INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 27, 2010) – Pippa Mann became the first female pole winner in the 101-year-old history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, earning the top starting spot for the Firestone Freedom 100.
Mann, driving the No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, is the second female pole sitter in Firestone Indy Lights history, joining Sarah McCune in 2005 at Chicagoland Speedway. She recorded a two-lap average speed of 187.989 mph (1 minute, 35.7505 seconds) on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 40-lap race on May 28.
Wade Cunningham, seeking to win the Firestone Freedom 100 for a third time, will start on the front row after posting an average speed of 187.742 mph in the No. 77 Lucas Oil/BSS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car.
Charlie Kimball in the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen entry for AFS Racing Andretti Autosport (187.375) and teammate Martin Plowman (187.209) will share Row 2.
DAY 10 NOTEBOOK:
One of the longest-running relationships between a sporting event and a network will continue on Sunday, May 30, when the Indianapolis 500 airs on ABC for the 46th consecutive year. ESPN on ABC’s live, high-definition telecast from Indianapolis Motor Speedway is presented by GoDaddy.com and begins with a one-hour pre-race show at noon (ET) and the green flag at 1 p.m.
Brent Musberger hosts the telecast, while Marty Reid will call the race with analysis by former IZOD IndyCar Series star Scott Goodyear and 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever. Reporting from the pits will be Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.
ESPN will use 59 cameras to televise the race fully in high definition, including a 360-degree rotating onboard camera mounted behind the driver on multiple cars. Unique views will be provided by Track Cam, a high definition camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph. All 33 cars will carry GPS boxes for the Sportvision RaceFX system to provide telemetry and pointers to help identify the cars for viewers. And ESPN will use a radio replay system that can record, playback and edit radios from any of the 33 drivers.
ESPN International’s networks and syndication of the Indy 500 will reach more than 252 million households. In addition, U.S. troops serving overseas and on Navy vessels around the world will watch via a broadcast agreement between ESPN and the American Forces Network, bringing the total to 213 countries and territories.
Sebastian Saavedra will become the third driver to perform the “double” of racing in the Firestone Freedom 100 and Indianapolis 500. Saavedra will start 32nd in the Indianapolis 500 in the No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport car and will drive the No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport car in the Firestone Freedom 100.
Jeff Simmons and Marty Roth were the first to perform the “double,” in 2004. Roth also completed the feat in 2005, with Simmons repeating the feat in 2008.
IZOD will be the primary sponsor of the No. 5 car driven by Arie Luyendyk Jr. and fielded by Andersen Racing for the Firestone Freedom 100.
Luyendyk and team co-owner Dan Andersen made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at a press conference at the Speedway.
Luyendyk, 28, also announced that Mo’sGold Advantage car wax will be an associate sponsor of the effort. Luyendyk is the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk. He is a three-time starter in the Firestone Freedom 100, with a best finish of third in 2004.
ARIE LUYENDYK JR.: “IZOD has been a great supporter of the IndyCar Series, and now they continue into Firestone Indy Lights. The Firestone Freedom 100 should be a fantastic race to watch.” (On his previous involvement with IZOD: “I drive the Indy Racing Experience two-seater, and IZOD is a sponsor on one of those cars. I’ve done a lot of appearances with IZOD, and I got to know them really well. It’s a good relationship, and hopefully it will grow into the future and into bigger and better things.” (On returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway): “This is the race that everyone wants to win; especially with Indy Lights, because it gets so much attention from the Indy car owners. My experience in Indy Lights has been great and after not driving last season, I really wanted to get back in the car. I was very impressed with Andersen Racing’s run here last year with Mario Romancini, and I thought, ‘Man, if I’m going to drive in Indy Lights next year, then I need to be in one of their cars.'” (On the Road to Indy ladder program): “I grew up racing in the United States without a clear path to Indy car. When I was finished driving in USF2000; I went to Europe for a little while and then came back and got into Indy Lights. So it’s great now to have a clearly defined path to the IndyCar Series. I think that now, if you’re an aspiring driver in the United States or even Europe, it makes it a lot easier to come here and prove yourself. It’s all one series and it’s not spread out so you end up with the best drivers competing together to get to the next level.”
MIKE KELLY (Executive vice president of marketing, Phillips-Van Heusen): “We are proud to support Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Andersen Racing’s Firestone Indy Lights team. This is a unique opportunity to align the IZOD brand with a talented young gun who comes from one of the most famous racing families in history.”
