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Front Row Post Qual Press Conference Transcript

An Interview with Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon

THE MODERATOR: Always good to start on the front row. I know you had a little bit higher aspirations. I don’t know what the situation was. I stepped out for one minute and I wasn’t here and I saw that the wind was at some point really, really strong, and I know that’s always a consideration. Talk about what affected your runs, Will and Simon.
WILL POWER: Well, really it came down to reacting as quick as you could to a situation. Obviously those guys at Ganassi did a really good job of that. You know, we did everything we could with what we understood, you know, did what we could do. Yeah, wasn’t good enough today. You know, it was quite easy, flat, obviously, because you’re going so much slower and you have more grip, believe it or not, but yeah, that was the situation it was.
I’m happy with the front row, but I’ve been here before. I definitely would like to get pole.
THE MODERATOR: Simon, following on what Will just said, suddenly you were going a little bit slower than you had been. Does it feel very different to you as a race driver?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, it does. It was weird, we talked about before, we’re flying we’re talking, what, five miles an hour, right, and it feels like you’re going really slow, obviously, until you hit the wall. But yeah, I mean, for us personally, I’m just super proud, super proud of being part of Team Penske and putting the Avaya car on the front row. It’s a great partnership that we’re just starting, and it’s really fantastic.
I mean, obviously like Will said, we want to be on pole. I think we had and the other configuration I feel like we took to get there, either I or our teammates, but today was what we got. It is what it is. You’ve got to deal with it. We only got one attempt.
I guess the weather was difficult, as well, with the gusts of wind. Sometimes you get the wind perfect, sometimes you get a headwind, and that is just the way it is.
But personally, I’m just super happy for the guys.
Q. Did you guys think that Helio or Juan was affected by the wind more than you two were?
SIMON PAGENAUD: It’s possible. We’re running very similar cars, so I mean, it’s very possible they had more wind than we did. I haven’t had the time to look, but it’s certainly a bit of a you need to be a bit lucky today for sure.
Q. With what happened this morning, how much do you jump in and get involved and try to get the car ready and how much do you get away and try and clear your mind?
WILL POWER: Yeah, after the decision, yeah, I was sitting there with the engineer trying to understand what we can possibly do to trim out the car, take some drag out and downforce because we had way too much. It was just stuck. It was quite easy to drive. So then you’re just looking for weird ways to make it fast through the air, and that was yeah, maybe we weren’t extreme enough. But you know, I felt we did everything we could.
Q. Is there more relief that this entire weekend with the rain delay and today’s debacle in the morning, it’s over and you can look towards the race now, or is there more urgency to scramble and figure out what you’re going to do?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Well, I think from our side, it’s more the show. We want to make sure we put on a good show for the fans. Already we had weather yesterday and we had everybody waiting. We’ve been waiting for this for a year, as well. We want to race.
We’re ready to go out after what happened this morning. It’s just a natural thing for us. I guess we just wanted to make sure IndyCar was putting on a good show and that people love the Indy 500.
Q. After the decision was made to change the rules for qualifying, was there any involvement by drivers or by teams to maybe convince IndyCar to do another decision?
WILL POWER: Well, yeah, I think there probably was some team owners involved. It was a pretty hard decision, but I think they did the right thing. You know, they had to make the problem was the fact that when you crash, the car flies, but I think that this is the first year we’ve ever had with this car that you could trim enough to make it quite hard to drive and people were making mistakes and crashing, which when I first started here at Indianapolis in ’08, that was happening every day. But the problem was the cars take off.
So I think it’s kind of identified a problem with this car. You know, until they get that fixed, I’m not sure what they can do. It’s a pretty tough problem. But I don’t think it’s just Chevy, either. I think it’s going to be it doesn’t matter. I think it’s just the fact that the floor is built for a road course, and we’re running it on an oval and it’s quite steep. That’s maybe one problem. I’m not an engineer; I don’t know.
You know, it’s just I thought it was great the fact that we could trim to drive the car. We haven’t had that opportunity for a long time. I thought that was great and everything was going well.
Like I said, back in the day, people used to crash every day. It was a normal thing. You can take the risk and trim out to be faster, but then obviously it’s lighter in the corner.
Q. Are you concerned when you go into a fast track like Texas or Pocono?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s not quite as fast there, you know. You’ve got to remember in qualifying trim we’re doing 200 at top speed, 240, 230, in the 230s. There you’re like 215.
SIMON PAGENAUD: At top speed, yeah.
WILL POWER: I don’t know. I think they’ve got to get more information on it and be way smarter in a couple weeks than we are right now about what they can do, but I can tell you now they made the right decision, and I think that was the only thing that they could do.
Q. Will, since all the problems have happened, I guess you can look back now and say should we have scheduled an oval before you came to Indianapolis to see maybe
WILL POWER: I don’t think it would have mattered. It would not have mattered. This is such a unique place, and we had ample time here to understand it. But you know, how can you understand what a car does backwards at 220 miles an hour? How can you understand that? There’s no wind tunnel. There’s no one who wants to be a crash test dummy and try that out at an oval, so it wouldn’t have mattered.
It’s actually pretty cool that we have such diverse ovals now, right? We go to Texas, really high bank; then you go to Milwaukee, it’s flat and short; then you go here, it’s somewhat banked and faster than anywhere else. There isn’t an oval we could do that would help us out in this situation. This is a unique place and a unique situation because I don’t think you run those qualifying downforce levels anywhere else, either.
Q. Are you sure? Simon could try it. You could talk him into it, being a crash test dummy.
WILL POWER: Yeah, he used to do that, but obviously it’s started to take a bit of a toll on his body.
Q. Your thoughts on Scott Dixon and him being on pole and even some of the guys up there in front; a lot of the big names are right there, the usual suspects as it were.
WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s not good to see him on pole. (Laughter.)
SIMON PAGENAUD: I don’t see your point here. It’s taking its toll. Take it back.
WILL POWER: Yeah, take it back. If I see him come in here, I might beat him up. (Laughter.)
No, those guys did a good job of reacting quickly. We did everything we could, and
SIMON PAGENAUD: He found something, huh?
WILL POWER: Yeah, he found something. I was surprised when I saw that first lap, 27. I was like, wow, they’ve found something that we haven’t thought of maybe, but it was only Scott’s car. None of the others did that. It was quite I think
SIMON PAGENAUD: Maybe it was the time of the day, too. Hard to know, really.
WILL POWER: Yeah. I think maybe nitrous or something. (Laughter.)
Q. Simon, looking ahead to the race, obviously this is your first year with Team Penske. Talk about sitting there in the front row, how you think next Sunday is going to play out for you, and how excited are you that you have a chance to win this thing?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Well, like I said earlier, I’m super excited. First of all, driving for Team Penske at the speedway as a driver is quite special. Just look at the names of who’s been driving for Roger in the past years; it’s quite incredible to be part of these people.
Yeah, I think we, all four of us, have a really good chance. I mean, even Juan, he’s going to come back. He’s really strong in race trim. We’ve had really solid cars. So I’m really excited. I think we have a good chance here.
But the Indy 500 is a bit like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. You’re never ready enough for this race. There’s so many things, nine to ten pit stops, a yellow can fall out at the wrong time, something can happen in pit lane. It’s crazy in pit lane. It can go all right up until the race and something can happen at the last moment where you don’t expect it.
You know, I’m just going to keep being like I have been, like pretty non emotional about it, and do my job, even though I’m super excited.
WILL POWER: He’s saying you’re emotionless. You’ve been coming in crying every day. Don’t lie. (Laughter.)
Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: I think it only would have made sense if we had the boost level and were allowed to trim out because otherwise it just would have been the same type of flat out, easy go around that it was. Yeah.
SIMON PAGENAUD: What you’re seeing is just car prep, really. I mean, at this level of downforce and boost, it’s not really hard for us, so if it was like it was this morning, then it was a complete different challenge for us, and then you really have to get after it, which was a lot of fun. Then you want a Fast Nine because you really want to put it all out there.
WILL POWER: Yeah, that’s risk versus reward, right? You can run those pods and be really light, but you may end up in the wall. That’s what was cool about it. That’s what’s always been cool about this place is that you can trim out and get faster on the straight, but can you make it through the corner, the four laps. That’s why it didn’t make sense to do a Fast Nine.
Q. I’d just like to ask, given the situation where it is basically flat out around here, what would you comment about basically cutting the downforce and increasing the horsepower and making the cars basically much more difficult to drive on the other hand?
WILL POWER: You’re preaching to the choir. I’ve been saying that ever since I joined the series, that we need more power, less grip, so we can you’re trying to get out of the corner. This place is probably not the best place for that type of thing, but I’ve been saying that all along, like why you don’t want your grandma to be able to ride around on your (indiscernible) at some of these ovals that we go to because that’s what it used to be like. Obviously in the last couple years it’s really changed the way you drive it. Slides around, you’ve got to really it’s in the driver’s hands.
As soon as you add too much grip and not enough power, it takes it out of the driver’s hands and you’re just guiding the car, you’re not driving it. I’ve been saying that forever.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Agreed.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Well, the pole sitter for the second time in his career, and he’s been strong all weekend, is Scott Dixon. But I’ve done this for a long time, and I don’t care what people say, it’s the beginning of the week, middle of the week, we start seeing the similar faces and we get a sense pretty early on who’s going to be a strong contender for the pole, and you’ve been that guy. Obviously you put together a big lap compared to what we had seen. You have to be thrilled with that because you knew you put a pretty big number down I would think.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I was definitely a little shocked with the first number when I saw it. I thought the steering wheel was broken but broken in a good way. Yeah, it’s a tough week, no matter which way you look at it, the curveballs that you get with the weather, but you understand that’s part of the month of May. It’s very tough, the conditions are tough, and especially when you’re trimming out.
Huge credit to Chevrolet. They’ve done an amazing job with these body kits. The low downforce, high boost, our car was extremely fast this morning in that configuration and then having to switch to the other configuration brings uncertainty because you only get we had a 30 minute session to try and work out what the competition had and what we needed to improve on, which makes it very tough.
You know, for me the effort for qualifying and how it was for pole, you know, Team Target just did an amazing job. The whole Chip Ganassi organization did a phenomenal job, I think, to obviously set their sights on a different way to try and go for the pole that they had to for later this afternoon.
Yeah, excited we’re on the pole for the 99th running of the Indy 500. We’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of laps before we can try and have a crack at the race win.
Q. Going back to the Chevy, things like that, were you at all concerned, obviously this was done for y’all’s safety, the switch this morning and stuff, were you concerned for your safety driving your car?
SCOTT DIXON: Um, you know, safety is obviously a big part of the sport, and it’s a big part of motor racing in general. I think if you look at oval racing as some of the most dangerous, you know, looking at data, the other week we were going into Turn 3 on Friday over 240 miles an hour. The speeds are definitely up, and I think when you have manufacturers spending money on trying to make the cars go faster with horsepower and aero kits, that’s going to create these bigger speeds.
You know, it’s always in the back of your mind, but we’ve actually had such a smooth week. The car has been very good. It didn’t start great but we worked on it, and even this morning when we were in high boost/low drag configuration, the car felt great. I think with the crashes we’ve seen, they’ve all been in very different scenarios, very different situations. Two were in low boost, one was a flat tire, one was very close in traffic.
You know, we don’t want to see cars getting in the air, and there’s only a few tools that you have in the toolbox to use, and IndyCar, whether it’s the right or wrong situation, for safety, it’s kind of all they had.
I think we saw today obviously the speeds came down. With the speeds down obviously I think the safety is going to get better anyway.
Q. Two questions: One is right before qualifying, your engineer, your team manager, your managing director, they were all mad about the decision to switch because they felt that this morning you had found the setup that was going to win the pole, so to come back and give it to them with this setup, do you feel redeemed in any way?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, there’s two races, right? You want to hedge all your bets for the race. The race for the pole is definitely prestigious. It’s something for drivers you’re very excited about, but it’s not winning the Indianapolis 500.
I think when the decisions were made, yes, everybody piped up and chipped in with their own points, but in reality, there’s nothing you could do about it, so there was no reason to sort of moan about it. We just got on and put our heads down and tried to find the best configuration to go out there and have a decent run. We started way off in our first 30 minute practice. I think I even did the first three laps at speed. So the team worked very hard, and Chris and the whole engineering team did a phenomenal job.
But you know, the hard part in this situation is that you’ve got two very different you’ve got Chevy and Honda with two very different cars, and maintaining a set of rules for everyone is tough to do. It’s always a job I’d never want, that part. I’m good with that.
Q. Also your series championships, we all know about how they’re separated by five years, five years, five years. Last time you won the pole, you won this race. So talk a little bit about how important that is.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, if we could replicate 2008, that would be fantastic. That’s the goal. It’s very hard to pull that off. You know, unfortunately there’s 32 other very good competitors out there and a lot of stacked teams, a lot of teams that this week we’ve been running with in traffic and they’re very, very good.
I think the tow and the draft this year is bigger than any other year, so it’s not going to be one of those years. When I won in 2008 you could break the tow after three seconds and drive away if you had good speed, and that’s not going to be the case this time. It’s going to be flat out. We need to try and stay near the front and give ourselves a good shot come the last 10 laps.
Q. Given the wash out yesterday and the changes this morning and the no Fast Nine and now you’ve had to wait for all these cars to take their laps, how does that stack up this year, waiting it out as opposed to maybe the pressure of the Fast Nine?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I think the pressure came before you even ran just because with weather conditions changing and you know that it can change the speed a fair amount, we thought originally early it was going to be very good, especially when we were in low downforce configuration just because it was going to be cooler especially on that day we were going to start at 11:00 and it would have helped.
But I think when you know that you’ve got one run and you’re done, that’s when the pressure is on. You need to nail it. It’s the scenario of going out of the pits and turning into full power at the right time, to cool the engine enough, to shifting the gears at the right time to start your lap. It’s extremely close out there with the competition. For all of that to come down to one run, you need to get perfect.
Yeah, the pressure was really tough there, and after you’ve done it, there’s a sense of relief. But then obviously we were on the pole at that point with only three other cars that had run. You’ve got to wait another two hours to see how that stacks up, and it was definitely very daunting. I didn’t watch hardly any of qualifying. I was actually back watching another race on TV and the team truck.
Q. When the decision was made to run the different configuration with the same boost level like at the race, was the setup of your teammates’ cars identical or very similar to your setup?
SCOTT DIXON: I’m not sure right now, but I think after we ran in the morning, there was a few different iterations and comfort levels for all the guys. It’s hard to change wholesale for something that you’ve been working on for a while. You know, I think basic setups were fairly close, but obviously springs and dampers and stuff that our personal feelings were definitely of some difference.
Q. I wanted to ask you, with all the hectic melee kind of that took place this morning, how did that overall affect your approach to how you qualified, and did you have any help from your teammates in terms of setups or how to drive with all the new changes?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I think with obviously with five cars here and how the practices ran this morning, I think it was only me and TK in the first group and the other three in practice, too, but everybody was trying something slightly different, and I’m sure there were points where our engineers will be looking at all the data, so yes, the combined effort definitely helped. On what parts I’m not certain, but it’s just trying to cover everything. It’s just trying to get the gear perfect. It’s trying to make sure the engine is going to be turned up to the full and right amount when you need it, and what gears, where to select the gear, what the wind is doing. It’s just an endless count of things that you kind of run through with the engineers in preparation for the run.
But you know, it’s no different to other times you run for the pole here. It just was a little more complicated today.
Q. Your kids are now old enough to kind of know what you’re doing out there. Have you been able to experience they’ve been able to experience some big moments in your career. How cool is that?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. With Poppy obviously being five, almost six, five and three quarters, she is obviously she loves it. She loves the motor racing. I think she actually likes Dario even more than me. Good thing Dario is not racing right now.
But it’s cool. You know, it’s cool to have them at the track. Obviously Emma, too. She’s been a massive support, and is always there for me, and she got to wave the green flag for the qualifying today. I told her when I got out that I actually waved and did she see me, and she’s like, oh, did you really? I’m like, no, I didn’t wave to you. (Laughter.)
It’s fantastic to have the family here, and Tilly is obviously on a steep learning curve around the racetrack, but they love coming down here. It’s just fantastic when you live in Indianapolis and see the months change. When I dropped Poppy to school during the days this week, the checkered flag is at school and her telling all her friends that hopefully I’ll be in the race and things like that, it’s great to see. It’s always very, very nice to have your family around you.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, congratulations.

Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Postponed by Rain

 

INDIANAPOLIS (May 16, 2015) – Persistent afternoon rain canceled the remainder of scheduled track activity on the first day of qualifications for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, so the process begins anew May 17.

A revised schedule for Old National Armed Forces Pole Day calls for the 34 entries to make one four-lap qualifying attempt each on the 2.5-mile oval (10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET), followed by the “Fast Nine Shootout” (1:45-2:30 p.m.) in which the top nine cars return to determine the Verizon P1 Award for pole position and the first three rows for the May 24 race. Finally, positions 31-33 will be determined in a 45-minute session (3-3:45 p.m.).

Ryan Hunter-Reay (229.845 mph) and Carlos Huertas (228.235) were the only drivers to post four-lap qualifying runs before the rain today, but those will not count since not everyone was able to make an attempt. Two groups of cars will be accorded practice time from 8-8:20 a.m. and 8:20-8:40 a.m. (ET) May 17, prior to qualifying.

In today’s morning practice, Helio Castroneves recorded a lap of 233.474 mph that, while unofficial, is the fastest lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since the 1996 race when Eddie Cheever Jr., had the fastest race lap at 236.103 mph. That same year, Arie Luyendyk set the one- and four-lap qualifying records (237.498 mph and 236.986 mph, respectively).

“That 233 mph number was pretty cool, but it was with a little bit of help (with a tow from cars in front of him),” said Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet. “The guys have really done an amazing job over the last couple of days since the (May 13 crash). To lose a day and still be on top of the practice speeds is a testament to how hard they worked. The weather, there is nothing we can do about the weather. We’ll just come back and see what’s in store.”

Castroneves seeks to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time Indy 500 winners, and he’s in contention for pole history, too. Castroneves, with No. 1 qualifying efforts in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2010, is tied with Foyt and Rex Mays. A fifth would put him second among all-time Indy 500 pole winners, one behind Team Penske consultant Mears. Castroneves also could give team owner Roger Penske a record-extending 18th pole position at the Indy 500.

Added Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, the Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader: “It’s a little bit of a disappointment that we didn’t get to qualify today because the Team Penske cars were very strong in the practice sessions. I’ve been happy with the car even though we continue to struggle a bit with the balance. We are confident that we know what direction we need to go with the weather. It’s going to be a fast, exciting qualifying session, I know that.”

In 2014, Ed Carpenter earned the Verizon P1 Award in the Fast Nine Shootout with a four-lap average speed of 231.076 mph – the second consecutive year that Carpenter started from the pole. He’ll seek to become the first to earn the pole in three consecutive years May 17. Twenty drivers have won the race from the pole – most recently Castroneves in 2009.

“Last year we were pretty solid, so I think we can get in (to the Fast Nine Shootout), but we’ve got to play our cards right and find a little bit (of speed),” said Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet. “The thing we’ve got to figure out is how to make the fourth lap still be good.”

INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES
WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s raining, and I think INDYCAR has got a pretty good plan to run tomorrow and get everyone through the line and have a Fast Nine. If anything, it’ll be even more exciting, having it all really compressed. Looking forward to it. It’s really difficult to see where everyone stacks up, but I felt very comfortable and I wasn’t so much yesterday. Yeah, we’ll see what happens.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s a little bit of a disappointment that we didn’t get to qualify today because the Team Penske cars were very strong in the practice sessions. Hopefully tomorrow the forecast will break up a bit and we can see if the Verizon Chevy has the speed to win the pole position. I’ve been happy with the car even though we continue to struggle a bit with the balance. We are confident that we know what direction we need to go with the weather. It’s going to be a fast, exciting qualifying session, I know that.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet): “That 233 mph number was pretty cool, but it was with a little bit of help (from a tow). The Shell V-Power Nitro+ guys have really done an amazing job over the last couple of days since the flip. To lose a day and still be on top of the practice speeds today is a testament to how hard they worked. The weather, there is nothing we can do about the weather. We’ll just come back tomorrow and see what’s in store.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was nice to post a big number in the morning even though it doesn’t really mean very much. It was with a tow, but it was fun to see it pop up on the dash. I still don’t really know where we stack up in terms of our four-lap speed, but we’re pretty good. Tomorrow, hopefully we’ll get into the top nine. If we don’t, I think we’ll be close. That should give us a pretty reasonable starting position for the race. It’s going to be a scramble, but I feel better about it today than I did a few days ago.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “It’s a shame we couldn’t get qualifying in today, but it’s the same for everybody. Our Steak ‘n Shake car was pretty quick this morning and we’ll be qualifying early in the day tomorrow at around 10:30 or so and I feel pretty good about our chances. We’ll have to see how it plays out. Definitely the guys that will run two hours into the session will be facing a little bit warmer of a track, so hopefully that plays to our advantage. I would have liked to have got in today, but they would have only gotten a handful in today so we would have had to go again anyway and I would rather have to only hold my breath for four laps instead of eight.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “Days like today are hard. It stinks for all of the fans. I feel like the series is just in a funk as far as weather. It seems like it rains every important day or it’s forecasted to be a bad weather day. I really hope this all moves out and it’s a beautiful day tomorrow, where we can put on an awesome show for the fans. One thing about today being delayed is tomorrow’s schedule and activities are going to be intense. There’s going to be a lot of pressure. Everyone gets one shot to put it in the Fast Nine and that’s it. You have to balance going fast and being aggressive to get into the Fast Nine, but knowing you only have that one opportunity. You can’t be too aggressive and overshoot it and have a bad run because there’s no second attempt. It will be a great day, it will be exciting. Hopefully a lot of people come watch us!”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “We’ll get here tomorrow and try to do the whole program again. We didn’t get it in today. The team looks good. We tried a couple of different things this morning in practice and JR (Hildebrand) looked really solid. We’re really getting up to speed with our program. If we get all of our details right tomorrow, we should be in the hunt.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet): “We ran two qualifying stints this morning to get our balance squared away and the car felt good. To be honest, I’m not too disappointed we got rained out. Our car really works well when we have hotter conditions and Sunday is expected to be warmer than today. I just feel badly for the fans who came to see the qualifying. Hopefully everyone can make it out to see a run for the Fast Nine and the pole. I believe we are in the position for a spot in the Fast Nine. We were ninth today with the ‘no tow’ speeds. So we are on the edge. I’d love to have our little one-car Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom team slide into the Fast Nine and battle the big teams. So I’m anxious to get going for Sunday with the Robert Graham Special.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): (On dealing with rain delays): “You get used to them over time. In your earlier years, you have to think about things more. The pressure piles on a little bit, but it’s part of it. You just have to wait for it, be patient and keep your thoughts cool and calm and collected and get on with the job. It’s not a big deal. You want to just get on with it, though. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins / Curb Honda): “It’s disappointing for us. With a late draw in the qualifying line, we had an excellent opportunity to do a true qualifying simulation in this morning’s practice and watch what speeds everyone else posted on their qualifying runs. This would have given us a great opportunity to make the Bowers & Wilkins Honda even faster and secure us a spot in the Fast Nine Shootout. But we know we have a fast car and are ready to come back and do it again tomorrow.”

