News for the Week of April 21 – April 27, 2014

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Qualifying – 4/26/14 – 3:00PM ET (ON TV 4/27 1:00AM NBCSN)

Race – 4/27/14 – 2:30PM ET NBCSN

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IndyCar Results: P1P2Friday CombinedP3QualifyingRace

Indy Lights Results: QualifyingRace 1Race 2

Hunter-Reay wins the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay took advantage of an early Will Power mistake to cruise to  victory at Barber Motorsports Park.  The race was delayed over two hours due to torrential rain and storms and ended up being a 1 hour and 40 minute timed event.  “I’ve been anxious (to compete) since we left Long Beach,” said Hunter-Reay. “With the rain and the wet conditions on how we started out there, it was tough. Then we went to the Firestone reds, and man – on wet surface that was just really tough to keep the car on track. Once we got out front though, we started checking out and it was a dream to drive the DHL car.”  Teammate Marco Andretti grabbed an impressive second place after starting ninth.  “The Snapple car didn’t have much for the DHL car so we definitely need to hit the drawing board and see how he kicked my butt today. I didn’t have a radio, so the only way I knew when to pit, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, Ryan stop and thought ‘I guess I’m coming in the next lap.’ It was definitely a blind race, but I just had my head down and tried to hit my marks,” said Andretti.  Scott Dixon finished third.  Full box score here. – INDYCAR – (4/27/14)

Chaves Earns his second victory of season – Champagne that Gabby Chaves poured over his head in Victory Circle was quickly washed away by rain increasing in intensity at Barber Motorsports Park. While Belardi Auto Racing crew members scrambled to move the No. 5 car back to the transporter, the sophomore Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver was wrapped up in the celebratory moment of his second victory of the season. Chaves, who started from the pole position in the back end of the doubleheader weekend on the 2.8-mile, 17-turn road course, won by 1.5904 seconds over teammate Alex Baron in the No. 4 entry. Zach Veach, who won the first race a day earlier, was 3.5136 seconds back in third in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport car. – INDYCAR – (4/27/14)

Cosworth Partners with IndyCar, Claims More Progress Toward Engine Supply – Cosworth says that it is continuing to make progress with its efforts to return to IndyCar as an engine supplier, and that further meetings with potential manufacturer partners could take place as early as next month. The company has also formed a new partnership with the series to provide additional telemetry data to fans. Cosworth confirmed in February that IndyCar formed part of its plans to return its core focus to motorsports, and while it has already held initial talks with the series, any program would require it to be partnered with an engine manufacturer. Cosworth marketing director Tom Buckler said that conversations with potential affiliates are progressing well. “We’re talking actively to two, potentially three, manufacturers at the moment, and we’re in the process of setting up some meetings, hopefully around the [Indy] 500, to take that forward,” he said. “Technically, we know we can do it. We’ve done it before, and there’s not really a doubt in the mind of Bruce Wood, our technical director, that we could design a race-winning engine. – RACER – (4/26/14)

Veach Wins Legacy 100; First of Two at Barber – Zach Veach earned his second Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race of the season and stretched his championship points margin to 26 over Long Beach race winner Gabby Chaves in the Legacy 100 at Barber Motorsports Park — the first of two races on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course. The Andretti Autosport driver, who started from the pole, led Luiz Razia across the finish line by 3.844 seconds in the 30-lap contest. Jack Harvey, Razia’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian teammate, finished a season-best third and is third in the championship standings. – INDYCAR – (4/26/14)

Power Grabs Barber Pole, Seeks Third Victory – Will Power earned his third Verizon P1 Award in five years at Barber Motorsports Park and on April 27 will seek his third victory in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 8.3120 seconds in the Firestone Fast Six on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course. Power added another point to his championship lead entering the third round of the season. Mike Conway, who led Power across the finish line in winning the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13 to move into second in the title chase, qualified 21st in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car for Ed Carpenter Racing. It was Power’s 33rd career pole, breaking a tie for eighth all time with Michael Andretti. He previously started from the pole in 2010 and 2011, and won the race in 2011 and ’12. – INDYCAR – (4/26/14)

Hinch leads final practice at Barber – The Canadian Andretti Autosport driver led the way on Saturday’s practice.  The top 5 were Hinchcliffe, Bourdais, Dixon, Castroneves, and Power. Hunter-Reay finished sixth after leading both sessions on Friday. – @indy44 – (4/26/14)

