Motorsport News - US
Franchitti hopes Miller Lite Carb Day is good indication of Indy 500 Race Day
26th May 2012
Franchitti, who will start the 96th Indianapolis 500 from the inside of the sixth row, topped the speed chart for the final practice session, the final opportunity for teams to fine-tune their cars before Race Day.
Franchitti, driving the No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, topped the speed chart with a quick lap of 222.360 mph with his teammate Scott Dixon (222.274 mph) and Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti (221.702 mph) right behind. Franchitti led the final practice in 2010 before winning the race.
Similarly, Scott Dixon hopes that winning the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition could be a good omen for him.
Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, defeated Oriol Servia of Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the championship round. His pit crew received the $50,000 first prize for its speed and accuracy.
The winner of the competition has gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 six times, most recently with Team Penske's Helio Castroneves in 2009. It was the first-ever win for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the pit stop contest.
Also on Miller Lite Carb Day, Esteban Guerrieri overtook race leader Tristan Vautier and Gustavo Yacaman in Turn 1 on Lap 38 and went on to win the Firestone Freedom 100.
A close final two laps were expected, but the No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing car driven by Jorge Goncalvez made moderate contact with the Turn 2 wall on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Lap 39, bringing out the yellow flag. He was checked at the infield care center and cleared.
Guerrieri, winning for the second time this season, pumped his fist as the No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car crossed under the checkered flag. It was the fourth consecutive year that a Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver won the race.
Carlos Munoz, who got around Vautier and Yacaman before the caution finished second with Vautier settling for third place.
Lynard Skynard headlined a concert to conclude the busy day.
MILLER LITE CARB DAY NOTEBOOK:
Firestone Indy Lights announced today its intentions to debut a new race car for the 2014 season.
A request for proposal was distributed to potential manufacturers and development firms earlier this month for both engine and chassis, and series officials will begin reviewing and evaluating the submitted applications after the due date of June 30.
The desired attributes of the 2014 Firestone Indy Lights car include:
•New chassis is to reflect current contemporary race car design with a forward-thinking, sophisticated and exciting formula. Chassis must be adaptable to compete on road, street and oval circuits with a minimum of facility-specific parts.
•New chassis to surpass all current FIA static and impact regulations while having the flexibility to accommodate a broad spectrum of drivers and seating positions.
•Improved aerodynamic performance that must also allow for enhanced sponsor placement opportunities on the car.
•Improved technological package to include but not limited to: paddle shifting, data systems and sensors.
•Potential to integrate an alternative fuel source.
The project will be under the supervision of INDYCAR Vice President of Technology Will Phillips and Firestone Indy Lights Technical Director Vince Kremer.
Firestone Indy Lights is the official stepping stone to drivers and teams striving to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, and is the third rung on the Mazda Road to Indy driver development ladder system. Recent Firestone Indy Lights graduates competing in the 96th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 include 2011 champion Josef Newgarden, 2009 champion JR Hildebrand, 2005 champion Wade Cunningham, James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball.
TONY GEORGE JR. (Director, Firestone Indy Lights): "As we look to the future for Firestone Indy Lights, we believe it's important that we do everything we can to attract new drivers, teams, partners and manufacturers to our series to continue to improve our formal system of driver development. The debut of the new car in 2014 will be a key step in this process while allowing our teams to operate as a true business through improved value proposition."
VINCE KREMER (Technical director, Firestone Indy Lights): "With our premium on safety, our goal is to develop a car that is technology relevant to the new IZOD IndyCar Series car. It is our intent to remain a spec series, as it creates the right platform to identify driver talent and contain costs. While it is important for us to gain a manufacturer badge for the engine and receive the endorsement of the auto industry, we want to make sure it is done in the right economic structure for our teams."
Quaker Chemical Corporation, an official sponsor and technical partner of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR), will serve as a sponsor of the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb-Agajanian Dallara-Honda driven by rookie Bryan Clauson this Sunday in the 96th Indianapolis 500.
Quaker, with over 90 years of experience, provides process chemicals and fluids, fire resistant hydraulic fluids, liquid casting lubricants and multipurpose greases supporting a wide range of manufacturing industries.
GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series driver Ricky Taylor is at the Speedway today with his brother, American Le Mans Series driver Jordan Taylor, to support Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor, which is participating in pre-race ceremonies prior to the Firestone Freedom 100 with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.