BRIAN MARKS (President, TopSpeed Management, which represents Luyendyk): “Arie is an easy fit into the IZOD lifestyle. He is tied into the fashion scene with his own clothing line called Anti-Celeb, which will also be represented on the car. This is an exceptional week for the IZOD IndyCar Series, and with IZOD extending its brand presence into the Firestone Freedom 100, it’s a great addition to the weekend.”
Dillon Welch, son of ABC IZOD IndyCar Series pit reporter Vince Welch, won the USAC Regional Midget Series feature Wednesday night during “John Andretti Night” at the Indianapolis Speedrome. Welch led the last 45 laps of the 50-lap feature.
Firestone Freedom 100 entry update: Arie Luyendyk Jr. is driving the No. 4 Andersen Racing entry. The car name is Andersen Racing IZOD. The #5 entry of Andersen Racing was withdrawn.
Sam Schmidt Motorsports has won four of the last six Firestone Freedom 100 races with drivers Thiago Medeiros (2004), Jaime Camara (2005), Alex Lloyd (2007) and Wade Cunningham (2009).
Cunningham is driving for the team again this year in the No. 77 Lucas Oil/BSS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry. He also won in 2006 for Brian Stewart Racing.
Firestone Indy Lights points leader J.K. Vernay will make his first career oval start in the Firestone Freedom 100, driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson and Indianapolis 500 chief mechanics Jim Travers and Frank Coon will be inducted into the 2010 Auto Racing Hall of Fame tonight at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.
An esteemed panel of nearly 150 electors, comprised of Hall of Fame members, leading auto racing participants, motorsports journalists and officials, votes annually for Hall of Fame inductees.
Andretti Autosport announced today it has signed one of the top prepaid wireless service providers, Boost Mobile, to a sponsorship agreement in support of the team’s IZOD IndyCar Series program and drivers Danica Patrick and Adam Carroll.
Boost Mobile, which offers monthly unlimited plans with no long-term contracts, will be featured as a major associated sponsor of Patrick’s No. 7 GoDaddy.com car for the rest of the 2010 season and as the primary sponsor on Carroll’s car when he makes his IZOD IndyCar Series debut July 4 at Watkins Glen.
Andretti Autosport also signed an associate sponsorship agreement with Virgin Mobile USA for Ryan Hunter-Reay’s No. 37 Team IZOD car during the Indianapolis 500. Both prepaid wireless brands are part of Sprint NEXTEL and comprise a majority of the company’s 11 million prepaid subscribers.
Boost Mobile was a co-primary sponsor for Patrick in 2009.
Carroll, from Northern Ireland, is a former Formula One test driver who won the A1 GP championship in 2009.
BOB STOHRER (Vice president of marketing, Boost Mobile/Virgin Mobile): “Danica Patrick helped to drive Boost Mobile’s success in 2009, and we’re thrilled to be working with her in 2010. Together we’ll launch our new Motorola i1, a device that sets a new technology standard in prepard. As prepaid continues to move into the mainstream, extending our IZOD IndyCar presence through two additional partnerships – Adam Carroll with Boost Mobile and Ryan Hunter-Reay with Virgin Mobile – will help us make an even stronger statement in the marketplace.”
ADAM CARROLL: “My first race will be Watkins Glen on the Fourth of July. I have a test there coming up. Boost Mobile will be my lead sponsor, and it’s a great way to start my career in America. It couldn’t be any better. I’ve waited a long time, and I’m eventually here, so it’s all happening. It’s really, really good. I’m excited. They make me feel at home. I felt comfortable right away. I think that is one of the things that really helped this deal come together. This team is ultimate professionals and really good people. Coming from Europe – it is completely cutthroat there. It doesn’t matter really how much talent you’ve got. It’s all to do with money. To come here is like a breath of fresh air. I’m working with some good people. Finally, I am on the road, like Ryan (Hunter-Reay), and I hope I have a good career.”
Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti spoke today about the addition of Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile as team sponsors, the announcement of Adam Carroll’s debut with the team July 4 at the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen and the team’s prospects for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: “It’s so great to have a sponsor like this. That’s what this series needs. We’re excited to have Adam on board. We’ve been watching him for some time and think he is a real talent. Even more important, he’s a great guy. And when you have a team the size of ours, you have to have the right personalities, and I think Adam is going to be perfect for that. He fits right in with our family. I can’t wait to get him in the race car.” (Will sponsorship help to get Ryan Hunter-Reay into more races in the No. 37?): “We’re working on it, but right now (the contract) is just through Texas. But there is a lot of action going on with the 37 car. (General manager) John Lopes and the boys are working hard, and hopefully we will get this thing done. We are really trying hard, and we have a lot of good things happening.” (After qualifying problems, how do you feel about Race Day setups?): “I think we’re pretty happy. Indianapolis is always this way. Normally our team is pretty much forgotten until Race Day. We normally don’t focus on qualifying, and this year unfortunately, a little bit worse. It sounds like we have some pretty good race cars, and this race is won with a good race car, not necessarily a fast race car but a good-handling race car. It comes down to a lot of things. Catching yellows at the right time and all that stuff. I think any one of our five guys has a shot at winning this race.”
2005 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Ryan Hunter-Reay talked today about their strategy with Andretti Autosport for Miller Lite Carb Day and Race Day for the Indianapolis 500.
Patrick will start 23rd in the No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com car. Hunter-Reay will start 17th in the No. 37 Team IZOD car.
DANICA PATRICK: “I think the race car is OK. It’s still going to need some work. Normally we don’t roll into Carb Day with a test plan of things that I need to do to make it better. At least we’re thinking and have some ideas. I don’t think we will be the fastest car or the most perfectly handling car, but I think it will be close. As opposed to doing just four laps as fast as you can (qualifying), in the race you have strategy and pit stops and all those other things that make a difference. Those are some strengths of the team. If luck is on our side and, if we can dial the car in just a little more on Friday, I think that we could have a good race.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: “This seems a lot like Kansas. After qualifying and going into the race, on paper it doesn’t look very good. When you get into a racing situation, qualifying doesn’t matter. Tony and I went up front pretty quick and stayed up there all day. We do have a lot to do on Carb Day, which is never ideal. You kind of want to go out there, shake it down and make sure everything is good and put it away. We have a lot to do. I think the weather conditions will resemble what we’re going to have Race Day. Like Danica said, we have a great team behind us, which will make for some good stops and strategy and everything else. On track and in the pits, we can beat a lot of teams out here. It’ll be a good day.”
iRacing.com, the computer racing simulation, conducted a media event this morning with Indianapolis 500 starters Justin Wilson, Mike Conway and Tomas Scheckter. The three drivers competed in a 10-lap online race with drivers from around the world in a virtual Dallara chassis on a precise, laser-scanned virtual version of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Wilson was the only finisher among the Indy 500 drivers, as Conway and Scheckter were eliminated in a crash. All three drivers are iRacing members and active racers on the service.
Thousands of iRacing members worldwide will race 200 laps around IMS Saturday afternoon in a virtual Indianapolis 500.
JUSTIN WILSON: “It was good fun. I thought I was doing well, and I was just watching the replay and realized my teammates took out the rest of the field. I’ve raced with a lot of those guys (iRacing.com) over the past couple of years. The detail is what iRacing is focused on. You go down into Turn 1 to start the race when the grandstands are full; it’s a completely different side picture. You feel like you don’t know where you’re going. It’s that same effect we get here. (Going into Turn 3) You go up over that little rise and go down into that bowl as we call it. It’s all exactly the same. I hope this is a good omen, I hope we can go out and win the pit stop competition Friday (Carb Day) and get a ‘triple’ on Sunday.”
TOMAS SCHECKTER: “Where’s the medical center? It (iRacing) is really competitive. It’s cool to go back after an incident like this and go back and look at angles and discuss who was wrong or right. Tony George Jr. got me into it a couple of years ago, and I realized it’s the most accurate racing simulation game you can have. It is a game because it’s a lot of fun and simulation because it is very realistic. I got a chance and came down when they mapped out the track and they measure everything, every crack in the track, every single angle and degree. They make it very realistic.”
MIKE CONWAY: “It is accurate about the circuit, and it is realistic. Even the downforce changes as you get behind other cars. It’s good fun. They get the layout and circuit right, but the visual aspects – the grandstands, the trees – you don’t normally look at when you’re driving, but they are in your vision. The laps (simulation) I made around here are spot on.”
