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Race Report: GMR Grand Prix at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS—By all assessments, the GMR Grand Prix weekend was a tough one for A.J. Foyt’s team but after Saturday’s race, A.J. said, “At least we were able to roll them into the garage.”

Sebastien Bourdais started 20th and found himself even further back by the time he got through the chaos as the field funneled into Turn 1. A couple cars came together towards the front of the group which sent everyone in the back scurrying looking for holes.

For Bourdais, it may have felt like déjà vu but, unlike the XPEL 375 in Texas where he and Dalton Kellett were eliminated in a seven-car melee before they reached the starting line, Bourdais managed to avoid getting hit. Teammates Kellett in the K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet and Charlie Kimball, making the first of two starts in the No. 11 Tresiba Chevrolet, also got through.

It turned out to be the only caution period of the race which went non-stop for the remaining 82 laps of the 85-lapper once the green flag flew again..

Bourdais pitted early—on lap 10—to switch from the primary black tires to the red alternates as did his teammate Kellett during his first scheduled stop on lap 15. Kimball took on a different strategy, using a new set of black primaries for his second stint. Each driver made three fuel stops with stints being about 20 to 25 laps each. Kimball only took on sticker red alternate tires during his last stop on Lap 64. When the checkered flag flew after 85 laps, Bourdais was 19th, Kellett was 20th and Kimball was 22nd.

The drivers remained positive in their outlooks and post-race remarks as noted below.

Bourdais said: “Disappointing weekend for the 14 ROKiT Chevrolet with A.J. Foyt Racing. Obviously, we didn’t have the qualifying that we wanted. Started twentieth, on top of it, got bottled up at the start, picked the outside and that’s where all the chaos ended up so lost a bunch of positions. Pace wasn’t great but it wasn’t really bad during the race. Then at the end we were fighting for 15, 16, 17 something around there and made a small mistake coming out of the pits, crossed the exit line (prematurely) and got a drive-through (penalty) for it. That put us right back where we started pretty much, finished 19th. So onwards and upwards and hopefully we got that out of the way and can get a better day for the 500.”

Dalton Kellett commented, “The first race for the “Month of May” is all wrapped up. P20 for the No. 4 K-Line Chevy. Not exactly where we wanted to end up. The balance was okay but as the track rubbered up and the stints went on, we were struggling with more and more understeer so just trying to adapt to that and use our tools to keep on top of the tires. Our consistency was better and we were making moves from where we started so that was good. It’s always an exciting race here, the first lap action is pretty fun. We didn’t really get any yellows [after the first one]. Once we got out in clean air and running by myself, I was trying to be consistent hitting my marks and making sure we were on our fuel number. I think I learned some valuable stuff and I’m looking forward to coming back in a couple of days and going the other way.”

Kimball praised his brand new pit crew for their solid pit stops. (LAT USA Photo)

Charlie Kimball noted: “Tough day for the No. 11 Tresiba Chevrolet but we accomplished all our goals. Not the result we wanted but at the same time we ran almost all the laps and we had three really clean pitstops. This is a crew that hasn’t worked together until this weekend and hadn’t done any over-the-wall stops until warmup this morning. So the fact that they were able to get three really good stops in anger during the race was a really good thing. It lays a very solid foundation as we head into the week of practice for the Indianapolis 500. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Sebastien and Dalton and adding JR to the mix as well.

Larry Foyt summed up by saying, “Tough weekend for the whole A.J. Foyt Racing team. From the time we unloaded we didn’t have pace and struggled to find a setup that suited all our guys. The good thing is all the cars finished. So now we just need to look at the data and see what we’re missing here and keep working on it because we know we’re going to have more races at this track and we really want to figure it out. We’ve a lot of work to do.”

Rinus Veekay won the race for his first triumph in NTT INDYCAR Series competition. Pole winner Romain Grosjean finished second. Rounding out the top five were Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal.

The next race on the schedule is the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 which will be aired on NBC on Sunday, May 30th starting at 11 a.m. ET. Qualifying for the 500 takes place next weekend with grid positions 10 through 30 set on Saturday. Sunday features last chance qualifying for positions 31 through 33 and sets the grid positions for the Fast Nine.

Qualifying Report: GMR Grand Prix

NDIANAPOLIS (May 14, 2021)—After the first day on track at the IMS road course, A.J. Foyt’s team still has to figure out the right combination for tomorrow’s GMR Grand Prix.

Sebastien Bourdais lost out on the first practice session due to an electrical issue with his No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet which was fixed in time for the second 45-minute practice session. It wasn’t quite enough time to sort out the car. Bourdais qualified 20th with a lap time of 1 minute, 10.1830 seconds on the 2.439 mile road course.

Left to right: Bourdais, race engineer Justin Taylor and Larry Foyt.

“Not the greatest day for the 14 ROKiT Chevrolet with AJ Foyt Racing,” said Bourdais. “Bit of a difficult morning, didn’t turn a single lap and this afternoon, struggled a little bit with balance issues. Honestly didn’t really find the fixes we were looking for from the last time around at the GP, but we’ll keep digging and hopefully we’ll find something for the warm-up tomorrow.”

Charlie Kimball, who is making his first start of the 2021 season in his No. 11 Tresiba Chevrolet, will start 21st after posting a lap time of 1 minute, 10.6810 seconds.

“It felt great to get back in the car again,” said Kimball. “We had a little bit of first day challenges for the No. 11 Tresiba crew but we worked through it. We had a solid qualifying, but not where we want to be position-wise, and, especially as a team, I think we’re working through some challenges. But man, it felt good to be back in the car, it felt good to be back here at IMS and even better to have all the fans here. I signed a lot of autographs here in the garage area today, and it just reminded me that this is May!”