Ricky Taylor will compete in the Rolex Sports Car Series event Friday, July 27 on the IMS road course during the inaugural Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.
RICKY TAYLOR: "It's pretty special today. I came with the Cape guys, who are running a (USF2000) car in Freedom 100 pre-race. It's nice to be here, and it's a really special place. It's nice to be able to share it with those guys." (About racing at IMS at Kroger Super Weekend in July): "It's a whole new perspective for me. We've tested here two years in a row, but to race here is going be pretty spectacular. The whole city of Indy is a pretty special place for me and (the SunTrust Wayne Taylor Racing) team. I've been watching the Indy 500 my whole life. I can't wait to be able to race at IMS myself."
A $100,000 purse is up for grabs among 12 IZOD IndyCar Series teams in the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge today at 1:30 p.m. today.
The Pit Stop Competition 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.
Seven entrants qualified through their performance at 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series races following 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
These five entrants qualified through time trials May 16:
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)
Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Olivia Newton-John visited the Speedway today. She will serve as the honorary starter of the Firestone Freedom 100, in which her nephew Emerson Newton-John will compete.
Olivia Newton-John also will attend the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: "I'm really excited. It's very exciting to be here. This place is huge, and you can feel the energy from all of the people that come through here. There's a lot of excitement, and it's great to be a part of it. It feels like an old movie, standing up and saying, 'Gentlemen, start your engines.' It's a new thing for me. I like new things. It's very exciting. My whole family is here to watch my nephew Emerson Newton-John in the (Firestone) Indy Lights race. Tomorrow I'll be riding in the (500 Festival) parade and going to a couple of events. I think I'll have to be the 'grand marshall-ette.'"
ESPN pit reporter Jamie Little is working Sunday's telecast of the Indianapolis 500 on ABC while pregnant with her first child, who is due Aug. 8. The child is a boy.
Little will wear a specially-made fire suit during the telecast as she works pit road. The top half has expandable material down both sides and the bottom part is similar to maternity pants, complete with a stretchy belly band.
Little, who also works as a pit reporter for ESPN's NASCAR coverage, will miss the Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 29 at IMS while she is on a two-month maternity leave. Her last race will be the IZOD IndyCar Series race on July 8 at Toronto. She will return for the NASCAR weekend in early September at Richmond.
Her husband, Cody Selman, is a native of Indianapolis and is working the "500" as a tire changer on the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb-Agajanian Chevrolet driven by Bryan Clauson.
JAMIE LITTLE: "I've been lucky with my pregnancy. I feel normal, and everything seems normal. I'm making a conscious effort to eat and drink more, especially when I'm on pit road and it's hot. But other than the fire suit being a two-piece and not a one-piece and having to get alterations every week to make it more comfortable, it's been normal." (About her child being a boy): "I'm very excited because I've been a tomboy my whole life, and my mom still doesn't understand why or how I was always a tomboy."
Susie Wheldon was presented with the Champion of Champions ring Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that her late husband, Dan, earned for his unforgettable victory last May in the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus and Ken Keltner of Herff Jones presented the ring to Susie Wheldon. The Champion of Champions Ring by Herff Jones features 1 carat of diamonds and 14-karat gold.
SUSIE WHELDON: "I just want to take a moment to thank everybody for the outpouring of love and support over the past several months for me and my family. Everyone from Indianapolis, around the country and the world, my racing family and Dan's fans. It has been so comforting to have the support of so many during such a difficult time. I am honored to be here to be here to accept this Champion of Champions ring on behalf of my husband. Dan loved the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and what it meant to win here, and I am proud to be here to represent him as a two-time winner. I'm proud to be here with my children, Sebastian and Oliver, to celebrate their father's life and legacy and him as a great champion and ambassador of the Indianapolis 500. Thank you again for all of your love and support."
Firestone Indy Lights team Jeffrey Mark Motorsport has joined forces with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Alexander's Army in the quest toward finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
Alexander's Army is a group of caring individuals dedicated to raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cystic fibrosis is a chronic genetic disorder that drastically impacts the digestive and respiratory systems of those afflicted. For the 70,000 patients worldwide battling CF, the average life expectancy is just 37 years old.
Jeffrey Mark Motorsport fields the No. 19 Freightliner Jeffrey Mark Motorsport car driven by Juan Pablo Garcia today in the Firestone Freedom 100.
