Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch. Photo by Bob Tarvin-Tarvin Images

Kyle Busch/No.18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota won the 27th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 race at Sonoma Raceway, The new father may still walk with a limp from his February fractures, but he had a lead foot when it counted in the waning laps of the 110-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup race. He floored it from seventh place on the last restart and plowed through the field on new tires.

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch Photos by Mike and Jeff Burghardt.

This was the fourth road course win for Kyle, second victory at the ten-turn, 1.99-mile road course at Sonoma Raceway, and his 30th Cup win. He now has the third most road course wins among the active Cup drivers.

It was the first Cup win for crew chief, Adam Stevens. After the checkered flag, Rowdy did heavy-duty doughnuts, spreading smoke far and wide. Mosquito abatement, NASCAR style.

Kurt Busch

Clint Bowyer

Kevin Harvick

Photos of Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick by Mike and Jeff Burghardt.

Second was big brother Kurt Busch/No.31 Haas Automation Chevrolet, who had started second. The Margin of Victory between them was 0.532 seconds. There is a seven year spread between the brothers, who started out racing Legends cars.

Clint Bowyer/No.15 5-Hour Energy Toyota was third from a sixth place start, followed by points leader Kevin Harvick/No.4 Folds of Honor/Outback Steakhouse/Budweiser Chevrolet, who started seventeenth. Kyle Busch and Harvick are now tied for 23rd place in all-time Cup wins.

Joey Logano/No.22 Shell Pennzoil Ford was fifth after starting nineteenth, the largest position gain in the field.

Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon. Photo by Mike and Jeff Burghardt

It was the largest NASCAR crowd in the last decade, and some credit could be due to the track’s extensive promotion and it being the last race for local driver, Jeff Gordon/No.24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet. Gordon started fifth, ran as high as third, and fell back after the last restart on old tires, to finish a disappointing sixteenth.

The weather was hot, near low eighties, but the typical Sonoma breeze cut the heat quite nicely.

AJ Allmendinger

AJ Allmendinger. Photo by Mike and Jeff Burghardt

Pole sitter AJ Allmendinger in No.47 Kingsford Charcoal Chevrolet led twice for a lap and ran strong behind Kurt Busch until the first pit stop. Then he fell afoul of fuel pressure issues, which required repairs in the garage. He returned to the fray, and worked back up to 37th place, 12 laps down.

Alex Kennedy/No.33 MediaCast Chevrolet was the top Rookie, finishing 25th on the lead lap from a 36th place start.

Despite the victory, Kyle Busch will still need to be 30th or better in the standings to make the Chase. He is 37th in the standings, due to missed races because of his months off for recovery/rehab after his February crash breaking his left leg and right foot. NASCAR granted a Chase-eligible dispensation to Kyle Busch. Ordinarily, a driver must run the entire season to make The Chase.

Twenty-seven drivers finished on the lead lap, and 37 finished overall. There were nine lead changes among five drivers – Johnson, Busch’s Kyle and Kurt, Bowyer and Allmendinger. Five was also the number of cautions, for 21 laps.

There were no issues with post-race inspections, and three cars were taken back to NASCAR’s R&D Center in North Carolina for further inspections – Kyle Busch’s Toyota, Kurt Busch’s Chevrolet, and Joey Logano’s Ford.

One would think there were targets painted on the tire walls and concrete blocks based on the number of hard hits and near misses. David Gilliland/No.38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford had his left front tire go down and he hit the tire wall hard in Turn Ten. That brought out the first caution, two tow trucks and five service vehicles to make repairs. It was during this four-lap caution that the designated Lap 24 fell, the time when all the Gordon fans did their Gordon wave. Yeley finished last in the race.

The second caution turned into a ten and a half-minute Red Flag after Martin Truex, Jr/No.78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet hit the left side Turn Eight tire wall so hard it pushed back the concrete blocks. He had been hit by David Ragan/No.55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota. Up to that point, Truex had been doing well in his brand-new road course car, but his day ended with a forty-second position finish. Ragan continued. More down time for wall repair, including quality fork lift work.

JJ Yeley/No.23 Dr.Pepper Toyota had a hard hit to the right side Turn Ten tire wall, bringing out the third caution. He DNF’d in forty-first place.

Ragan was involved in another incident, crowding last year’s Sonoma winner, Carl Edwards/No.19 Stanley Toyota into the right side Turn Eight tire wall causing Caution Four. This time Ragan wasn’t able to continue, nor was Edwards. They finished thirty-ninth and fortieth, respectively.

The wildest DNF honors fell to Casey Mears/No.13 GEICO Chevrolet. He had an axle failure in Turn Ten, and made it to the Turn Eleven infield, where the axle and left rear wheel went flying across the infield into a catch fence. Normally Cup cars have strong steel tethers to avoid just such situations; but in this case the axle housing failed so the whole shebang came off. Mears finished thirty-eighth.


Kyle Busch – “I can’t say enough about my medical team who got me back in shape and ready to go behind the wheel. My foot hurts a little bit, not as bad as I expected it to. It actually hurt worse in practice. I think I warmed it up on Friday. It felt pretty good on Friday.

“It was a fun race. The cautions and pitting when we did was an awesome strategy. It was a very good short-run car.”

He thanked a very long litany of sponsors.

Kurt Busch – “I wanted to deliver a win today. I just didn’t get the restart I wanted. We had a great car and I think we made a statement. Congratulations to my little brother. I don’t know how many races Busch’s finished 1-2, but I’ll let him win it. I thought we had the winning strategy with the cooler tires, rather than worn-out tires at the finish. I just ran out of laps to run down Kyle. I was a bit too patient.”

