Team Penske Scores Big on Coors Light Carb Day
INDIANAPOLIS (May 22, 2015) – Team Penske hopes a successful Coors Light Carb Day will indicate a good Indianapolis 500 race day.
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power, who will start the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race from the middle of the front row, topped the speed chart for the final practice session, the last opportunity for teams to fine-tune their cars before race day May 24.
Power, driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, topped the speed chart with a quick lap of 229.020 mph, with pole-sitter Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing (228.585 mph) and NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan (228.490) right behind.
“(Being fast today) means nothing, really,” Power said. “It’s just a big draft. It’s more about how you can get through traffic than anything. There’s quite a few good cars out there that are going to make their way to the front. I think our plan is just to try to stay up there all day.”
Similarly, Helio Castroneves hopes that winning the TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge could be a good omen for the team.
Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Chevrolet, defeated Charlie Kimball of Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing in the championship round. His pit crew received the $50,000 first-place prize for its speed, precision and accuracy.
The winner of the competition has gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 six times, most recently with Castroneves in 2009. It was the seventh win for Castroneves and the 15th for Team Penske in the pit stop competition.
Also on Coors Light Carb Day, Jack Harvey outdueled Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate Ethan Ringel to lead a 1-2-3-4 sweep for the team in the Freedom 100 for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. The 22-year-old Harvey, who won at IMS in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis earlier this month, became the first driver to claim wins on the famed oval and road course in the same year. It was the eighth Freedom 100 win for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
O.A.R., 38 Special and Jane’s Addiction headlined a concert to conclude the busy day.
CARB DAY NOTEBOOK:
Huertas Out for Indianapolis 500: Vautier Named as Replacement
Verizon IndyCar Series driver Carlos Huertas has been ruled out of the Indianapolis 500 with an inner ear condition, according to Dr. Terry Trammell, INDYCAR medical consultant. Huertas will have to undergo further evaluation before being cleared to return to Verizon IndyCar Series competition. The 23-year-old Colombian is out for the remainder of Indianapolis 500 on-track activities.
Huertas was scheduled to start 18th in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. Tristan Vautier, the 2012 Indy Lights champion and 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year who qualified the No. 19 Coyne entry for the “500” May 17 while filling in for James Davison, was named to replace Huertas in the No. 18 car. Vautier will start 32nd based on entrant points, according to Rules 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199.1 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.
Wilson’s Indy 500 Car Sponsored by the Rolling Stones
Justin Wilson’s No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda picked up a unique sponsorship: the Rolling Stones. The band, playing around the country this summer on its ZIP CODE tour including July 4 in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield, will have full tour livery on Wilson’s car for the Indianapolis 500.
“I’m really excited to have the Rolling Stones on the side on the No. 25,” said Wilson, who, like the band, hails from England. “For the biggest race of the year, to have one of the biggest rock bands in history (as a sponsor) is just incredible. Listening to the Rolling Stones was a Sunday tradition in our house. We would wake up and my Dad would have the music on full blast.”
Dale Coyne Chief Mechanic Receives Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award
Roy Wilkerson, the chief mechanic of the No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda driven by Pippa Mann, was named recipient of the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award. The honor goes annually to the Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic who exemplifies the mechanical excellence, ingenuity and perseverance similar to that of legendary mechanic Clint Brawner. The award, sponsored by Firestone Racing, includes a $5,000 prize and the winner’s name inscribed on a trophy that permanently resides in the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
“I’m shocked, this still hasn’t set in,” Wilkerson said. “You go through this for a living and you just do what it takes to make this race – it’s the biggest race in the world. When I was a kid, Clint Brawner was one of the guys you heard about and wanted to emulate and always wanted to be as good as. It’s an absolute honor to be the recipient of an award named after him.”
INDIANAPOLIS 500 CARB DAY QUOTES:
MARIO ANDRETTI (1969 Indianapolis 500 champion): “We always look forward to it like you cannot imagine. This has been such an important event, all of our lives, all of our careers. It’s always got something special for you, something new, something to look forward to. We’re anxious. Once we’re here, we just try to make the most of the time and then look forward to coming back the following year. We’ve got so much going for us. We’re all in. We’re very vested in what’s going on here. We’re honored to have that opportunity. This place has meant so much to our family in general. We’ve got the third generation driving now. As far as we’re concerned, it couldn’t be any better.”
DANNY SULLIVAN (1985 Indianapolis 500 champion): (About how winning the race changed his life): “Oh, immensely. You can win a lot of races, but to win Indy and to win in the way that it happened with the spin and everything, that just added to it. It’s not just winning the race, it was, ‘Oh my gosh, the spin, let’s show this, tell us how it happened.’ There is a guy in Louisville, I have no idea how many times he has called me, well, he called me this morning and said, ‘Walk me through it.'”
AL UNSER (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987 Indianapolis 500 champion): “Indy’s a place that has so much to it and enthusiasm around it. It gets me hyped up as many years as I’ve been retired from it. It just shows that it’s a race that you want to win and want to do well in. I’m glad I’m still able to come back. It’s a fantastic race.”