Dalton Kellett qualified 24th in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet with a time of 1 minute, 10.9312 seconds.

“Day 1 at IMS and it was great to see the fans back out here and they’re definitely out in full force,” remarked Kellett. “There were lots of people out trying to make up for lost time getting all their rookie pictures signed from last year. As far as qualifying, it was a bit tough. We thought we had decent pace in practice, and then got held up on our two quick laps on reds, so that was a bit unfortunate. Regardless, we still have to find a little bit in the car. We’re struggling a bit with mid-corner understeer and a little loose off with the traction. Still trying to figure it out. We have three cars here, the third car with Charlie so we have lots of data points. We’re all having similar issues so I think we can put our heads together and come up with something good for tomorrow.”

Indy car rookie and ex-Formula 1 veteran Romain Grosjean won his first career NTT Pole Award in the NTT IndyCar Series with a lap time of 1 minute, 9.4396 seconds. Second though six were: Josef Newgarden, Jack Harvey, Alex Palou, rookie Scott McLaughlin and Conor Daly.

The teams have a 30-minute warmup Saturday morning in final preparation for the GMR Grand Prix, which will be broadcast live Saturday afternoon on NBC starting at 2 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: GMR Grand Prix at Indy

Charlie Kimball returns to the cockpit of the Tresiba Chevrolet for the first time since last season’s Firestone Grand Prix in St. Petersburg where he finished eighth. In his eight previous starts on the IMS road course, his best finish is fifth (three times: 2014, ’15, ’16) and his best start is second in 2016. He will also compete in the Indianapolis 500 for Foyt. When not in a car this season, he has been a color analyst for NBC on the Indy Lights Series presented by Cooper Tires. We asked him a few questions…

How excited are you to get back in the race car?

CK: “I could not be more excited to trade in my headset for my helmet. It has been really hard to watch Indy cars race for four races and not be a part of it. This weekend, that’s changed!”

How have you prepped for these upcoming races?

CK: “I have tried to stay in close contact with the team and watch how the races so far this year have developed, in the sense of the set up as well as the competition side.”

Charlie Kimball (R) chats with Team President Larry Foyt at Barber prior to his TV gig.

You won’t get much practice for the GP. Has the car undergone any significant changes in the road course configuration or will you be able to apply what you learned from last year?

CK: “My sense is the car is a solid positive evolution from last year at the Harvest GP. Sebastien’s 5th place at Barber was proof of that. We will continue to work forward this weekend as a team – although I may need a few laps to knock some light rust off!”

The team preps Kimball’s car — which is sporting a new look this year — as Technical Director Mike Colliver looks on.

Aside from winning, what are you most looking forward to and why?

CK: “A more ’normal’ month of May with the best fans in the world at the race track. Being at home for Memorial Day weekend last year was not right and then racing the Indy 500 without fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway made the facility feel soulless. Having fans back for the Harvest GP was the first step in the right direction and now May is back!”

You went to the first four INDYCAR races for a new job as a race analyst for Indy Lights (and at one session of INDYCAR?). How did the TV gig come about?

CK: “I got a call from Kevin Lee and IMSP to gauge my interest and it was a great opportunity to see the sport from another angle. It also gets me to the INDYCAR / Indy Lights races in an official capacity that also allows me to help AJ Foyt Racing when I can!”

Charlie Kimball traded in his helmet for a headset at Barber Motorsports Park where he made his debut as a color analyst in the booth.

Was it your first time or have you done something similar in the past?

CK: “I have done some pit lane reporting previously, but lending analysis from a broadcasting booth is a very different animal.”

You seem like a natural. Have you received a lot of feedback?

CK: “I have had some great feedback – a lot of it from my family! Seriously, the response has been great even as I learn the ropes and hope to get better each and every time. I love racing and love to share that passion with fans watching Indy Lights looking for the next star in INDYCAR.”

Is this something you’d like to pursue once you retire as a driver?

CK: “I am happy to be laying the groundwork for some time in the FAR distant future!”

What is the hardest thing about doing the TV commentating?

CK: “The hardest thing is telling a story that gives an insight into what’s happening in the car or in the driver’s head in a very short discrete timeframe. Plus, all the voices in the headset from the producer, pit lane reporter and the play-by-play caller! Honestly, the team on the Indy Lights broadcasts have made it so easy on me: Kevin Lee, Katie Kiel, Kevin Buchholz (IMSP Producer), Courtney “CT” Terrell (IMSP Director), all the sound and camera crew are pros and make my piece look great.”

How much preparation do you have to do for it? Do you go to all of the teams and interview key personnel? When on air, what are the things you need to be mindful of?

CK: “I spent a lot of time at both Barber and St. Pete talking to teams and drivers because I didn’t have as much knowledge of who was who as I needed to. Also, keeping those conversations going helps me give some real firsthand knowledge on the broadcasts.

What surprised you the most after your first broadcast?

CK: “How fast the race went by!!! After most races when I’m driving, I can remember a lot of details from the event; however, in the booth, I wasn’t sure what I said or how I did until I reviewed the tape and got feedback from the professionals!”

SÉBASTIEN BOURDAIS has made eight starts on the IMS road course and has finished

fourth three times (2014, 2015, 2018). His best starting position was third in 2015.

SB: “Very much looking forward to the Indy GP. Historically, it’s been a very good race for me. We were not so awesome last year in my return, but definitely a place that I very much enjoy, a track that I’ve been fast on before. We’ve done quite a bit of prep work so looking forward to seeing everybody back on track!”