2014 Honda Indy Grand Prix: Day 1 Highlights – Check out today’s highlights package put together by INDYCAR. – (4/25/14)

Verizon IndyCar Notes & Quotes: Barber Friday – After two street course races to open the season, the Verizon IndyCar Series is back to the flowing terrain of a permanent road course, at the picturesque Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. A few notes and quotes throughout the 23-car field for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama to follow from this Friday. Head over to NBCsports.com to read all the notes and Quotes. – (4/25/14)

Will Power didn’t know Bo but IndyCar knows Power can win at Barber – He didn’t know Bo. But his wife Elizabeth certainly did. “My wife was a massive fan – my wife and her brother too,” Power said. “they couldn’t believe I didn’t know who Bo Jackson was.” Power got a crash course in all things Bo Jackson when the McCalla native and two-sport professional athlete was the grand marshall of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. “They quickly told me who he was and she definitely lined up to take a photo with him,” Power said of his Texas native spouse. A year later, Power will be introduced to another grand marshal with whom he wasn’t familiar, until he did some homework. “A quarterback. Famous football player,” Power said as though reciting before a class. “I had to be told (about him). I didn’t grow up over here. No one really watches American football over in Australia. We’ve got our own football over there but I’m aware now.” The folks Down Under may not know Bo Jackson or Broadway Joe but they certainly know Power, who has more than made a name for himself on the IndyCar Series. – AL.com – (4/25/14)

IndyCar: Multiple engine changes impact Manufacturers’ Championship – The first use of IndyCar’s new engine penalty rules have been applied to both of the series’ engine manufacturers heading into this weekend’s race at Barber Motorsports Park. In a change from the 2012-2013 policy that awarded 10-spot starting grid penalties to drivers whose engines required unapproved changes, IndyCar’s new penalty system directly affects the Manufacturers’ Championship without altering the starting grid. – RACER – (4/25/14)

Veach takes the Lights pole at Barber – Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach won the pole Friday at Barber over Alex Baron and Gabby Chaves. Full results at the link. – Road to Indy Twitter – (4/25/14)

RHR leads again at Barber Practice 2 – The Andretti Autosport driver led both sessions on Friday.  The top 5 were Hunter-Reay, Bourdais, Power, Hinchcliffe, and Castroneves. The first 19 cars were separated by less than 9 tenths of a second. – @indy44 – (4/25/14)

Dale Coyne Racing confirms it will field 3 cars in the 500 – Curt Cavin reports in an article today:  “Coyne said he will field three cars in the 500 no matter what, and that’s important. The talk in the IndyCar paddock is that there are 32 entries, one shy of the traditional starting number.”  Huertas is now a legitimate possibility in the No. 18 after originally being thought of as a road/street course specialist. – Indianapolis Star – (4/25/14)

RHR leads Barber Practice 1:  The top 5 were Hunter-Reay, Newgarden, Castroneves, Andretti, and Montoya.  Multiple red flags made for a weird session as many drivers struggled to get a clear lap in.  Full results at the link. – @indy44 – (4/25/14)

Hinchcliffe and Newgarden head to space camp – The Verizon IndyCar drivers spent some time at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center while in Alabama prepping for this weekend’s race at Barber.  “It’s not easy to become a race car driver,” said Hinchcliffe, who attended Space Camp as a teen. “It’s not easy to become an astronaut, a mechanic or an engineer, but these are all really cool jobs and a lot of people want them. And the people who are going to get them are the ones who work the hardest. Work hard and stay focused and there’s nothing you can’t do.” – INDYCAR – (4/25/14)

Dario Franchitti named as a commentator for Formula E – The new FIA series announced this morning on Twitter than the retired IndyCar legend will be a part of their TV team. A later tweet confirmed he would be in the commentary box as opposed to a pit lane reporter. – Formula E Twitter – (4/25/14)

Head of Chevy IndyCar engine program says Cosworth could be competitive – “I don’t have any information one way or the other as to what Cosworth’s doing, but there’s no hiding the fact that we would welcome another manufacturer into the series,” said Chevrolet’s IndyCar program manager Chris Berube. “The way the formula is in the series right now, I think they could be competitive. This is not a ‘he who spends the most money wins’ scenario. If they have the experience that their name suggests, I think the opportunity to be competitive is there.” – AUTOSPORT – (4/25/14)

