ROOKIE MUNOZ TOPS PRACTICE FOR 97th INDIANAPOLIS 500

Story posted - May 12 2013 11:23 PM

ROOKIE MUNOZ TOPS PRACTICE FOR 97th INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, May 12, 2013) - Carlos Munoz, who breezed through Indianapolis 500 ROP a day earlier, topped the speed chart on the second day of practice for the 97th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
The Firestone Indy Lights point leader, who hopes to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and Firestone Freedom 100 in the same weekend, recorded a lap of 223.023 mph (40.3545 seconds) in the Chevrolet-powered No. 26 Unistraw car.
Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, an Indy 500 front-row starter last May, was second-fastest (222.825 mph), while E.J. Viso (222.523) was third in the No. 5 Team Venezuela entry. Marco Andretti (222.485 mph) checked in fourth in No. 25 RC Cola entry.
AJ Allmendinger and a strong tow impeded James Hinchcliffe from completing an Andretti Autosport top-five sweep during the second day of practice. Allmendinger, who also completed ROP in short fashion May 11, got more comfortable with the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car and posted a fast lap of 221.279 mph.
The afternoon of May 13 is reserved for practice, with Conor Daly participating in the three-phase Rookie Orientation Program earlier in the day in the No. 41 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing. Pippa Mann in the No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing car is scheduled to go through a refresher program.
The top 17 cars were separated by less than a second.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE:
At noon, the ambient temperature was 51 degrees with a relative humidity of 39 percent and winds from the west-northwest at 12 mph. Skies were mostly sunny. The track temperature was 78 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
12:04 p.m. - GREEN. #25 Andretti first on track, followed by #27 Hinchcliffe and #8T Briscoe. #25 All three drivers re-entered pits from back stretch without completing a lap.
12:53 p.m. - YELLOW. Debris.
1:04 p.m. - GREEN.
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There will be no refresher tests or Rookie Orientation Program participants today, so the track will remain open until 6 p.m. for veterans and those rookies who have completed ROP.
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2:18 p.m.-YELLOW. Track inspection.
2:26 p.m. - GREEN.
2:35 p.m. - YELLOW. Debris in Turn 4.
2:40 p.m. - GREEN.
3:39 p.m.-YELLOW. Debris.
3:42 p.m. - GREEN.
At 4:45 p.m., the ambient temperature was 58 degrees with a relative humidity of 31 percent and winds from the southwest at 8 mph. Skies were mostly sunny. The track temperature was 92 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
4:49 p.m. -- #5 Viso fastest at 222.298, fastest lap of month. Viso was in a tow line with Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz.
4:51 p.m. - YELLOW. Track inspection.
5:02 p.m. - GREEN.
5:08 p.m. -- #1 Hunter-Reay fastest at 222.825, fastest lap of month. Hunter-Reay was in a tow line with Andretti Autosport teammates EJ Viso, Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Carlos Munoz.
5:11 p.m. -- #26 Munoz fastest at 223.023, fastest lap of month. Munoz was running at end of five-car tow line with Andretti Autosport teammates EJ Viso, Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
5:16 p.m. -- IZOD IndyCar Series officials have penalized #25 Andretti with a drive-through penalty for a pit speed violation at pit in.
6 p.m. - CHECKERED. End of practice. #26 Carlos Munoz was fastest at 223.023 mph.
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The last rookie to lead an Indianapolis 500 practice day was Josef Newgarden on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, the fifth day of practice for the 96th Indianapolis 500. Newgarden led that day at 222.785 mph.
FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF PRACTICE:
Pos. Car Name Time Speed
1. 26 Carlos Munoz* 40.3545 223.023
2. 1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 40.3905 222.825
3. 5 E.J. Viso 40.4453 222.523
4. 25 Marco Andretti 40.4521 222.485
5. 2 AJ Allmendinger* 40.6726 221.279
* -- Rookie
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
Any veteran driver who did not participate in the 2012 Indianapolis 500 is required to take a refresher test. Veteran drivers on the entry list who did not participate in the 2012 race: #63 Pippa Mann, #91 Buddy Lazier.
The refresher test consists of the final two phases of the Rookie Orientation Program: 15 laps at 205-209 mph and 15 laps at 210 mph-plus.
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Panther Racing and driver JR Hildebrand will undergo a makeover for the 97th Indianapolis 500, as the team's No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet will showcase a "Soldier of Steel" livery. The new color scheme highlights the National Guard's "Soldier of Steel" recruiting campaign designed around the launch of Warner Brothers' upcoming blockbuster Superman movie release, "Man of Steel."