Saturday Practice Results

Rank Car Name Driver Engine Speed Time BestLap Total Laps
1 3 Helio Castroneves Chevy 233.474 00:38.5482 5 12
2 6 JR Hildebrand Chevy 232.985 00:38.6291 4 7
3 22 Simon Pagenaud Chevy 231.918 00:38.8068 4 5
4 1 Will Power Chevy 231.907 00:38.8086 10 13
5 2 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevy 231.731 00:38.8382 3 7
6 5 James Hinchcliffe Honda 231.649 00:38.8519 6 7
7 9 Scott Dixon Chevy 231.640 00:38.8534 2 3
8 98 Gabby Chaves Honda 231.345 00:38.9030 3 15
9 83 Charlie Kimball Chevy 231.088 00:38.9462 3 6
10 26 Carlos Munoz Honda 231.071 00:38.9490 4 7
11 14 Takuma Sato Honda 230.959 00:38.9680 3 6
12 10 Tony Kanaan Chevy 230.664 00:39.0178 10 13
13 27 Marco Andretti Honda 230.572 00:39.0334 6 10
14 15 Graham Rahal Honda 230.539 00:39.0390 3 19
15 24 Townsend Bell Chevy 230.476 00:39.0496 11 12
16 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Honda 230.412 00:39.0605 14 16
17 25 Justin Wilson Honda 230.348 00:39.0714 7 8
18 20 Ed Carpenter Chevy 230.285 00:39.0820 3 6
19 8 Sage Karam Chevy 230.048 00:39.1222 10 10
20 17 Sebastian Saavedra Chevy 229.930 00:39.1423 10 11
21 21 Josef Newgarden Chevy 229.927 00:39.1428 8 8
22 32 Oriol Servia Honda 229.711 00:39.1796 3 4
23 41 Jack Hawksworth Honda 229.681 00:39.1847 3 5
24 4 Stefano Coletti Chevy 229.674 00:39.1859 3 12
25 7 James Jakes Honda 229.581 00:39.2018 8 11
26 48 Alex Tagliani Honda 229.526 00:39.2112 4 4
27 43 Conor Daly Honda 229.270 00:39.2551 16 17
28 11 Sebastien Bourdais Chevy 229.225 00:39.2627 3 6
29 63 Pippa Mann Honda 228.932 00:39.3129 4 13
30 29 Simona de Silvestro Honda 228.802 00:39.3354 7 9
31 88 Bryan Clauson Chevy 227.716 00:39.5229 7 9
32 91 Buddy Lazier Chevy 225.890 00:39.8424 4 10

Pagenaud Fastest on Fast Friday; All-Female Team to Race with Grace

INDIANAPOLIS (May 15, 2015) – “Fast Friday” proved just that at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with six Verizon IndyCar Series drivers running laps in excess of 230 mph on the final full practice day before qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

Click HERE to view and download the results of Friday’s practice session and HERE to view and download the combined practice timesheet.

Speeds have been up in practice on the 2.5-mile oval this week from a year ago, in great part due to the new aerodynamic bodywork kits developed by Honda and Chevrolet this season. In addition, INDYCAR again granted additional engine turbocharger boost to the manufacturers today through qualifying weekend that will yield approximately 40 added horsepower and faster speeds.

Taking advantage of it all, Simon Pagenaud posted the fastest lap of the month in the final half-hour of practice. Battling shifting winds, Pagenaud’s top lap was 230.698 mph in the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet.

“The conditions were difficult,” said Pagenaud, who earned $10,000 and the F.E. Harding Fastest Lap Award for topping the chart on Fast Friday. “The conditions were finally hot and there are a lot of differences in how the body kits react depending on the weather. For Team Penske, the biggest thing is we worked really well as a team to get different versions of aero levels for tomorrow and understanding that, so we can look at that information tonight and decide very precisely what we need.”

Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon (230.655) and Tony Kanaan (230.457) were nipping at Pagenaud’s heels on the speed chart, with Andretti Autosport’s Marco Andretti leading the Honda contingent fourth overall with a lap of 230.312. Also eclipsing the 230 plateau were Team Penske’s Will Power (230.206) and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sage Karam (230.166), the latter admitting he was wary of the windy conditions.

“It was very slippery,” said Karam, driver of the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet. “In qualifying trim in general, the cars are very sketchy. Every lap I was out there, I felt like I was going to crash. Tomorrow’s going to be the longest five laps (one warmup lap at speed and four qualifying laps) of my life. The car is really, really fast, but it’s on edge. I think we have a good shot at the Fast Nine, which is the goal. …I think it will come down to the most fearless driver winning the pole this weekend.”

A year ago, only one driver – two-time defending Verizon P1 Award winner Ed Carpenter – crested 230 mph prior to the first qualifying day. While many of the top laps today were set with aid of a “tow” from leading cars cutting through the air in front of them, three drivers – Dixon, Power and Karam – posted “no-tow” laps that still topped 230. All 34 cars entered in this year’s Indianapolis 500 took to the track.

Attention now fully shifts to qualifying mode. Two hours of practice are scheduled for Saturday morning, ahead of the six-hour, 50-minute qualifying session that sets the provisional field. All cars return Sunday for qualifying that sets the final starting grid, and with 34 entries, the potential for cars “bumping” their way into and out of the field looms large.

Huertas Draws First Qualifying Position, Pagenaud Down the List

Carlos Huertas, in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, drew the first qualifying spot in the blind draw following practice. Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion in the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, was second. Backup cars were included in the draw, though some teams don’t have them and most don’t plan to use them.

Pagenaud drew the 52nd overall spot (23rd among primary cars), Dixon fourth (third among primary cars) and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Power 26th overall (14th among primary cars).

All-female Team to Race with Grace

The Indianapolis 500 has seen nine different women compete as drivers, but an initiative announced today at IMS would see participation expanded in 2016 to the first all-female team focused on drawing women into all areas of the sport.

Grace Autosport is the brainchild of Beth Paretta, former marketing director for SRT Motorsports/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. She has formed a core group that includes driver Katherine Legge, a two-time Indianapolis 500 starter, aerodynamicist Catherine Crawford, motorsports engineer Lauren Elkins, junior design engineer Jessica Rowe and motorsports public relations veteran Barbara Burns.

“This is a very visible campaign for women’s empowerment,” said Paretta. “Motor racing is one of the few sports where men and women can compete side by side and win.”

The initial plan, Paretta said, is to have the team ready to race in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 in May 2016. Longer-term goals include a full-season entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series and eventual expansion into other forms of motorsports.

Just as important, Legge added, is developing a path for young women interested in any area of motorsports – driving, engineering, mechanics, management and more. Legge has been a proponent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of the USA.

“What we’re trying to do is make it a positive thing, get rid of the stigma of being a woman in motorsport and make it something that everybody is very proud of,” Legge said. “It’s going to be very successful. So I’m very much looking forward to the challenge to seeing it from the beginning, from an idea, kind of turn out and bloom into something very special.”

Top Colts Draft Pick Waves Green Flag

Phillip Dorsett, the top draft pick last month for the Indianapolis Colts, was the honorary starter waving the green flag to begin practice. The fleet wide receiver saw up close just how fast the Verizon IndyCar Series cars are.

“They were flying,” Dorsett said. “I’m not that fast. It definitely is cool.”

INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-PRACTICE QUOTES

WILL POWER (No 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Verizon Chevy ran well today, despite the heat as it took us a bit by surprise. We did a backtrack and have a better understanding of what to run. We’ll take another good look at everything tonight for tomorrow. But overall, we feel comfortable with the way we ended the day.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We struggled a little with the balance of the car today. Nothing major but we just need to figure out why before qualifying tomorrow. I’m pretty confident that we’ll have plenty of speed but we need to find just a bit more to get the Verizon Chevy to where it can win the Verizon P1 Pole Award.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Shell V-Power Nitro+ Chevrolet was looking strong out there today. We really worked hard on the qualifying setup and feel that we have a very quick car. Now we just need to wait and see what the weather will be like tomorrow to help guide us in the direction we need to go. I’m really looking forward to qualifying. We played around with a few sidepod configurations, going from one extreme to the other with them. We just need to look at data to see what we are going to do tomorrow.”

STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “This is my first time on an oval so we had to take it slow. Going at that speed, it is not something I am used to. So we took it step-by-step, slowly reducing the aero and trying to go faster each time. I have to be honest. After the first two days it was pretty difficult because, like I said, I am not used to going these kinds of speeds. I finally did get used to it and today was the first time we actually started to get close to a qualifying trim. The car behaved well and I was comfortable. I was able to run a 229 and I think the fastest is 230, so we are not that far off. I think I still have a lot to learn and we have some things to do on the car for qualifying tomorrow. As far as qualifying, we haven’t gotten to the complete full qualifying trim yet. That is something we might try tomorrow morning in practice. I don’t dream of being on the pole. I am a rookie and it is my first time ever on an oval. I think it takes time and a lot of experience to be fast on this track. If we could be between 10th and 15th I think that would be a good result.

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer / CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was kind of a tough day. The conditions of the track were OK for the first hour of practice and then the track temperature went way up which was when we rolled out. We couldn’t even put a couple of laps together let alone four. Everybody was basically having that same problem. We didn’t see anybody do a four lap run for hours. We came back and put some more downforce on the car then went back out. We started to dial it in towards the end of the day. We’ve at least got a feel for the car which is important going into tomorrow. I think it’ll be tough, you hate to put it this way but I think it’ll just be luck of the draw; whoever ends up going out when the weather conditions are good and the track temp is low. It could be a little overcast for ten minutes while you’re making your run and it could end up making a huge difference with how sensitive these cars are. I think that if the conditions are nice, if the track temp stays cool, then I think we could see the type of elevated speeds that people were talking about, 233 or 234. I hope for the sake of the fans and everything that the cars are good and we can go out there and put up some big speeds. We’ll just have to see how it shakes out tomorrow.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution / Big Machine Records Chevrolet): “We knew that early in the morning or late in the afternoon would be the best conditions. In the middle there, you didn’t see a lot of track running just because of the wind and how hot the track was. It was very slippery. In qualifying trim in general, the cars are very sketchy. Every lap I was out there, I felt like I was going to crash. Tomorrow’s going to be the longest five laps of my life. The car is really, really fast, but it’s on edge. I think we have a good shot at the Fast Nine, which is the goal.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was hard to tell with the conditions changing so much out there today. It was hot and slippery in the late afternoon but better in the early afternoon. I was happy with the speed in the Target car but I think there is more in it. We have go look over everything tonight and look at where we can make improvements. Qualifying here at Indy is always a challenge and you never know what the weather will throw at you.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a good last day of practice before qualifying. We were able to get quite a few laps in today for the No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet and really work on how we want to approach tomorrow. The weather was a little difficult to work through, but it’s better to know you’re fast in difficult weather just in case we run into it tomorrow or Sunday. We’ve had a really solid week and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to be fast this weekend.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut – HAUS Vaporizer KVSH Chevrolet): “It was a very challenging day for the Hydroxycut/Haus Vaporizer team. We tried to make the low downforce setup that we had yesterday work today and it never did. So we backtracked and put more downforce on the car, but by that time we had messed with the setup quite a bit and we couldn’t quite hit our marks after that. We are just going to have to take a good hard look at the data tonight and try and get the proper setup for the conditions for tomorrow’s qualifying. Fortunately we have one more practice session before we qualify, so hopefully we will get it right.

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “It was an interesting day, very different from the last couple of days. It’s very warm with heavy air and a lot of humidity. So that made for a loss of track grip and at the same time we’re trimming out the car, so that makes for a doubly hard time. It was a good test, a good experiment, because under very low grip conditions you’re trying to maximize the mechanical grip with the low downforce. I think we made good progress in gathering good data from the three cars so hopefully we can put it all together and go faster tomorrow.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “We didn’t run much today, we were just trying out some qualifying simulation stuff. It was so hot, and windy, and sunny which is the big thing so the track temperature was pretty high. I think it was a pretty tricky day to be out there and we ended up calling it a day early just because we didn’t want to confuse ourselves too much before tomorrow. The Steak ‘n Shake car has been competitive all week. I feel like we are right in the hunt as far as being the top Honda. I’m looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and seeing what we can do.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a positive day out there for the No. 17 AFS Chevrolet. We worked on getting the balance right for the qualifying setup and making sure I was happy with where the car is leading into tomorrow. It was pretty tricky conditions with the wind – it definitely made the session interesting. We’re hoping that everything maintains for tomorrow.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Today was positive and I ran some faster times than I have this week. The car felt really good, but we still have some trims we can do to get some more speed which I’m sure we will do tomorrow. We will see how it goes tomorrow. We could have trimmed more today, but it is just practice and tomorrow we have a lot of time to try things. Also, the temperature went up quite a lot in the middle of the session today so we didn’t see the point in running that much. It cooled down at the end but we didn’t see the point in going out at the end.”