Reuters article on IndyCar safety – The international news agency writes about safety in racing on the 20th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s death at Imola. While it does focus on the increased danger and deaths in IndyCar compared to F1 it does give IndyCar credit for SAFER barriers, the HANS device, mobile hospitals, and other safety innovations that have made their way to F1.  Quotes from Mario Andretti, Roger Penske, and Bobby Rahal. – Reuters – (4/25/14)

Ed Carpenter Throws First Pitch at Detroit Tigers Game – Ed Carpenter is no Rick Porcello when it comes to brushing back a batter with a 93-m.p.h. fastball. Then again, we haven’t seen Porcello drive a car at 225 m.p.h.-plus, either — and hope not to. Verizon IndyCar Series owner/driver Carpenter and Detroit Tigers pitcher Porcello chatted on the field at Comerica Park today, before Carpenter threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the Chicago White Sox. –  Detroit Free Press – (4/24/14)

Cavin’s 500 car count continues – Curt Cavin’s update on the Indy 500 car count explains how 32 is possible. Sage Karam will likely be farmed to DRR/Kingdom once his Ganassi deal is put together.  Dale Coyne Racing will likely have 3 cars with Justin Wilson, Pippa Mann (with the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing crew), and either Huertas or Davison.  DRR/Kingdom and BHA have each ruled out a 2nd car.  Conor Daly will miss the race after accepting a GP2 ride in Monaco Memorial Day weekend. – Indianapolis Star – (4/24/14)

Bryan Herta’s 14 year old son to race at Barber this weekend – Colton Herta will make his Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda debut this weekend, becoming the first driver born this century to compete in an INDYCAR-sanctioned race. He was sixth quick in the initial practice session and seventh in the afternoon on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park, which hosts Rounds 3 and 4 of the season April 26. – INDYCAR – (4/24/14)

Wilson and Sato skeptical of F1’s fit at Long Beach – Sato: “I don’t know if current F1 cars could absorb the conditions of the track surface here or not. I pretty much think they can’t. They’d have to resurface like they do in Monte Carlo – they resurface that every year. The rest of the track is semi-permanent, so they have a very smooth surface. But it is a real street course. Even we [in IndyCar] have a lot of bouncing. So there’d be a lot of work to be done.”…Wilson: “We love going there because it’s Long Beach, it’s a lot of fun, and it’s so raw. But an F1 car won’t go around there. They’d be complaining about the bumps – they’d have to resurface the entire place, after they’d ground the entire place. I saw that story [about an F1 return] and chuckled. There’s no way an F1 race could happen around here anymore. In the 1980s you could do that, but now it doesn’t any sense.” – RACER – (4/24/14)

DRR to make a 500 return – Dreyer & Reinbold Racing are close to finalizing a deal to compete in the 2014 Indy 500.  “We don’t have every single thing signed at the moment, but it’s really, really close,” Dennis Reinbold told RACER. “It’s definitely happening, and it will be Dreyer & Reinbold/Kingdom Racing. We’re close on having our driver deal done and our engine deal as well.” – RACER – (4/24/14)

Pagenaud gets physical at Barber Motorsports Park  – Simon Pagenaud is third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings heading into the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama this weekend. The driver of the No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports car, who made his series debut at Barber Motorsports Park, was a guest on the INDYCAR teleconference April 23. The full transcript of the conversation is available on our Blog Page – INDYCAR Press Release – (4/23/14)

IndyCar Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – On April 30, Verizon IndyCar Series teams will participate in an Open Test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course to prepare for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. On track activity will take place from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Time). Currently there are expected to be 25 drivers testing out the new road course. More information to come… – INDYCAR Press Release – (4/23/14)

Dollar General to sponsor Villeneuve at the 500 – “Our team sets out to win every race we’re in, but the Indianapolis 500 is the crown jewel we put at the top of our list each season,” (Sam) Schmidt said. “I’m happy to welcome Dollar General to our team as we continue to grow in the Verizon IndyCar Series. They’ve worked with Jacques before, and we can’t wait to see what this world-class driver can do when he gets back in an Indy car.” – SPM – (4/23/14)