Hildebrand will join teammate Townsend Bell as both drivers attempt to qualify for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," a race in which Panther has finished runner-up in four of the last five years.
The National Guard's "Soldier of Steel" recruitment program and advertising campaign will take place during the next month as a lead up to the release of Warner Brothers' "Man of Steel" movie. The campaign will include in-theater advertising, promotional events, displays, online, mobile, social media, print publications and more. The "Man of Steel" movie, which stars Henry Cavill as Superman, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams and Russell Crowe will hit theaters June 14.
Panther's traditional black, red and ACU camouflage livery will change to blue and red, and includes the texture featured on Superman's suit in "Man of Steel." The likeness of Cavill, in Superman costume, is featured prominently on the sidepod of the No. 4 car, and the Superman "S" glyph will be on the nose of Panther's Indy car.
JR HILDEBRAND: "Representing the National Guard is a huge honor for all of us at Panther, and being able to come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 'Soldier of Steel' paint scheme is another great way for us to do that. There's a pretty seamless connection between these soldiers and Superman; they're both just ordinary citizens serving their community. So for us being able to compete in an iconic event like the Indianapolis 500 in Superman colors is just another way to highlight all the unbelievable things the National Guard does for this country. For us, the soldiers have always been the real superheroes."
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KV Racing Technology announced today that GEICO will be an associate sponsor on the No. 11 HYDROXYCUT - KV Racing - SH Racing car for the 2013 Indianapolis 500. This will be the sixth consecutive year that GEICO has sponsored a KV Racing Technology car at the Indy 500.
2005 Indianapolis 500 pole winner Tony Kanaan drives the No. 11 car.
JIMMY VASSER (Co-owner, KV Racing Technology): "KVRT and GEICO have worked closely together over the past six years, and we're excited to have them back again this year. This gives us the opportunity to maintain a relationship that is extremely important to us as a team."
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Indianapolis 500 rookie Conor Daly finished fifth in the GP3 race today at Barcelona, Spain. He finished third in the GP3 race Saturday at Barcelona.
Daly, from nearby Noblesville, Ind., is expected to be on track Monday in the No. 41 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Dallara/Honda/Firestone.
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2012 Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe finished second in the LMP2 class to teammate Marino Franchitti, the younger brother of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, in the American Le Mans Series race Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Briscoe is expected to be on track today in the No. 8 NTT DATA Dallara/Honda/Firestone fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.
Indianapolis 500 veteran Townsend Bell finished fourth in the GT class at Laguna Seca. Bell is driving the No. 60 Sunoco "Turbo" Panther Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone this month for Panther Racing.
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Indianapolis resident Emily Sylvester, a mother and longtime Indianapolis 500 ticket holder, was the honorary starter today on Mother's Day. Seven of her family members watched as she waved the green flag to open practice.
Sylvester and members of her family have been ticket holders at the "500" for the last 44 years. Their first seats were in Tower Terrace, not far from where she waved the green flag adjacent to pit lane today.
EMILY SYLVESTER: "It was a very special feeling. My mother passed away suddenly last November 19 at age 89. She was a race fan, and we always got together at race time with my Dad, four generations of us. It's very special for us on Mother's Day. It's in memory of her."
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Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing enters the 97th Indianapolis 500 after just recently moving into its new 38,000 square-foot facility on Main Street in Speedway, Ind., about one-half mile from the main gate of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team's old facility was on Rockville Road in Indianapolis.
ANDY O'GARA (Team manager, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing): "Long term, we feel really good about the advantages of the new building. Short term, the last four weeks have been crazy, utter chaos, in moving. There have been no changes on the shop floor. The guys are working just as hard as ever; they are prepared, and the cars are looking as good as ever. I stayed behind from the Brazil race to make the transition a lot easier and to get the departments set up properly. Everybody has been working hard. We have made big strides in the past two weeks. The facility is more about the future. We are positioned very well for the future. We are doing more and more in house; we are expecting two CNC machines soon."
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The 2013 Celebration of Automobiles featured many of the world's finest classic/vintage automobiles on display Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with a 1929 Duesenberg, 1957 Bentley, 1936 Delahaye and 1930 Stutz earning coveted Best of Show designation in four separate categories.
Now in its third year after a highly successful debut in 2011 held in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500, the Celebration of Automobiles pays tribute to the rich heritage of automotive development at the track for more than 100 years.