AL UNSER JR. (1992 and 1994 Indianapolis 500 champion): “It’s great. It’s very special to us, my family, because of the success we’ve had back here. It means an awful lot to my whole family. We enjoy it every year. With the success we’ve had, it’s just a great feeling. It’s hard to put into words. Indy means our life, is what it means to the Unser family.”
WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, fastest of the day): “(Being fast today) means nothing, really. It’s just a big draft. It’s more about how you can get through traffic than anything. You know, we’ll see on Sunday. The further back you get in a train, the harder it is. But there’s quite a few good cars out there that are going to make their way to the front. I think our plan is just to try to stay up there all day. I think at that point you’re pretty set on what you’re going to run. You’re just kind of doing little tweaks here and there, pit stop practice, practicing coming into the pit off (Turn) 4. It’s just those type of things, getting in the groove for the race.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, second fastest of the day): “I think there are a lot more (favorites) than just (Will Power and me). Obviously, Team Target and Penske do a fabulous job with all the cars that they have. With the group of cars that we have, it’s good to see them all at the sharp end of the field. It’s warmup and it depends on the tow that you get. Take what you want out of it, but we accomplished what we wanted to do with basic setup changes.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I think we’re fortunate to be here as a part of a three-car team to work together as well as we have. That’s given us the opportunity to pound through a lot of changes and try to dial in where the sensitivities of the new car are. We are definitely good enough to be a top-five car on Sunday. Our aim is to be running in the top five for that last stint and then see where it takes us.”
SAGE KARAM (No. 8 COMFORT REVOLUTION/Big Machine Records Chevrolet):“The No. 8 felt good out there, especially running in traffic. We did some runs with old and new tires and the car handled really well on both. We only ran about 15 laps because I felt comfortable with where the race car was, and the team got everything they needed. I’m feeling confident heading into Sunday and I’m just ready to get out there for my second Indianapolis 500.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I think we got exactly what we needed from this final practice session before race day. The crew got some hot pit stops in and I was able to work through a few more things we wanted to make sure we were good on. The No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet felt great out there and I couldn’t be more pleased with my race car for Sunday.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “It’s very encouraging to see all three cars very competitive. I felt comfortable in traffic, which is what today is all about. The ABC boys did a great preparation on the car, taking everything off and putting it back together again – the car feels really, really good. A very positive day so we’re in the best position for race day.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Today’s practice was just a shake-down for the No. 17 car. We wanted to make sure everything was where we left it after practice on Monday. The car is still feeling really good and I’m happy with where we are in terms of a good, solid race car.”
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “It was a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. I came before the road course race. I knew if James (Davison) was getting the deal with them, I would qualify (for Davison). … Then, on this one, it’s not really the way you want to get back in the car, honestly. I think Carlos (Huertas) deserves to be racing because he did a really good job in qualifying and in practice. Obviously you can’t help but be excited to start your second Indy 500. … Not a lot of prep for the race. The practice we did last week was aimed for the complete opposite of running by ourselves, setting the car up for qualifying in low trim. At one hour (of practice today), we made the most of it and have a direction for the race. I was meant to race in Europe in the Blancpain GT Series in Silverstone. … We just got a call (from Coyne) and they (the sports car team) said I could race, seize the opportunity that opened up. They would find a replacement driver, so I could race in the 500. That’s really cool from them to let me do that. But, yeah, I was meant to be in England today. I was in Chicago O’Hare (on a layover to England) when I had to come back. … I put my luggage out, went to Alamo and rented a car and just drove back.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It wasn’t good. It wasn’t what we were looking for. It was probably one of the worst Carb Days I’ve had. Down-but-not-out mentality right now. We need to figure out what the heck to do to turn this month turned around.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I think it was a good refresher. Carb Day is always a warmup and you try to treat it as the race. We got good laps in, a couple sets of tires and three sets of data to look at with our cars. I think we are as prepared as we can be for the race. When you have three cars, you can divide things up between all three of us and get three sets of feedback. When you have one car, you can only try one thing. We try to mix it up with three and then get as much info as possible before the race. If you get pushed back, I think it’s hard to work your way through the pack, there’s a lot of turbulent air. We want to stay up front and fortunately we are in the front mix to start and we just need to stay there all day. Today is just about getting ready for what the race is going to be like when you throw a bunch of cars into it. See what other cars do, how they react, how you need to follow them, and how you need to race them. We use that information to do good in the
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “I feel I have the car that has felt the best in all of my ‘500s’ so far, so I’m pretty happy. The last practice is the one that you really want to feel how the car is compared to the others and in traffic. And it’s hard to judge who is on what tires at what point, but I think we have something to play with definitely. There are two or three guys that I feel are definitely in their own class – Power, Dixon and Kanaan – but again it’s a 500-mile race and you have to make sure you are in contention at the end and I’m pretty happy.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Practice went pretty good. We had a new engine in the ABC Supply No. 41 car so we had to dial that in initially and get that all checked off. We worked on the car balance a little bit and we found a little more front grip in traffic which is good. I think we still need to find a little more for Sunday but overall it seems pretty decent.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): “I’m happy with our final practice session and I definitely think finishing in the top six is a positive way to head into the weekend. We worked on running in traffic and also allowing the team to make adjustments to the car on track. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys were also able to get in some hot stops in a race simulation. Overall I’m happy with the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet and I’m ready to get back out on track on Sunday.”