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Today was good. We didn’t run much in the afternoon because of the temperatures. The car was running well when I was out there. The team is doing a great job but it is a bit different because the goal is just to get the car into the big show for James (Davison). We are focusing on this task. It is a bit of a strange approach compared to everyone else because the car will start at the back no matter where I qualify it. I want to be conservative to make sure nothing bad happens but at the same time it is when you do things not natural that you end up doing mistakes so we are trying to take it normally but not allowing us to make any big chances. It has been a bit special but we are doing well at it!”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “With today being the first sunny day with warmer track temperatures, it really threw things for a loop and slowed things down. Everyone was running with much more down force and we’re not running anywhere close to last year’s down force. The way today went, I’ll be thrilled if we make it into the fast nine. We’re on the outside looking in now. Last year we were pretty solid so I think we can get in, but we got to play our cards right and find a little bit overnight. The thing we’ve got to figure out is how to make the fourth lap still be good. It was definitely a tricky day, I think everyone was struggling at times and it’s really hard to tell who’s good and who’s not.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “The guys did an amazing job. They prepared another car really quickly and got us ready to go. We’ve been out here today just getting up to speed and we are relatively back in the game. Qualifying will be tricky because it’s slippery when it’s hot. Looking at the heat, I think whoever draws the first spot is going to be the luckiest guy. It’s only going to get worse as the temperature comes up so you want to draw early if anything. I like the fast nine and obviously you want to get into the fast on Saturday and go for the shootout for the pole on Sunday. We got a lot of good data today, as did my teammates, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet): “Today was a good day. The conditions were difficult. The conditions were finally hot and there are a lot of differences in how the body kits react depending on the weather. For Team Penske the biggest thing is we worked really well as a team to get different versions of aero levels for tomorrow and understanding that, so we can look at that information tonight and decide very precisely what we need. Really excited about that.” (Do you feel like a favorite for pole?): “No. I don’t feel like I’m favorite. I feel like I have a great race car and the whole Team Penske is doing a great job. The car is amazing and really fast. There’s so many outside factors that will come into play tomorrow. The biggest one is the draw. The decision that we make with the aero level may be too low or too high for the temperature. It’s going to be really tough for the engineers. I hope my engineer Ben (Bretzman) still has some hair at the end of the day.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet): “We have had a good week of practice in gathering information for race day as well as running traffic. And parallel with that, we have had to work on our pit stops every day. We have made many hot stops each day so far. Now it’s time to worry about getting the car ready for qualifying. We have been gaining more data for the fastest four laps we can put together. Qualifying on Saturday really depends on track temperatures and conditions – plus getting a good draw position for the qualifying line. You have to remember that the qualifying speed is the average of four laps and that is the challenge everyone is facing right now. Are you a little soft on Lap 1 and pick up speed for the rest of the run or do you have a fastest one first and then fall off for the final three laps? It’s a tap dance to get your tires just right throughout the four laps. This Dreyer & Reinbold – Kingdom team is a great group and they have put together a solid and strong program this week. Now, it’s up to me to execute on Saturday.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “For today we really just focused on qualifying simulations and stuff. The speed in the car was really good. Just making it for four laps is the tricky part. We kind of went from understeer to oversteer and never found a happy place for four laps. Now, we need to fix some things tonight and see what we can get tomorrow.”

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Special Honda): “Today was a very important day for us, but unfortunately we spent a lot of time in the garage. We showed up on pit lane with a little over an hour to go, and we tried to do too much in an hour to get a strong qualifying setup. But the positive thing is that the car is good in race trim. I just want to do so much for AJ Foyt Racing, I want to do so much for our sponsor in Al-Fe Heat Treating and be fast. But with the limited amount of running we’ve been able to do, we couldn’t really put the car where it needed to be for a qualifying run. But tomorrow’s another day. We’ll try to be ready to go early in the morning and see what we have. That’s going to be the key – that we try to get the best position we can in qualifying. Obviously it’s important to be in the show, and I think we will be, I have no doubt about that. But I also think there’s a bit more to it, and I would really like to extract everything out of what we have to put on a great showing for qualifying.”

PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Words cannot describe how proud I am of the Dale Coyne Racing crew for getting this car built and getting us back out on track today for an install lap and a shakedown. I’m so thankful to them for all the work that went into this and it is so great for us to have that baseline going into tomorrow for the qualifying effort. I am hopeful going into tomorrow that I’ll have a strong qualifying effort in my Dale Coyne Racing car supporting Susan G. Komen.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was kind of a frustrating end of the day with people coming out of the pits in front of us when we were trying to get out to do some final qualifying runs. Overall the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet is pretty good and Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing has worked really hard all week to make the car better. I think we have the opportunity to go out tomorrow and put ourselves in the Fast Nine and try for the pole on Sunday.”

BRYAN CLAUSON (No. 88 Jonathan Byrd’s / Cancer Treatment Centers of America Chevrolet): “It’s been a roller coaster week, but our car has been fairly comfortable all day. We have been moving the balance around all day and we finally got it right at the end. We ran some pretty good laps on our own. We’ll look at our notes tonight and see what we can do to get even quicker. We have a short laundry list of things to do in the morning before qualifying. We’re right there to be in the top 30 when it’s all said and done tomorrow, all we have to do is give it four good ones”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins / Curb Honda): “I think we had a very positive day today. We made some good changes. The car was working well. It’s definitely been the hardest day out there for me. I think here, today, tomorrow and Sunday will be the hardest days. I think once we get back to race trim downforce configurations it will be a lot easier. I’m sure you’ll hear the same for Sage (Karam) – it’s not easy out there. I think the track conditions weren’t very favorable, as well. Very strong winds. The track was very greasy, as well and it definitely made for some tough times out there. But I was very happy with the car. We made great progress all day. Made some good changes that allowed me to post some quick speeds.”

Pagenaud Fastest in Practice; Vautier to Qualify for Davison

INDIANAPOLIS (May 14, 2015) – Simon Pagenaud has watched his teammates grab the headlines since he joined Team Penske at the beginning of this season, but the Frenchman stole the spotlight in the fifth practice session leading up to the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

Driving the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet, Pagenaud logged the best of nearly 2,000 laps turned on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval, at 228.793 mph. Carlos Munoz, who eclipsed 230 mph in practice Wednesday, was second fastest today in the No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda, at 228.126.

“Today was a really good day for the Avaya car,” Pagenaud said. “We’ve been focusing on understanding what the car does in qualifying runs. Very happy to see the preparation from Penske and how fast the 22 car is. So far, so good.”

Pagenaud is teamed with a pair of Indianapolis 500 winners – Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya – and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power in the Penske armada. Montoya and Power have each won a race this season, while Castroneves has won two Verizon P1 Awards for taking the pole position.

“We’re happy but we can be happier,” Pagenaud said. “At the end of the day we did some pack running and once again we’re very happy so far. What’s difficult is it’s really cold right now, so you get more downforce because the air is so thick. We know it’s going to be warmer in the race, that’s what makes it tricky. You’re trying to understand what the car’s going to do in the race. It’s definitely going to be warmer.”

Following Pagenaud and Munoz on the speed chart were Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Sage Karam (227.683), Scott Dixon (227.634) and Tony Kanaan (227.527). Friday marks the final day of practice prior to two days of qualifications that will set the lineup for the 500-mile race on May 24.

The lone incident of the day came in the last of the six-hour practice session. Josef Newgarden was uninjured when his No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet spun and hit the SAFER Barrier exiting Turn 1 in nearly the same spot where Castroneves’ car hit a day earlier. Newgarden’s car slid on its top before coming to rest in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2.

“I got around pretty quick in Turn 1; it definitely surprised me,” Newgarden said. “I knew it happened when it did, so I’m just lucky that everything’s good. The Dallara tub held up pretty well. I just want to get back to my guys and see what the damage is. I’m sure it’s bad but we’ll see what we can do going forward. It was a hard bit, (but) I feel fine.”

DAY 5 NOTEBOOK

De Silvestro Returns, Mann Recovers

Andretti Autosport driver Simona de Silvestro returned to practice today, two days after her No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda sustained heavy damage from a fire sparked by a fuel leak. De Silvestro was uninjured in the on-track incident and the team rebuilt the car at its Indianapolis shop.

“Today we ran mostly in traffic … we learned a lot,” de Silvestro said. “I have a little bit of work to do, and I’m looking forward to going back out there tomorrow and working on it.”

Meanwhile, Pippa Mann spent the day recuperating and watching her No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda being repaired after a crash Wednesday that saw her car hit three different walls. She hopes to be back on track Friday afternoon to log important laps prior to qualifying this weekend.

“I can’t overstate how horrible I feel for these guys,” Mann said of her hard-at-work crew, “but at the same time, unfortunately it is a part of racing. … It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we’re going to work hard. That’s the biggest thing, the amount of work it’s created for these guys.”

Vautier Will Qualify Car for Davison

Tristan Vautier will drive the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda in Indianapolis 500 qualifications this weekend in place of James Davison, who will be competing in a sports car race in Canada. Davison, who finished 16th in his first “500” start a year ago, is expected back in the car for the final two practice sessions, on Monday and May 22, before the race on May 24.

Vautier, meanwhile, is scheduled to compete in the Blancpain Endurance GT Series event on the same day as the “500.”

“It is an interesting tradeoff,” said Vautier, the 2011 Pro Mazda and 2012 Indy Lights champion who earned Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2013 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. “Obviously, we’re not going to get out there trying to break records but work toward the qualifying. It’s an interesting task to be in an Indy car and qualifying it for another driver, but I’m approaching it like I would any other race.”

Vautier completed his refresher program on the 2.5-mile oval today and logged 93 laps with a top speed of 225.406. Davison recorded the fourth-fastest lap (228.043 mph) in practice Wednesday before departing for Canada.

“It all came together last minute, but we have been talking about it for quite a while: that if James’ deal would come through I would qualify the car,” Vautier said. “So, yeah, it was not really a surprise for me but more of a long wait to see that everything was confirmed. But it’s really cool. I was happy to get back in an Indy car – it’s been a year and a half now. The first two or three laps were kind of weird, but it came back pretty quickly, so really cool. It was cool to have Simon (Pagenaud, his former teammate) on the track with me for quite a while. It reminded me of the Schmidt (Peterson Motorsports) days, so it was fun.

IMS to Honor World War II Vets at Race

In observance of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, 11 WWII veterans will be honored before the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500. Among those honored will be U.S. Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin, 91, of Fairfield, Iowa, who flew the final combat mission of the war on Aug. 14, 1945, the day the war ended.

The veterans recently took a trip to Washington, D.C., on an Indy Honor Flight, a program that offers free-round trip travel to veterans so they may visit the memorials in our nation’s capital that stand in their honor.

Of Note:
The No. 91 Wynn Iowa Vision Research Chevrolet driven by 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier became the 34th entry to take to the track this week. Larry Curry is team manager for the Lazier Racing Partners entry, with David Cripps the engineer. … All entries will receive an additional 10 kPa of engine turbocharger boost beginning in practice Friday, which should equate to approximately 40 additional horsepower. The engine boost bump will continue through qualifying weekend, with the original limit of 130 kPa reinstated for next week’s final two practice sessions and the race. … INDYCAR announced that the chassis centerline wickers, added to all cars prior to the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9, are optional for the Indianapolis 500.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-PRACTICE QUOTES

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Today was really good. It felt great to get back in the car for a full day. We decided to focus a bit more on qualifying with the Shell V-Power Nitro+ Chevrolet in the afternoon, after running in the race pace during the morning session. We feel very confident. Now, tomorrow is just going to be a focus on qualifying to be ready for Saturday. I have to say that my Shell guys did a great job in switching over to the backup car. There is no difference in the way the car felt or drove. It’s really amazing how they were able to put everything together. We are looking good for the weekend.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet): “My day was a little trying. We had a couple of issues that we ended up running with unknowingly for a bit of the day. It’s never a good thing, especially around this place. Fortunately I think we’ve got everything under control. Tomorrow will be pretty crucial for us to not only understand what we have with a speed perspective of the car, but still to continue to improve the car. So it was a good day generally for the team in that regard of knocking things off the program list to put ourselves in a good position going into qualifying and then the race next weekend. We still have a bit of work to do. As far as Josef, you never want to see anybody have that type of accident, let alone a teammate. Glad he’s OK and hopefully we can all take it in stride and move forward.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “We continued exploration from yesterday in both qualifying trim and race setup. Both did qualifying simulation and running in traffic, too, and we made some progress which was good. We have some unfinished business, but we’re at a good level and hopefully we have a very productive day tomorrow for Fast Friday. I’m looking forward to the extra boost as INDYCAR allows the teams extra boost for qualifying, so we will see a significant increase in the speeds tomorrow.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “Today was a really good day for us; we’ve really improved the Steak ‘n Shake car a lot in race trim. Most of our day was spent working on qualifying stuff. We figured out a couple of tricks there and I’m pretty comfortable with the car. Tomorrow we will work on qualifying trim all day. We will work on trying to improve the car, get some consistency and a little more speed, but I think the biggest thing is consistency at this point.”

