INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2015) – Three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon recorded the quickest lap time of 25 drivers during the first day of practice for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Click HERE to view and download the combined practice results from today at Indianapolis road course
Dixon’s lap of 1 minute, 10.6971 seconds in the second of two sessions on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was one second off the track record set by Simon Pagenaud in May 2014.
“It’s always a lot of fun when you’re at Indianapolis, road course or oval. I think this track is a lot different from the other ones because you trim out (shed downforce) so much,” said Dixon, who has finished first and third in the past two races this season. “It can be frustrating at times trying to piece a lap together, but I think when you do, it’s rewarding. I think all of us have been off track testing the limits.”
Reigning series champion Will Power was second on the time chart (1:10.8118) in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and Juan Pablo Montoya (1:10.8560) was third in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Sebastien Bourdais, driving the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Racing Chevrolet, was quickest in the morning practice at 1:10.9378 and bettered it in the afternoon session (1:10.8839) for fourth quick overall. Helio Castroneves, who is looking to make his 300th Indy car start in the 82-lap race Saturday, was fifth on the time chart (1:10.9290) in the No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
“We had an opportunity to try quite a lot of things. We had a lot of practice and actually had more practice time than we had Firestone tires,” said Castroneves, who has earned the Verizon P1 Award for winning the pole position the past two races. “We are still going to make some changes, but at this point we are happy. With a day under our belts here, there is no question that we are on the right path.”
Pagenaud set the track record of 1:09.6716 last May in the first segment of knockout qualifications and went on to win the inaugural Verizon IndyCar Series race on the road course. Sebastian Saavedra earned the Verizon P1 Award in the Firestone Fast Six with a lap of 1:23.8822 in wet/drying track conditions.
A 45-minute morning practice Friday will determine the qualifying groups for the first of three segments of knockout qualifications in the afternoon.
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
Two Test LED Position Panels for INDYCAR
The Verizon IndyCar Series tested new car position panels on the cars of Tony Kanaan and Justin Wilson during today’s practice sessions.
The panels track each car’s position on the racetrack and display it in real time via a light emitting diode panel on each side of the chassis. The 8-inch-wide by 7-inch-tall LED panels, which are only 3 millimeters thick, will be attached to either side of the airbox (below the cockpit camera mount) on each entry.
The minimum car weights will be adjusted for the addition of the panels: road/street/short oval events will be 1,604 pounds and superspeedway events will be 1,574 pounds.
INDYCAR could implement the panels on all cars beginning with Indianapolis 500 practice on May 15, pending successful testing of the technology.
Juncos Racing to Move to Speedway’s Main Street
With the goal of becoming a Verizon IndyCar Series team in the future, Juncos Racing announced that it will relocate to new headquarters located on Main Street in Speedway, Ind.
The team, which currently fields six cars in the Mazda Road to Indy, plans to build a $3 million, 41,000-square-foot Juncos Technical Center. An additional 30,000 square feet will be available for expansion so Juncos can do machining, painting and other work in-house, limiting the need for outsourcing.
Construction is expected to begin in June, with completion projected for spring 2016.
“The creation of the Juncos Technical Center marks a historical turning point for the team,” said Ricardo Juncos, team principal of Juncos Racing. “Less than 10 years ago, we were a small karting team in Florida and I continue to be amazed by the amount of growth and success we have seen in such a short period of time.
“The team has grown larger and stronger each year, which created the need for a facility like the JTC,” he continued. “This new facility will allow Juncos to continue to expand into new series. This undertaking wouldn’t be possible without the incredible passion and desire of every member of Juncos Racing. I am truly grateful for all of the hard work they put in to make this dream a reality.”
Verizon, INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Partner tor HopeLine Drive
Verizon, INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced joint participation in a HopeLine drive throughout May to raise critical funds and awareness of domestic violence prevention. HopeLine offers the public an opportunity to help prevent domestic violence by donating wireless phones and accessories no longer being used, in any condition from any carrier.
