IMS Media Center Interview Room

Pippa Mann

Pippa Mann

We are the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers in the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We number 33, one of whom is a female – PIPPA MANN in No.63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.

This year a third of us are Americans – 11. Other countries represented are Colombia and England-4; three each for Australia, and Canada; two each for Brazil and France; and one each for Japan, New Zealand, Russia, and Spain.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya

Seven drivers are Indy 500 Rookies. Six drivers have won at least one Indianapolis 500, with HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet going for his fourth. One driver, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet won in the only Indy 500 he ran – as a Rookie.

Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti

There will three parade laps and one pace lap, led by Indy 500 winner, DARIO FRANCHITTI driving the Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car.

Sage Karam

Sage Karam

Our youngest driver this race and the youngest-ever qualifier is a teenager yet to actually graduate from High School – SAGE KARAM/No.22 Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing Honda. He is, however, not the youngest ever to start the Indy 500. That honor goes to A.J.FOYT IV in 2003, turning nineteen on Race Day.

Our most veteran driver is BUDDY LAZIER/No.98 Lazier Partners Racing Chevrolet at 46. There are several other veterans hovering around the late thirties, one who’s passed the big 40 – ORIOL SERVIA/No.16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, and JACQUES VILLENEUVE/No.5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, who last raced the Indy 500 in 1995, is 43..

Jacques Villeneuve

Jacques Villeneuve

Oriol Servia

Oriol Servia

We are the fastest Indy 500 drivers in a single race. Our average qualifying speed was 229.382 mph. We are the tightly competitive field, with only 2.1509 seconds separating Pole to Last, and the second closest field with a speed separation of 3.147 mph.

WILL POWER/No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet leads the standings with 149 points, closely followed by 2012 Champion, RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.28 Andretti Autosport Honda-148; HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet-143; and 2013 Champion SCOTT DIXON.No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet-143.


Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

James Davison

James Davison

Jack Hawksworth

Jack Hawksworth

JR Hildebrand

JR Hildebrand

Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball

Sebastian Saavedra

Sebastian Saavedra


IMS Pagoda Race Morning

IMS Pagoda Race Morning. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

It’s Oh Dark Thirty and the Cannon just went off at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announcing that the public gates are open for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Race. Outside the track, cars are lined up for blocks on the streets leading to the track. Inside the IMS shuttle trains have been ferrying fans inside for an hour at least.

The Green Flag drops at 12:17pm ET for the race on the 2.5-mile speedway. The live race broadcast start at 11am ET on ABC, which is celebrating its golden anniversary of broadcasting the race.

In between the Cannon and Green Flag are all the traditions full of pomp and circumstance. Music, bands of all kinds, singers, VIPs on the Red Carpet, Vintage Car Laps, ceremonial this and ceremonial that, and so it goes.

MARTINA McBRIDE will sing ‘America The Beautiful”, FLORENCE HENDERSON will sing “God Bless America” and JIM NABORS is back to sing “Back Home in Indiana.” The National Anthem will be sung by LEANN RIMES, who was heard practicing it Saturday. With this being the Memorial Day weekend, there will be Taps and some Military Remarks. IMS Chairman of the Board, MARI HULMAM GEORGE, will give the Command for Drivers To Start their engines. MARC CUBAN will be the Honorary Green Flag Waver. The race will run 200 laps.

The cannon going off so loudly on Race Day is why many of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers have opted not to stay at the track. HELIO CASTRONEVES told me the first time he heard it go off at the track he didn’t know what had happened . The Penske Team stays downtown at a hotel and has a Police Escort to the track, as do other teams. There will be a steady stream of helicopters landing on the Golf Course, and more than a few escorts down Sixteenth Street.

The Double Duty Driver, KURT BUSCH, arrived back in Indianapolis Saturday afternoon in time for the Andretti Team dinner. There is a small group of journalists who arrived last night from Charlotte in TONY STEWART’s plane, to cover this race before flying back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca Cola 600 race. If he completes both races, Busch will have raced 1100 miles in one day. One of the other three drivers to also Do The Double include Busch’s NASCAR team owner, Stewart.