DALTON KELLETT made his INDYCAR debut last year in the Grand Prix. In his three starts, his best finish is 21st and his best start is 25th. He made eight starts in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Series. His best start and finish were seventh.

DK: “We’re heading into the GMR Grand Prix this weekend and I’m really excited to be back at Indy with AJ Foyt Racing, the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevy. It’s going to be a great weekend for us, really excited. Obviously, we’re coming off a tough weekend at Texas but the team bounced back – we’re actually racing the same car we raced in Race 2 in Texas, so hats off to the No. 4 and 14 crew mechanics who got those cars patched up and ready to go. We’re going to be hitting the track in road course trim and we’ll be coming your way for some exciting racing this Saturday then we’re right into Indy 500 practice next week so see you there.”

Past Performance: A.J. Foyt Racing’s best start on the IMS Road course is fourth with Jack Hawksworth in 2016 and their best finish is fourth with Matheus Leist in 2019. In both cases, the drivers were in their sophomore year of NTT INDYCAR series competiton.

Last Race: At Texas Motor Speedway, the Foyt team had a tough weekend. In the Genesys 300, Bourdais started seventh (the field was set according to the NTT INDYCAR Series standings because qualifying was rained out and Kellett started 22nd. Kellett finished 18th while Bourdais was rear-ended by Josef Newgarden as they were both heading for the pits. The contact sent Bourdais into the wall and out of the race. Bourdais was not injured and cleared to drive the next day. The team worked until midnight and came in early on Sunday to finish up the repair. A seven-car melee on the start of the XPEL 375, triggered by Bourdais getting rear-ended (again!) by rookie Pietro Fittipaldi, took out both cars which sustained heavy damage. Luckily, neither driver was injured.

The GMR Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC Saturday afternoon starting at 2 p.m. ET. Qualifications will be broadcast on NBCSN on a tape delayed basis from Friday night from 6-7:30 p.m. ET. It will be streamed live on NBC Peacock starting at 4:30 p.m. ET. Friday’s two 45-minute practice sessions, starting at 9:30 a.m. ET and 1:00 p.m. ET, will be streamed live on Peacock.

Tony Stewart to join A.J. Foyt for the 60th Anniversary of his first Indy 500 Triumph

INDIANAPOLIS (May 11, 2021) — “I’d be honored,” said Tony Stewart when he accepted A.J. Foyt’s invitation to attend the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where “Super Tex” will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of his 1961 triumph, the first of his four Indy 500 victories.

Stewart, who turns 50 on May 20th, will be watching the race, not driving in it.

Tony Stewart came to IMS in 2017 and met up with A.J. Foyt who tries out his 1961 Indy 500 winning car for size. It still fits! (Dan R. Boyd photo)

“A.J. is my hero, and a great friend whom I’ve known for a long time,” said Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, 1997 INDYCAR Series champion and four-time USAC champion. “It didn’t matter what it was, but if it had four wheels and went fast, A.J. would drive it. NASCAR stock cars, USAC stock cars, sprints and midgets, Indy cars, IMSA sports cars – A.J. won in all of them. We both kind of came up through the racing ranks in the same way. He just did it in a different era.

Stewart got behind the wheel of the Bowes Seal Fast Special and took it for a drive around the track. (Dan R. Boyd photo)

“A.J. called me after I won my first Cup championship in 2002 and I remember how much it meant to have him call that night and congratulate me. He has given a lot back to racing and has been one of the sport’s biggest supporters. Without guys like him, guys like myself wouldn’t have had a chance to succeed. Being with A.J. on the pit box this year at Indy is an honor and something I’ll cherish forever.”

“Tony and I have been good friends for a long time, and I’m glad he’s able to come out for this 500,” said Foyt, who first shared the stage with the then 24-year-old Hoosier back in 1995 when the Indy legend presented Stewart with his championship rings for winning the USAC Triple Crown. Stewart was the first driver to win the USAC Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown titles in a single season. The only other driver to do so was J.J. Yeley in 2003.

“I’m hoping having Tony at the 500 might change our luck! Normally, we run pretty good at Texas but the luck was pretty bad in the doubleheader. We got crashed in the first race and at the start of the second race, both cars got crashed—they never made it to the start-finish line,” said Foyt, referring to the seven-car melee at the start of the May 2nd race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Robin Miller interviews A.J. and Tony for Racer magazine. (Dan R. Boyd photo)

In addition to watching the race from the pit stand, Stewart is hoping to observe the action during a practice day prior to the 500 depending on his schedule.

Despite retiring as a NASCAR driver, Stewart is far from retired. He still races his sprint car regularly at tracks all across the country and has even sampled a Top Fuel dragster, all while being the co-owner of the championship-winning NASCAR team, Stewart-Haas Racing, and the outright owner of Tony Stewart Racing, winner of 26 owner championships – 14 in USAC, nine in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series and three in the All Star Circuit of Champions TQ Midgets.

Stewart has long said that Foyt became his hero after watching him in the 1982 Indy 500 when Foyt got out of his car and started working on it in the pits during the race. Foyt’s never-give-up attitude registered with the 11-year-old youngster who went on to become a successful driver in open wheel and stock car competition, much like his hero.

In fact, when Stewart debuted Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009, he asked Foyt for his blessing to run his famed No. 14. Foyt was honored by the gesture and accepted Stewart’s invitation to attend the Daytona 500, which was Stewart’s debut as a NASCAR driver/owner. Less than three years later, Stewart went on to claim the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series championship, his third in NASCAR’s premier division.

Chase Briscoe replicates the pose of A.J. Foyt in 1986 (inset photo) during the Darlington Throwback weekend. (SHR photo)

Stewart-Haas Racing recently honored Foyt this past Sunday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, with Chase Briscoe’s No. 14 machine carrying a throwback paint scheme to Foyt’s No. 14 Copenhagen stock car from 1986. Briscoe finished 11th to equal his best finish 12 races into his rookie season.

