indy scene for a long time as part of VERSUS IndyCar broadcasts, ECR media consultant, Fox 59 reporter, and Pacers emcee. “What’s been really cool,” Thackston says, “is learning a lot of lessons from Tom Carnegie, even though he’s not here. The other people I’m working with are teaching me what he taught them.” – Indianapolis Monthly – (5/15/14)

Pippa Mann’s latest blog – Great perspective from Pippa on her nervous experiences before her 500 deal was officially announced. It really must be read for an insight into her passion for the project. – – (5/15/14)

Hawksworth suffers first crash of the month in rain-shortened Wednesday 500 practice – Simon Pagenaud was fastest in practice on Wednesday at 226.122mph. However, the main story of the day was BHA’s Jack Hawksworth’s big crash in Turn 3. He walked away and has already been cleared to continue driving but his car suffered major damage. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/14/14)

INDYCAR announces GP of Indianapolis infractions – INDYCAR announced today post-event infractions from the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which was held May 10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. INDYCAR officials have fined engine manufacturer Chevrolet $20,000 and penalized it 10 engine manufacturer’s points for violations of the engine regulations. Chevrolet was found to have violated Rule 11.2 (Torque Control) and 12.1 (Traction Control) of the Verizon IndyCar Series Engine Regulations. INDYCAR officials have fined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports $1,000 for a technical violation on its No. 77 Verizon IndyCar Series entry driven by Simon Pagenaud. The entrant was found to have violated Rule (Underwing splitter) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. INDYCAR officials have fined Penske Racing $1,000 for a technical violation on its No. 3 Verizon IndyCar Series entry driven by Helio Castroneves. The entrant was found to have violated Rule 14.15.7 (Differential assembly) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. The member may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. – INDYCAR PR – (5/14/14)

TK’s 500 car has a surprising owner – Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star reports that Tony Kanaan’s Indy 500 winning car from last year was sold to Houston car collector Chip Marshall. Subscription article so read more at the link. – Indianapolis Star – (5/14/14)

Robbie Buhl joins IndyCar Radio for the 500 – Robbie Buhl will serve as a driver analyst on IndyCar Radio’s broadcast of the Indy 500. Usual driver analyst Pippa Mann will be driving the No. 63 machine in the race so a substitute was needed. – Mark Jaynes – (5/14/14)

Open Wheel’s GP of Indianapolis Gallery – After an exciting weekend, the first ever Grand Prix of Indianapolis has concluded. I have included a small gallery of photos that I took while at the race. The majority of photos are simply single car shots to help fill our livery pages (which are now updated!). The next gallery will more than likely be from Carb Day out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Click Here to head over to our Blog Page. – (5/13/14)

Hinchcliffe improving but not cleared to return to the track – Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe was evaluated May 13 by the INDYCAR medical team in conjunction with its neurosurgical consultant. INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger said that Hinchcliffe is progressing well and has been cleared to begin light training with his athletic trainer. Hinchcliffe, who was diagnosed with a concussion from an on-track incident during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10, has not been cleared to resume driving duties. He will be re-evaluated May 15. – INDYCAR PR – (5/13/14)

Lazier brings serious experience to the 500 – Tremendous background on Buddy Lazier’s 2014 Indy 500 effort. Great insight into his own driving history, the timeline on his team, and their struggle to put together a crew. “In the sport, there’s been ebbs and flows, and people fighting each other,” said Lazier. But I’ve never seen it as together as it is now, from a competitor’s perspective. We’ll all fight tooth and nail for an inch on track, but as a series, everyone’s pulling on the same rope. I enjoy being part of this event and this group.”- NBC Sports – (5/13/14)

Viso fastest in rain-shortened Tuesday 500 practice – E.J. Viso was the fastest of 30 drivers turning over 1000 laps on Tuesday at 224.488mph. Rain shortened the practice but not before Sebastian Saavedra made his first appearance of the month on the oval after his No. 17 machine was repaired. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/13/14)

UFD strengthens Andretti Autosport sponsorship – Andretti Autosport announced on Tuesday that United Fiber & Data will serve as an associate sponsor for their Global Rallycross program. UFD is the primary sponsor of James Hinchcliffe’s No. 27 IndyCar machine and Matthew Brabham’s No. 83 Lights car with associate sponsorship appearing on all other Andretti INDYCAR cars. This is a great sign that the relationship is working for both sides and is much needed in the IndyCar community. – Andretti Autosport – (5/13/14)