IMS Sunrise


Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

SCOTT DIXON and his No.9 Target Chip Ganassi crew won the Verizon IndyCar Series Pit Stop Challenge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Carb Day. He and his nine-man crew had a fast time of 11.658 seconds, edging out Prom King, Rookie SAGE KARAM, who incidentally is racing this weekend as a Chip Ganassi satellite team. Each of Dixon’s Pit Stop crew received a personally engraved, made-to-order ring celebrating the victory. The youngest of the crew members is only nineteen. Dixon’s team won $50,000, and Karam’s prize was $15,000.

There were Two Rounds with four races each, two Semi-Final races, and the Finals. Twelve drivers participated and a good time was had by all.

Scott Dixon and Pit StopChampion Crew

Jigger Award

Saturday morning every year is the Annual Breakfast of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, where awards are presented to the media for their excellence in their particular field. Also, three singular annual awards are presented by AARWBA. The Jigger Award, named after an actual Indy 500 driver who had mishaps and only ran four laps. It’s kind of hard to explain, but this unique award is quite prized. This year’s winner was Indy 500 Rookie, SAGE KARAM, who missed his high school graduation so he could qualify for the Indy 500.

Sam Schmidt

Sam Schmidt

The Angelo Angelpolus Memorial Award Award, “Sports was His Life and Sportsmanship His Love” was ‘Presented to the 500 Mile Race Participant Who Best Exemplifies the Creed of Sportsmanship, IndyCar Series Team Owner and SAM driver, SAM SCHMIDT.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports fields a two-car IndyCar team with drivers SIMON PAGENAUD and Russian Rookie MIKHAIL ALESHIN. For the Indy 500, Schmidt is also fielding 1995 Indy 500 winner, JACQUES VILLENEUVE. In the Indy Lights Series, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports w/Curb Agajanian fields four cars – Rookies LUIZ RAZIA and JUAN PIEDRAHITA, as well as JUAN PABLO GARCIA and JACK HARVEY.

Schmidt, a quadriplegic, made history on this year’s Indy 500 Pole day by running a 97 mph four-lap average driving his 2014 tricked out Corvette Stingray SAM (Semi-Autonomous Machine) around the famed 2.5-mile Brickyard.

Bill York and Donald Davidson

Bill York and Donald Davidson

The AARWBA Bob Russo Founders Award is “Presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated profound interest, tireless efforts and undying dedication to auto racing, exemplified by our Founder, Bob Russo, throughout his lifelong career.” This year it was awarded to DONALD DAVIDSON, the IMS full-time historian. It was presented by former recipient, BILL YORK. In 2010, Davidson was inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at Indianapolis. “His detailed memory of the history of all events includes participants, past and present.” Since 1965, Davidson has worked on race day for the world wide IMS Broadcast Network. He also has worked for 31 years as statistician and historian for USAC – United States Auto Club.

Kurt Busch's Chopper

At the Saturday public IndyCar Drivers Meeting, 32 of the 33 2014 Indy 500 drivers received their commemorative ring. Absent was KURT BUSCH, who was at Charlotte Motor Speedway with his NASCAR Sprint Cup team. He has been commuting via helicopter and private jet between IMS and CMS.

At the Drivers Meeting, another special ring, the first annual Indy Legends ring from Firestone, was awarded to MARIO ANDRETTI.

Last year’s winning driver, TONY KANAAN, and team owners, JIMMY VASSER and KEVIN KALKHOVEN received their mini Borgs. Kanaan becomes the 100th driver to have his face on the multi-million dollar BorgWarner trophy. It takes nearly a year to craft the winner’s likeness on the esteemed award, starting with 25 all-angle photos with plain white background during the first Winner’s Photo Op. Steps include molds in clay, plaster, rubber and sterling silver, using the lost-wax process. The official unveiling was last December at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum. The 1952 Winner, TROY RUTTMAN, appears to be the youngest Indy 500 winner at age 22. The oldest drivers to win were both named UNSER: BOBBY in 1981 and AL in 1987. Both were 47.


Gaby Chaves

Gaby Chaves. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

The finish of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Freedom 100 race Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was another blink moment. GABBY CHAVES in No.5 Belardi Auto Racing finished 0.0050 seconds ahead of Rookie MATTHEW BRABHAM in No.83 Andretti Autosport, pulling ahead at the very last moment. It was the second edge-of-your-seat finish for the Series at The Brickyard. For his efforts, Chaves earned the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award.

