By Amy Konrath
INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, May 16, 2012) -RookieJosef Newgarden learned a valuable lesson about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as practice for the 96th Indianapolis 500 continued.
The 21-year-old Tennessee native’s respect for the racetrack grew with 16 minutes left in the six-hour practice session May 16 when his car bobbled in Turn 4, did two complete spins and struck a glancing blow on the pit lane retaining wall. It was the first incident of contact of the month.
Other than a scare, it was a positive day for Newgarden, who topped the time chart for the third time this month.
Newgarden’s best lap of 40.3977 seconds (222.785 mph) led Andretti Autosport teammates Marco Andretti (222.108 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (221.763) and James Hinchcliffe (221.638) as teams continued working on race set-ups with the new Dallara chassis.
There’s one more day of practice before teams receive the added turbocharger boost for “Fast Friday” – reflecting a 40-50 horsepower gain and 4-5 mph per lap. The increase in the boost will be available for that session and the weekend time trials.
Thirty drivers recorded 1,632 laps. Two-time Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti (221.623) was fifth overall in the No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car and Justin Wilson was sixth (221.420) in the No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ car for Dale Coyne Racing.
DAY 5 NOTEBOOK:
Five entrants earned spots in the Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Competition on Miller Lite Carb Day on Friday, May 25 during time trials this morning at IMS. Six teams changed tires and simulated fueling during the trials.
The five qualifiers, and their times this morning:
No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (Graham Rahal)
No. 4 Panther Racing (JR Hildebrand)
No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Oriol Servia)
No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing (Mike Conway)
No. 28 Andretti Autosport (Ryan Hunter-Reay)
Those five entrants will join the seven entrants that previously qualified through their performance at 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series races after the Indianapolis 500:
No. 2 Team Penske with Ryan Briscoe
No. 3 Team Penske with Helio Castroneves
No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Scott Dixon
No. 12 Team Penske with Will Power
No. 26 Andretti Autosport with Marco Andretti
No. 27 Andretti Autosport with James Hinchcliffe
No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Dario Franchitti
The Nos. 2, 3 and 50 will receive byes into the quarterfinals, along with either the Nos. 9 or 12 that are tied for position. A blind draw will determine the qualifier.
A $100,000 purse will be awarded at the Indianapolis 500 Pit Stop Competition, which consists of four rounds of head-to-head competition in which teams change four tires and simulate fueling.
Unlike past years, the winning team in each round will advance by having the quickest time from drop of the green flag until the car reaches the finish line. The winning team will receive $50,000, with the remainder of the purse being distributed based on finish.
Indianapolis orthodontist Dr. Charles Pritchett was the honorary starter today. He has attended every racing event at IMS since 1957 – Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis and Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
Local and national recording artists and special guests will entertain the attendees at the Indy 500 Soiree presented by Lucas Oil on Friday, May 25 at the Lucas Estate in Carmel, Ind.
The event will raise money for a Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation’s Child Life Zone at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.
The evening will begin with a VIP reception from 6-7 p.m. on an exclusive, poolside section of the Lucas estate. Attendees will be able to mingle with special guests, Garth Brooks, Indy 500 winners Arie Luyendyk and Kenny Brack, and the field for the 96th Indianapolis 500, as well as other celebrities and Indianapolis notables.
Indianapolis’s own “Sizzlin’ Gregg Bacon” will perform during the reception. With his signature jazz styling, the saxophonist has accompanied B.B. King in concert and opened for Aretha Franklin, The O’Jays and John Mellencamp.
At 7 p.m., fans are invited to join the event via a Live & Global webcast Q&A powered by Ortsbo, a leader in real-time email, online chat and social media language translation, and hosted by three-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves and IZOD IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe. This event will include interviews with celebrity guests, including INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard and Brooks, streamed live for fans watching around the world at www.Liveandglobal.com/indycar.
Nashville recording artists Cook & Belle and dance band Jakarta will entertain guests on outdoor and indoor stages, while inside the main estate, Jeanette Lee, “the Black Widow,” will amaze everyone with her billiards trick-shooting prowess. The Trisha Yearwood Dessert Room will offer dessert delights, and the INDYCAR Legends room will host the A.J. Foyt wine bar.