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “It all came together last minute, but we have been talking about it for quite a while: that if James (Davison’s) deal would come through I would qualify the car. So it was not really a surprise for me, but more of a long wait to see that everything was confirmed. But it’s really cool. I was happy to get back in an Indy car – it’s been a year and a half now. The first two or three laps were kind of weird, but it came back pretty quickly, so really cool. It was cool to have Simon (Pagenaud) on the track with me for quite a while. It reminded me of the Schmidt (Peterson Motorsports) days so it was fun.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I don’t know any more than what everyone saw at this point (regarding Newgarden’s crash). We haven’t gotten the data off of the car or been able to look at anything yet. He’s OK and that’s the important thing. Helio’s (Castroneves) crash looked a little different. I think Helio got loose a little earlier and chased it and Josef just lost it right in the middle. I’ve only seen one replay so I don’t really know at this point. Ultimately he spun around earlier in the corner than Helio did.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It’s still early for me, I am still trying to gather my thoughts from it. I got around pretty quick in Turn 1, it definitely surprised me. I am just lucky that everything is good, the Dallara tub held up pretty well. I want to get back with my crew and see what the damage is and see what we can do going forward.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet): “This is the first day that we tried some different aero bits with the Robert Graham Special. We are gathering as much information as we can at this point since we gain additional engine boost on Friday. We want to be a little ahead of the game for Fast Friday. It’s nice to get a head start today as you always seem to run out of time closer to qualifying. With the added boost, it seems to be a little more electric in the car due to more speed. It definitely increases the buzz factor for a driver.” (On expectations for qualifying): “I think around 233 (mph) for the pole. We currently don’t have a car for those numbers just yet. If we qualified Friday, we wouldn’t be ready for those kind of numbers. But we are moving in that direction and I’m pleased how the team is working through the process. Hopefully, on Saturday, we’ll have a car to go that speed.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “I think today was a pretty good day for us, we learned a few things and that’s always good moving forward. We made some changes, got our balance better in traffic and I think it was a step forward for the No. 25 Honda. There is still a little bit more to find, but I think as a whole team we’ll keep creeping up on it and now we’re going to switch gears and get ready for qualifying.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “Another practice day, today we were really just focusing on pack racing and long runs with my teammates. The car feels really comfortable – I’m really happy. I feel that I’m competitive, more competitive than last year. Now for tomorrow, we’re going to focus on qualifying and see where we are speed-wise.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda): “Today we ran mostly in traffic. We learned a lot. I have a little bit of work to do, and I’m looking forward to going back out there tomorrow and working on it. It seems like (teammate) Carlos (Muñoz) is pretty quick, so let’s see what he’s doing!”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “Today was much, much better at the end of the day. Yesterday we ran full tanks and I was not really comfortable and one day later I am a lot more comfortable after we made big improvements. We only worked on the race car. We didn’t do much qualifying work today, but my super teammate Graham (Rahal) started working on a couple of things in qualifying trim, so we know what direction to go in tomorrow. I feel pretty good. It was an easy day today. It wasn’t as hot as it will probably be on race day, but it’s a good step towards where we need to go.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “The car had understeer in traffic today, as it did yesterday. We need to understand why. In qualifying trim, we still had a little bit of push in the car. It was a little better yesterday, but not where we need it to be. We need to find the issue so we can move forward.”

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda): “It was really good to get to work with all the boys, you know, it’s kind of like breaking the ice, everybody starts to gel together. We ran a good amount of laps today; the car ran well, I was quite happy with the balance, so it’s nice. First real day at work, a couple of changes, we got the whole Al-Fe group really stimulated and now we’re back where we needed to be a couple of days ago, so we’re happy. The No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda looks good on track, nothing to complain about, just a matter of continuing to do our own routine and get into sequence, getting everything correct, and getting in the mindset of the big race and what we need to do to have a good showing.”

Munoz Eclipses 230 mph as Speeds Climb during Indianapolis 500 Practice

Munoz Eclipses 230 mph as Speeds Climb during Indianapolis 500 Practice

INDIANAPOLIS (May 13, 2015) – Speeds continue to climb as Verizon IndyCar Series teams prepare for the 99th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

In a fast final 30 minutes, the fastest lap of the day exchanged hands four times among four drivers. When the checkered flag flew at 6 p.m. ET, Carlos Munoz had the fastest lap, 39.1098 seconds, 230.121 mph, in the No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda – the first lap over 230 mph of the month.

Click HERE to view and download the results of Wednesday’s practice session and HERE to view and download the combined practice timesheet.

“Really, we were not looking for a tow, we just made a change and said, ‘OK let’s go in the group and see if we can just cop a tow and feel the car in traffic a little bit,” said the Andretti Autosport driver, who has finished in the top five in each of his two previous Indianapolis 500 starts. “I went back to the pack and it’s practice, so whoever gets the best tow is the one who is going to finish first. The positive thing is that I feel really comfortable with the car, the car feels OK. In traffic and by my own, I feel fast. We have to continue working, we have still two days of testing so we have to try some stuff.”

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan and Townsend Bell took turns holding the top spot during the Happy Hour in Chevrolets. Bell’s lap (228.969) ranked second at the end of the day followed by Kanaan (228.172), James Davison (228.043) and Karam (227.822). Speeds are up this year in great part due to the new superspeedway aero kits developed by Chevrolet and Honda

“We’re staying in a tight little box, being a single-car program, only event of the year so far with the team,” said Bell, driving the No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet entered by Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing. “Trying to be pragmatic and just stay focused on the fundamentals. So far, so good. We hit the track pretty reasonable, thanks to (team managing director and former Indy car driver) Davey Hamilton for shaking down the car (on opening day May 3), I was in Monterey for a (sports car) race. Davey did a nice job to just work out the bugs for us and we were able to hit the ground running when we got here.”

The day was marred by a pair of single-car incidents that saw two popular drivers walk away without injury at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves had a spectacular crash in Turn 1 that saw his Team Penske Chevrolet hit the SAFER Barrier and become airborne just 45 minutes into the start of the day. Castroneves was able to return to the track just before it closed and turned a lap of 226.670 mph in a backup car.

Pippa Mann was also uninjured after her Dale Coyne Racing Honda made contact with the inside SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 and the pit wall attenuator that separates the track from the pit lane.

“I have to (say) thanks (for) all the messages (and encouragement) from the fans, and to Team Penske to put a car together and be back out there again,” Castroneves said. “The car was impressive. You can’t be scared when you go out there. I didn’t want to wait to run until tomorrow, and now we’ll focus on Thursday and Friday.”

Practice continues through Friday at IMS, Friday’s session again expected to live up to its nickname of “Fast Friday” because engine manufacturers are allowed to increase turbocharger boost pressure from 130 kPa to 140 kPa, which will generate more horsepower and likely higher speeds.

Two days of qualifying Saturday and Sunday will set the 33-car grid for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” After that, all that’s left before the May 24 race is afternoon practice on Monday and the traditional Carb Day one-hour practice on May 22.

DAY 4 NOTEBOOK

Tagliani honors new daughter in “500”

Alex Tagliani, who joined wife Bronte in welcoming their first child April 16, has a special tribute to his newborn daughter on his racing helmet at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The helmet is adorned with roses to honor Eva-Rose.

“She’s beautiful and special. It definitely makes you realize and appreciate what it takes to raise a child,” said Tagliani, who turned his first laps Tuesday on the 2.5-mile oval in the No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Special Honda for AJ Foyt Racing.

“It’s the biggest accomplishment you can have in my thinking. The best description of fatherhood will never be the way it is until you live it.”

Tagliani, 41, will seek to make his seventh Indianapolis 500 start May 24.

“My wife says you have to be in it to win it,” said Tagliani, the 2009 race Rookie of the Year who earned the pole for the 2011 race and has a best finish of 10th after starting fifth in 2010. “I was able to live all the emotions of qualifying and Bump Day and Rookie of the Year, and in 2011 I got the pole. It’s the elusive win that you’re searching for. Being here means all of that and I’m thankful to Al-Fe and for Larry (Foyt) and A.J. to have selected me and giving me the chance.”

Verizon brings technology to Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Verizon Wireless, a technology leader with the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network, announced network upgrades at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to handle growing data traffic in May. Verizon Wireless is an official partner of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway and title sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

IMS is the largest network footprint in the country for a single event. The facility utilizes advanced technology that provides three times the total capacity of the network design for the 2012 Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Verizon network engineers have created a custom wireless network facility at the 560-acre venue to handle the voice and data capacity of the hundreds of thousands of fans expected to attend events this month. Also, an additional cell on wheels will be implemented for race weekend tailgaters and gate traffic near 30th Street and Georgetown Road outside the track.

“Verizon’s network enhancements will ensure that fans can count on their mobile devices to share emails, texts, pictures and videos during ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ ” Verizon Wireless region president Lauren Love-Wright said. “Small cells are an integral part of Verizon’s commitment to the customer experience to stay ahead of the growing demand for mobile data by boosting capacity for popular venues and large crowds.

“This technology adds 4G LTE capacity in important high-traffic areas so that our customers can share the best moments from the track, especially on social media.”

On Race Day 2014, 4G LTE traffic on the Verizon Wireless network increased 300 percent over usage on Race Day 2013.

Of note

Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ fifth entry for the Indianapolis 500 — the No. 17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet driven by Sebastian Saavedra — will have Mike O’Gara as its race strategist. O’Gara, team manager of Ganassi’s sports car program, formerly was with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. … The No. 41 AJ Foyt Racing Honda driven by Jack Hawksworth and No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Chevrolet driven by Sage Karam reached the 2,500-mile engine change-out threshold in practice Tuesday. Their second engines were installed for today’s practice.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-PRACTICE QUOTES

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The (car) was definitely fast; we were even taking off. Not the way we would want to take off. I have to thank all the messages from the fans of encouragement, and to Team Penske to put a car together and be back out there again. The car was impressive. You can’t be scared when you go out there. I didn’t want to wait to run until tomorrow, and now we’ll focus on Thursday and Friday.”