Chaves, with three victories, now leads the standings, by one points.

Last year Chaves was the runner up, by 0.0026 seconds in a four-wide finish – the closest finish in Speedway history-six inches. The other drivers in that four-way were winner PETER DEMPSEY, as well as 2014 IndyCar Series Rookie CARLOS MUNOZ and 2014 Indy 500 Rookie, SAGE KARAM – who was the 2013 Indy Lights Champion. It was breath-taking.

Young Brabham, grandson of the late SIR JACK BRABHAM, led four times for 28 laps in the 40-lap race. He swapped the lead with the polesitter, Rookie LUIS RAZIA, Chaves, and his Andretti teammate, ZACH VEACH. Eight lead changes among the four young drivers.

Brabham said “I’m happy for (Gabby) Chaves, but it’s disappointing to lose the race by that much (0.005 seconds). I thought I had it coming around the last lap when the two behind (Zach Veach, Gabby Chaves) were battling with each other and with me… I thought I just had it. I saw this white and red flash come around me on the outside, and he just beat me; I’m happy to get second.”

Brabham turned the fastest lap of 189.214 mph on Lap Four. Razia turned the fastest lead lap of 187.525 mph on Lap Three.

Razia said “Today was my first chance to learn how and when to make a pass on an oval. I was even learning how to lift and how to go back to power. It was challenging, so I’m glad I finished fourth.”

CHASE AUSTIN/No.0 Belardi Auto Racing brought out the only caution-for eight laps, on Lap 15 when he crashed hard in Turn One. He suffered a fractured left wrist and was taken to Methodist Hospital for further evaluation.

Dan Andersen

Dan Andersen

Friday the new Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 chassis was unveiled and introduced at the Speedway, with its new state-of-the-cart carbon composite chassis, which was described as “sexy” by DAN ANDERSEN, Series Administrator – President/CEO of Andersen Promotions. The car is a collaboration between Dallara of Italy and Dallara LLC located steps from the Speedway – which is where the cars will be built.

Tony Cotman, Mak Miles & Gian Paolo Dallara

Tony Cotman, Mak Miles & Gian Paolo Dallara

On hand for the unveiling was a host of dignitaries, including Dan Andersen; Hulman & Company CEO, Mark Miles; Dallara Automobili President, NZR Consulting President/Founder, Tony Cotman; and Dallara CEO/General Manager, Andrea Pontremoli.

The car will be constructed to the latest FIA and IndyCar safety standards. It will feature a 2-0 liter turbocharged AER Engine, 450 hp able to reach 200 mph.

The car will be ready for a vigorous US testing program in August 2014, after the initial shakedown at the Italian factory. The first test will be at Mid-Ohio on 5 August 2014 immediately after the Indy Lights race. The driver will be CONOR DALY, former Indy Lights race winner and current GP driver. Later, 2012 Indy Lights Champion, TRISTAN VAUTIER, will
test, as well as a couple of current IndyCar drivers.

Dallara IL-15


CARB DAY at Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2014 for the 98th running of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s said that the Verizon IndyCar Series day at the famed 2.5-mile speedway is the second biggest draw, even ranking the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 race.

Pit Lane View

There were fans and people everywhere. The traffic was said by some to be the worst ever on 16th and Georgetown Streets. Sixty-ninety-minute waits were reported by some with race credentials.

The Indy 500 drivers and teams had only one hour on Carb Day to get it right – practice pit stops, check out race settings, and fine tune everything.

Scott Dixon & Tony Kanaan

Scott Dixon & Tony Kanaan

The silver-anniversary themed Target Chip Ganassi Chevy drivers, TONY KANAAN/No.10 and SCOTT DIXON/No.9 were the top drivers all session, with TK taking over midway. Between them, they ran nearly 100 laps.

Kanaan said he was pretty happy about today’s run. “This year is going to be even worse in terms of pulling away – It will be even more of a pack race this year.”

Dixon wasn’t worried about starting the race next to a Rookie (Kurt Busch). “It’s three wide for the parade laps and then it clears off.”

All drivers turned double-digit laps, with WILL POWER/No12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet running the most – 55.