JEFFREY MARK (Owner, Jeffrey Mark Motorsport): "The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation holds a special place in my heart. Having a cousin affected by the disease, I have become familiar with the daily struggles these families encounter. I am thrilled our organization is able to team up with Alexander's Army and assist those in need."
Bob Jenkins served as the honorary starter of Miller Lite Carb Day practice today. Jenkins is a longtime Indianapolis 500 and IZOD IndyCar Series broadcaster, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network anchor and IMS Public Address announcer.
BOB JENKINS: "Well, it's the second-most thrill I've ever had at the Speedway. The first was several years ago when I was allowed to drive A.J. Foyt's 1961 winning car around the track. But this is certainly a very close second, to get to wave the green flag and be the ceremonial starter for the final day of practice is just a huge thrill for me and something I will never forget." (On his emotions as the cars were passing by him to start practice.): "It was very emotional. I must say that my eyes got a little watery, because this place has meant so much to me over the years. I'm very, very lucky to play a small part in it."
Indianapolis 500-winning drivers will take ceremonial laps in classic Indy 500 vintage cars from decades ending in the number "2" during pre-race ceremonies Sunday morning before the 96th Indianapolis 500. The lineup of drivers and cars:
1912 National (Joe Dawson, winner)
1922 Duesenberg (Jimmy Murphy, winner)
1933 Ringling & Henning Wonder Bread Spl. (Joe Russo, 17th)
1952 Kuzma (Troy Ruttman, winner)
1962 Watson-Offy (Rodger Ward, winner)
1972 McLaren (Mark Donohue, winner)
Ed Carpenter, the only team owner/driver in the 96th Indianapolis 500, will have his university's support when he takes the green flag Sunday.
Butler University, just 8 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announced Thursday the Butler Athletics logo will be displayed on Carpenter's No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet on Race Day.
Carpenter is a 2003 graduate from Butler's College of Business in marketing. He is friends with many at the school, including head men's basketball coach Brad Stevens.
ED CARPENTER: "I am so thrilled to have the Butler Athletics logo adorning our Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet in Sunday's Indy 500. We have had so much support over the years from the Butler alums, students, facility and fans that it will be an honor to carry the Butler colors this Sunday in the race. I want thank President Danko, Coach Stevens, Michael Kaltenmark and others for their participation with our team effort. We look forward to strong race Sunday."
JAMES DANKO (President, Butler University): "Ed Carpenter is certainly one of Butler's most prominent alumni, and we are honored that he will proudly display the Butler colors for the Indy 500. Ed is not only a highly capable driver and IZOD IndyCar Series race winner, but off the track he conducts himself in a manner representative of the Butler Way. Seeing the recognizable Butler Bulldog logo take the green flag on the side of the No. 20 car this Sunday will be a proud moment for the entire Butler family. Needless to say, we're all pulling for Ed and Ed Carpenter Racing to represent Butler all the way to Victory Lane."
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE:
At 11 a.m., the ambient temperature was 85 degrees with a relative humidity of 51 percent and southwest winds at 5 mph. Skies were sunny. The track temperature was 104 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
11 a.m. - GREEN. #28 Hunter-Reay first on track.
11:10 a.m. - All 33 starters are on pit lane or on track.
11:19 a.m. -- #25 Beatriz only car not to turn lap at speed.
11:21 a.m. -- #50 Franchitti fastest at 221.986.
11:25 a.m. -- #9 Dixon fastest at 222.059.
11:30 a.m. - Track temperature is 109 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
11:35 a.m. -- #50 Franchitti fastest at 222.360.
11:50 a.m. - YELLOW. Debris.
11:55 a.m. - GREEN.
Noon - CHECKERED. #50 Franchitti fastest at 222.360. Teammate #9 Dixon second at 222.274. #25 Beatriz was only driver not to turn lap during final practice.
Fastest rookie: #67 Newgarden, 13th, 219.571.
FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF PRACTICE:
Thirty-two drivers combined to turn 1,230 laps during final practice today, increasing the total for the month of May at IMS to 13,611 laps. There was one caution today in practice for five minutes.
Brad Larsen, the lead mechanic for the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb-Agajanian Chevrolet driven by rookie Bryan Clauson, received the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award today.