Foyt has entered four cars in this year’s Indianapolis 500, the first time since 1987 and the only other year he’s had that many entries competing in the 500. This year the drivers of Foyt’s Chevrolet-powered cars are JR Hildebrand (No. 1 ABC Supply), Dalton Kellett (No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA), Charlie Kimball (No. 11 Tresiba) and Sebastien Bourdais (No. 14 ROKiT).

JR Hildebrand will drive the 1961 retro-liveried No. 1 ABC Supply Chevrolet for Foyt Racing this month. (Rendering by Aldo Falla).

The 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live on NBC on Sunday, May 30 starting at 11 a.m. ET. Qualifying takes place the weekend before and will be broadcast on Saturday, May 22 on NBC from 2 – 3 p.m. ET and NBCSN from 3 – 6 p.m. ET. The final grid will be set on Sunday, May 23 and will be broadcast on NBCSN from 1 – 2:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. ET.

Race Report: XPEL 375

ROANOKE, Texas (May 2, 2021)—The XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway had barely started before it ended for both of A.J. Foyt’s cars as a multi-car wreck on the frontstretch claimed six cars. All of the drivers emerged without injury but their cars sustained heavy damage.

Sebastien Bourdais rightfully asked, “Is there a target on my back?” afterwards as his No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet was hit from behind for the second race in a row. Dalton Kellett was also lucky to escape serious injury as he had gone low to avoid the wreck only to have Bourdais careen down in front of him. The contact sent Kellett high into the wreck and he t-boned Conor Daly who was coming down the middle of the melee. Daly got turned over and skidded on his roll hoop down the track. The car righted itself before it came to a stop.

Bourdais and Kellett check in with each other after the wreck.

Also out of the race due to the wreck were Alexander Rossi, Pietro Fittipaldi and Ed Jones.

The ROKiT crew worked until midnight repairing the car and were back at it in the morning two hours before the garage officially opened at noon today.

The ROKiT crew looks over the repairs they made to prep the car for today’s race.

“The second day here at Texas and the No. 14 Chevy ROKiT didn’t even manage to get through the

green flag,” said Bourdais. “It’s really a big shame because the guys had worked very hard until midnight to fix the car and we were just a victim of circumstances again. Got taken out at the start and there was nothing we could do, so we’ll try to rebound and have a good month of May.”

His teammate Kellett offered this perspective. “First I’m just very happy everyone was checked and cleared at medical. It’s definitely not the way you want to see the start of a race go—a car going upside down, another proof that the aeroscreen is worth its weight and doing its job. We can’t have starts like that, it’s a shame for the guys to have to come back to Indy now going into the month of May and have to patch up two torn up race cars. I feel bad for the No. 4 and 14 crews and for our partners and our team. Yesterday we had a positive day for the 4 car but it’s been a trying weekend overall. But the guys will get the cars fixed up for May and we’ll be back on track in about a week and a half for Indy GP. I’m looking forward to that and then on to the Indy 500.”

When the checkered flag flew it was Pato O’Ward celebrating his first career victory in the NTT INDYCAR Series after finishing second three times since joining the series fulltime last year. Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon and Colton Herta rounded out the top five.

The teams will be heading to Indianapolis for the GMR Grand Prix on May 15. The race will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Race Report: Genesys 300

ROANOKE, Texas (May 1, 2021)—Storms in the area threw a monkey wrench into the NTT INDYCAR Series’ return to Texas Motor Speedway today. Rain in the morning delayed the start of the sole practice and then qualifying for the Genesys 300 was cancelled as the forecast of evening storms threatened the race being completed. Cars would line up according to the team owners’ point standings.

The change-up gave Sebastien Bourdais a starting berth of seventh and Dalton Kellett 22nd.

For Bourdais, it was a fortunate turn of events as he was not happy with the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet after practice—the only one of the weekend. In the race, both drivers got off to a solid start with Bourdais maintaining his seventh place until it was time for his first pit top..

On lap 55, strategist Larry Foyt called Bourdais to the pits. Bourdais ran low into Turn 1 only to find Colton Herta running slower than normal. Bourdais checked up but unfortunately for Bourdais, Josef Newgarden did not slow enough and he hit Bourdais squarely in the rear in Turn 2. The impact sent Bourdais into a hard left and then the car shot up the banking and it hit the outer retaining wall hard with the back end, eventually coming to rest in the middle of the track. Bourdais was not injured in the accident.

Bourdais at speed in practice. (INDYCAR Photo)

“Tough break for the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet,” said Bourdais, visibly disappointed. “Not entirely sure how we got there, but we really struggled with a tough car to drive in testing here and then in practice here this afternoon. When the race started, we actually were pretty racy and competitive and it looked like we had something to play for. Then I got run into just before the first pit stop and got wrecked. It’s a real shame but we’ll try to come back stronger tomorrow.”

Kellett ran a solid race, stayed on the lead lap and avoided trouble to bring his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet home in 18th for his first race on a banked superspeedway.

The K-Line crew had solid stops.

“It was a decent result for the No. 4 car,” opined Kellett. “I was really happy we were able to make up some spots after the start of the race. With this one groove layout we have, it’s really hard to pass and make some moves off the start and the restart, and after that you’re really trying to manage your tires, try and get some spots on pit lane. The guys did a great job tonight, we were able to jump some people in the pits so I’m really happy with our performance there. I think we still need to find some mechanical grip in the middle of [Turns] 1 and 2, we’re still struggling there a bit but overall, it was a decent result from where we were in practice. It was a challenging day with the weather being in and out. Really happy to get the race in. I’m obviously feeling for the 14 crew, they got to put that car back together tonight but we’ll all be racing tomorrow as a team so looking forward to it.”