Bowyer – “I tried, just came up a little short. I tried to get up to him (Kyle Busch) and get a little rough with him, but it didn’t work. I made the effort, but it just didn’t come through for me. He had the right line and I didn’t. He beat me to the punch.”

Gordon was clearly disappointed with his finish. “It’s been a long time since I won. We tried hard.” He ran as high as third, but didn’t pit for tires on the last restart and fell back.

Jimmie Johnson/No.48 Lowes Pro Service Chevrolet led twice for the most laps – 45, but his two-stop strategy didn’t work. He finished sixth. JJ was one of five drivers who didn’t pit for tires on the last restart. It showed. “I felt pretty good at first as there were so many cars behind me and those who had new tires. About a lap and a half later, I didn’t feel so good.”

The next NASCAR Sprint Cup Race is the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola on Sunday 5 July at Daytona International Speedway. This marks the halfway point in the Cup schedule, and the first race for TV broadcast partner, NBC. Sonoma was the last race of the year with Fox Sports.


1. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 2 hrs, 55 mins, 39 secs after 110 laps
2. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
3. Clint Bowyer Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
4. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
5. Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
6. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
8. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
9. Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
10. Sam Hornish Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
11. Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
12. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
13. Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
14. Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
15. Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
16. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
17. Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
18. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
19. Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford
21. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
22. Cole Whitt Front Row Motorsports Ford
23. Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford
24. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
25. Alex Kennedy Circle Sport Chevrolet
26. Boris Said Go FAS Racing Ford
27. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford
28. Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing Chevrolet – 1 lap
29. Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota – 1 lap
30. Justin Marks Front Row Motorsports Ford – 1 lap
31. Alex Bowman Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet – 1 lap
32. Jeb Burton BK Racing Toyota – 1 lap
33. Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet – 1 lap
34. Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing Ford – 1 lap
35. Justin Allgaier HScott Motorsports Chevrolet – 3 laps
36. Landon Cassill Hillman Smith Motorsports Chevrolet – 11 laps
37. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet – 12 laps
38. Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet – 13 laps Rear Axle
39. David Ragan Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota – 32 laps Accident
40. Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – 32 laps Accident
41. J.J. Yeley BK Racing Toyota – 39 laps Accident
42. Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet – 79 laps Accident
43. David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford – 90 laps Accident


1. (–) Kevin Harvick 616pts
2. (–) Martin Truex Jr. 563pts (-53pts)
3. (–) Joey Logano 559pts (-57pts)
4. (+1) Jimmie Johnson 546pts (-70pts)
5. (-1) Dale Earnhardt Jr. 545pts (-71pts)
6. (–) Brad Keselowski 505pts (-111pts)
7. (–) Jamie McMurray 497pts (-119pts)
8. (+1) Kasey Kahne 483pts (-133pts)
9. (-1) Matt Kenseth 479pts (-137pts)
10. (+1) Kurt Busch 469pts (-147pts)
11. (-1) Jeff Gordon 462pts (-154pts)
12. (–) Paul Menard 452pts (-164pts)
13. (–) Denny Hamlin 438pts (-178pts)
14. (+2) Ryan Newman 435pts (-181pts)
15. (–) Aric Almirola 431pts (-185pts)
16. (+1) Clint Bowyer 430pts (-186pts)

Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon. Photo by Mike and Jeff Burghardt


Graham Rahal

Graham Rahal/No.14 Mi-Jack Honda came from a nineteenth starting position to win the action-packed racy MAVTV 500 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway. Also winners Saturday afternoon were the fans – at the track and at home watching on TV. They witnessed history being made, although it wasn’t without controversy.

The race had 14 leaders; the most-ever lead changes in IndyCar history and at Auto Club Speedway – 80; and 3173 passes. All this despite a red flag with a three-lap shootout and still ended up under caution on the last lap; six cautions for 46 laps/58.41 minutes in a 250-lap race. And the first caution didn’t come until Lap 136 for Helio Castronves/No.3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet spun while leading the most laps.

There were several driver crashes on course, including one spectacular flip, but no drivers were hurt. All the (noticeable) contacts brought out cautions, along with two for debris.

They were pack racing. Paul Tracy, the color analyst in the TV booth, said “Three and four abreast racing, one and two rows deep – it’s staged low altitude flying. Twenty-three fighter pilots in formation fighting for position.” And that was said before the cars were trying running five abreast. It was breathtaking.

This was Rahal’s second IndyCar victory, 124 starts after his first at St. Petersburg in 2008. Rahal has now run four races at Fontana. He led four times for 15 laps.

Rahal said “I didn’t think it (my victory) would come at a track like this. I knew yesterday the car was good. You don’t know how good this feels. I was definitely a little worried after that pit stop. I couldn’t be more honored and thankful for a group like this.”

Tony Kanaan

Second was Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, who led eleven times for 23 laps. He was quite outspoken afterwards about pack racing. “It was a crazy race and I’m just glad I’m OK. It was a great race for the fans. The people who criticize should try this – pack racing at 215 mph. There definitely is a fine line between pack racing and close racing. For us – people have to understand how stressful it is for us. I lost my best friend in exactly this way in 2011 (Dan Wheldon). If there were 100,000 fans we might want to race that way. To do this in front of 5,000 people is stupid. At Texas, there were no problems, but it was criticized for being a boring race. How can we make everyone happy? Maybe we can find a compromise over the course of this year the fans and the drivers. I have an opinion and I hope you respect that. It was a nerve-racking race, but I guess it was fun. Did I like it a lot – no. It was a heck of a race for the fans.”

AJ Foyt was asked about pack racing after his driver, Takuma Sato, crashed. “I loved racing like that when I did it. It just wasn’t our day.”

