Verizon IndyCar Series logo

INDYCAR News and Notes – May 6, 2016

1. Reserved seating for 100th Indianapolis 500 sold out
2. Rahal Letterman Lanigan drivers make special lunch delivery
3. Servia adds pair of co-primary sponsors for Indy entry
4. Mann helps ring closing NASDAQ bell with sponsor
5. Texas test sees large turnout
6. Of note

1. Reserved seating for 100th Indianapolis 500 sold out: Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials celebrated an epic and historic milestone today, announcing that all reserved seating is sold out for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 29.

While general admission tickets are still available in the IMS infield, the massive grandstands around the 107-year-old 2.5-mile oval, as well as all hospitality suites, will be completely filled for the first time in approximately two decades.

The news was shared by IMS leadership on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis, with community leaders including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett flanked by the iconic Borg-Warner Trophy.

“Every Indianapolis 500 is special, but the buzz surrounding the 100th running has been building for nearly a year, ever since the checkered flag fell on the 99th,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles. “Our fans are the best in sports and their incredible support of this year’s race will make it a truly historic day for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'”

Beyond the grandstands, the new Hulman Terrace Club is also sold out and every IMS suite is full. In fact, several large temporary suites are being erected due to remarkably increased demand. All VIP tickets for concerts on Miller Lite Carb Day (May 27) and Legends Day (May 28) are sold and it is expected that the Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light will reach capacity for the first time.

Camping in Lot 1C adjacent to IMS is sold out as is parking inside IMS on race day and prepaid infield parking on Carb Day. Information on alternate camping and parking locations is available on the ticketing page of Fans are also encouraged to download the IMS Mobile App for current information.

Fans are encouraged to begin their race-day routines at least two hours earlier than previous years. All fans will want to arrive early to take advantage of the full 100th running experience that includes live ESPN “SportsCenter” tapings in the Pagoda Plaza beginning at 8 a.m. ET, an expanded fan midway and increased concession and vending opportunities.

IMS also announced Thursday that four-time GRAMMY Award winner Keith Urban be Mario Andretti’s passenger in the “Honda Fastest Seat in Sports” two-seat Indy car that will pace the field of 33 cars before the start of the Indianapolis 500, which airs on ABC beginning at 11 a.m. ET May 29.

Tickets are on sale for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course May 14 and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 at or by phone weekdays between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET at (800) 822-INDY.

2. Rahal Letterman Lanigan drivers make special lunch delivery: Who better to make sure that lunch for a group of eager preschoolers was delivered safely than a pair of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers?

That’s just what happened today when youngsters at Pride Academy in Speedway, Ind., had their lunches delivered and served by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing drivers Graham Rahal and Spencer Pigot. It was part of the Feeding Our Communities Greater Indiana Pasta Drive partnership with Second Helpings, a food rescue organization in Marion County, Ind., and Fifth Third Bank.

Rahal and Pigot picked up the food at Second Helpings, drove it to Pride Academy and then donned aprons and hair nets before serving the approximately 50 youngsters a well-balanced meal of chicken, pasta and meatballs, fruit and bread.

All the while, the teammates and Fifth Third executives who also helped serve chatted with the kids about racing and what food they liked best before handing out miniature race cars, sunglasses and bracelets to the excited audience.

“It’s a big part of what we do, with Fifth Third Bank and Second Helpings having us come out and serve,” said Rahal, whose team enjoys an associate sponsorship with the bank. “You’ve got to give back to the community in anything you do.”

Pigot, the rookie who debuted with RLLR at St. Petersburg in March, is taking in all the activities surrounding the hectic month of May.

“It’s been a lot of fun seeing all these kids and helping them get some lunch and seeing how happy they are to get toy race cars and to see us,” Pigot said. “It’s definitely been a good experience. It’s a great chance to give back to the community with Fifth Third and everyone involved.

“It’s totally new for me so I’m enjoying every bit of it.”

3. Servia adds pair of co-primary sponsors for Indy entry: Veteran Verizon IndyCar Series driver Oriol Servia’s entry for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will be co-sponsored by one longtime open-wheel backer and a new one with big ambitions.

