News for the Week of April 14 – April 20, 2014

Hinchcliffe: All’s well with Hunter-Reay -After a crash and an emotional comment last weekend in Long Beach, Calif., Andretti Autosport drivers James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay appear to be good with each other again. At least that’s the view of Hinchcliffe, who was knocked out of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach by an overly optimistic move by Hunter-Reay. – IndyStar – (4/19/14)

How to race Long Beach, Justin Wilson IndyCar and IMSA Shakedown – Justin Wilson gives Leo Parente and /ShakeDown the recipe for racing the Long Beach street course, IndyCar, and IMSA. JW mixes ‘fried eggs’ and ‘bread loaves’ [found on the track] with more classic ingredients [in-car] of gas, brake, balance, and aggressiveness. – /Drive – (4/18/14)

Verizon Team Penske wins the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award in Long Beach – The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Car (driven by Will Power) earned the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.  This earned The Verizon Penske team $10,000 which will be awarded at the next event. – Continue reading here – (4/18/14)

RACER’s Long Beach Rewind – Good feature from Marshall Pruett recapping the exciting TGPLB. Topics included are how it was essentially a two-part race, his opinions of the officiating and what it means for the future, Justin Wilson’s strong showing on black tires, the enormity of ECR winning at Long Beach, the growth of Newgarden, and more.  One point that really stands out is his opinion that RHR needs some sort of public warning from INDYCAR “to send a message about maintaining higher driving standards.” – RACER – (4/18/14)

Strong start propels Pagenaud’s focus on title –  After winning Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in 2012 and scoring his first two Verizon IndyCar Series wins in 2013, the Frenchman is looking to contend for the 2014 championship.  Pagenaud and points leader Will Power are the only drivers to score top-five finishes in the first two races. “The fact that we started well is important, because at the end of the year every point matters,” said Pagenaud, who tested April 16 on the Texas Motor Speedway oval in the Honda-powered No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car. “It’s a dynamic. You want your team to feel that desire to win and be in a good mood and that’s definitely where we are at the moment.” – INDYCAR – (4/17/14)

People’s Race Team still in need of funding – Go to cuttersrt.com, pay your $100 and you can get your name on the car, which Tetrault and Godby hope to have ready for this year’s 500. They are in charge of the fundraising. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing will handle the car’s set up.  The goal is turn it into a successful business venture while also building an appreciation for the race the two figured has been lost in recent times. Unfortunately the team has yet to meet there goal of one million dollars. – Indianapolis Star – (4/17/14)

The time Nigel Mansell held both IndyCar and F1 Championships – No one has ever achieved the feat of being Formula One World Champion AND IndyCar Champion at the same time, except one man – Nigel Mansell. And here’s how he did it. Continue Reading on Jalopnik. – (4/17/14)

J.R. Hildebrand’s 500 livery unveiled – Beautiful design by Michael Peters for Preferred Freezer Services and Ed Carpenter Racing. – Tony Donohue Twitter – (4/17/14)

2014 car 21 launch

Kurt Busch’s livery for the 500? – This car was being worked on in the Andretti shop today as seen on Andretti TV – #26 Livery Page – (4/17/14)

2014 car 26 shop 041714

Cavin Q&A 4/17/14 w/ details on Carb Night Burger Bash – The 7th annual event will take place on Friday, May 23rd at 6:30pm at 96th Street Steakburgers on 96th St. on the north side of Indianapolis.  Cavin confirms the 4/30/14 test at IMS is on the road course. – Indianapolis Star – (4/17/14)

Texas test news and quotes – Scott Dixon was fastest in Texas testing yesterday with a speed of 218.605mph.  Power and Pagenaud each made comments about Long Beach.   “I spoke to him straight after the race and he was probably still angry,” Power said. “But it’s racing and it’s going to happen that way all year. We need to try to forget about it and move on.”  Added Pagenaud: “We don’t need to talk any more about it.”  Montoya commented on his Texas testing experience:  “It’s still hard,” Montoya said. “(Testing at) Sebring was a lot simpler because I had only been there in an Indy car. I know it was a long time ago, but because it’s still an Indy car, I knew the reference points. But here, and places I’ve been in a Cup car, you are used to lifting and braking and all of that. You have to remind yourself that you can run wide open. It’s hard and it’s fun, but so much quicker.”  Graham Rahal had this to say:  “The rate of falloff is pretty great here. I was watching my onboard (telemetry) from last year to get ready for this week and we earned our money here last year. I had a race-winning car and it looked terrible. I think we need to balance it where it isn’t pack racing, but where we aren’t doing 190s at the end of a stint.  We need somewhere in between. That’s where we’re going. It’s not a drastic change. It’s a little change.”- INDYCAR – (4/17/14)