Marco Andretti

Third on the podium was Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Honda, after leading ten times for 31 laps, more laps led than the total of all his Auto Club laps led in his three prior start, including his 2012 pole. Andretti said about pack racing: “It was extremely dangerous but that’s what we signed up for. I think the fans got a good race. I mean, it’s fun. It’s definitely crasy, but it’s risk and reward. I mean, in my opinion, I think a good car should win the race, not one that’s just taking the biggest chance. And I’m not taking anything away from Graham, he drove a heck of a race But I’m sort of in the middle on it, maybe because I’m in the middle on age.”

Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet was fourth, which kept him from having a chance at the IndyCar Triple Crown. He led three times for five laps. He said “I thought it was a little stupid. Full pack racing and sooner or later someone’s going to get hurt. We don’t need to do that. Rahal drove a helluva race and he deserved to win. I have no opinion on (Rahal’s) refueling issues.”

Fifth and top Rookie was Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet. He led twice for five laps – his first-ever IndyCar lead laps. Karam said “To be mixing it up at the front is so good”.

The other leaders were: Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske – 20 times for 62 laps, the most in the race; Helio Castroneves/No.3 Auto Club of Southern California – eight times for 43 laps; Takumo Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda – six times for 31 laps; Carlos Munoz/No.26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda – twice for 14 laps; Ryan Briscoe/No.5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda five times for seven laps; Scott Dixon/No.9 Degree Chevrolet – four times for seven laps; Pole Sitter Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet – once for five laps-he finished ninth; Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.28 DHL Honda-who led his first laps this season – once for three laps; and Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CHR Chevrolet, once for a lap.

Sixteen of the twenty-three starters finished the race, with fourteen drivers on the lead lap, drivers finished the race, and there were seven retirements, all for contact. The race ran 2 hrs 57 mins 40.6179 secs under yellow after 250 laps.

Two drivers received Official Warnings – Tony Kanaan for Pit Entry and not holding is line and Graham Rahal for blocking.

Ed Carpenter's No.20 Chevrolet

Those who retired were: Castroneves, whose crew repaired his car in the garage and then retired after the car wasn’t running well; Carpenter and his teammate Josef Newgarden/No.67 Hartman Oil CHR Chevrolet, who hit each other; Power and Sato who hit each other; and the two Ryans, Briscoe and Hunter-Reay, who hit each other, bringing out the Red Flag to clean up the debris.

The Ryan’s crash was spectacular to watch, once it was learned drivers were all OK. Briscoe flipped up airborne, twisted and turned before landing. RHR faulted Montoya who pushed him up. Briscoe had no place to go. RHR said “I’m glad we’re both OK, glad Briscoe is alright.” Briscoe – “First I had to call my wife and tell her I’m OK. I’m glad everyone is OK. The racing has been close all day. I wish it didn’t happen. Not the way I wanted to go out. I just want to keep wishing Hinch a good recovery.”

Will Power

Power was visibly furious after his crash with Sato. Power said “What are we doing. It was pack racing. It was Las Vegas again. I’m just glad no one’s hurt. Exciting as it is, it’s insane. You can’t get away and gain massive track position. We don’t need another Vegas incident. It’s just a matter of time.”

Carpenter faulted lack of sufficient spotter information regarding the closeness of Castroneves. Newgarden had no place to go. Carpenter’s car retired. Newgarden’s crew beavered away to get him back out for points, but he only got four more laps before retiring.

Only one drive-thru penalty was assessed – Briscoe for avoidable contact in the incident where he drifted up into Castroneves, causing him to crash.

Jack Hawksworth

Jack Hawksworth

Four drivers will face Post Race Reviews for Pit Safety Violations: Montoya, Jack Hawksworth/No.41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda, and the two Dale Coyne Racing Hondas of Pippa Mann/No.18 and Tristan Vautier/No.19. Oren Trower, inside inside front tire changer, was transported by ground for further evaluation of his lower extremities injuries. He had been hit by Vautier during a Pit Stop. This is the third DCR crew member to be hurt this season, the other two injured at the Indianapolis 500 in an incident involving all three of the DCR drivers pitting simultaneously.

Graham Rahal

No penalty was assessed to Rahal for leaving his pit box with the fuel filler hose still attached, spewing fuel out the car and landing the filler cap on the ground. Race Control left that matter for post-race review. At the time, the team was quoted as saying “Human error mistake. no one on team assessing blame on that one.” Afterwards, Rahal said “Obviously, a penalty would have killed us. You know, Phil, my fueler, he’s being pretty hard on himself right now. I think he was concerned that we didn’t get in all the fuel that we needed to, which we did, and unfortunately he tried to kind of jam it back in there. But yeah, we were definitely lucky with that one. Unlucky but lucky because I went out of pit lane, and I was like, the frigging thing won’t shift. I mean, I couldn’t figure out what it was. And then I looked in the mirror, and I was, like, you’v got to be kidding me, not again, and then luckily it wasn’t in all the way, so when I kind of moved the car back and forth, it finally popped out

“But, I got called for blocking, and I don’t know who else did, but you know, it’s — unfortunately right ow, I mean, we’re being told to give room and stuff, but nobody is, and yet there’s no penalties for it. When I was starting to get pushed around, I don’t feel like it’s right to be pushed around, so I just started to push back, and that’s the kind of way it goes.”

On pack racing, Rahal said “I think it’s racing. We have taken ourselves to a place over the last few years to where we’ve reduced the downforce so far that we couldn’t even race. I don’t think it needed to be as close as it was today. Some of those guys sit and say it was easy today should have beat me then, because it wasn’t easy for me. Yes, it was the closest racing we’ve seen in a long, long time, but it was very different than the old pack racing style where it was just flat and you place it where you want. You still had to pick the best spot I think today we were very fortunate to be in the position that we were in.”