Other Celebration of Automobiles award winners:
Best of Show Pre-War: 1929 Duesenberg J Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton - Charles Lettes, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Best of Show Post-War: 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Coupe - Roger Eiteljorg, Indianapolis
Best of Show Foreign: 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Figoni - Roger Willbanks, Denver
Best of Show American: 1930 Stutz SV 16 Monte Carlo - Joseph and Margie Cassini, West Orange, N.J.
Indianapolis 500 Drivers Choice Award: 1937 Delahaye 145 - Peter Mullin, Oxnard, Calif.
Best Full Classic Presented by the Indiana Region of the Classic Car Club of America: 1930 Stutz SV 16 Monte Carlo - Joseph and Margie Cassini, West Orange, N.J.
Best Indiana Built Car Presented by the Auto Clubs Council of Indiana: 1931 Marmon V16 Convertible Coupe - Greg Dawson, Indianapolis
Media's Choice Award: 1968 Bizzarrini 5300 SI Spyder - Don and Diane Meluzio, Yorktown, Pa.
People's Choice Award: 1948 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible - Greg Ornazian, Troy, Mich.
Vintage Motorsport Trophy: 1932 Hupmobile Hup Comet Indy Race Car - Greg Ornazian, Troy, Mich.
Best Chevrolet Award: 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster Convertible - Albert Cavallaro, Westlake, Ohio
The Mayor's Choice Award: 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster Convertible - Albert Cavallaro, Westlake, Ohio
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Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 21 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Century 21 Dallara/Honda/Firestone, is sporting a new helmet design for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 that features the #Indy500orBust Twitter hashtag that is the center of a social media promotional campaign for this year's race. Newgarden has been instrumental in heavily promoting the campaign.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: "It's definitely a cool way to run a helmet for this year. The whole #Indy500or Bust thing has been a very cool program and campaign. I have been trying to put as many photos up as I can throughout the last couple of months with the #Indy500orBust signs. So, for me, it was just fitting to make a helmet that had that theme. It's an awesome campaign. We've got a couple more ideas to promote the cause and a couple of videos coming out - hopefully next week - which I think will be funny and people will like them. It's a cool program. I love being involved in it. It is definitely true to the meaning. It IS Indy 500 or bust. You are here to show up, and you are going to fight trying." (Who designed the helmet?): "Brett King Designs does all of my helmets. He does such a great job, so he came up with the design for it and made it look really good. He is really an impressive, creative dude. He does all of my helmets and all of my designs for me. I gave him the #Indy500orBust decals and said 'Let's do something with this,' and he basically came up with a very cool design that showed it off really well in the chin, and he made it look as good as it does."
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Despite air temperatures in the 50s and stiff winds today, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing co-owner Sarah Fisher said teams can still do valuable work during practice.
SARAH FISHER (co-owner, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing): "There's a lot you can accomplish on a day like this. You have to balance it out with other readings through the week, what the differences are and then make sure you compensate. If you are weather tracking (data), you have to keep up with the conditions so you're doing a good job of that. It's just colder, takes a little longer to get the car up to temp. You can get a lot done even if it's cold, especially if Race Day is like this because you really never know what Race Day will bring."
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1981 Indianapolis 500 starter Bob Lazier talked about the team that he formed to field an entry in this year's Indianapolis 500 for his son Buddy Lazier, the 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner.
Buddy Lazier will drive the No. 91 Lazier Partners Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone fielded by Lazier Partners Racing Inc. 2000 IZOD IndyCar Series champion Lazier last raced in the "500" in 2008, qualifying 32nd and finishing 17th in a Hemelgarn Johnson Racing entry. He failed to qualify in 2009. Lazier has made 16 previous starts at Indianapolis, with five top-five finishes, including the victory in 1996.
Lazier Partners Racing Inc. purchased a 2012 Dallara chassis from Lotus, the car that Jean Alesi drove for Fan Force United in the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
BOB LAZIER: "You know, we didn't have to go through a whole bunch. Everybody that we worked with, they were just wonderful. Chevrolet worked with us all the way. We bought the car from Lotus, and they were wonderful with us. Dallara, anything they could do; they wanted to help. Buddy's got a great reputation of being an incredible race car driver but equally important is he's a really nice human being. People really want to help him out. This has been a wonderful experience." (About the timeline for putting the team together): "It came together pretty rapidly. We started thinking about what we were going to do in November. We started to put things together. We started to work with Lotus. Last year, Buddy was Jean Alesi's (driver) coach, and Jean was just thrilled with Buddy. The two of them have a great friendship. That's when we started asking if we could do something to buy, at a favorable price, the Lotus car, the Dallara. It took us a couple, three months to get that done. Mid-March is when we really officially had everything ready to go. But Buddy's been training for about a year and a half. He thought he was going to be able to jump in a car last year, maybe the backup car for Jean. So he's in super shape. He's ready to go." (On the crew the team has pulled together, including Buddy's crew chief from Hemelgarn Racing): "Dennis LaCava, who is Buddy's crew chief, this guy is in a league of his own. He's wonderful. Buddy wouldn't have it any other way. We also got Eric Bachelart and his crew to help us. Eric is team manager; he's actually a consultant to us. He's actually doing it with Dennis. We have a team of all people we've all known. They're all very qualified. There isn't a lot of direction needed. These guys just jump in and get it done. It's really wonderful."