Muscle Milk Pickett Racing exits TUDOR Championship – The defending ALMS P1 champions announced they will conclude their TUDOR season effective immediately after previously announcing they wouldn’t participate in Long Beach or Monterrey. They have reduced their staff which has raised many questions about their future. The team has IndyCar connections including driver Lucas Luhr driving for SFHR last year at Sonoma and many rumors that they would come to INDYCAR full time. If this is the end then some members of their staff will be highly coveted in the INDYCAR community. – RACER – (4/17/14)

Long Beach INDYCAR in-car theatre – INDYCAR’s post-race highlight video compiled from in-car cameras. It’s a beautiful thing!. – INDYCAR YouTube – (4/17/14)

Saavedra responds to fine via Twitter – After being slapped with a $10k fine from the race at Long Beach, Sebastian Saavedra responded on Twitter saying: “So probation…10K..How about the ones that really deserve fines? At least I had a real excuse on why I had to spin my wheels. #NoComments” It will be interesting to see if IndyCar will discipline or even acknowledge Saavedra’s comments. – Twitter – (4/16/14)

IndyCar Drivers Calmer After Long Beach Tempers – Tony Kanaan got a text of apology from Ryan Hunter-Reay. Will Power tried to apologize in person to Simon Pagenaud. Only three days after a wild race in Long Beach, where tempers flared and so many drivers were mad at each other, 18 cars were back on the track Wednesday for an open Firestone tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. Power, the Team Penske driver who is the series points leader, said he hadn’t spoken again to Pagenaud since Sunday’s race, when there was contact between the two that ruined Pagenaud’s chance to contend for the win. Power finished second, three spots ahead of Pagenaud.  Kanaan was among seven cars involved in a wreck with 24 laps left Sunday that was triggered by Hunter-Reay while he was trying to pass another car and took out the front three. – AP/USA Today – (4/16/14)

Saavedra penalized for full-course yellow infraction at Long Beach – INDYCAR officials have fined driver Sebastian Saavedra $10,000 and placed him on probation through the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 for actions during the April 13 Verizon IndyCar Series race in Long Beach. Saavedra, driver of the No. 17 AFS KVAFS Racing car, was found to have violated Rule 7.1.3.2.2 (Failure to yield to safety vehicle and personnel). 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. – INDYCAR Press Release – (4/16/14)

Miller’s mailbag 4/16/14 – Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is loaded once again.  A must read.  Answers on Conway, the drama of Long Beach, race control, Newgarden’s career path, Spencer Pigot, and Haas F1. – RACER – (4/16/14)

Definitive list of cars/drivers at Texas testing – Mikhail Aleshin, Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Briscoe, Ed Carpenter, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Jack Hawksworth, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Juan Pablo Montoya, Carlos Munoz, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Sebastian Saavedra, and Justin Wilson – @INDYCARPR – (4/16/14)

Montoya encouraged by 4th place finish at Long Beach – “What an amazing team and I really have to thank Verizon and Chevy,” said Montoya. “I could’ve been a little more aggressive at the end, but I really wanted to make sure we didn’t get in any trouble and got a decent finish in the Verizon car. We had some close calls out there but we kept pushing and to come out of Long Beach with a top-five finish is pretty good. I know I can drive the heck out of the car, and that’s what I want to do and that’s why Roger (Penske) hired me.  That’s what I’m going to do, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to make it happen as quickly as possible. I’ve got good cars, good teammates.” – INDYCAR – (4/16/14)

4/15/14 Episode of Trackside – Tonight, Curt and Kevin recap the Long Beach Grand Prix, and are joined by IMS President Doug Boles to talk about Glamping and his thoughts on this year’s Indianapolis 500. – 1070theFan – (4/15/14)

Up Next… Texas – Well, it is time to change things up a bit. After two solid races on street circuits the IndyCar Series will be having a two-day test session at Texas Motor Speedway.  INDYCAR reports that on the April 16th-17th test there will be Nineteen car/driver combinations. These drivers will represent all the teams in the series. Continue Reading on the Blog Page. – (4/15/14)