“The wake of a Honda is different than the wake of a Chevy. Have to think of a lot of different things. Chevy puts out a bigger wake, so it’s harder to follow. Honda puts out a cleaner wake.” Rahal was definite in his answer that nothing should be done about it. “One doesn’t need to be a penalty to make them equal.

“Today was the closest racing we’ve seen in a long time. Today we were very fortunate. Very lucky after that race, as TK was faster than was I. TK’s got enough wins, he can share one.” It’s been seven years since Rahal’s last victory.

“It’s a big deal for us. Glad for my Dad (who was in Watkins Glen with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan BMW Team for the TUDOR race.) This feels good to win, for sure. It’s going to be fun tonight. We’re not a one-hit wonder. I don’t know if we can win it, but I think we can finish in the top five for points. We’re understaffed by a couple of people. No wind tunnel, only one shaker. We don’t have the resources others have.” “It’s ticked me off before watching other people win and how can they be so lucky. But I’ve already believed everything happens for a reason. And today was the day I got it. This is a big day for us. Honda has worked tirelessly for us to be in this place today. Honda hasn’t given up. They’re committed to making this thing better.”

Rookie Gabby Chaves/No.98 Bowers & Wilkins Curb Honda didn’t start with the field, joined after repairs and started last. He finished twentieth, the last car running, 13 laps down.

IndyCar’s Mark Robinson walked his 10K steps Saturday afternoon – back and forth to the Media Center Deadline Room to announce the various penalties, reviews, and stats.


1. (19) Graham Rahal, Honda, 250, Running
2. (6) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 250, Running
3. (3) Marco Andretti, Honda, 250, Running
4. (5) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 250, Running
5. (10) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 250, Running
6. (7) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 250, Running
7. (23) James Jakes, Honda, 250, Running
8. (13) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 250, Running
9. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 250, Running
10. (17) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 250, Running
11. (11) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 250, Running
12. (21) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 250, Running
13. (22) Pippa Mann, Honda, 250, Running
14. (15) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 250, Running
15. (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 249, Contact
16. (16) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 249, Contact
17. (20) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 246, Running
18. (9) Takuma Sato, Honda, 241, Contact
19. (8) Will Power, Chevrolet, 241, Contact
20. (18) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 237, Running
21. (12) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 161, Contact
22. (4) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 157, Contact
23. (2) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 1

Fastest Lap
Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda 33.0027s 218.164mph on lap 229

Championship standings

1. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske 407pts
2. Will Power Team Penske 361pts
3. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 358pts
4. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan 334pts
5. Helio Castroneves Team Penske 330pts
6. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 308pts
7. Sebastien Bourdais KV Racing Technology 290pts
8. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing 285pts
9. Josef Newgarden CFH Racing 277pts
10. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske 256pts
11. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing 248pts
12. Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport 236pts
13. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises 213pts
14. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 210pts
15. James Jakes Schmidt Peterson 190pts
16. Gabby Chaves Bryan Herta Autosport 178pts
17. Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises 171pts
18. Luca Filippi CFH Racing 161pts
19. Stefano Coletti KV Racing Technology 140pts
20. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson 129pts
21. Sage Karam Chip Ganassi Racing 126pts
22. Tristan Vautier Dale Coyne Racing 91pts
23. Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing 81pts
24. Ryan Briscoe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 75pts
25. Simona de Silvestro Andretti Autosport 66pts
26. Sebastian Saavedra Chip Ganassi Racing 61pts
27. JR Hildebrand CFH Racing 57pts
28. Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing 46pts
29. Rodolfo Gonzalez Dale Coyne Racing 40pts
30. Francesco Dracone Dale Coyne Racing 38pts
31. Townsend Bell Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing 32pts
32. Carlos Huertas Dale Coyne Racing 31pts
33. Alex Tagliani AJ Foyt Enterprises 27pts
34. Ed Carpenter CFH Racing 27pts
35. Justin Wilson Andretti Autosport 25pts
36. Oriol Servia Rahal letterman Lanigan Racing 10pts
37. Bryan Clauson Jonathan Byrd’s Racing 10pts
38. James Davison Dale Coyne Racing 10pts
39. Buddy Lazier Lazier Partners Racing 0 pts


IndyCar Observers

Hats off – or rather on – to the 12 dedicated volunteer IndyCar Observers stationed at their posts around the track with no shade. The dozen guys – no females this week – are all experienced oval Observers.

For the Indianapolis 500 race this year, there were nearly 70 such volunteers including two women. For the first time, one of their own – Fred Kurtz – made a beautiful hard-bound coffee table photo album chronicling the Indy 500 crew and their positions. These books were handed out this weekend. That crew had nearly 800 years of experience among their ranks, with one volunteer racking up 48 years at the Indy 500. Well done Observers!

For those who don’t quite get it about just how difficult it is to be a race car driver on an oval track (or any track), try taking a Pace Car ride in a Chevrolet SS rear wheel drive sedan with Larry Foyt, as did I Saturday noon. Photojournalist Annie Profitt and Leah were with me making a couple of laps around the 2-mile speedway. I have a new appreciation for just how much physical fitness and training is needed, how G Forces can affect your neck, and just how fast things go whizzing by as one is trying to concentrate on many things – multi-tasking to the nth degree. Race Car Drivers are truly athletes.

And it’s very comforting to see SAFER walls all around the track. Hopefully they will not be needed.

Out Lap Auto Club Speedway

Turn One Auto Club Speedway

Back Straight Auto Club speedway

Front Straight Auto Club Speedway

Start-Finish View Auto Club Speedway

In Lap Auto Club Speedway

The other support group this weekend was the Vintage indycar Legends cars, which did parade/exhibition laps at speed.