Bill Huneke, longtime auto racing writer for the Trenton (N.J.) Times, will be featured with his family on ABC’s “Good Morning America” this Friday morning with co-anchor Robin Roberts from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Roberts will highlight the Huneke’s family’s longtime passion for auto racing and the Indianapolis 500. Huneke’s parents first took him to Trenton Speedway in 1961, which kindled his love of the sport. The family watched the “500” in movie theaters in the 1960s and first attended the race in 1982. Huneke has covered the race as a writer since the early 80s.
Roberts is driving the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS Pace Car to lead the starting field to the green flag on Sunday.
Race fans visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week can help American troops keep in touch with their loved ones by bringing to the track a cell phone that’s no longer in use.
Cell Phones for Soldiers raises money through the collection of gently used mobile phones and will have drop-off boxes at the Team Chevy Display in the Museum Lot at the track. In addition to helping troops call home, the first 100 fans donating gently used phones will receive a hat, courtesy of the GM Military Discount program. Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided over the last six years more than 1 million pre-paid calling cards and 60 million minutes of calling time to soldiers overseas.
Cell Phones for Soldiers, a non-profit organization started in 2004 by 12- and 13-year-old siblings Robbie and Brittany Bergquist with just $21 of their own money, raises funds through the collection of gently used mobile phones, which are then refurbished or recycled. Each year, more than 130 million cell phones are decommissioned in the United States alone.
Fans not attending the race this weekend can visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com for more information on how to donate at one of the more than 3,000 collection points nationwide or to download a pre-paid, pre-addressed mailing label.
Once collected, the phones are processed by ReCellular, the world’s largest recycler of used mobile devices, and the phones are either refurbished and sold, or recycled under strict EPA guidelines. Cell Phones for Soldiers then utilizes the money from reselling the devices to purchase pre-paid calling cards to benefit the more than 200,000 troops stationed at military bases around the world.
Race fans visiting Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week have the opportunity to experience the Team Chevy Display, featuring show cars and racing artifacts, have a souvenir Winner’s Circle “green-screen” photo taken, and test drive 2010 Chevrolet vehicles.
The Team Chevy Display will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday in the Museum Lot at IMS. Admission is free.
Chevrolet Camaro Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars from 2010, 2009, 1993, 1982, 1969 and 1967 will be featured, along with the 2010 Military Tribute Camaro, courtesy of the GM Military Discount, created by world-renowned artist Mickey Harris to honor the men and women of America’s armed forces. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard all are represented with their own section of the car.
At the Corvette Racing Winner’s Circle Photo Trailer, fans can have a digital photo taken with virtual images of championship-winning Corvette Racing drivers Johnny O’Connell, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia or Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Emmanuel Collard. Also on display will be the No. 3 GT2 Compuware Corvette show car, a Corvette ZR1 interactive cutaway chassis, a replica 2010 C6.R race engine, a number of championship trophies – including the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans – and a pictorial history of Corvette Racing.
Fans also can test drive several 2010 Chevrolet models at the Team Chevy Test Drive, open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Friday, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS FIELD NOTES:
•Pippa Mann became the first woman to win a pole position for a race in the 101-year history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She qualified eighth for this event last year.
•This is Pippa Mann’s first career Firestone Indy Lights pole. Her previous best start was third in October 2009 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
•This is the second time a woman has won a pole for a Firestone Indy Lights race. Sarah McCune won the pole for the race in 2005 at Chicagoland Speedway.
•The pole winner has won the Firestone Freedom 100 every year except for 2007, when Alex Lloyd won from the No. 2 starting position.
•Wade Cunningham qualified second, his fourth front-row start for this event in six appearances. He won the pole in 2006 and 2009 and qualified second in 2005.
•Pippa Mann and Wade Cunningham drive for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. This is the only the second time that teammates have swept the front row for the Firestone Freedom 100. Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates Jaime Camara and Travis Gregg qualified first and second, respectively, in 2005.
•Sam Schmidt Motorsports has placed at least one driver in the front row of the Firestone Freedom 100 every year since 2004. The inaugural race was 2003.
•Pippa Mann’s previous best starting position this season was 12th at Long Beach and Barber Motorsports Park.
•Points leader J.K. Vernay is starting sixth, the first time this season off the front row. He won the pole at Barber Motorsports Park and started second at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.
FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 QUALIFYING QUOTES:
PIPPA MANN (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, pole): “These guys just gave me an awesome car. They gave me just a fantastic car. I just went out there and did my best to pedal it. We made a lot of changes. We had a great time in the morning, adjusting the front wing on the race car and running in traffic and not running in speed. This afternoon when it got hot, we went to work on speed. We found some things that really helped. We found some things that made my life more difficult but made the car quicker. For this afternoon, we decided to rein it in a little bit so it would come home all in one piece. Whatever they reined in, they did it perfectly. It was just awesome out there. I didn’t expect the car to be that fast in clean air. I knew I had a fantastic car in traffic, but I was quicker than I thought I would be in clean air. I’m really, really excited. The balance was even better (qualifying) than it was in traffic. We’ll go back to that car (setup) we had this morning as the race car, but with a couple of tweaks we found that we really like – those might stay. I have a car that I can drive inside, I have a car I can drive outside, I have a car that likes the dirty air, I have a car that likes to be out front.”
BRANDON WAGNER (No. 32 Davey Hamilton Racing, 16th): “We had to make a quick motor change before qualifying and the guys were thrashing as best they could, but we just ran out of fuel. Coming to the green, it just went out of fuel. The car was underpresured when we took the green coming out of (Turn) 4. Coming to the green, it went out of fuel, so it went out pretty early. But, I mean, the car felt great for the one corner. I went flat in (Turn) 3, and after that, my dash was saying fuel pressure, and I knew right away that I was out of fuel. It’s very frustrating. We had a very fast race car here today. Now we have to go out for the Hard Charger Award tomorrow, but we’ll move on. It’s just frustrating. The guys worked hard, and to have something small like this happen, it’s frustrating for everybody.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport, 12th): “For sure, it’s the hottest we’ve been around even from the Indy cars. So it’s something that will upset the combination of the setup. I think maybe we made a wrong choice because of the conditions. But the important thing here is the race. In the Indy Lights, it is not as important in the qualifying as the Indy car. We’ll just be very positive and try to do our best in the race.” (What are the challenges of driving in both the Firestone Freedom 100 and the Indianapolis 500?): “Lots of challenges. It’s two completely different cars – speeds, feels. But we’re up to the challenge. The William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport racing team are doing an incredible job, and we’re just trying to put everything together and do good in both races. That’s our goal.” (How are you after the Indianapolis 500 practice crash?): “We went to Methodist (Hospital) at the end. As soon as we knew that we were in the show, it was the best medicine. I had no pain at all after that. It’s something that made us very happy after that. Watching the face of my crew chief and all of my mechanics made me feel a lot better. It gives us a very positive energy to approach this race.” (How did you feel in the car today?): “I felt perfect. I was just a little bit stiff yesterday, and today it is a lot better, so we are looking forward to the race.”
RODRIGO BARBOSA (No. 18 PDM Racing, 14th): “Qualifying was pretty good. Obviously, for the race we want to be better. I feel more confident because I am working with a nice team this year. I’m looking forward to a good season. It was a smooth run. We set up the car to qualify, so now I have to focus for the race.”
MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers,/KEP Printing, fourth): “Qualifying only is one part of it. We have a really long race ahead of us. We have 40 laps ahead of us now. It’s important that I’ve been here before. It helps to avoid the mistakes. I think I’m the better for it this year.”
STEFAN WILSON (No. 28 Bryan Herta Autosport, 13th): “I would have liked to have gone a little bit quicker, but we have been focusing very hard on race setup. That qualifying setup wasn’t quite there. We’ve been working toward the race, and hopefully that will pay off tomorrow. I’m not too disappointed. There is a lot of build-up to this (qualifying). It’s a bit nerve-wracking, but I had a good time. We have a good race car. This is my first try at this (oval and Indianapolis). This is a baptism of fire. I’m really looking forward to having some good fun out there in the traffic.”
J.K. VERNAY (No.7 Lucas Oil/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, sixth): “It was great to race here. Qualifying wasn’t so bad. I think we had a good result. Qualifying is not that important. I just wanted to bein the top six or seven. We will see in the race. We have a lot to learn because this is a new thing for me. A good pace for the race is what we need. I’m happy and focusing on the race now.”
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 77 Lucas Oil/BSS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, second): “We’re struggling a little bit with car pace at the Open Test and this morning, but that’s why that is practice and this is qualifying. You never know what people are doing. You can try to sort through the data and what people are doing. That’s why we have qualifying to really figure it out. It’s good that we’re up here. It makes it a lot easier to set the car up. I don’t have to compromise with the setup. It’s a great place to start, and obviously Pippa did a great job to get the pole.”
GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 10 Cape Motorsport with Wayne Taylor Racing, ninth): “It was an OK run; it could have been a bit better. The car was loose going into that first turn, so I had to dial it in. Pretty windy, really warm. The track is really greasy. The ambient temperature is really hot, so that means less downforce and less grip. That makes it a very hard race car to drive. The speeds are not too high, so we’ll see what happens in the race. The car is really good in traffic.”
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 4 Andersen Racing IZOD, 15th): “It’s not really one thing, but we’re missing a lot of outright speed. The car feels pretty good. It feels really stable. I think we’ll have something to work with in the race. It’s just missing that qualifying pace. Hopefully, we can work on it tonight and move up through the field. This car is synonymous with starting in the back and finishing up front. Hopefully, we can keep that trend going. It’s not too inspiring, but I’m pretty confident that my experience will get me to the front. I had my sights set on the Indy 500, but when that fell through, I still wanted to be a part of the weekend and wanted to be a part of this event. What better race to do that than the Indy Lights Freedom 100? I’ve finished on the podium here before, and I wanted to come back and prove I can win here. Andersen Racing has been such a strong team on the ovals. I figured that would be the best fit. So we made the deal, and hopefully the car works out a little bit better. I’m confident in the guys to turn it around. We have all night to think about it.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 26 Levemir FlexPen, third): “Both practice sessions this morning we worked on the race pace in the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen car, and it was good. We have got to be happy with that result. It’s not up front. It’s not on pole, but we have got to hold on. I’m quicker than my teammate, and we’ve got a really good race car. From there we can go and have a shot at it tomorrow.”
DAN CLARKE (No. 40 Wasteco Deans Knight Special, 10th): “It’s my first time ever qualifying at the Speedway. We’re not sure where we are yet because the track is really hot. A lot of guys ran really slow considering how they ran this morning. This morning we were P4. It would have been nice to have been a little more on edge. That session (qualifying) felt really, really grippy. The guys have done a great job improving the car since the first time on this track two weeks ago when we were 14th. We’ve been making good progress. The Walker guys are great guys. Ever since we started this deal at Barber, we have been making progress at every step of the way.”
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 17 Team E, fifth): “We had in issue in qualifying. We had a fuel pump problem in the morning practice and didn’t have enough time to change it. We were able to qualify a little better than I thought we would. The team has given me a tremendous car, and I think I have a good shot to win the race.” (About returning to Firestone Indy Lights): “The feel of the car came back right away, but then it was just a matter of taking a little time and trying feel out what it’s like in traffic and turbulence and changing conditions. That’s where it will get you. The feel of the car is a little like riding a bike. I was just looking to get back into a car and have some fun. I have been given a good opportunity, and hopefully we’re going to be able to help deliver a win.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 2 TMR -Xtreme Coil Drilling, eighth): “The car actually felt fine balance-wise. But obviously it’s not the speed we wanted. It’s pretty disappointing for us to be outside of Row 4. It’s definitely not a good place to be starting here for this race. But at the same time it’s a long race. There’s a bunch of rookies starting in front of us, and it’s their first oval race. We’ll see how they manage those first corners and the first couple of laps. Hopefully, it will be up to us to make some moves and get up with the likes of Wade (Cunningham) and Charlie (Kimball) and Martin (Plowman) and the other returning guys. That’s all we can do now, is try to focus on the race car, because obviously we didn’t have the one lap speed we needed. Tough break today, but we’ll try and bounce back tomorrow.”
ADRIAN CAMPOS JR. (No. 22 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling): “This is the first time I was alone on the track, the first time on an oval, everything was very, very strange. I like oval racing, and everything will improve in the race. I was pretty excited. I just want to have fun in the race. I don’t want to take any risks. We have to get faster speeds in race, and we will do it. This track has a lot of history. It is a pleasure to drive here.”
FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 FRONT ROW MEDIA AVAILABILITY QUOTES:
PIPPA MANN (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, pole): (About being first female pole winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway):”I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet. If I’m still P1 at the end of tomorrow, I don’t know what I’ll do. All I can do is give a huge thank you to all of my guys and everybody on the Sam Schmidt Motorsports Team. I’m at a loss for words. This is fantastic.” (About starting on pole): “It’s the first time I’ve ever started on pole in a (Firestone) Indy Lights race, so that’s going to be really interesting to find out what that is like. We had a good racecar this morning and hopefully, it will carry over until tomorrow. Let’s see how many laps we can lead and hopefully we can lead the one that matters at the end.”
