Indy Sign

IMS Pagoda

Mornings at Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be quite nice – quiet, cool and sunny weather, and lots of things going on if one knows where to look. It’s Friday, Day Two of the Verizon IndyCar Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis weekend, which includes IndyCars and the three Mazda Road to Indy Series.

The sister of IMS President, Doug Boles, made the suggestion upon which Boles implemented – for an iconic Indy sign. For this week the sign just says ‘ndy’ with anyone and everyone invited to stand next to the N and become the I. It’s a photo op for sure. Come next week the ‘500’ will be added. This sign is located on the path of the original bricks starting in front of the Pagoda and leading up to and across the track.


Tony Kanaan's Roll Hoop

Helio Castroneves '300' rear wing flap

IndyCar is trying out new LED lights to be affixed to the car’s roll hoop/airbox, below the camera mount. The idea is to provide track position during the race. The technology idea comes from the class position lights currently used by IMSA in its TUDOR sports car series. Thursday such a beta version was attached to two cars – the Chevrolet of Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing and the Honda of Justin Wilson/No.25 Andretti Autosport. The device had also been tried at the Barber test.

According to Mike Hull, Ganassi’s General Manager, the LED was positioned so as not to interfere with other systems on the car. The test was Thursday only.

A crew member of Wilson’s car said they had the LED just for Thursday and it has been removed. A fabricator installed the LED provided by IndyCar. It had no interference problems with any of the car’s telemetry.

The LED will display track position in real time as the car crosses the transponder timeline, which is monitored by INDYCAR’s Timing and Scoring loops embedded in the track around the circuit. As it was a test only, the LED was placed atop a Verizon IndyCar Series logo decal. That will not be the case when the light becomes permanent, which is hoped to be by Fast Friday.

The LED panel is eight inches wide, seven inches tall but only three millimeters thick. INDYCAR will adjust the minimum car weights accordingly, to 1,604 pounds for road/street/short oval events such as this weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis; and to 1,574 pounds for superspeedway events, such as the Indianapolis 500.

This weekend marks the 300th indycar start for Helio Castroneves/No.3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Only six other drivers met that mark – Mario Andretti (407) Al Unser Jr (329) Al Unser (320) Michael Andretti (317) and Johnny Rutherford (315) dating back to 1946.

There are a variety of celebrations planned in this honor. One is that the Penske team is running a special number plate on the rear wing flap – Castroneves usual #3 along with two small “0.”

For the Indy 500 race, Tony Kanaan will mark his 300th race. He had 238 consecutive races until June Portland 2001, and he hasn’t missed a race since.

Friday’s schedule calls for 45 minutes of INDYCAR practice at 11am ET, and Firestone Fast 6 Qualifying at 4:30pm ET. In between the support series will be qualifying and racing.