ROGER PENSKE (Owner, Team Penske): “I think the ability of the team in five hours to put that (back-up) car together – we had to take the engine out of one car and take a lot of the pieces off – and get out for a few laps says a lot. It looks like we’re competitive; we ran 226 (mph). To me, it’s a good start for tomorrow.” (about the car getting airborne) “You’re always concerned when a car gets backwards; it looks a little bit like NASCAR the way the thing went up and went over. You can only test so much in your simulations and in a small wind tunnel, and I think this is something good to know now because we can look at it and see what are the right things to help all the cars that are on the track.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer / CFH Racing Chevrolet): “We had an all right day. We got out early and started trying to get a handle on what we’ll be looking at for the rest of the week. I thought it was okay and then the track started heating up at the end of the day. We felt like we still needed to figure some things out at that point. It’s all about collecting data and understanding how the car works. We’ve still got plenty of time this week so hopefully between the three of us we can squeeze a little bit of extra speed out of it and go from there. All in all I feel good about the way that we’re working together and I feel confident that we can work some of the bugs out and be right in the thick of it this weekend.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution / Big Machine Records Chevrolet): “We spent today mostly working on the race package for the No. 8 car. I didn’t do much running alone – I was just running in tight packs. When we started today, the car wasn’t where I wanted it to be balance-wise, but throughout the day we made big strides to get the balance to where I felt comfortable with it. By the end of the day, I was very happy with where the car was and I’m just ready to get back out tomorrow.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We had a good day overall with the Target car. We had good speed in the car and we accomplished a lot. We did a few qualification simulation runs and changed some bodywork in between runs so we’re just going back and forth on some fine-tuning and setting things up for qualifying this weekend.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Another good day for NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing. We were able to get some long runs in and we got some solid data to build on. We also were able to get in some runs working with Dixon during that last hour that helped us find a few more things we need to work on. The car has felt really good out there these first three days of practice, so I’m excited to see how much better we can make it before qualifying this weekend.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Today was a very good day for our ABC Supply team. The wind dropped significantly unlike the last 2 days. Today the wind direction was different which was unusual for the speedway but it was very consistent so it was a perfect day for testing. We did lots of running today, trimming off for the first time to make the car fast and to see how the car reacted with low downforce. Then we added more downforce and went to the maximum to see how the car reacted in traffic. We were able to cover both ends of the spectrum-qualifying preparation and running in traffic so it was a very productive day. At the end we had a small issue in the drivetrain. I felt something a little strange so I backed off and pulled off the track. When we came back here we found the problem that caused it and so hopefully we have a trouble-free tomorrow.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “Today was a really good day. The Steak ‘n Shake car was pretty good and we had a really good long run near the end with full fuel. It was kind of a race simulation and the car was really strong. We’re just struggling with a little bit of speed, just pure acceleration speed. The car seems to be a little slower than Oriol and we’ve got to figure out why that is. All in all it was a good day. I really do think we got ourselves into a place that’s much better than we’ve been here in a long time. I feel pretty good about it.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a successful day for the No. 17 AFS Chevrolet. Today was technically our first real day of testing which puts us a few days behind everyone else, but we were able to jump right into it. We weren’t catching the big tow at the end, but that really wasn’t our focus. We wanted to make sure we have a good balanced car first. I think it shows how high the level of teamwork is here at Chip Ganassi Racing – just to get me in the car and up to speed with the rest of the field so quickly. We’ll keep moving forward toward qualifying this weekend.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “Today was an interesting day. We’ve been pretty happy with the cars the last couple of days, but the weather was different again and the track temperature was a little higher, so that presented us with some new challenges. So there were times in the day where I wasn’t too happy, but in the end it’s one of those good days where the conditions change and it forces us to think a little bit and figure out what we really need. So I was proud of the guys for keeping their heads down and making me happier by the end of the day.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was a pretty good day. Every day is a little different at the (Indianapolis Motor) Speedway. You’re always learning new things. I think we have some stuff from today that we need to dissect and have a closer look at. We are relatively on track. We’ve just got to keep moving forward and not get too complacent in what we’re doing.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet): “It was good. We’re staying in a tight little box, being a single-car program, only event of the year so far with the team. Trying to be pragmatic and just stay focused on the fundamentals. So far, so good. We hit the track pretty reasonable, thanks to Davey Hamilton for shaking down the car (on opening day May 3), I was in Monterey for a (sports car) race. Davey did a nice job to just work out the bugs for us and we were able to hit the ground running when we got here.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “We had the fresh engine in during today’s run and everything feels good so far for the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda. We had a reasonable no-tow lap, so I felt pretty good with how things were looking. The car wasn’t the strongest in traffic and we made a couple of changes throughout the day, so we have a few things to look at and see what we can figure out overnight. Tomorrow is another day, so we’ll try again and see what happens.

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “I feel really good in this place, so it feels nice. What I really, really want to do is win the 500. It’s nice to be first in practice and everything, of course. We are working hard at the 500. I’m just 23 now. I have a lot of years to try and win it.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “I think we made some headway today. We found a bit of direction there at the end of the day, which I’m pleased with. I think speed wise we are off a bit, but hopefully we can just try and get one of the better handling cars and go with that.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Day 3 was challenging at times. We found some directions for race running – we concentrated on race running today – we have some items that we need to do back-to-back tomorrow to validate. There will be a big meeting tonight to figure out a direction for this team. I think our speed is somewhere in the 10th to 15th range at the moment.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “It was a great day for 90 percent of it. On our last run we tried something with our race setup that didn’t really work the way we wanted, so we finished the day with not as good of a taste as I had the rest of the day, but you also need to learn those kinds of things. We are still very quick on our own so we should be good. We missed running in “Happy Hour,” the last hour, with everyone else but that’s okay.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “The car felt really good. We got to run a little bit in traffic and the car felt really comfortable, so hopefully we can keep in this kind of window, fine-tune it a little bit and then start working on qualifying.”

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Special Honda): “The guys are working really hard. It’s very difficult for them to build a car from scratch, so they’re working every day to make sure everything is right. Hopefully tomorrow will be our first day where we can actually go out there and run and evaluate the car and go through some changes. As soon as you go out there and feel back at ease, it doesn’t take long to get used to the car again. Once you get that behind you, you just want to go and run, and that’s the plan for us. I’m glad the guys are taking their time to get through everything they want to do and to get it right, and once that’s sorted out we’re just going to be pounding laps in the No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating car and we’ll get up to pace, I don’t doubt it.”

PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Our first runs went really well today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We started where we left off yesterday, and the handling of the Dale Coyne Racing car supporting Susan G. Komen was improving, and our speeds were looking decent. We dialed in on the set up, and I was getting more comfortable and gaining speed. We were getting some great traffic runs in, and then late this afternoon, it unfortunately went wrong as I caught the big pack heading into Turn 4. The cars in front of me checked up so dramatically that coming fully off throttle didn’t take enough speed out of the car. As I went for the brakes, I also had to take to the grey on the outside of 4, and that’s not a fun place to end up on the race track. For a few moments I almost thought I was going to escape unscathed, but then the angle of the slide hit the point of no return. After the first hit, I knew the pit entrance wall would be next, and that was the one that really hurt the racecar. I want to
thank the safety team and the medical staff for their quick response. When something goes wrong, it’s always reassuring to have those guys by your side so quickly. I have a few bruises, and I’m going to be sore tomorrow, but I’m fine. I really feel for the whole team. They have worked so hard on these race cars, and I hate that I messed one of them up. I know they’ll continue to work hard to get us back out there.

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We spent today really working on the race car at Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. The No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch was decent in traffic, but we really focused on making the car faster. We did a couple of qualifying simulations and I think we have a solid direction for that once we turn the boost up and get ready for Fast Friday.”

Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Post-Event Infraction (TSO NOTE: It’s Helio)

INDIANAPOLIS (May 13, 2015) – INDYCAR announced a post-event infraction from the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, which was held May 9 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

• INDYCAR officials have penalized driver Helio Castroneves of Team Penske for violating Rule 9.3.3 (avoidable contact). Castroneves has been penalized eight points in the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers point standings.

“Following every event, the INDYCAR race stewards conduct a review of all racing incidents utilizing all the tools available – including car data, video replays and interviews with the competitors involved,” said Derrick Walker, president of competition and operations, INDYCAR.

“With the benefit of additional camera angles during our post-race review of Saturday’s race, the stewards determined actions of the No. 3 car (Castroneves) were the cause of the first-lap incident. This obviously changed our view of the entire incident. At the conclusion of every post-race review, all penalty options are available to the stewards and they determined an avoidable contact penalty was warranted.”

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.

Castroneves Tops Timesheets as Indianapolis 500 Preparations Continue

INDIANAPOLIS (May 12, 2015) – The expected gain in miles per hour from the superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork components on the Verizon IndyCar Series cars is becoming more evident with each practice day for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

Click HERE to view and download the results of Tuesday’s practice session and HERE to view and download the combined practice timesheet.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves showed he can go fast with and without a “tow” using the new aero kits. Castroneves posted the fastest overall lap as well as the best lap without the aid of cars cutting the air in front of him in the third practice session on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

Driving the No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet, Castroneves clocked the quickest overall lap of 227.514 mph less than an hour into day. He returned in the closing 60 minutes, known as “Happy Hour,” to run a lap of 225.315 without a tow from cars in front.

Aero kits were introduced this season to Verizon IndyCar Series competition from manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda, and have helped set track records most everywhere the series has run in 2015. The Indianapolis 500 marks the first time the superspeedway kits have been in use, but their advantage is plain. Castroneves’ fast lap today, in just the third practice session, is already better than any lap posted through the first five sessions a year ago. And speeds are known to increase as the practice week progresses.

Castroneves, currently third in the championship standings behind teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power, said there is still work to be done that could achieve even more speedy dividends.

“It was a good day,” Castroneves said. “The Shell V-Power Nitro+ car was super strong, super solid, felt comfortable. Now we’ve got to just keep working with this new aero kit. Today was basically the second day that we’ve been working constantly, but I like what I see.

“Things are looking in the right direction. We’re not focused on just the lap, we’re focused on the performance of it all.”

Castroneves’ third Penske teammate, Simon Pagenaud, was second fastest overall at 227.382 mph in the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet, followed by Scott Dixon at 226.769 mph in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Justin Wilson, driving his second race for Andretti Autosport, was fourth overall and the quick Honda at 226.688, but his engine appeared to let go on the frontstretch of the 2.5-mile oval, putting an end to the six-hour session a few minutes early.

“I looked in the mirror and there was a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust so, yeah, it’s unfortunate,” Wilson said. “I don’t know any more than that right now. But looking back over the day, I think we’ve had a pretty good day. The car’s been quick. We tried a couple of different setups that the team’s got going on. Both feel pretty good and quick.”

Practice resumes Wednesday through Friday at IMS, Friday’s session again expected to live up to its nickname of “Fast Friday” because manufacturers are allowed to increase turbocharger boost pressure from 130 kPa to 140 kPa, which will generate more horsepower and likely higher speeds.

Two days of qualifying Saturday and Sunday will set the 33-car grid for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” After that, all that’s left before the May 24 race is afternoon practice on Monday, May 18 and the traditional Carb Day one-hour practice on May 22.

Fuel Leak Causes Fire on de Silvestro Car

Andretti Autosport driver Simona de Silvestro was uninjured when the No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda she was driving during practice caught fire on the backstretch. A fuel leak was the culprit, according to a team spokesperson. De Silvestro exited the race car without assistance.

In 2011 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, de Silvestro suffered second-degree burns to her right hand in a practice crash. She went on to qualify and compete in the race. In 2010, she suffered minor burns to a finger on her right hand in a crash during the race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“It’s definitely unfortunate because the car is pretty burnt down, and it’s really frustrating that it seems like fire follows me,” de Silvestro said. “Maybe this time is third time’s the charm, and hopefully the team can get the car back together as quickly as possible. Until now, everything was working fine and it’s just annoying because it’s a pretty big setback for us.”

De Silvestro, seeking to compete in her fifth Indianapolis 500, had completed nine laps. She has a best finish of 14th at IMS and earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2010.

Carpenter Carrying Luck of the Bulldogs Again

Ed Carpenter has carried the Butler University logo to the pole position in the last two Indianapolis 500s. The 2004 Butler grad is hoping the Bulldog logo can bring him even more luck in the 99th Running of the “500” since his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet is carrying the logo again this May.

Carpenter, driver and co-owner of the car, gave Butler president James M. Danko, athletics director Barry Collier, men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann and mascot Butler Blue III a tour of the team’s garage this morning, explaining the new aero kits on the cars.

Holtmann, who led Butler to the third round of the NCAA Tournament in his first season as coach, was impressed with the amount of preparation that CFH Racing does for each day the car is on track.

“Unless you’re an avid fan, you probably don’t get all that goes into that one day,” Holtmann said. “It’s not unlike our sport (basketball). He’s trying to perform at a high level and it’s impressive to see. He could have gone on for two or three hours about the car.”

If Rahal Wins, MAVTV 500 Ticket Holders Can Win

If Graham Rahal wins the Indianapolis 500, fans can win, too – a free reserved ticket to the MAVTV 500 on June 27 at Auto Club Speedway, that is.

Fans purchasing a full-price reserved ticket to the Verizon IndyCar Series race at the 2-mile oval in Fontana, Calif., by noon ET May 24 will have the ticket cost refunded if Rahal, driver of the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, wins the 99th Indy 500. Reserved seats for the MAVTV 500, the 11th race on the 2015 schedule, start at $55.