Budweiser vintage indycar


MacPherson vintage indycar

No.15 Boyle Valve Special vintage indycar

John Kerr's vintage indy car




Saturday morning’s “Systems Check” at Auto Club Speedway for all the Verizon IndyCar Series cars lasted but five minutes. The teams/drivers got one lap – one and done. It wasn’t a matter of timing or speed – it’s to make sure everything was ready for the race. Timing & Scoring didn’t record the session.

The temperature was a mild 75 F degrees, with a slight breeze. Very tolerable.

James Jakes No.7 Honda

One such example was James Jakes/No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, who was able to make the Systems Session. Friday afternoon the crew thrashed to do an engine change and other checks. Jakes had blown an engine in the afternoon practice, causing a lengthy caution for expansive track oil removal.

Before and after the quick session, the teams put the final touches on the cars, set up the pit boxes in Race Day mode, and generally got ready – as well as packing up that which could now be put away for the trip back to the shop before the Milwaukee race in two weeks.

Josef Newgarden's No.67 Chevrolet

Carlos Munoz No.26 Honda

Jack Hawksworth No.41 Honda

Saturday’s 250 lap/500 mile race will be broadcast live starting at 1pm PT/local time-4pm ET. Leigh Diffey is in the Booth, along with his F1 cohort, Steve Matchett and IndyCar driver, Paul Tracy. Reporting from the pits will be Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Robin Miller and Kelli Stavast.

The familiar voice of Paul Page will be on the IndyCar Radio Network, along with IndyCar driver/analyst, Jacques Lazier. Radio pit reports are Dan Rusanowsky, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young. On the turns will be Mark Jaynes and Jake Query.

For those who prefer electronic coverage can listen to Sirius 212, XM 209, and/or the INDYCAR 15 app. Timing & Scoring is found at

Auto Club Fire Rescue Crew

Auto Club Fire Rescue EMTs

Auto Club Medical Team


Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet has the Verizon P1 Pole Award for Saturday’s MAVTV 500 race, with a two-lap average speed of 218.952 mph. He was the third driver to qualify and never looked back. This marks the second career pole position for the Frenchman. It was a first on several levels – his first with his new team, Penske Racing; his first oval track pole, and first pole this year. This will be his fourth Start in Fontana.

“Congratulations to my crew. I’m very happy. We haven’t had much luck this year, so this is good. This (pole) is nice, but frankly, you can win from the back in a 500-mile race like (Juan Pablo) Montoya did (in the Indianapolis 500). Being able to run in different lanes and being smart in traffic is going to be key.”

Simon Pagenaud's No.22 Chevrolet

Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud's No.22 Chevrolet

Last year’s pole winner, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet, had a two-lap average of 218.540 mph.

Helio Castroneves

Marco Andretti

Runner-up was Castroneves. This weekend marks his twelfth start at the Southern California two-mile oval track, with three poles and one victory. Heat and tire degradation is a concern for all drivers. Castroneves said “It’s very slippery when it’s hot, becoming very challenging. Even when you have several lanes to go, the car just wants to go one way. And that’s the biggest one, trying to find your lines without having any huge moments.”

Completing the qualifying podium was Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Honda. He had the pole for the 2012 IndyCar race at Auto Club Speedway. He said “We maximized everything in qualifying, and I’m really happy with the race car for the long race. That’s the important thing.” The third generation Andretti acknowledged that he was indeed running an asymmetrical setup; but – with a huge grin – said he wasn’t going to talk about it.

Fourth through sixth were Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet; Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet; and Scott Dixon/No.9 Degree Chevrolet. Last year’s race winner, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet qualified seventh.

The 2014 IndyCar Champion, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and Takuma Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing will start eighth and ninth.

Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet was the top Rookie, qualifying tenth.

Despite qualifying last, Pippa Mann/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, was most enthusiastic after her run. With a big smile on her face, she said she hasn’t had the best of experience in her prior one experience at the track (DNF), but is looking forward to a better race this time. “Not a fast qual today, but a good day of learning overall! Back to work on our race car now in the engineering room.”

No.7 Crew repairing Honda

Some say It takes a village … and so it appeared with the repairs to the No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda of James Jakes. The car required an engine change and other checks in the rear end. Jakes was slated to qualify in eleventh position, of the 23 slots. As Jakes’ car wasn’t ready at his designated time, he wasn’t allowed to qualify, and will start the race from the back of the field.

The temperature dropped from the high of 97 to a mere 95 at the beginning of qualifying, and cooled as the session continued. Track temperature ranged from 132F-140F in various parts of the track.

Empty Pit Lane

Auto Club Fire Rescue Crew



1. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 218.952 mph
2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 218.734
3. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 217.797
4. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 217.666
5. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 217.250
6. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 217.184
7. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 217.184
8. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 217.176
9. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 217.109
10. (8) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 217.060
11. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 216.878
12. (67) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 216.490
13. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 216.242
14. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 215.983
15. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 215.719
16. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 215.526
17. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 215.346
18. (98) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 213.720
19. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 213.639
20. (19) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 213.317
21. (4) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 212.644
22. (18) Pippa Mann, Honda, 210.528
23. (7) James Jakes, Honda, no speed



Scott Dixon/No.9 Degree Chevrolet was the fastest overall Verizon IndyCar Series driver Friday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway. He held the spot for most of the afternoon session in the heat of the day. His top time was 33.0839 seconds, translating to 217.629 mph. That was just a shade (pun intended) faster than the morning time of 217.451 set by Ryan Briscoe/No.5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda.

Second through fifth were Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet; Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet-who had been second for much of the session; Takuma Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda-who jumped up the charts in the last ten minutes and only ran 30 laps; and Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet.

Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Honda – who had led early on, finished sixth; Briscoe finished seventh after running higher for a long time; and Rookie Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet was eighth after running fifth most of the time. Karam shares the Chip Ganassi Racing ride with Sebastian Saavedra. Both drivers ran the Indianapolis 500.

The order changes came after the last, lengthy caution.

Briscoe turned the most laps – 57. In the overall scheme of things, he was second fastest for the day, after combining times with the first and second session. Thirteen drivers were faster in the morning, while ten were faster in the heat of the second session.

James Jake's No.7 Honda

All 23 drivers were on course. The session had three cautions – two for Track Inspection, and a lengthy one for James Jakes/No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, who had an engine problem and pulled over after a puff of smoke appeared from the rear. The ‘mechanical malfunction’ caused a lengthy hiatus for the extensive application of oil dry in Turns One and Two. Understandably, Jakes turned the fewest laps of the session – 27. His crew went to work immediately to get the car ready for qualifying at 4:45pm PT.

Oil Dry Truck

All in all, the 75-minute session, which was extended 15 minutes, had more caution time (46.10 minutes) than green track time – 43.50 minutes. During the downtime, the drivers sat in their cars, fully suited up with helmets on, under an umbrella.

The ambient temperature was 94F degrees, while the track was 134F degrees. This second practice was the closest to the race conditions expected Saturday afternoon for the 250-mile race starting at 1:30pm local/Pacific time. The only shade in the pit/paddock area is found in garages, under overhangs, or inside. Several strategically placed Misters in the Admin Buildings area help the cooling process.

Gabby Chaves/No.98 Bowers & Wilkins Curb Honda was the fastest Rookie in the morning session, in twelfth place.

Pippa Mann/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda was last, as she was in the first session, turning a 209.884 mph lap, up two mph miles after the last caution. She turned the second-most laps – 56.


Ryan Briscoe

Ryan Briscoe/No.5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda was the fastest Verizon IndyCar Series driver Friday morning in the first practice at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA. His gleaming gold car cut a fine picture around the two-mile high banked oval. His fastest time was 217.451 mph/0.33.1109 seconds.

Briscoe is filling in the injured/recovering James Hinchcliffe of Canada for the remainder of the 2015 season. He missed the Detroit Double and Toronto races due to his Le Mans commitments with the factory Corvette GT team. Briscoe was slated to race the No.63 Corvette with co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. Unfortunately, Magnussen suffered a horrific crash during practice, when a rock stuck under the throttle and he was a passenger in the car which was irreplaceably broken. Magnussen was unhurt. There was no backup car and the Corvette was withdrawn. Briscoe said he would be back in the car for the last TUDOR ‘endurance’ race – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Hinchcliffe was injured in a huge crash during practice for the Indianapolis 500 race, but is on the road to recovery after suffering lift-threatening injuries. He was the Grand Marshal for his hometown Toronto IndyCar race.

The Schmidt Peterson cars have a hash tag wish for Hinch on all the back engine cover fin.

Get Well Hinch!

No.5 Schmidt Peterson Honda

IndyCar two-qualifying lap record was 218.540 mph set by Helio Castroneves/No.3 Team Penske Racing Chevrolet, set in October 2013. The one-lap qualifying lap record is 220.775 mph, set in October 2008 by Gil de Ferran. Last year’s two-lap averaged pole lap was 218.540 mph set by 2014 IndyCar Champion, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske.

Second through fifth fastest were: Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Honda; Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet; Charlie Kimball/No.83 Levemir Flex Touch Chevrolet; – all in the 217’s; and last year’s race winner, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing, who turned 216.975 mph.

Several cars have new liveries this weekend reflecting different sponsorship. Among those is Scott Dixon/No.9 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. He was eighth overall. The Unilever Degree logo is promoting a six week Get Moving Challenge, a fitness program for Women’s Health and Men’s Health.

Scott Dixon's No.9 Degree

The first session was lengthened by five minutes to cover the 14 minutes lost during the two cautions for Track Inspection. Other than the two delays, the session was problem-free. The temperature reached 75 degrees F ambient and 93 degrees F for the track. The weather was somewhat overcast, hardly breezy, with 63 percent humidity. Some people thought they smelled smoke from Southern California wildfires, in the San Bernadino mountains.

Ryan Hunter-Ready, with Brant James

Juan Pablo Montoya

Carlos MunozMost drivers were quick to exit their cars and head for the cooler confines of garages, hauler overheads or coaches. A couple stopped for autographs.

Three of the four Penske guys had a lively debrief.









The Verizon IndyCar Series is making its annual Southern California stop in mid-June rather than at the end of the short IndyCar season, This weekend the MAVTV 500 race weekend is a two-day event at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA. Friday is practice and qualifying, and warm-up and race on Saturday afternoon. All in all, the IndyCars are on track for four sessions prior to the 250-lap race on the 2-mile D-shaped oval.

The only other group on track this weekend is the Victory Lane Historics – old time indycars.

Going into this weekend, Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet still leads the standings with 374 points. If JPM wins this weekend, he will be closer to winning the IndyCar Triple Crown. Having won the 2015 Indianapolis 500, if he wins here and then again at the August Pocono race, he will be on par with Al Unser Jr, who is the only other indycar driver to date who has won the Triple Crown in one year.

Montoya is 27 points ahead in the standings of his Penske teammate, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Third and fourth overall are also Chevrolet drivers: Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and Helio Castroneves/No.3 Auto Club of Southern California.

Fifth and top Honda driver is Graham Rahal/No.15 Mi-Jack.