Beaux Barfield explains LB race control decisions – Here are Barfield’s quotes on the events and decisions from Sunday: “We said before the season began that we were going to change the way we officiate and take more of a hands-off approach,” said Barfield “And I think that’s what you saw last Sunday. Myself and the other two stewards (Johnny Unser and Brian Barnhart) looked at the replays and acknowledged that we would have likely called that a penalty last year (Power vs. Pagenaud) but it’s something we will no longer call,” said Barfield. “It was two guys racing hard for position but we didn’t see it as malicious.”…”You could say the line that Dixon took into the corner was either slightly defensive or that he left Justin some room on the left. But you can see on the replay that Justin turned back into Scott and he initiated the contact.  You can also see that Scott was looking hard right and may not have known he (Wilson) was there. But Justin probably wasn’t going to make the corner and it was too late for him to do a crossover move because he was too far alongside Dixon.”…”Graham got penalized because he spun Justin before we even went back to green and he was beating on his bumper all the way from Turn 9,” explained Barfield. “That was an easy call to make.  But when Graham got turned he had moved off-line going into the hairpin – maybe trying to dictate Aleshin’s exit, I don’t know – but when the kid moved back on line he hit Rahal and turned him. If Graham keeps his normal line, it’s the Chrome Horn and the rookie gets a penalty.”…”The rule of avoidable contact has changed – it’s now just contact, that’s how we are officiating and we didn’t think Will, Scott and Mikhail were negligent or reckless as the newly-worded rules state.  But the bottom line is that we don’t want races to be decided by Race Control. It’s up to the drivers to sort things out.” – RACER – (4/15/14)

Conway blogs after Long Beach triumph – Mike Conway wrote a terrific job for the Long Beach newspaper after his victory there this weekend.  It’s too good of a read to try and shorten here.  You can tell Mike is very appreciative of everything he experienced from earning the opportunity with ECR to achieving a 2nd victory in the historic event. – Long Beach Press-Telegram – (4/15/14)

Robin Miller praises IndyCar rookies – Not much was expected from the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series rookie class outside of Carlos Munoz but as Robin Miller points out they’ve all shown glimpses of being very capable drivers thus far.  Robin focuses on not just the talent, but the mental fortitude, of rookies Mikhail Aleshin, Jack Hawksworth, and Carlos Munoz.  Definitely a good background read on this surprisingly strong rookie class. – RACER – (4/15/14)

Westboro Baptist to picket at the 500 – The infamous Kansas church will be at the Indianapolis 500 in May to protest the race because of Jim Nabors and the massive consumption of alcohol.  Nabors married his longtime male partner last year in Washington.  This will be his final year to perform “Back Home Again in Indiana” as part of the pre-race festivities.  – WISHTV – (4/15/14)

ECR wants Hildebrand full time in 2015 – J.R. Hildebrand says ECR wants to have a 2nd car for him full time in 2015. Watch the video here and skip to about 3:55:

RACER – (4/15/14)

Cavin Q&A 4/15/14 – Curt Cavin answers fans’ questions on Will Power not being penalized, the 500 qualifying procedure and car count, National Guard sponsorship, and more.  Here’s the best part about the car count:  “As for the number of participants, my count today is 30. Assuming Sage Karam’s deal gets put together at Ganassi, that’s 31. Dreyer & Reinbold’s first car makes 32. Then it’s going to take Davey Hamilton’s car (essentially the second at Dreyer & Reinbold) and/or the Stefan Wilson car to make 33. Bryan Herta said his team isn’t fielding a second. Panther is out. Coyne could field a third, obviously. Someone told me Andretti could run a sixth, but that seems unlikely to me. Believe it or not, a lot of people are talking about the limited number of capable crew members available.” – Indianapolis Star – (4/15/14)

Texas test this Wednesday a great opportunity for the rookies – Rookies Carlos Munoz, Jack Hawksworth, and Mikhail Aleshin have never raced at the high-banked Texas oval so the test this Wednesday gives them a great chance to get comfortable with the track before the race weekend there in June.  A total of 19 car/driver combinations are expected at the test.  “I am looking forward to the test at Texas to see what one of these things is like on an oval,” Hawksworth said. “I’ve never been to Texas before, so it will be interesting to see the layout. It looks unique for an oval, especially the ones I’ve been on.” – INDYCAR – (4/15/14)

Long Beach events brought in almost 180,000 fans for the weekend – That’s about 10,000 more attendees than what organizers expected over the three-day weekend which is a great sign for both INDYCAR and the event itself.  Asked about what the event’s success does for INDYCAR’s future there, President and CEO of the Long Beach Grand Prix Association Jim Michaelian said:  “A lot of the fans have voted by their presence, haven’t they?  It says something to the fact that despite some of the conversations and initiatives that have gone on in town, the fans are coming out because they see this as an exciting event.” – Long Beach Press-Telegram – (4/15/14)

GP of Long Beach Podium Press Conference Quotes – Carlos Munoz, Will Power, and Mike Conway participate in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Podium Press Conference. Continue Reading on the Blog Page. (4/14/14)