To purchase tickets, visit www.autoclubspeedway.com/grahamwins or call (800) 944-7223.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-PRACTICE QUOTES, MAY 12, 2015:

WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was definitely a productive day, and we found some speed in the No. 1 Verizon Chevy, for sure. We also got some running done in traffic and I feel great about the last change we made to the car. We’re in a good spot as we get closer to qualifying this weekend.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet, fastest of the day): “It was a good day. The Shell V-Power Nitro+ car was super strong, super solid, felt comfortable. Now we’ve got to just keep working with this new aero kit. Today was basically the second day that we’ve been working constantly, but I like what I see. Things are looking in the right direction. We’re not focused on just the lap, we’re focused on the performance of it all.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was good. We had limited running because we used one set of tires today. We had some other things we wanted to get done today like bodywork and stuff. We didn’t spend a lot of time on track, but I felt pretty good about the time we did spend on the track. It’s nice that the three of us – Ed (Carpenter), Josef (Newgarden) and myself – all essentially look for the same thing in a race car. We still gain from what they do when we are not out there. Everything went pretty smoothly, it was a windy day out there so it was good to get out and run a little bit just to get a sense of what that’s like should qualifying or race day be like that. I feel like we are on the right track. We will continue to run more as qualifying comes closer.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet): “Today was pretty straightforward in the Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records car. We were close to mileaging out this Chevrolet engine and we used the remaining laps we had available to work on car setup. We went a couple different directions today in terms of setup and found the wrong way to go. So I’m looking forward to getting back out theretomorrow and picking up where we left off with a new engine.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We struggled a bit with the Target car for most of the morning, specifically with the rear of the car and the way I wanted it to be in order to be comfortable. We worked on a lot of geometry with it and later on it seemed to come around to my liking. I think we made some decent progress and will keep working on things tomorrow if the weather holds up for us.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We used today’s practice to work through some different setups to make sure I was good with how the car was feeling. It’s nice to have these long sessions to be able to look at different things and gather a lot of data to find the setup that works best. We want to make sure we find the right setup for the car before we start running for speed and using up all of our tires. I think we’re definitely close to where we need to be.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Another windy day but it was colder so we had a different test menu from yesterday to try to understand the car more. We made some improvement, which was positive. At the end of the day we wanted to run in traffic but we had a small issue so we couldn’t achieve that one. I think we learned from running in small traffic today and it felt positive. Hopefully we will get some running in traffic tomorrow.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “All in all, it was a really good day. We worked on the Steak ‘n Shake car and really improved it a lot. Like I keep saying, I think the guys are doing an excellent job and working through a lot of things here and the car already feels a heck of a lot better than it ever did the last couple of years. I’m pretty happy with it, but we’ve got to keep working to catch those Penskes. They’re obviously pretty quick and we’ve just got to do the best that we can to keep up with them and be competitive and keep improving the car over time. We’ve got a long ways to go here so there is no reason for anyone to panic. The car feels pretty good in race trim.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We’re using these first few practice sessions for both myself and the team to understand and really get comfortable with the new aero kits. We just want to make sure we’re all on the same page with the car, especially since I haven’t run as many laps as some of the other guys out there. I’m looking forward to getting many more laps in this week and seeing what we need to do to improve the car.”

JAMES DAVISON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “It’s a fantastic feeling to be back in an Indy car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the windiest conditions I have driven in. I was quite fortunate last year to drive in very ideal conditions, so there was a lot more movement in the car than I had experienced before. We were regulated to run under 215 (mph) and I’m just really looking forward to getting on with our proper program tomorrow.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It doesn’t feel too bad. It wasn’t as smooth of a day as yesterday. I’m pretty happy with the balance on the car. I’m not sure exactly where we are on speed, but this is the time of the week where I kind of get paranoid. We made the car a little better from yesterday so that’s all that really matters.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was another day of learning. This place is so tricky. It’s just mentally difficult to figure out what you want and what you need in the car, but I think we found a lot of good things today. I feel a little better about what I’m doing inside the car now. I think we’ve got a pretty good practice to roll with and I think all three cars feel similar to that. Each day is a progression and we’ve just got to make sure we’re staying on the upside of that.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet): “It was another good day for our team. I feel like we are in a window where we have a feel for what we might want on race day. And it was nice to get some pit stop practice in today as well. The Robert Graham Special feels very good so far and we are moving through our list of engineering items. We are still learning. These are still early days and we are trying to understand all of the aero data. We have a great group of guys who know how to get through that data. Looking forward to Wednesday now.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “I looked in the mirror and there was a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust so, yeah, it’s unfortunate. I don’t know any more than that right now. But, looking back over the day, I think we’ve had a pretty good day. The car’s been quick. We tried a couple of different setups that the team’s got going on. Both feel pretty good and quick. I’m pleased with today. I think that the No. 25 Honda Andretti Autosport car is working well. I really enjoy working with Craig Hampson, my engineer, and I think there’s more to come. I think there’s a few tweaks we can try for going faster and also dealing better in traffic.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “I think today was another pretty productive day for us. We’re concentrating on long runs more than speed at the moment. It’s still early in the week and we still have three more days of practice. We’ll take it step by step. I still have some things to work on, and I’m happy we’ve been quick both days so far. Hopefully we’ll keep it up and improve a little bit more.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “There’s just been this sort of underlying characteristic that we’re trying to work out. We’re throwing kitchen sinks at it and it’s just there. We’ve ticked off so many boxes for two days – we’ve done a ton of work in two days and not making a ton of headway yet.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “It’s great to work with the teammates in race trim like we did today. We’re finding some answers on what we need and what we don’t. As usual we’ll keep up our teamwork and pull together to produce the best car that we can.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda): “It’s definitely unfortunate because the car is pretty burnt down, and it’s really frustrating that it seems like fire follows me. Maybe this time is third time’s the charm, and hopefully the team can get the car back together as quickly as possible. Until now, everything was working fine, and it’s just annoying because it’s a pretty big setback for us. But I have four great teammates and that will make it easier for us to continue moving forward.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “It was more comfortable in the car because we were able to reduce understeer compared to yesterday, and improve the rear end which is exactly what the driver usually wants from the car. I think we were in the top five on the no-tow report so I think we are looking good. It’s only Tuesday so there are still a lot of things to try and a lot of days ahead to do things right, but I’m quite happy with where we are today.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Well, we had some issues today but we’ll get it sorted. Today we wanted to mileage out our engine and we were able to do that. Now the guys can put in the updated spec engine for tomorrow.”

PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Today was a really good day of running in the cooler conditions for the pink Dale Coyne Racing car supporting Susan G. Komen. We got through a fairly good-sized list of test items in the conditions today, and we set fairly good speeds. The handling is getting better every time we go out. I was really looking forward to the last run of the day as we were finally in a position to go run with a big pack of cars, but unfortunately, I only got one lap with those guys before we went yellow for the end of the day. In that one lap we already started to get a good read from the car, and it’s the best we have felt in traffic so far this month.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We spent most of today working on the race car and its overall balance. We needed to close the loop on some things and find some grip but also find a little better balance. It was a tough day with the wind with it gusting pretty hard at times, but if we can run well in the wind, we should be able to run well in traffic. I think we made the car better and gave ourselves a little bit of margin and direction to take the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch in for the rest of the week. We were really smart today with tires and were able to put ourselves in pretty good standing for the rest of the week with tire allocation. Hopefully tomorrowwe’ll be able to fill it up and actually do some race running.”

Karam Paces Second Day of Indy 500 Practice; Coletti Passes Rookie Orientation

INDIANAPOLIS (May 11, 2015) – The chase for speed and unlocking the secrets of the new superspeedway aero kits began in earnest with the second day of practice for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Thirty cars logged nearly 1,100 laps on a day abbreviated by an early afternoon shower, with Sage Karam posting the fastest lap (225.802 mph) in the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet.

“It’s only the first day, so it’s not about how fast you are today,” said Karam, who finished an impressive ninth as a 19-year-old rookie in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. “It’s about how fast you are on Sunday in two weeks. It definitely feels good, though. It’s the first time I’ve ever been P1 at the (Indianapolis Motor) Speedway so it’s a good feeling.”

Two of Karam’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammates, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, were second (225.293) and third (225.217) on the speed chart, respectively. Marco Andretti led the Honda contingent, fourth overall at 225.184 mph in the No. 27 Snapple Andretti Autosport machine.

Chevrolet and Honda developed the aerodynamic bodywork packages that attach to the Dallara IR-12 chassis in the offseason. The aero kit components for road/street courses and short ovals were used in the first five Verizon IndyCar Series races of the season, with the superspeedway kit components unveiled May 3 at the opening day practice for the May 24 Indianapolis 500.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Karam said. “The car’s not anywhere near where we want it to be for race day or qualifying. I’ve got a great team. They worked really hard. They are making it a lot easier on us drivers by being as prepared as they are. We are picking this new aero kit apart and we’re figuring it out every time we go out.”

Also today, Stefano Coletti (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet) completed all three phases of the rookie orientation program, while Townsend Bell rolled through the veteran refresher program in his first Indy car action since last year’s “500.”

When asked about his first-ever oval experience today on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Coletti said, “It’s really fast … and fun.”

“I’ve been waiting for three months to be on this oval,” said Coletti, 26, the first native of Monaco to drive in an Indy car race since Louis Chiron competed in the 1929 Indianapolis 500. “I’ve always watched (the Indy 500) since I was a kid and I’ve always wanted to race in the ‘500.’ The atmosphere and all the people here look incredible on TV, and being here is a dream come true.”

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk was in Coletti’s pit to offer guidance.

“When I coach somebody, it’s almost as exciting as driving yourself because it’s nice to see somebody pick up the pace quickly and pick up the lines around the track quickly,” said Luyendyk, who 25 years ago won his first Indy 500. “So far, I’m happy with the lines he’s taken because that’s really important here.”

Practice resumes Tuesday through Friday (noon-6 p.m. ET), with two days of qualifying scheduled Saturday and Sunday to determine the 33-car field for the race.

DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:

IMS Track Turnaround a Herculean Effort

As soon as the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis was complete Saturday evening, a Herculean effort to convert the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for oval track use began. Verizon IndyCar Series teams relocated their pits for Indianapolis 500 practice while Will Power was still conducting post-race interviews from the grand prix. As soon as fans finished their “track invasion” grid walk, IMS crews began removing nearly two miles of green Angie’s List adhesive signage adorning track walls, which was followed by painting those sections of the walls a crisp new white.

The wall and fence crews started Sunday morning, removing fence panels and track fencing before they could focus on moving and resetting more than two million pounds of concrete wall and barriers – 16,000 pounds (eight tons) at a time. A fleet of equipment was involved, including a 100-ton crane, 70-ton crane, half-dozen fork trucks, pickups, trailers, four-wheelers, utility vehicles and more. Much of the work was centered on closing off the inside of the Turns 2 and 4 ovals, areas where the road course ventured off the oval.

All told, 80-some personnel and more than 1,000 man hours went into converting the track.

Minimizing Mental Mistakes Key to ‘500’ Success, Says Montoya

Now that he has experienced the Indianapolis 500 and Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis two times each, Juan Pablo Montoya can succinctly sum up the difference in his mind.

“Physically, the GP is harder and the ‘500’ mentally harder because of how precise you have to be with the margin of error,” said Montoya, who won the Indy 500 in 2000 and finished third in Saturday’s Angie’s List Grand Prix. “It’s a longer race (the ‘500’), more chances for you to (mess) up. If you can minimize the mistakes, then you can have a shot at it.”

Of Note:
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is serving as a spotter for Townsend Bell (Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing) this month. He joins four-time winner Rick Mears (Team Penske) and 2004 winner Buddy Rice (CFH Racing) as former winners on the spotter stand.