Sage Karam's No.22 Honda

Rookie SAGE KARAM/No.22 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda drove the fewest laps, but not by choice. He hit the wall on his twentieth lap, glancing on the right, and coasted down, bringing out a brief caution. He was OK, but the car will need some work.

Earlier in the week, the 19-year old Rookie was given a surprise “Prom Date” by his DR&R crew, complete with outfit, decorations, slow music and his girlfriend. He admitted that it was the first time he had ever ‘slow danced’ and it was kind of embarrassing to do it in front of everyone.

Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch

The pressure was on one Rookie driver to tryout and sort out his car for the first time. KURT BUSCH crashed in practice on Tuesday and switched to a backup car in which he hadn’t driven until Carb Day. He turned 53 laps and finished fifteenth overall – “my longest stint in traffic.” He described it as “Good old Happy Hour Thrash.”

Busch’s Indy 500 car is the road course car run by his teammate, MARCO ANDRETTI, in last weekend’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis; and next week it will race the street course in Detroit. Busch said “I’ve been in three different (Indy) cars so far at IMS – ROP car, qualified car, and now this one. They all feel different. This one is more imbalanced in traffic. Simulating dirty air can only be done in traffic.

“I was a bit anxious this morning to see how I would feel back in the car. I didn’t lose my confidence. When I got up to speed, the team threw me another adjustment to see how I reacted. Last Thursday was when I felt the most comfortable – I had my teammate, RYAN HUNTER-REAY, helping me. Today I was very busy, but I was able to keep on top of it, I made good steps today.”

Carb Day also features IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge – another tradition, for bragging rights as well as other more tangible results.

Pagoda Plaza aerial view


Aerial view of Pit Lane, Track and Garages

Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a polar opposite of Wednesday’s monsoon. The sun is brightly shining, very few clouds and nearly 70 F degree weather. The Indy Lights cars have a three-hour morning practice. After lunch the eleven Indy Lights drivers qualify for the 40-lap Freedom 100 Race Friday on Carb Day.

There were to have been 12 Lights drivers, but the one-off entry of Rookie EMERSON NEWTON-JOHN of Los Angeles in No.22 Team Moore Racing didn’t come through due to unresolved sponsorship issues. Newton-John is very disappointed.

Mikail Aleshin watching Simon Pagenaud drive a virtual lap

Mikail Aleshin watching Simon Pagenaud drive a virtual lap

In the garages activity continues and the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers are relaxed mode doing various low key PR activities and events. Up the Pagoda in the Verizon Penthouse Suite, several drivers tried out all the trick technology that Verizon brings to the track, literally and figuratively. Invited Media also got to partake. I’m pleased to say I drove a flawless lap without hitting the wall on a standup virtual simulator. I also got to drive a virtual lap of Long Beach, from the seat of WILL POWER’s No.12 Team Penske Chevrolet. After the many years of working as a corner marshal, it was most interesting to see it from the driver’s actual perspective including spotters, team talk, etc. Gave me a new appreciation for how well the drivers do to keep it off the wall and under control.

After Indy Lights qualifying, all the IndyCar drivers have a Media Bull Pen, with the drivers in two groups. At the same time is a Vintage Car Exhibition.

Aerial view of garages


Driver Autograph Queue

It was a warm welcome, literally as well as figuratively, for the families and fans Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Festival Community Day. The temperature was 82 and climbing, coupled with 58 percent humidity and cloud cover, it was was more than hot. Shade was coveted.The fans could circulate almost everywhere and partake in fun activities for the kids such as face painting, and posting with various icons.

As the afternoon wore on, the skies grew very dark and ugly, and the forecast changed from 82F, sunny/cloudy, to 82F Scattered Thunderstorms.

Scott Dixon

Pippa Mann

Tony Kanaan

Left to Right: Scott Dixon, Pippa Mann, and Tony Kanaan

In Gasoline Alley the teams were working on their race cars while the drivers signed autographs in three separate Autograph sessions – for which they had to sign up. Thirty-two of the 32 of the 33 drivers for the 2014 Indy 500 field were on hand. The one driver given a pass was Rookie KURT BUSCH, who had to be in Charlotte for his NASCAR Sprint Cup duties. He had been in New York City with teammate, MARCO ANDRETTI, promoting the local ABC TV affiliates carrying the race.