IMS adds an extra practice day and bumping possibility for the 500 – At the conclusion of Saturday’s qualifications, positions 31-33 will be provisional and those cars, plus any entry not already in the field that has declared its intention to qualify to INDYCAR prior to 7 p.m. (EST) on Saturday – will participate in a separate qualification session on Sunday to determine the 11th row on the grid.  The extra practice session will be on Monday, May 19th from 12-5p.m. (EST) and the extra day of on-track action will be open to the public like any other practice day during May. – IMS – (4/14/14)

Aleshin’s funding potentially in trouble  – Russian website lists Mikhail Aleshin as one of the dozens of Russian drivers whose funding could be in jeopardy as a result of the Russia/Ukraine crisis.  “The racers are backed by the SMP Racing project, which was set up by billionaire Boris Rotenberg, a childhood friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was included in U.S. sanctions last month as a member of Putin’s so-called inner circle…SMP Racing is Aleshin’s main sponsor in Indy Car, but the organization’s sports director Sergei Zlobin told R-Sport that Aleshin’s career had yet to be affected by the sanctions. However, SMP Racing-backed racers in European series could be left unable to compete, Zlobin said.” – RIANOVOSTI – (4/14/14)

Pagenaud and Wilson refuse accept apologies after contact ruins their day in Long Beach – Simon Pagenaud on his incident with Will Power:  “It’s a bit late for that,” he said. “He ruined my race. When you’re somebody like Will, you whine about everything, especially people taking you out.  I’m very disappointed. We had the car to win. We’re racing under a green flag, and [he thinks] I slowed down? Good for him.”  Justin Wilson after Scott Dixon took him out:  “That’s bulls**t,” he said. “Where did he think I was? He took the inside, so I’m on the outside.  But coming down to the braking zone, he wanted the outside too. It’s complete bulls**t. I’m p***ed.  There’ll be a time when we maybe won’t have as good a car, and there won’t be any favors. I’ve always respected Scott in the past, but this was a major f***-up.” – RACER 12/77 & RACER 9/19 – (4/14/14)

Newgarden handled frustrating day at Long Beach with class – Excellent compilation put together by Tony DiZinno on how well Josef Newgarden handled his disappointing end to a promising result at Long Beach. – NBC Sports – (4/14/14)

Cavin Q&A 4/14/14 – Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A is filled with information today.  Answers questions on driver/car points championships (they are separate), standing starts, Tracy/Gordon in the 500, and who the potential “mystery” team with Stefan Wilson will be (not Fan Force United). – Indianapolis Star – (4/14/14)

Martin Plowman to host charity kart race on 5/7/14 – Martin Plowman, driver of the #41 A.J. Foyt IndyCar, and his fiancee Nicole Pollard, former Miss Indiana, are hosting their inaugural Celebrity Kart Race at Fastimes Indoor Karting with all proceeds benefiting Snowball Express, the charity for children of our fallen military heroes. The event will take place in Indianapolis on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM. Click the link for registration information. – martin-plowman.com – (4/14/14)

Sage Karam will join Ganassi for the Indy 500 – “We’ll get everything done early (this) week,” said Steve Lauletta, the president of Chip Ganassi’s team. “It looks good.”  That brings the car count to 30 at the moment. – Indianapolis Star – (4/14/14)

Robin Miller interviews Long Beach winner Mike Conway – The always entertaining RACER reporter doesn’t disappoint in this interview. Must watch for the excitement of both Conway and team owner Ed Carpenter. – RACER – (4/14/14)

Mike Conway wins in Long Beach – The road/street-course specialist for Ed Carpenter Racing made Ed Carpenter look like an absolute genius by delivering a win in just his second race with the team.  Scott Dixon was forced to pit for fuel late giving Conway the lead after he’d passed Will Power on a late restart.  The defining moment of the race was an accident taking out nearly all of the top contenders when Ryan Hunter-Reay tried an ambitious pass on leader Josef Newgarden after the last batch of green flag pit stops.  Here’s what Conway had to say:  “You never know where you’re going to be, so you just have to push as hard as you can all the time. I pushed because I knew Will was going to be close and he was good off the last corner. I knew I had to keep it clean there. I wasn’t sure Scott was going to pull in there. I couldn’t see he was saving fuel where he should have been saving. Second would have been good, but this is awesome.”  Full results here. – INDYCAR – (4/14/14)

Gabby Chaves takes the Lights win in Long Beach – Gabby Chaves overtook pole sitter Zach Veach entering the left-hand Turn 1 of the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street circuit and went on to win the caution-free Long Beach 100 by .6364 of a second over the Andretti Autosport driver. Two weeks earlier, Veach passed pole sitter Chaves in the right-hand Turn 1 of the 14-turn, 1.8-mile St. Petersburg street course and earned his first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires victory. – Indy Lights – (4/14/14)

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