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 77 Lucas Oil/BSS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, second): “We didn’t expect to be on the front row. I came to the Open Test (on May 14) having not driven since Miami last October. By ourselves, none of our team cars were that quick over a single lap. Handling was another story, but when you are going for outright speed for qualifying, it’s difficult to extract that last little bit out. We didn’t think we had it. I know the guys put in a lot of work the last couple of weeks, not just on my car, but on all of them, but I was still worried after practice because we couldn’t pull up on cars as quickly as I would liked, and we didn’t have the advantage that I remembered having last year. But now that qualifying is over and two of our cars posted big speeds, it was obviously nothing to worry about, and we got our knickers in a twist over nothing. It’s great to be on front row. I’m disappointed to miss out on pole by a tenth, but that’s the way it goes.”
Indianapolis 500 veteran and KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser and Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year candidate Takuma Sato drove a special ceremonial lap today in two Lotus race cars.
Vasser drove the Lotus 38 that Bobby Johns raced to a seventh-place finish in the 1965 Indianapolis 500, and Sato drove the No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology car in which he will start 31st in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
Sato will wear a special-edition helmet in the race featuring the Lotus logo and photos of his car and the No. 82 Lotus that Jim Clark drove to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500. The helmet will be auctioned for charity.
This year marks the return of Lotus to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 1969, when Art Pollard qualified 12th.
JIMMY VASSER: “The sound was fantastic. Wow, I’m not so sure I would have been a race car driver if this was the thing you had to drive back in the day. The whole car is a gas tank, right? Unbelievable, what a beautiful car.” (You are a car aficionado?): “Absolutely! I wanted to get a little more (speed), but then I thought, ‘This car is worth a whole lot more than that one (Sato’s car).'”
TAKUMA SATO: “Never could I imagine this. It was quite emotional to drive side by side with an original Lotus Indy car and a current Indy car. It was a lot of fun. Just look at this beautiful car (Johns car), and driving with Jimmy alongside was also a fantastic feeling.” (With your background in Formula One and being at Indianapolis, the name Lotus has to mean a lot to you): “Funny enough, the first time I ever saw any race car was 1987 when I was 10 at Suzuka, and driving a Lotus car was Ayrton Senna. So that really hit me today. So dreaming of the Lotus, and I know everything about it being iconic.”
Mike Kelly, executive vice president for Philips-Van Heusen, and Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division, Indy Racing League, met with the media today to make a presentation about the growth of the IZOD IndyCar Series since PVH’s IZOD brand became the title sponsor.
MIKE KELLY: “We have fallen in love with the sport and with our partnership here. We’ve been on a fast-learn curve for about two years now. We did a poll about a year ago in which 57 percent of those polled said the IndyCar Series was probably best positioned for growth in competitive autosports. We saw nothing but upside. Wonderful story lines and a lot of underdeveloped potential for growth. We couldn’t have been luckier as a brand IZOD to step in at this time. I would love it to be earlier and faster, but the things that are coming down the road by the way of innovation, really being part of a brand to bringing solutions to the automotive industry, it is a very exciting place to be. For some of this marketing to take hold and then come in on the other side with big automotive solutions and automotive announcements, you couldn’t have a better one-two punch.”