Busch’s destroyed primary car was back at the Andretti Autosport shop nearby the track, as was the backup car for his teammate, Andretti. The crew reported that the car Busch will race Sunday in the Indianapolis 500 race car actually was Andretti’s road race car from last weekend’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis Verizon IndyCar road race. The tub/chassis from that car is being used, and fitted with oval track pieces. The team has nine cars for five drivers. Busch, as a one-off driver this weekend, didn’t have a backup car. The crew said it was easier working back at the shop with all its resources. Meanwhile, the rest of the Andretti garage was just humming along.

IndyCar states that when a driver crashes a qualified car and changes chassis, he/she will start the race in the position he/she qualified. This means Busch will start in his original P12 position, outside of Row Four.

In commemoration of Busch’s Doing The Double, his new sponsor, SOL Republic, is making a limited edition set of headphones for Busch and his crew. Fans can buy them off the Sol website and ten will be autographed for a sweepstakes.

Some of the teams put their show cars on display including the car for SCOTT DIXON. His show car has a different paint job. The show car’s paint texture is rough. The race car’s is slick and very smooth. Dixon has three race cars which are rotated. After each race, the paint is stripped off down to the carbon fiber, for repainting. The crew with whom I spoke preferred wraps as they were easier and lighter, making for a faster turn around time, giving the crew more time to work on the car. He estimated eight race cars in the garages used wraps.

Scott Dixon's Show Car

Ryan Briscoe's Backup Car

Helio Castroneves Yellow Submarine car

Left to Right: Cars for Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves.

The storm it is a comin’ and this is me leaving.


Rookie KURT BUSCH/No.26 Andretti Autosport Honda was the big story Monday on an otherwise very low-key day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Verizon IndyCar Series had added an additional five-hour on-track practice day to the otherwise already busy Indianapolis 500 race month schedule, so the teams could have a chance to do fuel tank runs.

Busch was practicing running in traffic, but was in a single-file line by himself on track at the moment when his car made a hard right side hit on the Turn Two SAFER barrier wall. The car showed flames, a wheel went careening up the track, while Busch landed down on the track. The Double Duty Rookie driver walked unaided to the ambulance. He later was cleared to drive after being examined and released from the IU Health Infield Medical Center.

IndyCar reported that Busch had just turned a 223.433 mph on his 56th lap of the afternoon. The car wiggled and Busch hit the wall – really hard.

The car itself was taken immediately to the team transporter, and all four other Andretti cars went to their respective garages. There was no one with whom the topic could be discussed as “everyone is in a big meeting right now.”

The No.26 car was Busch’s primary car. After some confusion regarding Busch’s options should the primary car be destroyed, clarification came from IndyCar.

“If a back-up car is required for Race Day, according to Rule of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook: If a Qualified Car is involved in a crash, the Entrant may replace the Qualified Car with another Car and start the Race in the Qualified Car’s position. If a Qualified Car is unable to start the Race for any other reason, INDYCAR shall determine if the Entrant is permitted to replace the Qualified Car with another Car and start the Race in the Qualified Car’s position or if the Entrant is required to start the Race from the rear of the starting field.”

Busch’s accident is only the second crash since Indy 500 practice began. In each case, the driver was unhurt. Rookie JACK HAWKSWORTH crashed on the second Indy 500 practice day in Turn Three in a solo car accident. His car was repaired, and he qualified thirteenth.

The session started at noon, and Busch’s hit was at 1:34 local time. A contingent of various types of emergency and safety vehicles responded and the caution lasted 18 minutes.

Busch said “I was starting to feel comfortable. That’s when I made the mistake of just letting my guard down or settling into that long run-type mentality whereas with an Indy car you have to be on edge. You have to keep track of where you are at all times and the adjustments in the car. Maybe I just didn’t keep up with keeping the car underneath me.”

Responding to the question about how it feels to crash before race day, Busch, who qualified 12th at 230.782 mph, said “I was trying to find that rhythm and pace myself as I would on Race Day, and I just got behind on the adjustments on the car. If you’re going to have (an incident) it’s better to have it early in the week so there’s time to work on the car, get back on your horse and get out there again. The car will need extensive rebuild (but) we do have Carb Day to shake things down and get back in the groove. This created a lot of work for the Andretti guys. I feel bad for that.”