A battle between the Scotts, both of whom hail from New Zealand, saw Dixon edge out rookie McLaughlin by a quarter of a second at the checkered to claim his fifth victory at Texas. Pato O’Ward finished third, followed by Alex Palou and Graham Rahal.

Team President Larry Foyt said the ROKiT Chevrolet will be back on track for tomorrow evening’s race which will be broadcast live on NBCSN starting at 5 p.m. ET.

“That was really tough” commented Foyt. “Seb was doing a good job, he was hanging right there with the leaders and about third back were coming back to us as some gyuys were really starting to struggle. We could see it getting bottled up so we actually called him into to pit that lap as Coleton was beginning to struggle. Then Colton was really slow, then Seb checked up for it but I guess Newgarden didn’t and he hit us in the back and turned us and a big crash ensued. Tough for the team but we’ll get it fixed and be back tomorrow. Dalton did a good job, raced hard all night and moved up from where he started, so that’s a good night for them to bring that car home and move up a little bit.”

A.J. chats with his young driver who ran his first high-banked oval race at Texas.

Notes: Genesys 300 & XPEL 375

Jeremy Levenson, aka “Spiderman,” joined AJ Foyt Racing in the off-season as a mechanic who works on the front-end of the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and does bodywork. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Levenson, 33, currently lives in Cypress, Texas. His background includes karting, test driver/fleet tech at Bob Bondurant School, wrenching in Formula Atlantic and SCCA as well as racing late models. Why the “Spiderman” nickname? Jeremy collects tarantulas, 32 so far! We asked him a few questions…

Q: How did you get interested in tarantulas?

JL: “I’ve always had a bit of an interest in entomology. Even as a child I used to go out hunting for any critter I could find, which resulted in a large number of stings and bites. Around the age of ten, I raised about eight Cecropia Moth caterpillars which takes around a year from egg to moth. Tarantulas however, were always a bit intimidating for me. About three years ago, my wife and I went to a home and garden show and there was a display just past the entrance for a pest control company of all things. The owner of the company was an entomologist and had hundreds of display boards set out with different insects he’d collected from all over the world. He had a five inch, Rose Hair tarantula on his shoulder. There was a boy standing next to me who asked the owner of the company why he had a spider on him. The gentleman said, “Well, just in case anyone wants to hold her.” I had always wanted to hold one and I jumped on the offer. Suddenly much less intimidated and considerably more interested.”

Jeremy’s pets (L to R): “Moose,” “Skeletor,” and “Mark Webber” named after the F-1 driver.

Q: How many do you have and what are their names?

JL: “The last count was at 32 and I will give my best try for all the names. They aren’t necessarily

gender accurate as they tend to get the names before you can tell if they are male or female. Moira, Biscuit, Charlie, Steve, Harlow, Sherman, Moose, Violet, Mark Webber, Skeletor, Volt, Guido, Apu, Rusty Shakleford, Mort, Grimm, Ghost, Fang, Ash, Chevy, Olive, Ritz, Fuzzy (named by a grade school class), Willow, Sirius, Noodles, Albert, Norbert, Albert, Finley, Linney and Lyra.

Q: What is the most surprising fact about tarantulas?

JL: “I think it may be a tie between the lifespan and how often they eat. Females can live up to 25 years and they can go several years without food, Moira hasn’t eaten in two years!”

Q: What is the most important thing about caring for them? (Aside from not letting them get loose!)

JL: “The most important things are always having fresh water available, somewhere to hide and making sure the temperature and humidity are correct for each species.”

Q: What do you feed them and have you ever been bitten?

JL: “I use tongs to hold a piece of food to see if they are hungry and then I feed them either crickets, roaches or meal worms normally. I have not been bitten!”

Q: Who takes care of them when you are traveling with the team?

JL: “My wife Courtney. She likes the spiders. They’re not exactly best friends but she’s been very supportive. Moira is her favorite and she will hold her. The fast ones make her a little jumpy though.”

(Courtney is pictured below with her son Logan and husband Jeremy after graduating from Eastern Kentucky University with a Masters of Science in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management.)

Q: Where and how do you house the spiders?

JL: “They’re all in individual, acrylic enclosures. Some will tolerate living together with members of the same species but it’s not something they would do in nature so it’s not recommended as it tends to stress them out. They’re in two rooms on book shelves.”

Q: How did you get interested in racing?

JL: “My father definitely groomed me to be involved with it. Our house was always full of photos and memorabilia. I think what really got me invested was playing a racing sim from 1998 called Grand Prix Legends. My father and I would go back and forth trying to beat each other’s lap times and I still play it occasionally today.”

Q: What is your racing resume?

JL: “Ohio Valley Karting Association, I raced a 100cc sprint kart for four years until I moved to Arizona for school where I was a test driver/ fleet tech for the Bob Bondurant School. I went to work for Brooks Associates Racing in the 2008 Atlantic Championship as the 3rd mechanic. After moving back home I worked as the lead mechanic for a local shop called SR Racing that competed in the SCCA Formula First series. During that time, I raced an asphalt late model for Win Smith Racing in the CRA Super Series and the JEGS Allstar Tour. I’ve done a number of things on the side, one of the more notable was helping crew the 2005 Le Mans winning Champion Audi R8, HSR Classic at Daytona. I still drive occasionally. I’ve participated in an endurance karting event every year for the past seven years to benefit the Boy Scouts.”

Q: What was the first race you attended in person?