TERRY ANGSTADT: “It has absolutely exceeded expectations. The structure of the deal calls for certain levels of financial commitment in terms of activation. IZOD is absolutely exceeding expectations on all fronts. They’re just solid marketers, stretching us in every way, and, I think, reaching a lot of new consumers. One of the things that we owe them and that we report on a regular basis is media exposure. We get a report card after every event, and that has absolutely exceeded their expectations.” (About the series in upcoming years): “As our league priorities really roll out for us, it really is about sponsorship development, how that leads into building our brand, how we set our events and where we take our schedule where we have the opportunity to interact with our fans and our consumer base. And then we have been paying a lot of attention toward our equipment package for the future. So that’s clearly where our priorities have been from our league perspective, to touch more deeply on the IZOD relationship. As you probably all remember, this started at Watkins Glen in 2008, and needless to say it has been fast ever since. Not to overuse that term, it’s one of our brand attributes, and I believe it is one of the elements that really had the PVH IZOD guys lock on to our sport. That is our differentiator. I think that was kind of the start. You will see that their strategy, and working closely with them is about identifying those consumer bases, going out and reaching out to them and bringing them to our sport. I think in the very early stages, it is working unbelievably well. That is something that does take time. And I think as you saw, it is a six-year deal with a two-year option. I have never seen in the sport’s business, or they are rare anyway, to see commitments for that tenure. Again, I think that speaks to the quality of their organization, the analysis and due diligence they did prior to making that commitment. But we’re really looking at this as a long-term build, and that’s exactly what the IZOD IndyCar Series needed. You will appreciate the marketing machine that this company is. I think you know their structure, but it’s a consolidated back end that takes world-class brands to market – from Calvin Klein, to Tommy Hilfiger to IZOD to Geoffrey Beene, to Eagle, to Van Heusen. It is a marketing machine. I have never seen any organization do it better, and we could not be more proud to have them as our long-term partner.”
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway team of Debbie Belskus, May Sherron, Jude Beaty and Mary Chapman won the 15th Annual Charity Women’s Golf Tournament benefiting the USAC Benevolent Foundation on Tuesday at Eagle Creek Golf Course in Indianapolis.
Belskus, the wife of IMSC President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus, was the honorary chairperson of the event.
Sunoco, a leader in supplying quality products to consumers and industry for 120 years, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year partnership to be the official fuel retailer and convenience store of the Indy Racing League’s IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.
Sunoco manufactures refined products – gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, residual fuels and commodity petrochemicals – at four company-owned and -operated refineries in the United States for outlets that include more than 4,700 gasoline stations.
In conjunction with the opening of its ethanol manufacturing facility in Fulton, N.Y., Sunoco will supply 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol to the IZOD IndyCar Series beginning in 2011 in partnership with UNICA (the Brazilian Sugarcane industry Association).
The partnership with Sunoco and UNICA will promote ethanol as an alternative fuel of the future in the United States. Currently, ethanol is blended in Sunoco gasoline at its retail outlets along with E85 pumps at selected locations.
UNICA, one of the more than 70 sectors associated with Apex-Brasil – the Brazil’s official trade agency — is the largest organization in Brazil representing sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity producers. UNICA members account for more than 50 percent of all ethanol produced in Brazil and 60 percent of overall sugar production. Brazil is the largest exporter of ethanol in the world.
Both Sunoco and the IZOD IndyCar Series stress green approaches to their businesses. The IZOD IndyCar Series is the only major racing series to utilize a renewable and environmentally-friendly fuel to power its engines and adheres to strict procedures in the recycling of racing fuels at events.
Sunoco has long been an industry leader as a responsible steward of the environment by operating in a manner that protects the biosphere and natural resources, conserves energy and adheres to regulatory standards in waste elimination through source reduction, treatment techniques and recycle/reuse.
ROBERT W. OWENS (Senior vice president of marketing, Sunoco): “Indy car racing is an exciting sport with passionate fans that value innovation, technology improvements, and a green approach to renewable fuels. We are thrilled to have the chance to supply the fuel used in one of the greatest events in motorsports – the 2011 Indianapolis 500. There is no better showcase of ethanol’s performance.”
RANDY BERNARD (Chief executive officer, Indy Racing League): “We are pleased to announce this partnership with Sunoco, a company with a great deal of passion for motorsports,” said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer, Indy Racing League. We feel our key brand attributes of innovation, technology and greening align well with Sunoco and will provide a great retail platform to jointly promote the sport. We’re looking forward to working with Sunoco on creating in-store and at-pump activation initiatives to raise awareness of the IZOD IndyCar Series.”
JOEL VELASCO (Chief representative, UNICA, North America): “We look forward to working with Sunoco to promote the use of ethanol in the U.S. This is a great opportunity to partner at their retail locations on the IZOD IndyCar Series circuit to get the word out to consumers about the many benefits of ethanol fuel.”
FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):
Indianapolis 500 Practice
Start of Firestone Freedom 100, Firestone Indy Lights Race (40 laps)
IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, Pit Lane in front of Media Center
Miller Lite Carb Day Concert with ZZ Top, Miller Lite Stage
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues May 30 with the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway The race will air live on VERSUS.