The IndyCar schedule calls for the next on-track activity to be Friday – Coors Lite Carb Day, when IndyCars have one hour of practice 11 am-noon. The Andretti conglomerate has five IndyCars entered, plus two Indy Lights teams which practice and qualify on Thursday and race on Friday. So there is a pool of resources and manpower from which to draw.

Busch is scheduled to visit New York City on behalf of IndyCar to promote the race, with teammate, MARCO ANDRETTI. Another tradition – all 33 Indy 500 drivers go to major media markets and areas with IndyCar races – 19 different venues. Pole winner, ED CARPENTER and runner-up JAMES HINCHCLIFFE travel to Milwaukee. This happens on Tuesday, after Pole Day. This year it makes for a tight schedule as the Monday practice is new this year. And the drivers all have to be back at the track Wednesday afternoon to do autograph sessions.

Many of the drivers head for an area where they are known or live. All Rookies, save Busch, are going to Louisville to the baseball museum where the slugger bats are made. Given what I’ve observed over the years with Hinch and another upstart and talented driver, JOSEF NEWGARDEN, I’d send that pair to Comedy Central.

Besides pit stop practice and fuel runs, the drivers were getting experience running in packs and traffic. The speed isn’t as much of a concern as is getting race simulations. All thirty-drivers were on track.

There were several cautions, for debris.

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya

The rest of the session was uneventful. By 3pm, most of the drivers had garaged themselves, and only a handful of cars remained on track. There were at least three different top drivers – Rookie MIKHAIL ALESHIN, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, and JOSEF NEWGARDEN.

The fastest time of the day was 227.105 mph set by Newgarden on his thirty-second lap. JPM was second fastest, followed by SCOTT DIXON and Aleshin.

Newgarden said he was really glad he got to run as long as he did today. “I really needed it. We had today to get everything worked on. We cut short a couple of hours as we had some issues, but it was a good day. Carb Day is the time to check everything out, because with only an hour there is no time to work on things, just test them.”

Montoya was still unsure what happened to the way he rove and the car handled over the weekend. On Saturday it was a good car but didn’t go as fast as Sunday, when he could hardly control the car.

The boys agreed there was no Push To Pass options at the race, or on ovals. They posited on how it might be to go push, push push on the oval. They decided they didn’t need it.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS ran the most laps – 125, finishing P22. Rookie MARTIN PLOWMAN ran the fewest laps = 24.three

No rest for the weary. Carpenter, Hinchcliffe and WILL POWER all had to be at The Brickyard at 7am for a Front Row photo op in the full morning sunshine on the row of bricks. It’s one of the many traditions. There will be another such Photo Op the Monday morning after the Indy 500, for the winner, team, etc. Lots of kissing the bricks and playing the hat game.

Wednesday, when the drivers return to the speedway, they’re in for a mega autograph session. The drivers will be divided into three groups, and rotate in and out of the Pagoda Pavilion. Fans line up well in advance for the coveted wrist bands for entrance, and they come with kids, photos and things to autograph. The drivers all have posters and/or hero cards to sign for those who come empty-handed. Thursday the Indy 500 drivers aren’t on track – that day is dedicated to the Indy Lights drivers, who practice and qualify for Friday’s race. The Indy 500 drivers do their round-robin media bull pen, in two groups, again in another part of the Pagoda Pavilion.



Verizon IndyCar driver, ED CARPENTER/No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet has the pole for the 2014 98th running of the Indianapolis 500. He’s becomes the eleventh driver to have back to back pole positions. His fast four lap average was 231.067 mph, faster than the earlier fast lap set by JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet in the Best of the Rest session earlier in the afternoon.

This year’s qualifying lap average is the fastest ever, at 229.382 mph. The previous record was 228.648 set in 2002. This year’s field is the closest ever with a margin of only 2.1509 seconds between P1-Carpenter and P33-BUDDY LAZIER/No.91 Lazier Partners Racing Chevrolet.