JL: “I went to the inaugural Belterra Resort Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway in 2000.”

Q: How did you become aware of A.J. Foyt Racing?

JL: “Growing up surrounded by racing, I’m not sure when I first heard about the team. I remember reading the books my father had in his collection and the model cars all over the shelves. It was always just a part of my memory.”

Q: Is this your first job in the INDYCAR Series?

JL: “It is, this is my first job in the series. I feel extremely lucky for it to be with AJ Foyt Racing. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful.”

Q: What is the most significant achievement in your career so far?

JL: “I’m not sure how significant it was, but the strongest emotional connection I’ve ever had in my racing career was a little silly. I was about twelve years old and a friend of my father’s gave me a McCulloch go kart engine from the 60’s to play with. I remember when I got it, I wanted to see it run. It was full of corn kernels after I assume a mouse had attempted to convert it to ethanol.

I took it as far apart as I could with some basic hand tools my dad had in the garage and cleaned it up. I had it spread out over the work bench and got it back together. I was so excited to hear that after it was sent to an engine builder to be checked, all he had to do was add oil and it fired up! I’m not sure if that actually happened but I was so proud that I’d put an engine together and it worked.”

Q: What is the best part of our job?

JL: “I think any day at the track, be it testing or race day would be my highlight. Seeing everyone’s hard work coming together and knowing you had a part in it is indescribable.”

Q: Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

JL: “My parents most certainly would have to take that place in my heart. The support and the love they give without asking for anything in return has been unwavering. They have been to both of the opening races this year and I can’t ever thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS will be making his seventh start at Texas Motor Speedway this

weekend. He tested at TMS earlier this year. His best start was third in 2019 and his best finish of eighth came the same year.

Bourdais: “The Texas doubleheader is obviously a very tough race, it’s always a very challenging event. We were not awesome there in testing but I think they guys have some really good ideas so hopefully we’ll make some good progress and perform as well as Charlie [Kimball] did last year for the team and have a good time two races in a row.”

DALTON KELLETT will be making his first career start at Texas Motor Speedway this

weekend which is his first ever race on a high-banked oval. In Indy Lights, he raced at Phoenix, Iowa and Gateway.

Kellett: “Going into Texas this week which is the third race of our back-to-back season opener stint. Really excited to go back to “No Limits, Texas” as I think the town is called. As they say, they do everything bigger in Texas. It’s the first high-banked oval for me so we were testing there about a month ago. It was great to get an opportunity to be on that track and get familiarized with it before we go into a fast-paced race weekend. There’s not a lot of time to figure stuff out so it’s great that we got to test there and the car felt pretty good. When we were there, it was cold and windy and the track was pretty green so when we go back there hopefully it’s not so much of a go, no go, situation with that sealant that they applied. Maybe the racing will be a little bit better than what we were thinking but if that’s not the case, it will probably come down to strategy and getting good track position.

“My first impressions: I was impressed with the size of the facility and the intensity of driving there. You really feel the load pushing into the seat. It’s a track with lots of history in IndyCar so it’s exciting to get to race there!

“We did some group running in testing but my experience [in traffic] is limited to Indy. So I will be tapping into that going into the weekend. The big challenges will be managing tire degradation and the sealant on the 2nd and 3rd lanes. Looking forward to the challenge of two races in No Limits, Texas!”

A.J. FOYT will be passing up attending the Kentucky Derby this year to be at this weekend’s Texas doubleheader. Foyt’s team won this race with Billy Boat driving in 1997 but after a protest, the race win was awarded to Arie Luyendyk by officials who cited a scoring error. In 1998, Boat started alongside pole winner Tony Stewart. Boat’s teammate Kenny Brack finished third and went on to win the title that year.

Foyt: “I’m going to Texas instead of the Derby because I’ve been going to the Derby for many, many years, but I don’t have a horse running there this year. A lot of times on Derby Day, I’d have a horse running, but now I don’t, so I’d rather see my two race cars run. I gave the suite to my grandson Anthony and his wife Casey. I’m hoping for a big weekend in Texas. When you’re in your home state, you don’t like to get beat. I know when I was racing in Texas, I did win some races. So far, the last good race we had was with Billy Boat winning it. We had to back it up the second year because the first year they tried to say we didn’t win it, which we did, so we won it two years straight. I still have the trophy.”

The trophy from the 1997 Texas race sits next to the famed “Come and Take It” flag dating back to the Battle of Gonzales and later the Alamo (which is another story in itself).

Last Race: At St. Petersburg, Bourdais qualified fifth and finished tenth after an up and down race. Dalton Kellett was running a solid race but electrical issues cut short his race. He placed 23rd.

The Genesys 300 will be broadcast live on NBCSN Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. ET. The XPEL 375 will be broadcast Sunday afternoon starting at 5 p.m. ET.

Fulcrum Technology Solutions Joins AJ Foyt Racing for INDYCAR Doubleheader

WALLER, Texas (April 28, 2021)—AJ Foyt Racing is introducing Fulcrum Technology Solutions to the world of INDYCAR racing. The technology company has signed a two-race agreement as a marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing.

As part of the agreement, the Fulcrum Technology Solutions logo will appear on the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet in this weekend’s NTT INDYCAR Series doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway. The Genesys 300 race will run Saturday evening and the XPEL 375 race will run less than 24 hours later on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s such a pleasure having a company as respected in their field as Fulcrum is to be a part of what we do,” said Larry Foyt, team president. “I’m very impressed with their big data analytics and cybersecurity expertise and am looking forward to seeing our partnership grow even deeper.”