Three Rookies had an hour practice Friday morning: Gabby Chaves/No.98 Bowers & Wilkins Curb Honda-who is leading the Rookie standings with 168 points, for P15; Stefano Coletti/No.4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet; and Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet. Coletti is second in the Rookie standings, with 122 points, for P20; and Karam, who isn’t running the full season, is third with 95 points, in P21.

The first morning IndyCar practice is 45 minutes, followed by a 75-minute practice at noon. Qualifying begins at 4:45pm. Sunday morning’s System Check is half an hour at 9:30am, with the race beginning at 1:30pm.

Twenty-three IndyCars are entered. The ever-revolving lineup for Dale Coyne Racing has Pippa Mann in No.18 Honda and Tristan Vautier in No.19 Honda as this weekend’s drivers. Ed Carpenter, co-team owner of CFH Racing is in No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet. He drives the ovals, with Luca Filippi in the car for road races. The team’s other driver, Josef Newgarden/No.67 Hartman Oil CGS Racing Chevrolet. won the last race in Toronto, and now sits eighth in the standings.

Thirty-eight different drivers have run at least one IndyCar race this season.

Thursday was setup day at the track, and done in a very desultory fashion, with the extreme heat. All cars are on site and have started the Tech process.

Penske Pavillion

Holmatro Team

No.19 Dale Coyne Honda

The decision to select this particular weekend in the IndyCar schedule, this particular format, and particular time slot is a joint decision between IndyCar, the promotor MAVTV, and the TV broadcaster. In the past, the Auto Club IndyCar race has been the last race of the season in August/September, followed by the annual Awards Banquet. This year the last race of the season will be held in Sonoma – the last weekend in August. This year the annual June NASCAR road race at Sonoma Raceway is this weekend on Sunday.

Heat will be a factor all weekend, as California is experiencing another heat wave. Friday morning the temperature was already close to 80 degrees F by 9am. Thursday at 5:30pm it was nearly 100 degrees F. Saturday is forecast for a few degrees cooler. There is little to no breeze. It’s sunscreen weather for sure.


Juan Pablo Montoya with milk and trophy

Juan Pablo Montoya with milk and trophy. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet waited 15 years to win his second Indianapolis 500, but he was obviously overjoyed. “I’m loving racing right now.” His victory hiatus was the longest in Indy 500 history.

For Montoya’s team owner, Roger Penske, he joined the exclusive Club of team owners who have won the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in the same year. He was ‘welcomed to the club” by the other such owner – Chip Ganassi. Graceful for a man who celebrated his birthday Sunday and had hopes of one of his Chevrolet drivers winning: pole sitter Scott Dixon/No.9 Target, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data, Charlie Kimball/No.83 Novo Nordisk, or young lion, Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machines Records.

It was Penske’s 16th Indy 500 victory, with 11 different drivers. All four of his drivers led laps Sunday.

The record for lead changes in the Indy 500 is 68 set in 2013. This year’s thirty-seven lead changes (among ten drivers) is second highest.

Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Dixon led the most laps-11 times for 84 laps; Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Aveya Team Penske Chevrolet led eight times for 35 laps; Kanaan 4/30; 2014 IndyCar Champion, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet 5/23; Kimball 2/10; Montoya 4/9; Carlos Munoz/No.26 Andretti Autosport Honda 1/3; Alex Tagliani/No.48 ALFE Heat Treating Special Honda 1/2; three-time Indy 500 winner, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet 1/2; and Justin Wilson/No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda 1/2.

I misspoke previously regarding the number of leaders. There were ten leaders – eight Chevrolets and two Hondas; and the Andretti Autosport driver was Wilson, not Marco Andretti. Mea Culpa.

Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

The top Rookie was Gabby Chaves/No.98 Bowers & Wilkins w/Curb Honda, finishing 16th, gaining ten positions from the grid.

The Margin of Victory ahead of runner-up, a hard-charging Power, was 0.1046 second. Power led three times in the last 14 laps, twice swapping with Montoya.

Kanaan led four times, turned the fastest leader lap of 224.767 mph on lap 22, and retired after crashing by himself in Turn Four. He was not injured.

Kimball turned the fastest overall lap of 226.712 mph on lap 102.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Simona de Silvestro

Simona de Silvestro. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Twenty of the 22 finishers were on the lead lap. Both female drivers finished: Simona de Silvestro/No.29 Andretti Autosport Honda started 18th and finished 19th. Pippa Mann/No.63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda started twenty-fifth and finished twenty-second. Each had a problem in the race, but finished.

De Silvestro rear-ended Montoya early on in the race, causing each to pit for wing repairs.

Conor Daly

Conor Daly. Photo by Nico Matamoros

Three drivers retired for mechanical reasons – Conor Daly and two of the three Dale Coyne Racing Honda drivers from a Pit Lane accident. Daly/No.43 Fueled by BACON Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda suffered a fuel leak on the Pace Lap. His car smoked and then caught fire as he was going down the back stretch, where he pulled off. It burned some key items, so “sadly, that was the end of the race before it even started. It was a real shame for sure. These things happen in racing though so all we can do is look forward.” Young, but mature and gracious.

All three of the DCR Hondas pitted during the third caution on Lap 112, for the accident with Ed Carpenter/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet and Oriol Servia/No.32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda. They were lined up 1-2-3 in the pits, with Pippa Mann/No.63, Tristan Vautier/No.18 and James Davison/No.19 Always Evolving/Replay XD in that order. The team reported that Mann just left her pit box in the slow lane, side by side with another car in the fast lane. Her teammate, With the gap not as large as it appeared, Davison pulled out of his pit and hit Mann. This sent Davison into Vautier’s pit box, where the crew was still changing tires. Two tire changers were struck.