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Many school groups take field trips to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during May. But Carter Boles, 10, from Zionsville, Ind., will have a special attraction Monday during his trip to IMS with Mrs. Jane Wiley's fourth-grade class at Heritage Christian School - his older brother Conor Daly will be participating in the Rookie Orientation Program for the 97th Indianapolis 500.
CARTER BOLES: (You've been on a lot of field trips, but this will have to be one of the neatest, right?): "Yep, that's right. Tomorrow my class is coming and going to watch Conor do his laps. It's going to be fun." (How cool do your classmates think it is that your brother is trying to qualify for the Indy 500?): "It's really cool because everyone's saying: 'I saw your brother. They were talking about him on the radio and the TV. It's going to be so cool. I wish I could go.' And they finally get to go to watch him." (If your brother doesn't win the Indy 500, who do you want to win?): "Tony Kanaan."
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Since it launched March 1, the #Indy500orBust hashtag has received 46.3 million impressions on Twitter, with 7.8 million impressions alone on Opening Day, Saturday, May 11.
The #Indy500orBust marketing campaign encourages fans to upload pictures of their personal journeys to "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Photos can depict either their actual trip to IMS every May or important parts of their life that attracted them to the great race.
Fans can use a special artwork kit, including instructions and art, for a homemade #Indy500or Bust cardboard sign to be featured in their uploaded photos. The sign is the focal point of the campaign and will appear on billboards, in print and be referenced throughout Month of May activities at IMS.
Instagram users can upload photos and tag themselves on an interactive map with a special hashtag, #Indy500orBust. Fans who claim their photos will have the chance to win an Ultimate VIP Experience at the 2014 Indianapolis 500.
The campaign has reached more than 3.4 million users on Instagram.
For more information, visit www.Indy500orBust.com.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE QUOTES:
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Very gusty conditions today and cold at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We had a list of items we wanted to run through for the Target team. We achieved what we wanted to in a short amount of time and wrapped up early. The real work starts tomorrow."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "It always feels like an impressive place when we're at IMS. We reach our fastest speeds of the year here with our Honda power, and I really enjoy it. I'm coming here at a completely different level in my head compared to last year, so I'm approaching it in a completely different way. We did a program today and had two good runs. We know where we sit, and we know what to do. There are a few things that we can do to make sure I feel the HP car a little more, but we have a great baseline from last year."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We had a pretty basic day today with the weather being so cold. We just had some pretty basic changes we needed to get done with the car. Overall, a short and sweet day at the track."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela/Andretti Autosport/HVM Chevrolet): "Well, first day on track, back to historical Indianapolis. Very happy to be here. This is my second home during the year, and I'm very proud to be part of the team. I think the job we've done as a team has been impressive. These guys have put together a fast setup for us for this year. Today we realized we actually went pretty fast; we had a good car on our own and a good car in traffic. I think it's going to be a flawless and smooth month, and I'm really looking forward to it."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21T Sarah Fisher Hartman/Century 21 Honda): "We got through a good little program today. We were able to accomplish what we needed to as far as changes. We had good, clean solo running in good dry conditions, and that's what we wanted to do todayto get through a couple of setup items and check those off the list. We're finishing the day a little early, but we had productive day, for sure. We can go into the week now feeling good about what we've done these first few days. It was a little cold this morning. We had a lot more downforce than yesterday to start, but it evened out as the afternoon went on. It's was windy into Turn 1 and 2, which made it a little difficult, but no real issues out there. It's been fun."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "So far the RC Cola car is not quite on pace with my teammates, but I'm not too worried being this early in the month. We put in some good laps and got a lot out of today's practice. We're working a lot on trying to find a good setup that will put us up front. A lot of improvements have been made since last year's DW12, so I'm pleased with where things are going right now."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "Yesterday we had a good day and got through everything we wanted to. Today we had a couple of issues we had to work through. They are not a big deal, but they got us sidetracked off our game plan a little. I still feel decent about where our Fuzzy's car is at right now. At the same time, we were hoping to get a few more things done on our planning list today. But we can make it up on Monday. I want to wish my mom (Laura) and my wife (Heather) a Happy Mother's Day. We have spent a lot of Mother's Days here at IMS over the years, and I want to thank the ladies for their continued support here."