Montagny joins Andretti for GP of Indianapolis – French-native Franck Montagny will return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in May to pilot the No. 26 Honda at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. With a diverse and extensive racing resume, Montagny will become the fifth driver in Michael Andretti’s stable for the road-course event. “I am very happy to be back with Andretti Autosport; I have already felt ‘at home’ during my visits,” Montagny commented. “Participating in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in the temple of motorsport that is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a true moment of happiness.” – Andretti Autosport – (4/23/14)

Miller’s Mailbag 4/23/14 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A for 4/23/14. Great read as always. – RACER – (4/23/14)

Cavin Q&A 4/23/14 – Curt Cavin’s Q&A covers his thoughts on the Helio fine, the unlikelihood of Paul Tracy getting a 500 ride, and Long Beach’s future.  He says Dennis Reinbold’s team will field only one car and James Jakes is the favorite for the ride.  Conor Daly and James Davison are also mentioned as possibilities.  – Indianapolis Star – (4/23/14)

Summary of drivers switching between INDYCAR & NASCAR – Cool feature from Alabama media prepping from Barber with a few sentences on noteworthy drivers that have made the switch between series. – AL.com – (4/23/14)

Course Work Wrapping Up for the GP of Indianapolis – Tony Kanaan took a spin in a Chevrolet Camaro on the Indy Road Course today and had this to say: It’s the final adjustments so hopefully I’ll be able to help the guys (at IMS) with a little bit of my feedback, and put that feedback into a report for all the other drivers,” Kanaan said. “It’s really close to what we planned and I think it’s going to be a fun race for the fans. I’m excited.” Driver feedback from the Open Test regarding placing of temporary curbing will be sought, according to Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles. Infrastructure work, including new spectator mounds to complement the permanent grandstands and temporary infield seating, will continue as part of the Speedway’s long-term capital improvement projects. “We caught back up from what was a tough winter for us in Indianapolis,” Boles said. “This is just the first of a lot of changes that the fans will be able to see as we move into 2015 and 2016.” The 82-lap race (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC) will commence with a standing start and follow the clockwise course that features “many passing zones,” according to Kanaan. The next day, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers will re-orient themselves to the 2.5-mile oval and its counterclockwise flow as they open practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 25. – INDYCAR – (4/22/14)

Castroneves penalized for social media violation – INDYCAR has placed Verizon IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves on probation through June 30, 2014, for an action following the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13. Castroneves was found to have violated Rule 9.3.8 (Social Media Policy violation). 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 – (4/22/14)

Indy 500 ROP dates set – Kurt Busch, who will attempt to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on May 25, will drive his Andretti Autosport car on April 29 alongside 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve, who will conduct a Refresher Test, consisting of the final two phases of the Rookie Orientation Program, which is designed to provide first-year Indianapolis 500 drivers with an informal opportunity to get acquainted with the 2.5-mile oval through laps turned at three speed phases set by INDYCAR…Busch will join Mikhail Aleshin (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), Jack Hawksworth (BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian) and Martin Plowman (A.J. Foyt Racing) on May 5 to participate in second day of the Rookie Orientation Program. – INDYCAR Press Release – (4/22/14)

RACER’s Barber Preview – Solid preview of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ race in Barber this weekend by RACER’s David Malsher. – RACER – (4/22/14)

Dixon Q&A heading into Barber – RACER’s David Malsher interviews Scott Dixon ahead of this weekend’s race at Barber Motorsports Park.  Dixon’s detailed responses make this a must read.  Response to why he’s had so much success at Barber: “It’s hard to explain exactly, but there are similarities to Mid-Ohio [where Dixon has won four times] in that Ganassi has very good baseline setups for high-grip tracks, and there’s also a lot of flow to Barber – each corner feels like a logical progression from the last one – and there aren’t massive braking areas. Even though it looks and feels very different in terms of its track surface, I’d say Detroit’s kind of flowing corner style is the reason we’re quick there, too.” – RACER – (4/22/14)

Andretti Autosport Driver Appearances – Check the link to find out where you can meet the Andretti Autosport drivers this weekend at Barber. – Andretti Autosport – (4/22/14)