Pippa Mann. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Pippa Mann

DCR Crew Chief for Vautier, Greg Senerius, was treated and released from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center, suffering “just a few aches and pains.” The team reports that Vautier’s rear tire changer, Daniel Jang, suffered a broken ankle and was having an operation performed at Methodist Hospital on that ankle.”

Mann was able to continue and finished twenty-second, with 197 laps of the 200 run.

Each of the two drivers wired with telemetry retired – Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet, and James Jakes/No.41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda. The electronics measured heart rate, respiration, calories burned, etc.

Karam crashed on the first lap after being hit by Takuma Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Honda, who was reportedly making an ‘optimistic pass’ off the first turn on the outside of Karam. Karam crashed into the wall. Ryan Briscoe/No.5 Arrows/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda was caught out, spinning and stalling. But he recovered after pitting and finished twelfth after starting thirty-first – gaining the most positions of any driver. Sato continued, to finish thirteenth. Karam was not a happy camper, blaming Sato. Before and during the pace laps Karam’s respiration was 20/min. No way to measure what it was after the crash.

Karem took to Twitter afterwards, “Sato thinking he can win the Indy 500 in the first turn. Thanks man. I have some of your front wing. When should I return it?” On TV Karam was a bit more restrained. “I knew going into Turn 1 he had a run, but I didn’t think he was dumb enough to go on the outside. You can race two-wide, race each other clean. Sato is a veteran. He should be better than that. Three-wide, he ruined a lot of guy’s races. He needs to clean up his act.”

Jakes was involved in the last crash, with two other cars – Rookie Stefano Coletti/No.4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet and Sebastian Saavedra. Coletti and Jakes were checked and released, cleared to drive after visiting the IU Health Emergency Center. Jakes respiration was a bit higher, during the race, but his post-crash data was not available. Meanwhile, Saavedra suffered a contusion to his right foot, and will require further evaluation before being cleared to drive.

The next event for the INDYCAR drivers is the double race upcoming in six days in Detroit – The Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

Juan Pablo Montoya kissing the bricks Juan Pablo Montoya kissing the bricks.

All photos by Pablo Matamoros


1. (15) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 200, Running
2. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 200, Running
3. (14) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (1) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 200, Running
5. (17) Graham Rahal, Honda, 200, Running
6. (8) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
7. (5) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 200, Running
8. (10) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (9) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
10. (3) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 200, Running
11. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (31) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 200, Running
13. (24) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
14. (23) Townsend Bell, Chevrolet, 200, Running
15. (16) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 200, Running
16. (26) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 200, Running
17. (20) Alex Tagliani, Honda, 200, Running
18. (19) James Jakes, Honda, 200, Running
19. (18) Simona de Silvestro, Honda, 200, Running
20. (11) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 200, Running
21. (6) Justin Wilson, Honda, 199, Running
22. (25) Pippa Mann, Honda, 197, Running
23. (27) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 175, Contact
24. (28) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 175, Contact
25. (29) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 175, Contact
26. (4) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 151, Contact
27. (33) James Davison, Honda, 116, Mechanical
28. (32) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 116, Mechanical
29. (13) Oriol Servia, Honda, 112, Contact
30. (12) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 112, Contact
31. (30) Bryan Clauson, Chevrolet, 61, Contact
32. (21) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 0, Contact
33. (22) Conor Daly, Honda, 0, Mechanical


Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet won the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500, after starting fifteenth. This was his second such victory. He said “It’s been 15 years since the first one.”

Second through fifth were Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet-who led 23 laps; Charlie Kimball/No.83 Novo Noradisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet; Pole Sitter Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet; and the top Honda of Graham Rahal/No.15 Steak n’ Shake RHL Racing.

Gabby Chaves.No.98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda was the top Rookie, finishing sixteenth after starting twenty-sixth. He raced for Bryan Herta Association with Curb-agajanian, a single car team.

Will Power

Will Power. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Power said “Montoya got into the lead and maybe I was to nice to him. It was a lot of fun finishing 1-2. Congrats to Juan.”

This was definitely not a parade, with many lead changes and passes. Not boring. Difficult to keep up wit the lead changes.

Justin Wilson

Justin Wilson. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Ten different leaders, eight of whom were Chevrolet drivers from a big, multi-car team. Alex Tagliani/No.48 ALFE Heating System Special Honda was the first Honda to lead, on Lap 154, during pit stops during the caution brought out by the single-car crash of Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. The second Honda to lead was Justin Wilson /No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda. Neither Honda, each from a multi-car team, led for long.

Eight drivers did not finish: Conor Daly/No.43 Fueled by BACON Schmidt Peterson Honda; Sage Karam/No.8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet; Bryan Clauson/No.88 Jonathan Byrds/Cancer Centers of America Chevrolet; Ed Carpenter/Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet; Oriol Servia/No.32/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda; Tristan Vautier/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, James Davison/No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda; and Kanaan.

There were six cautions for 47 laps of the 200 lap race. One was for debris, and the rest were for crashes.

The average race speed was 161.341 mph.

The worst incident happened in Pit Lane involving all three of the Dale Coyne Racing Hondas and two unfortunate over-the-wall crew guys- both of whom were taken away in medical vehicles. All but one driver in all the crashes are alright, physically. Several are upset and one is distraught. Sebastian Saavedra/No.17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was treated in the IU Health Emergency Medical Center for a contusion to his right foot. He will require further evaluation before being cleared to drive.

Both over-the-wall crew members on No.18 Honda were transported to hospital. The right front tire changer was checked, treated and released for left foot injury. The rear tire changer is being further evaluated for right ankle injury.

Roger & Kathy Penske, Connie & Juan Pablo Montoya and children

Roger & Kathy Penske, Connie & Juan Pablo Montoya and children. Photo by Pablo Matamoros