Located in Houston, Texas, Fulcrum Technology Solutions is a consulting firm that specializes in managed IT infrastructure and cybersecurity services. While managed Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Operations Center (SOC) solutions are the fastest growing part of their business, they continue to provide premier professional services and products to their longstanding clients.

“Fulcrum is proud to be associated with such an amazing racing team. Being a part of this Texas racing legend’s team success is a source of tremendous joy for us,” stated Randle Moore, the chief strategy officer of Fulcrum.

In addition to the company’s logo being on the car and pit support equipment, there will be a meet and greet with driver Sebastien Bourdais, the four-time INDYCAR champion who is piloting the No. 14 Indy car fulltime for Foyt. Bourdais drove a partial season for Foyt last year.

NBC Sports Network will televise both races this weekend: the live broadcast times are 7 p.m. ET Saturday night for the Genesys 300 and 5:00 p.m. ET for the XPEL 375.

About Fulcrum Technology Solutions

Fulcrum Technology Solutions, founded in Houston, Texas, has been providing growing businesses and enterprises with world-class cybersecurity solutions, integration services, and managed services since 2011. With a unique consultative perspective and best of breed solutions, Fulcrum Technology Solutions offers a full range of IT services directly to their customers. www.ftsc.com

Qualifying Report-Firestone GP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 24, 2021)—Sebastien Bourdais continues to prove why he is a four-time INDYCAR champion.

After a couple of frustrating practices in which he ended up 14th and 16th, Bourdais and his team of engineers were able to sort out the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet in time for qualifying. Bourdais made it through two rounds of knockout qualifying to be in the Firestone Fast Six. After setting a lap time of 1 minute, 1.0017 seconds (106.227 mph), he will start fifth in tomorrow’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“A really good afternoon here in the St. Pete Grand Prix in the ROKiT No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet,” said Bourdais, who won the pole here in 2003 in his first ever INDYCAR start. “Really happy with that Fast 6 and we’re going to start fifth tomorrow. It’s definitely a big turnaround from FP 1 (“free practice”) and FP 2 so hats off to the boys for figuring it out and giving me a great ride. Can’t wait for the race tomorrow!”

Bourdais with part of his engineering group (L to R): Technical Director Mike Colliver, Performance Engineer Daniele Cucchiaroni and Race Engineer Justin Taylor after the morning practice.

The fifth place run was the best for Bourdais since he qualified sixth here in 2015. Last October, he barely missed the top 6 and started seventh. He followed up by finishing fourth for the Foyt team’s best ever finish here. The team did win a pole with Takuma Sato in 2014 after he started second for the team in 2013. More recently, Matheus Leist qualified third in his first ever INDYCAR start in 2018 driving for Foyt.

Dalton Kellett’s first run in an Indy car at St. Pete didn’t go quite as well as he had hoped.

Kellett’s tall frame has a snug fit in the cockpit of his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet.

“A bit of a tough qualifying session for the No. 4,” said the affable Canadian who will start 24th. “Got two runs on Firestone Reds. On the second set of reds when the track was optimum and we were going for it, I was up on my lap time but I had a moment in turn 5 and lost that one good lap. The tires come in so fast and you’ve just got to get that one lap right, and I didn’t put it together for this one so I have to reset for tomorrow.”

Colton Herta won the NTT P1 Award with his pole-winning time of 1 minute, .3210 of a second (107.425 mph) lap time for his fifth career pole. Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were Jack Harvey, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Bourdais and Pato O’Ward, who won the pole last weekend at Barber Motorsport Park.

The teams will have a 30-minute warmup tomorrow morning as the final prep for the Firestone Grand Prix which will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 12 noon. The race will also be carried on the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Notes & Quotes: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

JUSTIN TAYLOR joined the team in the off season to become the race engineer for Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet. He started his career as a mechanic in 1999 while pursuing an engineering degree at Colorado State University. He has worked as a data engineer, a performance engineer and finally became a race engineer in 2014. His resume lists stints in IMSA, American LeMans Series, and of course INDYCAR. While working for Audi Sport, he lived in Ingolstadt, Germany, 45min north of Munich. We asked him a few questions…

Q: How did you get interested in racing?

JT: “My dad got the whole family into SCCA racing when I was 10yrs old. I was infatuated immediately.”

Q. What were the first races you attended in person?

JT: “Saturday nights watching the modifieds and late models race at Colorado National Speedway, a 3/8-mile paved oval in Erie, Colorado.”

Q: What other race positions have you held before joining this team (including series and teams and durations)?

JT:3R Racing – SCCA World Challenge GT – Mechanic 1999-2004; Audi Sport – American Le Mans Series/International Le Mans Cup/World Endurance Championship – Data Engineer 2005-2008, Performance Engineer 2009-2013, Race Engineer 2014-2016; Ed Carpenter Racing – INDYCAR – Race Engineer 2017; Mazda Team Joest – IMSA DPi – Chief Race Engineer 2018;

Oreca/Rebellion Racing – World Endurance Championship – Race Engineer 2018, Chief Race Engineer 2019-2020.”

This photo is from the last race for Audi in LMP1, ending an 18 year stretch with a win in Bahrain. Taylor, pictured above in center with white shirt, was the race engineer.

Q: What is the most significant achievement in your career so far? Did it change your perspective?

JT: “Winning the 24hr of Le Mans 2014… winning once only made the desire to win again even stronger.”

Q: Why did you turn your attention to INDYCAR instead of NASCAR?

JT: “Although I do enjoy oval racing, I’m partial to road/street courses.”

Q: What is the most challenging part of engineering an Indy car?

JT: “Getting the most out of the tires at the right moment requires a lot of knowledge of the track, weather, driving style and precise planning.”

Taylor works with Daniele Cucchiaroni (far left) and Alex Diaz (center) on the engineering stand.