The Front Row will be Carpenter, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE/No.27 Andretti Autosport Honda, and WILL POWER/No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Ed Carpenter

James Hinchcliffe

Will Power

Row Two will be: HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet, SIMON PAGENAUD/No.77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda, and MARCO ANDRETTI/No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda.

Row Three will be: CARLOS MUNOZ.No.34 Andretti Autosport Honda, JOSEF NEWGARDEN/No.67 Sarah Fischer Hartman Racing Honda, and Carpenter’s teammate, JR HILDEBRAND/No.20 Chevrolet.

Ed Carpenter with son Cruz

Ed Carpenter with son Cruz

Carpenter said “The conditions changed, it was the most interesting qualifying I have ever seen. I was just hanging on. It was awesome to do it two years in a row. I have great team behind me, including my wife HEATHER, one helluva team. Looking forward to practice Monday.”

No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet

No.77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda

No.21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

No.27 Andretti Autosport Honda

No.34 Andretti Autosport Honda

No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda

Left to right first row, IndyCars belonging to: Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, and JR Hildebrand.

Left to right second row: IndyCars belonging to: James Hinchcliffe, Carlos Munoz, and Marco Andretti.

Hinchcliffe said “It wasn’t until the first three laps that I’d run that I thought, ‘Well, maybe we do have a shot at this!’ The car was a huge handful, but it needed to be-it was fast. That’s not a criticism of the car at all. Going into Turn 3 on that last lap, I was working on the tools like crazy and the thing stepped out a bit on entry. I had to take some wheel out of it, creating understeer on exit and I had to crack the throttle. I don’t think anybody’s ever been on pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway cracking the throttle over four laps, so I kind of knew right then and there. I was screaming in my helmet. At the same time, if the worst we’re going to start is second, then that’s awesome.”

Power said “It’s a long race, and a very interesting style of racing. Me – I’m going to make sure I run in traffic and darn well win that thing. The car was certainly user friendly and no main crashes this week so far, a bit more downforce, and easier to drive this year.

“The pressure of running four laps twice is tough, tough to go back out. Depending on your downforce – Newgarden, Helio and I had the least and were sliding around a lot out there. Stressful, I can tell you.”

Any advice or coaching from Roger Penske. “it’s changed a lot now – every car has the same stuff. The whole field is going to start and finish on that front straight. We need to put the driver back into it more. The slightest change in weather changes everything. It’s the wind that counts.”

Ed Carpenter's Indy 500 Qualifying Card


Gasoline Alley

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway track had warmed up to mid fifties for the second/final day of qualifying for the Best of the Rest – Positions Ten through 22 for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya

And it was Juan for Ten, as in JUAN PABLO MONTOYA/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet going the fastest. He ran the fastest single race lap here all week – 231.540 ph on his first of his four-lap qualifying run. His average was 231.007, fastest of all thirty-three drivers….so far.

Of the 24 drivers, five cracked 230+, including SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, who ran a 230.928 mph- faster than Saturday’s fastest time.

JPM SAID “Overall the car has good speed, we were a little more aggressive this morning, and we trimmed it out. With all the rain this week, we couldn’t do much. Montoya is one person who has raced the car in three different events at IMS – Indy 500, F1 and NASCAR. He won the 2005 Indianapolis 500.

“It was awesome yesterday, but it sucked I wasn’t in the Top Nine. But for the fans I think it was really exciting.

As for starting in the middle, JPM said “There’s more single file running. If you’re leading you don’t want to be a sitting duck.”

“And it’s pretty cool to have four Colombians in the race” – JPM, SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA/No.17 KVAFS Racing Chevrolet, Rookie CARLOS HUERTAS/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, and CARLOS MUNOZ/No.34 Andretti Autosport Honda.

Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch

Third fastest was Rookie KURT BUSCH/No.26 Andretti Autosport Honda, making him the top Rookie for the race. On his heels is another fast Rookie, JACK HAWKSWORTH/No.98 BHA/BBM with Curb Agajanian Honda, and JUSTIN WILSON/No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.

The infamous last row consists of Rookie SAGE KARAM/No.22 Dreyer and Reinbold-Kingdom Racing Honda, Saavedra; and BUDDY LAZIER/No.91 Lazier Partners Racing Chevrolet.

Next up is the Top Nine Shootout, for the Pole Position for the 2014 Indianapolis 500.