A cigar bar, the opportunity for pictures with the Borg-Warner Trophy and a silent auction also will take place.
For opportunities to support the Indy 500 Soiree presented by Lucas Oil through sponsorship or donations, or for more information, visit www.lucasoil.com/indy500soiree or call Detail & Design at (317) 423-3590.
The Indiana Section SAE International announced six candidates today for the 46th annual Louis Schwitzer Award sponsored by BorgWarner, which will be presented at 11 a.m. Friday, May 18 in the Economaki Press Conference Room on the first floor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center.
The award, presented to engineers by engineers, recognizes individuals with the courage and conviction to explore and develop new concepts in motorsports technology for use in the Indianapolis 500. The candidates are individuals responsible for:
•Chevrolet IndyCar V6 engine
•Honda HI12R engine
•Lotus Indy V6 engine
•Dallara DW12 chassis
The Louis Schwitzer Award has been presented annually since 1967 by the Indiana Section SAE International in honor of early racing pioneer and past Indiana Section Chairman Louis Schwitzer. Award sponsor BorgWarner provides a $10,000 cash prize to the winner, and the winner’s name is added to the permanent trophy on display at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
Last year’s recipients were James Goodloe, Roger Griffiths, Marcelo Martinelli and Robert Bell from Honda Performance Development for the Honda Refueling Safety Interlock System. Past winners have included Colin Chapman, Bruce McLaren, Smokey Yunick, A.J. Foyt and Gian Paolo Dallara.
The last year without any rain delays or interruptions during Indianapolis 500 practice was 1998.
Media are invited to attend a sled crash test, focusing on advancements in decreasing driver injuries in INDYCAR racing, from 1-2 p.m. Saturday, May 26 at the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation in North Westfield, Ind.
Experts available for interviews at the test include Kirk Russell, Director of International Motorsports Industry Show Safety and Technical Conference; Dr. Terry Trammell, OrthoIndy; Jeff Horton, INDYCAR director of engineering; Thomas J. Chezem, Center for Advanced Product Evaluation and Chris Paulsen, co-owner of the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS).
Bus transportation will be provided for media from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center, departing at noon and returning at approximately 3 p.m.
Space is limited. Media are required to RSVP to both Joe Crowley of True Speed Communication at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jamie Harding Hancock of IMIS at
The life of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon will be honored through a variety of activities during the 2012 edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Wheldon earned his second “500” victory in dramatic fashion in 2011, taking the lead for the first and only time on the final straightaway of the race. He also won the race in 2005. Wheldon suffered a non-survivable injury in a racing accident in October 2011 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The salute to charismatic fan favorite Wheldon starts Wednesday, May 16 when the No. 98 William Rast-Curb/Big Machine Dallara/Honda/Firestone car that he drove to the improbable victory last May will be placed on display at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum until Sunday, May 20.
That car also will be displayed Saturday, May 26 in the Pagoda Plaza during Legends Day Honoring Roger Penske presented by Shell.
A variety of tributes to Wheldon are planned for 96th Indianapolis 500 Race Day, Sunday, May 27.
•All fans entering the track on Race Day will receive a pair of white cardboard sunglasses – white sunglasses were a favorite of the fashionable Wheldon – to wear in tribute to Wheldon on the parade lap, Lap 26 and Lap 98, recognizing the numbers of his winning cars. Fans also are encouraged to wear their own white sunglasses during those laps.
•Bryan Herta, co-owner of the team for which Wheldon drove last year at Indianapolis, will drive Wheldon’s winning 2011 car for a lap of honor during pre-race ceremonies shortly before the command to start engines. Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which had a technical alliance last year with Bryan Herta Autosport at Indianapolis, has restored the car.
•Wheldon will be featured on the Race Day technical inspection stickers affixed to all cars in the field.
Other Race Week tributes include Wheldon’s wife, Susie, participating in the Public Drivers Meeting on Saturday, May 26 at IMS and receiving her husband’s Champion of Champions ring for his 2011 Indianapolis 500 victory when she arrives in Indianapolis.