The livery on Servia’s No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Marotti Racing Honda will feature Lucas Oil and Jahia Solutions Group.

Lucas Oil first partnered with SPM team co-owner Sam Schmidt more than a decade ago as a primary sponsor for Schmidt’s Indianapolis 500 entry for Richie Hearn in 2003. Since then, Lucas Oil has served as a title sponsor each year on one of SPM’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires entries.

Jahia Solutions Group is a digital experience management platform that helps organizations build trusted one-to-one relationships with their customers to accelerate customer acquisition and out-compete their peers in the race for digital leadership. Simply put, Jahia turns organizations into digital brand powerhouses and customer experience leaders. And in a day when organizations are racing to get digital agility now, experience matters.

“We are enthusiastically supporting the Indy 500 with our corporate sponsorship,” said Elie Auvray, Jahia CEO. “They are putting people – their fans – at the center of their business, which is a core value and message for us. Technology today not only makes Indy car racing possible but thrilling as well.

“And as we help our customers win the race for digital mastery through enterprise technology and thrill the audience, the combination of technology and emphasis on the human relationships naturally makes Jahia and the Indy 500 a powerful connection for acceleration.”

Servia, the son of a Spanish rally champion and 1999 Indy Lights champion himself, has driven in seven past Indianapolis 500s with a best finish of fourth in 2012. Holder of a degree in mechanical engineering, he is a perfect brand ambassador for a lubricants firm and an international tech company.

“My number one aim was to make sure I was participating in the 100th Indy 500 with a team that could give me a car to contend for the win, and I have no doubt that Sam Schmidt and all his group at SPM will do exactly that,” said Servia. “Being sponsored by Lucas Oil and Jahia are just the cherry on the cake and I couldn’t be happier to represent companies with such high standards.”

4. Mann helps ring closing NASDAQ bell with sponsor: Verizon IndyCar Series driver Pippa Mann, entered to drive the No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda in this year’s Indianapolis 500, helped new sponsor Genetic Technologies Limited (a molecular diagnostics company specializing in women’s health) ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York City’s Times Square.

“The event has additional meaning to us,” said Eutillio Buccilli, CEO of Genetic Technologies, “as it ceremoniously marks, in earnest, the beginning of our partnership with Pippa Mann, a next-generation athlete who has demonstrated true conviction and commitment to promoting women’s health and in particular, breast cancer awareness.”

Mann will once again be promoting her 2016 Pink #GetInvolved campaign with her Indy 500 car, raising funds for Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for the fight against breast cancer.

5. Texas test sees large turnout: Fifteen drivers representing five Verizon IndyCar Series organizations participated in a one-day private test session on Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway. The drivers were on hand to gather data and information in preparation for the Firestone 600, scheduled for June 10-11 on the at the 1.455-mile oval. Texas Motor Speedway is celebrating its 20th year of operation in 2016 and the Verizon IndyCar Series has raced on the track every year since its opening.

“It’s definitely a tricky place,” said Ed Carpenter, owner/driver of the No. 20 Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing. Other teams testing were Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Team Penske.

“It’s fun and I think you can see that by what everyone is doing,” Carpenter added. “Everyone is out trying a lot of different things. Josef (Newgarden, Carpenter’s teammate) said some guys are working on qualifying stuff. When we come back here, we practice in the morning and qualify in the heat of the day and then practice.

“It’s hard to not get any non-traffic running when we come back here. I think you see a lot of guys trying to get part of their setup sorted out so that when they come back they can focus solely on the race.”

While the majority of the test session featured cars running individually or in small groups, the teams agreed to run in larger groups to collect data during the final two hours.

6. Of note: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has added Bandit Industries Inc., a premier global manufacturer of industrial wood chippers and wood processing equipment, as an associate sponsor for the No. 16 Honda driven by Spencer Pigot in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14 and the 100th Indianapolis 500 on May 29. … Premium synthetic lubricant and performance chemical manufacturer Royal Purple has become a sponsor of Ed Carpenter Racing for the remainder of the 2016 race season.