Michael Andretti not concerned about Busch’s reputation – Kurt Busch has always been recognized as a talented driver, a NASCAR title makes that clear, but he does have a controversial past that steers some owners away from his obvious driving ability. Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti is not one of those owners. “I think he is a true talent, and if we’d gone into NASCAR I couldn’t come up with a better driver to get you going with a new team. And that turned into the IndyCar project,” said Andretti. – AUTOSPORT – (5/13/14)

Mario was a candidate to shake down Hinch’s No. 27 – If not for former Andretti Autosport driver E.J. Viso being in the US already, Mario Andretti may have been asked to substitute for James Hinchcliffe this week at Indy 500 practice. Good video at the link with comments from Mario and Marco. Mario really wanted the opportunity, of course. – RTV6 – (5/13/14)

Scott Dixon helping Sage Karam get up to speed – Awesome article in today’s USA Today on Scott Dixon mentoring 19 year old American Sage Karam. While Karam isn’t an official teammate of Dixon’s this month (Sage is driving for DRR), Karam is part of the Ganassi Driver Development Program so it’s natural that Dixon would want to help the young driver. Here’s Sage’s comments on their relationship:  “Scott wants to help out off the track. He wants to help me prepare mentally. He doesn’t have to do that, but he wants to, so I’m going to be a giant sponge this whole month. It’s almost like going back to school for me.” – USA Today – (5/13/14)

Grand Prix of Indianapolis wins local TV ratings, less impressive nationally – Even though the actual attendance from the Grand Prix of Indianapolis will never actually be disclosed, many people including Anthony Schoettle of, thinks it was over IMS’s goal of 40k. His best guess is around 50k, much higher than what Robin Miller predicted prior to the event (25k-30k). As you may know, the race was telecast on ABC, with the  hopes of high ratings due to the Network broadcast. Not surprisingly ratings in Indianapolis were the highest at a 9.1 rating in the central Indiana market. Nationally it averaged out to a 0.9 rating, which isn’t great by NFL or NBA standards, but is decent for an IndyCar Race. – – (5/12/14)

RACER Video: Indy 500 Practice Day 2 with Tony Kanaan – RACER’s Robin Miller interviewed Tony Kanaan today out at IMS. Tony talked about how days like today (weather wise) lends to completing Race setup vs. Qualifying setup. When asked about whether 230 speeds will be possible for qualifying this weekend, his response was that he would love to see it, but it would certainly be a surprise to him. – RACER – (5/12/14)

RHR hits 225 mph at Monday practice – Ryan Hunter-Reay was fastest in Indy 500 practice on Monday with a top speed of 225.025mph. Teammate Marco Andretti was second quick at 224.037mph. A total of 30 drivers were on the track turning a grand total of 2286 laps. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/12/14)

New carbon fiber strip on helmet visor important in GP incidents – A new carbon fiber strip is being built in to the top of drivers’ helmet visor to help protect in the event of impact and it may have saved James Hinchcliffe, Martin Plowman, and others this weekend. Indianapolis ABC-affiliate RTV6 goes into detail here. – RTV6 – (5/12/14)

Cavin Q&A 5/12/14 – Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A is full of information today. Provides insight into the success of Pagenaud and SPM, a title sponsor for the GP of Indy, naming the IMS road course turns, and more. – Indianapolis Star – (5/12/14)

Hinch’s 500 status unclear – James Hinchcliffe suffered a concussion on Saturday after being struck in the helmet by debris during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis leading to E.J. Viso filling in for him for Indy 500 practice until he’s cleared. When that will be no one knows but he will be evaluated again Tuesday. – Indianapolis Star – (5/12/14)

IMS crews work all night for switch from road course to oval – The turnaround lasted from 6:10pm to 4:10am according to the Indianapolis Star. The crews had to move barriers, fencing, timing and scoring devices, curbing, cameras, signage, and more. – Indianapolis Star – (5/12/14)

Results for the opening day of Indy 500 practice – Team Penske held the top 3 positions at the first day of oval practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Twenty-Four driver combinations ran a total of 731 laps without incident during the session. J.R. Hildebrand was fourth fastest in the No. 21. Preferred Freezer/Ed Carpenter Racing machine. E.J. Viso was 6th in his first Verizon IndyCar Series drive of the year while filling in for the injured James Hinchcliffe. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (5/11/14)

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