JEFF BELSKUS (President and CEO, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation): “Dan embodied the spirit of the Indianapolis 500 and Indianapolis Motor Speedway like few who have ever raced here. He loved this race and this special place so much, and his fans and everyone associated with ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ returned that affection with equal passion. We’re honored to pay tribute to Dan – an incredible father, husband, friend and driver – through these activities this year. But rest assured, he will be remembered forever at IMS.”
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR medical director: Josef Newgarden was evaluated and released without injury from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center at IMS. He is cleared to drive.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: “You don’t get many lucky breaks around this place, and I think I just got one. The guys have done a great job putting together such a good car, and I don’t want to hurt the thing. I’ll try to learn what happened and why the thing got around on me. Everyone’s trying to figure out the race car around this place, and obviously I have a little more work to do. We were old on our tire run and trying to run as far as possible to see how the car reacts, and I think it’s just difficult to run in the tow, and today I got bit by it a little.”
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE QUOTES:
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): “Again, I thought we had a great day with the Service Central boys. We’re learning a lot and really trying to keep ourselves focused on what our run-plan is and just doing the kind of laps that we feel we need to every day. Today was a pretty limited day, but that was the plan and we’ll be out there doing more later.”
JEAN ALESI (No. 64 Lotus-FP Journe-Fan Force United Lotus): “Right now, I feel very unsafe, being quite slow in the middle of the track. So I am quite concerned for my fellow drivers if we are not able to get the speed that we need. I am flat out, and I have reached 205 as the maximum that I can see. So it is not a comfortable position right now.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): “It’s good to get out there again today. We didn’t have as organized of a race run as we wanted there at the end of the day because we kept having cars come out right in front of us in the pits. It’s good to be able to continue to get a feel for the National Guard Chevy, and there was a couple of specific things that we were looking to try to address today that we got a feel for in that run. In the end, we’re banking tires, and we’ll be able to do some more running later in the week.”
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA Honda): “It’s the first practice day where we had some pretty decent laps and made some really good improvement on the car: running in traffic, stability, race running. It was quite nice. The Team Barracuda-BHA crew did a good job. We’re also getting all caught up with the Honda people, and everything is running smoothly. It was a good day. Finishing a day like this at the Speedway with a smile and with a car that we feel we can race is always very nice. I’m very pleased with the No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA car. We’re going to start to come up with some big guns, and we’ll see what we can do.”
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 BraunAbility-Schmidt Pelfrey Motorsports Honda): “I haven’t been two-wide yet. We’re just trying to work our way up to it and use all of our experience the best we can. I was really happy with today. I had a lot of things we wanted to test, and we accomplished those today. We crossed a lot of things off our list, so I feel like we’re on top of things. The first two days, I felt like we were just catching up with the car being totally new for me and the engineers. I feel like we’re caught up now, and we can start applying everything we’ve learned to a more refined package moving forward.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): “I think the god of speeds are helping me out this year because we are getting so much running since there is no rain. It’s great. We’re actually not running that much. In fact, I was so sad to get out of the car today. I was having so much fun. The track is not slippery when you get the car nicely dialed in. It’s not slippery; you just have to feel the air on the car and feel what the car is telling you through your butt. You really feel if you get understeer or oversteer, and you really have to learn how to manage that from the car with the steering wheel and your foot. It’s a really fine line. You want to be neutral by yourself and safe in traffic. But traffic usually brings you understeer. So it’s difficult to find the right balance. There is a lot more thinking and processing than on a road course.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): “We ran more laps today, and I think the car is getting there. But we’re just really struggling on the engine side, and that makes it difficult to drive. When you do only 200 mph, you don’t have enough downforce, which makes it a little bit trickier. The good thing on the team side is that everybody is being patient and really working through the things. That’s what we have to do this month – just be really patient about it and try to improve every time we go out there. Hopefully for qualifying and the race we’ll have something that’s race-able.”