Q: Is it more difficult at the track or coming up with the starting setup for the track?

JT: “Tuning the setup at the track is certainly more difficult than creating a start setup simply because of the shorter timeframe to research and make decisions.”

Q: What do you enjoy about working with Sebastien Bourdais?

JT: “He’s always trying to make it less of a job and just enjoy what we are doing.”

Q: From your perspective what are his strengths as a driver?

JT: “His understanding of the tires is fantastic and he can explain his feelings in language that we as engineers can understand.”

Q: How do you deal with the frustrations inherent in racing?

JT: “Not very well! Lol! Seriously, I try my best to treat mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn and improve.”

Q: What is the best part of your job?

JT: “The “team” feeling you get when everything goes to plan and you end up on the top of the podium.”

Q: Since you enjoy traveling, do you have a favorite vacation spot?

JT: “It’s hard to put my finger on a favorite place to visit but I am partial to northern Italy: Lake Garda, Cinque Terre, etc.”

Taylor with his wife Elizabeth in Switzerland–just a bit farther north of their favorite places to visit in northern Italy.

Q: Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

JT: “Aside from my Mom and Dad, probably my 8th grade math teacher, Mr. (Howard) Selbst who showed me that it was cool to be excited about math and science.”

Taylor Fast Facts: Age 40…Born in Denver, Colorado…lives in Indianapolis…Married to Elizabeth…Earned his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University in 2005…His interests outside of racing are traveling, snow skiing, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking or “just being outside.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS on St. Petersburg: “I’m really excited for Round 2 of the NTT INDYCAR

Series in St. Petersburg. Obviously, a Grand Prix at home is a sweet thing to do –- to race in front of friends and family. It’s a great track where I have some really good memories, so hopefully, we can make some more.”

Bourdais is a two-time winner of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg having won in 2017 and 2018. His 2018 victory was particularly sweet having come back from serious injuries sustained in qualifying for the 2017 Indianapolis 500. Bourdais won the 12 Hours of Sebring in March so he will be aiming for another victory in his “home” state of Florida.

Bourdais won the pole in his first career INDYCAR race in 2003 at St. Petersburg driving for Newman-Haas, the team with whom he won his record four straight championship titles. In his past 11 Firestone Grands Prix, Bourdais has started in the top-10 four times and finished in the top-10 four times, including his two victories. In 2020, he finished fourth driving for AJ Foyt Racing, thus securing the team’s berth in the lucrative INDYCAR Leaders Club program for 2021, prompting the team to dub him “The Million Dollar Man.”

Bourdais Fast Facts: Age 42…Born in LeMans, France…lives in St. Petersburg, Fla…Married to Claire, has two children, Emma and Alex…Ranks sixth on INDYCAR’s All-time Wins list with 37 victories and ranks seventh in career poles with 34…Ex-Formula One driver (2008-09)…Won 12 Hours of Sebring this year; has won Rolex 24 at Daytona overall (2014) and Petit LeMans…Finished second overall in 24 Hours of LeMans and won in the GTE class with Ford in 2016.

DALTON KELLETT on St. Petersburg: “Really looking forward to heading into St. Pete. It’s going to

be a great weekend heading down to Florida where it all began last year so looking forward to actually getting on track. It’ll be fun to see the fans out there being safe, social distancing, wearing their masks, it’s going to be a fun event. Looking forward to getting on track, it’s a cool circuit, really intense, street circuits are always a lot of fun and the racing’s going to be great. I can’t wait to get down there in the sun and the K-Line Insulators USA Chevy.”

Kellett will be making his first start at the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course in an Indy car this weekend. His previous experience was in Indy Lights. His best start at St. Petersburg in that division was third in 2017 and his best finish was sixth the following year.

Kellett Fast Facts: Age 27…Born in Stouffville, Canada…lives in Indianapolis…Graduated from Queens University with a degree in Engineering Physics…Brand spokesman for Ten80 Education’s National STEM League…Enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, camping, playing guitar, cooking and golf.

A.J. FOYT on Indianapolis 500 Fan Attendance: “It’s really great because the Indianapolis 500 is

the greatest race in the world, I’ve always said that. I’m just glad the Indiana officials were able to open it up to 40% of capacity. I want to thank Governor Holcomb and everyone else who made this possible. I know they worked very hard to get this done and I’m very happy about it and I know a lot of fans will be too.”

Foyt Racing Past Performance at St. Petersburg: AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is from pole in 2014 with Takuma Sato. The team’s best finish is fourth with Bourdais in 2020. Over the past 16 years, Foyt has fielded 22 entries and racked up nine top-10s in starting berths including two front row starts (both with Sato). His team has garnered nine top-10 finishes. Last year was the first time the team posted two cars in the top-10. In addition to Bourdais’ fourth place finish, Charlie Kimball placed eighth.

Last Race: At the season opener at Barber Motorsport Park, Bourdais qualified 16th and finished fifth, giving him two consecutive top-five finishes for AJ Foyt Racing, counting his fourth place finish in the 2020 season finale in St. Petersburg in October. Kellett started 23rd, and finished 18th, his best finish to date. Both drivers sustained some damage to their cars when collected in the first lap multi-car crash in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

NBC streaming and broadcast information: NBC’s new streaming channel Peacock will stream Friday’s practice from 4:15 – 5 p.m. and Saturday’s practice from 9:45 – 10:30 a.m. Qualifying will be streamed live at 1:45 p.m. and a delayed broadcast airs on NBCSN Saturday night from 10 – 11 p.m. On Sunday, the morning warmup will be streamed live at 9:35 a.m. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 12 noon. All times are Eastern Daylight Time.

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