POST-PRACTICE QUOTES

STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I have been waiting for three months to get on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. I didn’t get to do the first ROP (Rookie Orientation Program) because I was stuck in Europe because of my visa. I finally got to go out on track and I am very happy. It is very fast. I’m also happy because I got through the first two phases of my rookie test. I still have one more phase to go, which I can now do with the other drivers on track. I am very excited to be at Indy. It is my first time on an oval and I want to thank all the guys at KV Racing for helping me. I also want to thank Arie Luyendyk. He took me around the track this morning and gave me some tips which really helped today.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): “The first day of practice was pretty solid. Obviously, we didn’t get running when we’d hoped at the beginning there with the weather, but once we did get out, the car felt pretty solid. We made a really big step even just from the test. We weren’t super happy after the test and now, for the first day, I’d say we have a really good car that we can work with. The pace looks decent in traffic and it’s a really good starting point. I’m really proud of all the Arrow Electronics guys and just looking forward to getting the rest of the week underway to fine-tune this beast.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer / CFH Racing Chevrolet): “I feel pretty good. During the day I felt like we made a lot of progress. I wasn’t super happy with the feel of the car right at the beginning but we got dialed in a pretty fair amount as we went through the day here. All three of us are working towards the same thing and we’re definitely reaping the benefits of working together closely so far. All in all it was a great day. The Chevy felt strong. We don’t really know how that all pans out until later in the week but I feel good about our first day’s work for sure.”

JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It was nice to get out on track here at IMS today for the first practice. Obviously it was very cool and very windy as well. We had an unfortunate incident with our starter and I hope Trey (Harkins) is okay. Other than that, we accomplished what we set out to do on our test checklist today and I’m looking forward to getting at it again tomorrow.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution / Big Machine Records Chevrolet, fastest of the day): “It’s only the first day, so it’s not about how fast you are today. It’s about how fast you are on Sunday in two weeks. It definitely feels good though. It’s the first time I’ve ever been P1 at the Speedway so, you know, it’s a good feeling. We have a lot of work to do. The car’s not anywhere near where we want it to be for race day or qualifying. I’ve got a great team. They worked really hard. They are making it a lot easier on us drivers by being as prepared as they are. We are picking this new aero kit apart and we’re figuring it out every time we go out.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Today was an opportunity for Team Target to really shake down the car and see what we need to work on and where we are. We had a couple of items from the oval test we wanted to work on today with dampers and new additions to the car, so we were able to work through those and get some good data.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “I really like the new May format we have with the GP opening up the month of May, but I’ve got to say it felt really good to be back out on the oval with all of my focus going towards the 500. The weather didn’t cooperate with us early on, but we were able to get some time on-track to shake down the cars. The No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet felt good out there today and I think it’s a great way for the team to start practice for the Indianapolis 500.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Refreshing day because now we are going the proper way around IMS, two days ago we were going opposite. It’s nice to be back in a speedway car. It feels very fast. Today our program was straightforward; we just needed to get the engine mileaged out which took about 40 laps. Since it was such a gusty day, we did a minimum test program but it was very successful and I feel very positive about the car. Tonight the boys will install the second generation spec engine for tomorrow and hopefully the wind has calmed down by then.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda): “We made some gains over last year, but we’re still struggling with the consistency of the grip level. On our own, it’s pretty good but then when we get in traffic its good for a little bit but then it seems to slide the longer we go so we’ve got to be a little cautious. We turned a lot of laps out there in the Steak ‘n Shake car and I got behind (Scott) Dixon on old tires and we were doing 221s, which I don’t think is too bad. When we’re behind one car, it’s OK. But when we’re behind two or three the car seems to struggle a little bit. We’ve got a lot of time left to dial the Steak ‘n Shake car in.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Today was my first day out with the new Chevy oval aero kit and I think it went pretty well. We just wanted to get out there and shake down the car and get me comfortable with the new aero kit and with the crew. I think overall it was a very productive day and we have a lot to build on leading into the next week of practice before qualifying.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was a good day to get in a bunch of laps. We didn’t have a bad day, but I wouldn’t call it a good day either. Most of the things we learned were things we didn’t want to do. So to learn from that and come here today and re-attack it again with all three cars I thought we made some good improvements. I feel pretty good where we are after the first day and as much as anything we spent a lot of time running together, working together, and sharing the test lists so I feel pretty happy with what we accomplished today.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): “It was an OK day. It was good to get some running in. Fortunately the weather let up and we were able to get a lot of good running with all three cars. I think we got through a lot of good stuff, the engineers seem pretty happy for today. We just need to have another five solid days and then see where we qualify. I think so far it’s looking pretty good, happy to be running with this whole CFH Racing team.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet): “We really didn’t have any issues today as the crew did a great job preparing The Robert Graham Special for me. I want to thank Davey Hamilton for shaking down the car at the test. The driver (Bell) has a few kinks to work out here at Indy but it feels so good to come back to the Speedway. Compared to what I race in the sports cars, this feels like a rocket ship. Not much was different from last year for me except that the gusts of wind were coming across the front straightaway from the tunnels of the main grandstand. That did affect my car at times. In fact, I thought the car was broken at one time due to the wind bouncing the car around. It was an interesting experience but I’m glad I felt it today. Overall, it was a very good first day and I think we can improve on it. (On Al Unser Jr. as his spotter) It is an honor to have Al helping us this week. Whatever tidbit of information I can take from a legend like Al is a benefit at Indy. It’s great to have him help us this week.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): “It was a good day today – definitely pleased with how things went. The No. 25 Honda was working well and we tried a different setup today, so we’re happy with that and what we found. We’ll keep chipping away over the next couple of days and we’ll see what happens.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): “The first day finished – a day to make sure everything is in order. The car feels pretty good. It’s fast, but we have a long week ahead. We have a lot of things to try out, but it’s good to know we have the speed.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “We got through a lot of test items on our list today. We needed to mileage out the engine and for only having one set of tires, I’m pretty pleased with where things progressed to for the Snapple team. But I think there’s still a lot of speed coming for the 27 Honda.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We worked today to get to a certain point in mileage with the engine so we can get on to the next (Honda engine). You have to meet those markers for the rules of the Verizon IndyCar Series to move on to the next engine. It was really gusty today – the car is moving around a lot but we found some things that we like. I think the conditions being cool like this, everyone is pretty planted right now. Other than the wind gusts, we’re seeing some pretty good times and a decent start to the week for the DHL team.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda): “Today was a pretty good day. We tried a few different things, so it was a good day, especially with it being a little bit shortened by the weather. We have some work for tomorrow, but I think we have a good direction. I hope we can fix those little issues we had today.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “It was good to get back in the car but not as much fun as it should be because it was really windy and gusty. And it’s never fun when it’s like that but you’ve got to run because you never know if on race day it’s going to be as windy or worse. It was a good opportunity to try different things on the aero package to see which ones worked best in windy conditions and traffic. It didn’t feel great but I could see that everyone around me was feeling similar or worse. It was a good first day to get back in the ‘Month of May’ mood. Hopefully we don’t get much rain in the next week so we can keep running miles and learning.”

CONOR DALY (No. 43 FUELED by BACON Special Honda): “I think the wind made for a very sketchy afternoon. I’ve never driven in these kind of wind conditions, but the No. 43 Smithfield ‘Fueled by Bacon’ Special is running well so far. We had a few things on our test plan and we got through them so we just have to look at what we want to do for tomorrow.”

PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing): “Despite the fact that we had the car out there running here last week, this really was the true opening day for us and our team. It was the first time getting our timing stand up and running and we had to do an install check with our new Honda engine. It was great to get the car back on track, to get the telemetry up and running on our new stand, and gather some more data to work from. We only really did one run out there today. The Dale Coyne racing car supporting Susan G. Komen kept my hands a little busy on the one run we did, but I’m looking forward to getting back on track and checking out the changes we’ve come up with to address that tomorrow. We’re also hoping that now we’re getting this car onto the racetrack regularly throughout the week, it’s going to help us keep reminding people why we are running the car in these colors, and the campaign that goes with her to raise money.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was a pretty good day for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing running at the first practice for the Indianapolis 500. The new livery for the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch looks really good and it was fun to debut the new colors out here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We definitely have a little more speed to find, but thankfully my teammates are finding that speed so we can learn from what they’re doing and make the most of it leading into qualifying this weekend.”

Six Former Winners Headline 99th Indianapolis 500 Entry List

INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, May 10, 2015) – Six former champions are among the drivers named to the entries filed for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 24.
Click HERE to view and download the 99th Indianapolis 500 Entry List.

Thirty-three drivers have been named for 34 entries. Chevrolet engines will power 17 entries, Honda 17 in the race, which will mark the debut of superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork produced by the engine manufacturers.

The former Indianapolis 500 champions entered are: Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014) of Andretti Autosport, Tony Kanaan (2013) and Scott Dixon (2008) of Chip Ganassi Racing, Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002 and 2009) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2000) of Team Penske and Buddy Lazier (1996) of Lazier Racing Partners.

Castroneves will try to join one of the most exclusive clubs in worldwide motorsports – four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves is attempting to become the fourth four-time winner of the race, joining A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977), Al Unser (1970, 1971, 1978, 1987) and Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988, 1991).

In addition to the six past Indianapolis 500 race winners and seven Indy car champions, 20 drivers entered have won at least one race in Indy car competition, including Will Power, who won the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9.

Indy car champions entered in the race include Power (2014), four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais (2004-2007), three-time Indy car champion Dixon (2003, 2008 and 2013), Hunter-Reay (2012), Kanaan (2004), Lazier (2000) and Montoya (1999).

Two rookies with diverse credentials are also assigned to cars.

Gabby Chaves is the reigning Indy Lights champion and won the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis in 2014. Stefano Coletti is a multiple race winner in GP2.

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Verizon IndyCar Series
99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
May 24, 2015

Car Driver Hometown Car Name Engine Entrant

1 1 Will Power Toowoomba, Australia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Verizon Team Penske
2 2 Juan Pablo Montoya (W) Bogota, Colombia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske
3 3 Helio Castroneves (W) Sao Paulo, Brazil Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske
4 4 Stefano Coletti (R) Monaco, Monaco KV Racing Technology Chevrolet KV Racing Technology
5 5 James Hinchcliffe Toronto, Canada Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
6 6 JR Hildebrand Sausalito, Calif. Preferred Freezer/CFH Racing Chevrolet CFH Racing
7 7 James Jakes Leeds, England Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
8 8 Sage Karam Nazareth, Pa. Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
9 9 Scott Dixon (W) Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
10 10 Tony Kanaan (W) Salvador, Brazil NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
11 11 Sebastien Bourdais Le Mans, France Hydroxycut – HAUS Vaporizer KVSH Chevrolet KVSH Racing
12 14 Takuma Sato Tokyo, Japan ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises
13 15 Graham Rahal New Albany, Ohio Steak ‘n Shake Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
14 17 Sebastian Saavedra Bogota, Colombia AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
15 18 Carlos Huertas Bogota, Colombia Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing
16 19 TBA Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing
17 20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis, IN Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet CFH Racing
18 21 Josef Newgarden Hendersonville, Tenn. Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet CFH Racing
19 22 Simon Pagenaud Montmorillon, France Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske
20 24 Townsend Bell San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet Dreyer and Reinbold – Kingdom Racing
21 25 Justin Wilson Sheffield, England Andretti Autosport Honda Andretti Autosport
22 26 Carlos Munoz Bogota, Colombia AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda Andretti Autosport
23 27 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Snapple Honda Andretti Autosport
24 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay (W) Fort Lauderdale, Fla. DHL Honda Andretti Autosport
25 29 Simona de Silvestro Thun, Switzerland TE Connectivity Honda Andretti Autosport
26 32 Oriol Servia Pals, Spain Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
27 41 Jack Hawksworth Bradford, England ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises
28 43 Conor Daly Noblesville, Ind. FUELED by BACON Special Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
29 48 Alex Tagliani Lechenaie, Canada Alfe Heat Treating Special Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises
30 63 Pippa Mann Ipswich, England Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing
31 83 Charlie Kimball Camarillo, Calif. Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
32 88 Bryan Clauson Noblesville, Ind. Jonathan Byrd’s/Cancer Treatment Centers
of America Chevrolet KVSH Racing/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing
33 91 Buddy Lazier (W) Vail, Colo. Wynn Iowa Vision Research Lazier Racing Chevrolet Lazier Racing Partners
34 98 Gabby Chaves (R) Bogota, Colombia Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda BHA with Curb-Agajanian
(R) – Denotes Sunoco Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year candidate (W) – Denotes former Indianapolis 500 winner
Issued: 5/10/2015
All cars use fourth-generation Verizon IndyCar Series chassis (Dallara IR12) with Chevrolet, Dallara or Honda aerodynamic bodywork kits, Chevrolet or Honda engines and Firestone tires.

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