BRYAN CLAUSON (No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing/RW Honda): “It’s such a different feel when you get in a pack here at Indy. It’s going to be interesting to see how you can manage a car that’s good running by itself as well as a car that can handle the traffic. Every day in traffic we get a lot better. Completing passes has proved to be pretty difficult so far. We’re going to focus on getting in heavy traffic over the next few days and continue to learn how to manage the car in those situations. It’s going to come down to who’s going to be able to keep the most pedal down on the car through traffic. The tow is so big here that speed behind other cars isn’t that difficult to find if you can keep the throttle in it. Finding balance as you pull out of the draft is kind of like hitting a wall, so it’s hard to complete the pass. We’ll keep finding out what we can learn from running in the pack before we switch over to qualifying mode for Fast Friday.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “We tried a lot of things today with the wind. We are still missing something with the new car. Obviously, we are not where we want to be just yet. We have been making progress each day. It is getting to the point where we have some time to get a good setup, but we are getting closer to the qualifying weekend. So time is precious. We are not discouraged with the progress we are making, but I’m a little disappointed we haven’t made the big jump up the time sheets yet. We have had some decent days in practice but just not that one day that jumps us up to a proper speed. We seem pretty good in three of the four corners, and we need to work on the one turn that hurts us. We will keep working on it and find that sweet spot with this new car.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “We worked on a lot of stuff. It was another productive day for the Target team, just finding our way around this car and just finding out what it likes. We ran in traffic for the first time, and it actually went pretty well. I caught a nice balance. We’re just trying to zero in on what we need for the ‘500.’ That’s where we are. I think we learned some big stuff today. We put together what Scott (Dixon) learned, and Charlie (Kimball) and Graham (Rahal). Hopefully, we’ll come out tomorrow even stronger.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was OK. We really struggled for speed early on. We seem to have days where we roll off, and the car is a mile an hour or 2 mile an hour slower. And that was kind of how the morning started. We made a few changes and got the car a bit better. In the long run, we just probably had too much downforce on it. It was OK. Comfortable to drive but just not the quickest out there. Generally, you can mark yourself by how other people are running at the same time. I wouldn’t say we were great. We’ve got a bit of work to do and definitely got to find some speed.” (How hard is it to sort out the new car?): “It’s not a whole lot different. You’re just not sure whether you’re in the box. You could be out of it. Because it’s a new car you’ve got lots of things to sort of mess with. But it’s kind of hard to tell. I think it’s challenging, but it’s the first year, which makes it exciting, too.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “It was a little bit windy today, which makes the car a little unstable, but it was quite good because we needed to make our car more stable. The wind was tricky, quite gusty. But I think we are happy with the balance. We worked on our general setup and will now go scan the aero map on it to record the data. My long run was cut short today by the red flag, and it was a little bit of a shame that we didn’t run in traffic as much as we wanted, but hopefully we will do so tomorrow. I think it will be quite exciting to start some qualifying setup work tomorrow.”
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (No. 30 Office Depot/RLL Racing Honda): “The day was very good. We made very good progress. The first couple of days were about getting me comfortable in the car and with the setup. Finally, Monday we were very good by ourselves, and yesterday was about running in traffic. It felt good yesterday, but we were not 100 percent. And today I felt really good in the last session. We ran a full tank of fuel and ran it out. I was running in the middle of the group, and the car felt good. It was much fun out there; it was fantastic. Tomorrow we will run a little of both race setup and qualifying setup. We know we didn’t have a lot of time to work on the ultimate qualifying setup, so we know we are not going to fight for the top nine or top 15, so we just want to get a decent qualifying setup where we run good. Then on Friday, of course, we will work on our qualifying setup.”
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “We haven’t done any race setups, and there are a lot of teams doing a bit of that today. So we have to get out there and do some, but at same time, we have to find some speed and know what our speed is for a qualifying run. We have a lot to get through tomorrow. Friday we get a bit of a power boost, so that could change things again. So tomorrow will be our best shot to get some race setups done.”