JAMES JAKES (No. 16T Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "It was nice to get back out there and shake off the cobwebs. The Acorn Stairlifts car felt pretty good initially. We only did an installation run, really, so we didn't do much. We will take it day by day and build up the running and prepare for qualifying."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (No. 17 Office Depot Honda): "It's great to be back in the car. The feel of the speed is not as big as it was last year after not being in an Indy car in eight years, but it is still big, so I took my time getting up to speed as planned. For me, the goal today was to run flat out, get my confidence back up, get a good feel. We only did a little bit of running. Tomorrow (race engineer) Bruno (Couprie) and more of the team arrives, so I feel like we did what we had to do for the first day, and I am happy about it. Now we have all week to get a little faster and get the Office Depot car up to speed."
AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): "Another day in the learning process today, and we got a couple different things tested in the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet that should be helpful as we move on. We did a couple of short runs and a full-tank run so I could see how the car would feel, and I am getting more comfortable with it. To a certain degree, I also got to see how the car is going to react in traffic, and I thought that was really good. Obviously, the cold conditions are a little different than what we will probably have for the race. But to do a race run, the car felt pretty good, and I'm happy with the progress we made."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15T Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "We have a little work to do to make the Midas/Big O Tires car a little more comfortable to drive. We didn't get a tow and were running a lot of downforce compared to the rest of the guys, so I'm not concerned with a comparison just yet. At the end of the day, we will be just fine."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "We just opened our account. It was nice to get out here and run some laps, but this was mainly just a shakedown for us. The National Guard car felt fine out there, and we obviously weren't being very aggressive with the car. It's always nice to get back out to the Speedway, and we're excited about continuing our program this week."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "Today was a good second day. We shook the primary car down and went through a couple of changes. It's still early in the week, and we're still trying to a handle on where the track is going to be, especially as we get closer to qualifying at the end of the week. It was a good opening weekend. Really happy with the pace of the car. As far as knowledge of what we've got heading into the week of practice, I think we feel pretty good. We've got a good foundation and keep working on the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car and get quicker all the time. The guys have been really good on practice pit stops. We'll keep working on that, too, because I know they'll be rock solid on Race Day."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8, 8T NTT DATA Honda): "It's really exciting. I just can't begin to tell you how excited I was when Chip (Ganassi) gave me the call. I knew this was going to happen. I feel very lucky to be here. Certainly going to go out and do my best. Try to make the most of it. It was great to get out there. We were able to shake down the T car and the primary at the end. So we basically got through exactly what we wanted to do. Both cars feel great. The boys have done a great job preparing them both. When I went out tonight, it was like I never left driving Indy cars. It just felt normal. It feels good to be back in the groove of things and looking forward to doing more tomorrow. The first part of the week is usual. Everyone is out doing race runs. There will be lots of cars on track; there will be drafts. You'll have to look at the average of lap times. There are some guys who are better at getting tow laps and posting big times, and then all of a sudden you're qualifying with nobody on track and you see surprises." (About not driving for Penske anymore): "Take a second take when I see the No. 2 car go by every now and again, but, you know, it's just racing. I caught up with Roger (Penske) in Long Beach, and it's just the way things go down. I'm just looking forward. It's great for me having this opportunity. Hopefully for next year we can try to be back here full time. You never know what's around the next corner. You just have to keep with it and stay positive. It's such a small community of people and so many guys that I worked with at Penske are at Ganassi, as well. And the rest of them I know from having raced at Ganassi in 2005. It's so important in this business not to hold grudges, not to burn bridges. You just have to go out there and be professional and just keep doing what we do. I feel like I have a place in IndyCar, and I just have to go out and do a good job."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): "It's just so great to be back at Indy. The feeling the first day on track is pretty special. Like you say, Andretti Autosport has had a good season so far, and we certainly had a strong run. But all of that has nothing to do with Indy. You start over here. We really don't know where we stack up yet compared to everybody because we haven't had a full field out there yet. Today was a good day to just check some things off the list and run through some of the bigger changes, trying to understand a few things that we were looking at during the winter. Then we had a chance to run with the teammates, which was kind of interesting at times. It was fun, though. It was fun just getting back in that rhythm of running in traffic at Indy. This place is so special for so many reasons. It really drives like no other racetrack. It was good to get back in it, shake a little rust off at Indy and get ready for the week." (On how the team tries to forecast and plan for the rest of the week): "With these cars, the way IndyCar is now, you have no idea who's done what in the offseason. To tell you the truth, what we saw last year from Ganassi and Honda, you had no idea that was going to happen on Race Day. I think qualifying will be one show, then the race. You have no idea what anybody has until you get there."