Long Beach’s IndyCar future could be extended further Tuesday night – The Long Beach City Council will meet Tuesday night and could extend the IndyCar contract beyond 2018.  As it stands now the city could begin bidding on an F1 race for 2019 and beyond. – NBC Sports – (4/22/14)

4/21/14 Trackside Podcast – Curt Cavin talks to Tony Kanaan, Al Unser, Jr., and Jarett Andretti. – 1070 The Fan – (4/22/14)

Bell adds another sponsor to 500 effort – Townsend Bell announced today that Beneteau will be a personal sponsor of his No. 6 Robert Graham – KV Racing Technology entry in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. – KVRT – (4/21/14)

Veach’s post-Long Beach blog – Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights driver Zach Veach blogs for RACER about his strong start to the season.  He gives good insight into his pre and mid-race strategy due to the series’ new rule that if you don’t complete 50% or more of the winning driver’s total laps you end up with only one point for the weekend. – RACER – (4/21/14)

Barber Livery Notes – Montoya=PPG, Castroneves=AAA, Briscoe=NTT Data, Kanaan=GE Reveal, Bourdais=Hydroxycut.  No mention of Charter on Pagenaud’s car and it was on the entry list for Long Beach.  Huertas is still the driver of the No. 18 for Dale Coyne Racing. – INDYCAR Entry List – (4/21/14)

Jonathan Byrd’s Racing plans on running the 2016 Indy 500 – That’s not a typo.  The former 500 staple hasn’t competed for a while but they want to make it back to IMS for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016.  Full details at the link. – Jonathan Byrd Racing PR – (4/21/14)

IndyCar Series drivers confused about contact penalties – Good quotes from Justin Wilson, James Hinchcliffe, and Will Power on their understanding and suggestions on race control heading into Barber.   “I’m really not sure what’s meant by letting the drivers sort things out,” Wilson continued. “Are we supposed to dress up in Sumo suits after the race in the parking lot and have it out? Or do we go and hit the guy? Do we take the guy out at the next race? I’m really not sure what’s fair game under this new policy,” says Wilson…”I think we should do a similar rule like they have in V8 Supercars, where they have something that says if you turn a guy around and you aren’t up to his roll hoop (the middle of the car), or the front of his quarter panel, it’s an instant drive-through,” said Power. “We need something clear like that. Come up with a clear rule about it and use that as the standard.” – RACER – (4/21/14)

Little Al to race at IMS in June – Al Unser, Jr. will compete in a special event of the SVRA “Brickyard Invitational” called the “Indy Legends Pro-Am.”  The SVRA, America’s premier vintage racing organization, is creating a return to competition for veterans of the Indianapolis 500 with a 40 minute race of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course on Sunday, June 8. Unser joins Lyn St. James, Willy T. Ribbs and Mark Dismore who agreed to compete last week. – IMS – (4/21/14)

Karam on the verge of 500 dream – Great article detailing Sage Karam’s climb through the racing ladder.  Tells the 2004 story of when he was struggling, his family couldn’t run the financial risk of letting him continue on, and his parents told him he had to win his next race or they had to pack it up.  He won his next two events and the rest is history.  In 2005, he attended his first Indy 500.  “I think that’s when I got hooked,” Karam said. “I remember walking through the tunnel to go into the infield, looking up and seeing the Pagoda and everything and telling my dad that I was going to win this race one day.”  Karam is close to a deal with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 500 but with ROP starting in early May the deal needs to be confirmed soon. – lehighvalleylive.com – (4/21/14)

Cavin Q&A 4/21/14 – Curt Cavin answers on Conor Daly’s 500 status (not promising), confirmed car count (still at 30 w/o Karam), race control, and more. – Indianapolis Star – (4/21/14)

Will Power still not focused on points – Will Power made it clear before the season started that he wasn’t going to focus on racing for points this year after ending the year strong last year after being eliminated from championship contention.  His fast start hasn’t changed that.  “(Now) I can race hard all the time; it doesn’t matter where I am in the points. You have 18 races; apart from the big ovals, they all count for the same amount of points. You’ve just got to always be out there, knocking on the door. I think that’s the only way you’re going to win a championship,” said Power. – INDYCAR – (4/21/14)

Marco Andretti’s Dr. Pepper livery leaked – This livery will allegedly run in Toronto and one more weekend TBD. – TrackForum – (4/21/14)

2014 car 25 dr pepper greenlight

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