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 41 ECat/ABC Supply Honda): “We made some gains today. We got an idea of where we need to be for race downforce, and on the back of that you figure out what gearing you need and the kind of balance, as well. We’re headed in the right direction that way. We improved the car mechanically in terms of feel and overall speed. I’d jumped up the charts, and the time was really a function of being able to use a bit of gear for the draft. Hopefully making these sort of gains a few more positions tomorrow and a few more the next day, and we’ll be chasing the back end of the top 10, which is our target. A relatively productive day, no major issues. And like I said earlier, if my rookie day was the worst day we have this month, we’ll have a good time.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): “Pretty slow day for the No. 2 IZOD car. We just did one run. After we made some changes and did a baseline run, the car felt pretty good. For now, we are conserving tires, but we will get back into it tomorrow and continue to improve.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We didn’t run our Verizon car too much today. We did a little work on it. Just tried a couple things, getting ready for the next couple of days. It’s been good having such great weather, as it allows us plenty of time to work through our process.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet): “We started a little late, but the No. 3 Shell Pennzoil is looking good. We tried to manage the tires to make sure we have enough for when it really matters, which is Saturday. Right now, we are moving in the right direction. Chevy, Ilmor and everybody are working together so we can have a quality engine and ultimately a good race car.”
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet): “We tried several things, and we discovered some other ones. I think that we have come up with something that is going to help me a lot for the race. We just don’t know yet if it’s something that’s going to be good for qualifying or not, but we still have tomorrow to decide. I’m happy because we really found something that I think will make the race car the way we need it to be fighting for the win next Sunday.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL SunDrop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): “I think it was a good day. We just concentrated on making our car look better and get in traffic and race trim, and obviously some of the, most of these speeds come from traffic tows. We were all on tows on some point. It just depends on how and when it happens, but most importantly we didn’t try and set any up, we just got to work in traffic. The Andretti Autosport cars have been working really well, so we’ve been making progress, and as a team we’ve been working really well together. It’s been a cohesive unit, and it’s pretty impressive to see how things have been operating so far. So now the goal is going and qualifying to keep that teamwork going. Get to the weekend, and I think we’re most of the way there, or part of the way there on some pretty good race cars. So that’s most important for us.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): “We tried to eliminate tow laps, so you get a little of a bit better sense of not just ourselves but what everybody’s doing. But ultimately between our cars and the timing data that we can get, there’s so much data to pore through, and you know on top of that we’re dealing with the new cars, so we’re learning it off a lot more than we have the last couple years.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics KVRT Chevrolet): “We continued to work on our race setup today and finding out how the car reacts when it is in traffic. It was an uneventful day, and hopefully tomorrow will be the same.”
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/Embrase KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “Today we ran a lot of miles. I was able to experience how the car would feel in a race from when it is full of fuel to almost empty. We made some progress with some of the changes today, and hopefully we are going in the right direction.”
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO/PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “It was another day of working on the race setup. It definitely hasn’t been fun so far. It was a tough day. One of our big priorities is to develop a fast car for qualifying and a safe and fast car for the race, which is what we have been trying to achieve. We tried a bunch of things that didn’t really work out. However, by the end of the day, things took a turn to the positive side, and we will keep working on that tomorrow.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): “We are still making gains on the race setup. The RC Cola guys have all been working great together as a team to really develop a good race car. I would say we are a change or two away from being the one to beat on May 27th. We have some more work to do when it comes to the car’s speed on its own. Once we get the car right, it won’t matter where we start.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Team AFS Racing Chevrolet): “Today was a very good day for the Andretti Autosport cars and the AFS Racing team. It was a really positive day because we are working well together as a team. We have a very consistent car and it is all a learning process. I am enjoying it very much, so we will see where it takes us tomorrow.”
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Team Ipiranga Chevrolet): “I think we made a lot of good progress today when it comes to the race setup. We were able to realize some of the good and not so good aspects of the car. I am looking forward to even more improvements for the Ipiranga team. Tomorrow we will probably focus more on qualifying. We are getting one step closer each day to having the car we need for race day.”
A total of 35 cars are at the Speedway, with 31 passing technical inspection, with two pending. Thirty-one drivers have been on the track to date and turned 1,632 laps today and 6,264 laps since Opening Day this month. Rubens Barrichello turned 114 laps today, most of any driver. There were five cautions for a total of 41 minutes today.
THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):
Rookie Orientation Program
Indianapolis 500 practice
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Indianapolis 500 Mile on May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by NBC Sports Network at Noon (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network.