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): "The last time we all ran together on an oval was last September, so to get out there with all the other guys was a good starting point. It was really just, more than anything, blowing some of the cobwebs off ourselves as drivers running in a draft at a place as tricky as the Speedway. I think it's a good starting point. There's obviously a lot of work to do; we've got some things we want to try, and I think you'll see us running together a lot over the week." (About different mindsets of running on ovals and road courses): "I think you've got to have a lot of respect for each other and the racetrack when you're here, certainly. Because the speeds we are going are just so much greater than on a road course. Also the nature of the racetrack - it's just one groove, and it's a very sensitive place to race. We're showing each other a lot of respect out there right now, but we've got to keep doing it and working to make sure we can be aggressive as we need to be on Sunday (Race Day)."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Unistraw Chevrolet): "It is nice to be in the top (of the charts). It was in the tow, and I think I had a little bit better tow than my teammates. But, for sure, we have a long ways to go. I'm still learning a lot, especially on the grooves. I have a great car. It allowed me to be more confident. I have great teammates that helped me a lot. They say to me what I am doing wrong or stuff like that." (About running in the grass in Turn 1): "It was just a misunderstanding. Inside the turn I went into the dirt; it was close. In the race, I'm going to have those situations. I had two tires in the grass, so I was lucky to continue. After that, I was more comfortable behind the guys."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "I think it was another good, productive day. We didn't get to do everything we wanted, but at least consistent weather gave us quite a good platform. We aren't quite where we want to be with correcting the data, so we're not looking at the absolute speed we want. Some of the drivers are doing the 'tows' and all of that in groups, but that's not what we want to do. We were working on running alone, correcting things and working on our platform. We're just working slowly and progressing. We're getting to car closer to what we like, but it's only halfway. We will changes engines tonight, so it will be a new day tomorrow."
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Indianapolis 500 veteran Pippa Mann continues to prepare to turn her first laps during this month in the No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Mann finished 20th as a rookie in the 2011 Indianapolis 500.
PIPPA MANN: "It's been really, really busy for the Dale Coyne Racing guys. They are normally a two-car team, and they don't have a lot of spare chassis floating around. They got back from Brazil on Wednesday, and they have been trying to change over the two main drivers' cars for Justin (Wilson) and Ana (Beatriz) here. Then they have been trying to build up their spare car for me to be ready to go. It's a process that's taken a little more time. We decided today to spend extra time getting the seat to fit right for me. Every racetrack when you're driving, the seat has to be right - even the Indy Lights in a 100-mile race. And this is a 500-mile race. If the seat ain't right, you're going to be sore the next day. The banking at this track is very low so you are actually in the corners for a fairly short amount of time. The G-loading doesn't feel as bad as Texas Motor Speedway, where you are continually turning and continually facing large G-forces for a large portion of the lap." (About requirement to take refresher test): "One of the reasons we were working hard this afternoon was to prepare for that. IndyCar officials gave us the option of doing that this afternoon, but we went back to them so we could do it in the morning (Monday) with Conor Daly when he does his ROP (Rookie Orientation Program). They said, 'No problem,' so I will go through the veteran refresher program in the morning. The reason for that is that I missed last year's race, and I have yet to run here in a DW12 chassis. This is a tough place, but it's a fun place. I'm glad to be back."
***
Thirty-one cars have passed technical inspection. Twenty-nine drivers have been on the track to date and turned 730 laps today and 1,210 laps this month. Carlos Munoz turned 70 laps today, most of any driver. There were five cautions for a total of 36 minutes today.
***
MONDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m. Garages open
Noon-6 p.m. Indianapolis 500 practice
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The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues with the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 26, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live at 11 a.m. (ET) by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and www.indycar.com. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Firestone Freedom 100 on Friday, May 24, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast by the NBC Sports Network live, during the network's coverage of Carb Day.

 
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