Wireless phones given to HopeLine are refurbished and recycled in an environmentally sound way, generating proceeds going toward financial support of domestic violence awareness and prevention programs. Verizon also donates phones through HopeLine – complete with service – to local domestic violence agencies or law enforcement agencies for use by domestic violence survivors.
Verizon kicked off the program with a $50,000 grant to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence to help remedy a statewide shortfall in its Emergency Housing and Transportation Survivor Fund. Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, launched the drive by ceremonially donating the first phone into a HopeLine box – the same kind of box that will be found at various points around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month.
“We’re encouraging race fans and members of the community to try to support HopeLine so that we can come together to prevent domestic violence,” Castroneves said. “Be sure to tell everyone if you’re coming to the racetrack.”
The drive invites fans to bring their no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories to IMS or donation sites throughout Indiana. The statewide drive is part of a national goal from HopeLine to collect one million phone donations in 2015.
Fans can find HopeLine volunteers and boxes at IMS at Gates 1, 3, 9 and 10-A on the following days: Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, May 9; Indianapolis 500 qualifications, May 16; Old National Armed Forces Pole Day, May 17; Coors Light Carb Day, May 22; and Indianapolis 500, May 24.
Those who donate are encouraged to tweet photos of their donations with the hashtag #VZHopeLineIN. The Indiana drive with community partners for public drives and employee collections will run through June 7. For a list of donation sites across Indiana, including Verizon Wireless stores, visit: http://bit.ly/1EO6cz9
Castroneves Seeks Milestone Start
Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) looks to make his 300th career Indy car start in Saturday’s race. Only Mario Andretti (407), A.J. Foyt (369), Al Unser Jr. (329), Al Unser (320), Michael Andretti (317) and Johnny Rutherford (315) have competed in more races dating to 1946. Also, Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi Racing Teams) is set to make his 299th career start and looks to extend his Indy car-record streak of consecutive starts to 238. Kanaan has not missed a race since Portland in June 2001.
Penske to Be Inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame
Verizon IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske, who has recorded a record 15 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race victories, is among the 2015 inductees into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Penske is the founder and chairman of Penske Corporation, a leading international transportation services company.
Others to be honored during the ceremony July 23 in Detroit include: Elwood Hayes, co-founder of the Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company in Kokomo, Ind.; Rodney O’Neal, former CEO and president of Delphi Automotive; Ratan N. Tata, founder of Tata Motors in the United Kingdom; and Luca di Montezemolo, former chairman of Ferrari.
Pioneer Journalist McCluggage Passes Away
Denise McCluggage, a pioneer motorsports journalist and driver, died Wednesday at age 88. McCluggage was a founding editor of Autoweek and contributed to the magazine until her death, offering the perspective of more than a half-century in racing. She first covered the Indianapolis 500 in the 1950s, when motorsports journalism was a man’s domain.
Behind the wheel, McCluggage also compiled an impressive resume. She won the GT class at Sebring in 1962 and finished fifth at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix in 1960. When relegated to the “Ladies Races” that were run in support of men’s events, she frequently won.
McCluggage was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2001 and the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2006.
“There have been very few journalists that I can recall in my lifetime of consuming all types of motorsports and automotive media that carried the respect of the industry like Denise,” said Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “She was a rock star who covered a romantic era of automobiles and racing and her opinions and writings mattered. She will definitely be missed.”
WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Whenever you get on the road course, you realize this is one of the nicest places we come. It’s so smooth. It’s like a European-style track. I really love it. It’s a lot of fun, really technical. From my side, a reasonable window. Definitely hard to tell. Struggled there a little bit at the end with the setup. Maybe went the wrong direction. But still got another practice session to work it out. We’ll have a good look at all the data overnight and see what we can come up with.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I am happy with the way we ended practice with the Verizon Chevy, but we had our fair share of struggles today. We had some brake issues that took a while to overcome, but we made them better over the course of the day. The handling of the car improved during the day as well. Really comfortable with the way we ended practice and I’m happy with our direction for tomorrow.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Verizon Chevrolet was running very smooth today. We had an opportunity to try quite a lot of things, to be honest. We had a lot of practice today and actually had more practice time than we had Firestone tires. Jonathan (Diuguid, engineer) and I were able to work in the right direction. We are still going to make some changes tomorrow, but at this point we are happy. With a day under our belts here there is no question that we are on the right path.”
STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “We struggled a bit today with overall grip on the car and it took me awhile to find the right setup. We are almost there but not quite and feel confident that tomorrow we will have the right setup and have a good qualifying tomorrow. The track is actually a lot different to the F1 track that I won on in 2006. This configuration is actually a lot more fun because when you get to the back straight and brake for Turns 7, 8, 9 and 10, it’s really nice and flowing from one turn to another so I really like it. I hope this track is going to bring me as much luck as it did in 2006 and we have an awesome result this weekend.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): “We had some miles to put on the motor this morning so we didn’t do a whole lot of tuning on the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car. We just put fuel in it and tried to put the laps in. With that said, I think it was decent off the trailer and then this afternoon, we finally got a chance to start working on it a bit more. I honestly was pretty happy. I think it’s the clearest direction that we’ve had on a Friday so far this year, so that’s nice. The car was relatively well-behaved and the biggest thing is that I think we know what we need to do to fix it, whereas some Fridays this year, we’ve been banging our heads against the wall trying to figure out which problem to go after first. The team has done a great job – like I said, off the truck it felt pretty good – and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It’s always a little bit of a challenge being back in the car going full blast straight away, but I feel like I’m getting a handle on the track, the aero kit, and where we’re going with the setup on the car. We’re closing in on being closer to Josef (Newgarden) and Luca (Filippi) in terms of their pace. I think we all feel like we’ve got some work to do to make the cars a little bit better for tomorrow. We’ll just plug away at it. It’s just always good to be back at the track so I certainly can’t complain about that.”
JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It was fun for me to drive the wrong way around IMS for the first time. It’s a fun track really, like home. It’s smooth like a billiard table, and like what I grew up driving on. It’s a great way to start the month. We made a lot of progress for the day and I’m very happy with the No. 7 MediaTech car there at the end. Hopefully we can keep pushing forward tomorrow.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 8 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I was happy with the AFS car today and what we were able to accomplish. We worked on setup a lot in the afternoon. We were up near the top of the speed charts overall today and that gives us a good foundation for qualifying and hopefully on into the race Saturday.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course can be abrasive on the Firestone tires here so we chose to wait until the end of the session this morning. I think you saw a lot of cars going out with about 45 minutes or so remaining in the morning session. Also, the aero kits should tick the speeds up a bit here, and the draft should really be improved as you’re able to close from a further gap back to the car in front of you. Overall a good practice day today to start the weekend for the Grand Prix and I’m pretty happy with the Target car.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We weren’t as fast as I would’ve liked to have been today, but we did get a lot out of the No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet in terms of data for the rest of the weekend. We worked on the overall setup and spent a lot of the day just trying to find more grip and downforce. We’ve started race weekends slow before, so I’m not worried at all for today setting the tone for the weekend. We have some work to do tonight to get ready for qualifying and we’ll work through a few more things at tomorrow’s practice.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Chevrolet): “It was a pretty good day for the Circle K/Mistic machine. We were quick off the truck and sustained that pace throughout the day. We tried a bunch of things, but we didn’t really make a lot of headway because the track condition wouldn’t allow it. We made some progress on the balance of the car and I believe we are in good shape. Some guys put new tires on at the end and we didn’t because we didn’t have any left. Overall, pretty happy with the car and looking forward to a good weekend.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “It was a good day, we made a lot of progress and it’s very encouraging to see the car working in a very good manner. I was happy with the balance and it’s just a question of making the car faster and better all the time. We did make a lot of improvement but it’s still a tough field. Being in the top 10 in both practices today is very positive and hopefully we can carry the good momentum through tomorrow.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “It’s great to be here. You know, lead the charge for Honda, it feels good. That’s been our goal: if we can’t be fastest overall, we need to lead in our camp. We’ve got a lot of work to do. As you can see, it’s half a second to the Chevys. I don’t know where half a second is going to come from, but we’re going to try awfully hard to try to find it.”
CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “This morning was pretty good but this afternoon was really difficult. I struggled with the changes the team made this afternoon and it as really hard for me to drive the car. We need to sit down and evaluate things to get the best package for tomorrow. I guess we were able to find something that didn’t work and now we just need to figure out what will work.”
FRANCESCO DRACONE (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “It is awesome to be in Indiana. This track is just magnificent. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is to racing as the Bernabéu is to football for Real Madrid. The circuit is pretty nice. I didn’t expect such a layout because what I gathered from the maps and video was a bit different. The asphalt is just great, very high standards. The car seems to pretty good. We are going to change a few things for tomorrow for both practice and qualifying. Everything is pretty much going to plan so far.”
LUCA FILIPPI (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I think it was a positive day because it was my very first time on the circuit, which is a little bit like what I’m used to. So from that point of view, I’ve really liked it from the beginning. So I had to learn the circuit, adjust the car to my driving style, and I think we ended up getting a very good balance, especially in terms of consistency. So I’m really motivated for the race. For qualifying we need to improve performance, but I know the team will be ready and will know what we need to do for tomorrow.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 CENTURY 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was an OK day. We’re not quite where we want to be and we need to find something for tomorrow, but that’s what we’re good at. We’re good at finding what we need when we’re a little down. The CENTURY 21 boys are working hard and I’m working well with my teammates. I think we’ve got some data to look at with JR (Hildebrand) and Luca (Filippi). Now we just have to try to make some good decisions for tomorrow and close the gap.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s interesting. I mean, we’re testing the new aero package. It’s just a matter of understanding what the car needs. So far so good. I think the Penske cars are in pretty good shape. The heat is going to be interesting this weekend, and the weather as well. We don’t know, it might be raining. Anything can happen. Certainly quite slippery in eight and nine. There’s a lot of grass on the track. Will is cutting the racetrack too much (haha).”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “It’s great to be back in the car. It’s been an interesting first day to say the least. I’m still trying to get the most out of everything and work out what characteristics can be worked on and which ones are just the way they are. Right now I’m just playing catch up and I’m pleased with how things are feeling, not pleased with the lap time so we’ll just have to keep working on it the rest of the weekend.”
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “Today has been a really difficult day, a disappointing day. We are struggling a little bit in general. We have to work hard – we still have one more practice session then qualifying, but the most important is the race, so we will see.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “We just seem at the edge of things, but it seems there’s a downforce deficit to my teammates, so we’re trying to get to the bottom of it. It’s frustrating. As a team we are all little off right now, so even if I get to where my teammates are, we’re still not where we need to be. We have some work to do tonight to get a better run tomorrow.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Tough day. We really didn’t find the balance we needed, but discovered a little bit at the end of the day that might send us in a better direction. Tomorrow’s another day. We’re going to go put our heads together to see what we can do. The DHL Honda crew is working hard to get us back to where we need to be for the rest of the weekend.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a good first day of practice on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet. I didn’t have a great connection with the car in the first practice, or even the beginning of the second practice, but we were able to work with the car to make it better and end up in the top 10 at the end of the day. We were pretty happy with the way the day ended, but we have a little ways to go to make the car a better before qualifying tomorrow. It’s nice having teammates like Dixon at the top of the charts, so we can debrief and really see what we can learn from them.”