Larsen, 30, will receive a $5,000 check and a plaque with his name. He led the effort to rebuild Clauson's car after he crashed during Pole Day qualifying last Saturday.
Brawner was renowned for his mechanical wizardry, serving as chief mechanic for six national champions and 51 race victories. The Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award, in its 26th year and sponsored by Firestone Racing, is awarded annually to the Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic who, according to the Clint Brawner Foundation, "exemplifies the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm and expertise" of its namesake.
BRAD LARSEN: "When we first unloaded the car this month, it was fast," said Larsen. "It ran pretty good all week, then we spooked ourselves a little bit on Friday, got a little lost. We looked pretty good Saturday until he hit the wall. I love working for a guy as nice as Bryan as well as Andy(O'Gara) and Sarah (Fisher)."
INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "The car is real good. We've got a good set-up for Race Day. It would have been nice to have had that motor for qualifying." (About Race Day heat): "The forecast has been running in the high 90s. We've known that for weeks, so we know what we're going to be setting up for. It's definitely going to be slippery. We'll deal with that (heat) on Sunday, but it's going to be hard work behind the wheel in those conditions; hard for the pit crews to keep their focus in that heat. It'll be a hot day."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): "It's been a good day. The car feels pretty solid. The changes we made have been positive, and that's a good thing. We're still slow, but I'm happy with the car. It's going to be a long race, but if we can keep up the momentum up, I think we'll be OK."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was a good final practice for the IZOD car. We ran the entire session. We made a lot of changes and made good use of the time. This was a good session for us. We learned a bit, and this positions us nicely as we head into the race."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "We weren't quite as good this morning as we were on Sunday afternoon in the hotter conditions. But we will still be good when it is hotter this Sunday. The track surface was cooler today than last Sunday. So I feel better about our setup for Sunday. We had a couple of issues today, so I'm glad it happened today rather than Sunday. That is what Carb Day is for. But overall, I think we'll be OK. I'm looking forward to going racing now. This week always kind of drags out now, so it felt good to be back in the car today. Now it's time to get prepared for Sunday."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "There's still a lot of unknowns. Previously we knew what to expect because we knew everybody had the same stuff. I think we are expecting a lot of unknowns. I think our car seems good. I think we can expect to see a very tight race with a lot of passing." (About practice): "For us, it was just concentrating on the car and making sure it feels decent in traffic and making sure the systems work. It's nice to come out of the warm-up (Carb Day) with confidence and know that it's a car you feel happy with. The speeds are one thing, and there are big holes. I was hanging in the back of the pack quite a bit just to get in dirty air and see how the car is. I was pretty happy - a lot happier than we were in that first week."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): "Obviously, the goal today wasn't to be the fastest. I think the car is ready. I think the track was a bit green at the start, but toward the end there, I got my good race car back. It should be good." (On any engine advantage): "Well, when you're in big packs, you're just trying to get the feel of what the car is going to feel like. I mean, I was never really turned down and seeing what we can run. We'll find out Sunday." (On passing in the slipstream): "I think the leader should just have to make the first move, and if you come off of (Turn) 4 too low, you should then have to turn into the next corner low. But I guess the new Indy rule is we have to leave a car width on the inside, which they just sprung on us this morning." (On going back to single-file restarts): "I wasn't a fan of the double-file restarts at this place, in particular. You'll see, especially the way these cars tow, it's crazy enough with single-file restarts. We're always three-, four-wide anyway. If you restart two-wide, it's a recipe for disaster." (On his confidence for the race): "I think we're definitely in it. I think it's going to be our race to lose."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "It felt good to get back in the race car. It's what I love the most. It's so great to see such a big crowd today and feel the support of the Hoosier people. The biggest thing for me today is the fact we have a really good race car. I feel very comfortable with it. I can run in traffic with no problem, so we have a good baseline. It's going to be a lot hotter in the race, but we'll have some good data to start with. I feel a lot more confident for race day."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 BraunAbility-Schmidt Pelfrey Motorsports Honda): (About not feeling well earlier this week): "I feel fine. I'm back to normal, 100 percent. It felt great to get back out there." (About car): "I think it's going to be good. We have a nice comfortable race car. I feel like I'm good in traffic. I'm maybe not as fast on my own as I'd like to be, but we can run all day comfortably. " (Does the "500" ever feel like just another race, especially as a veteran?):"No. This is what my year is all about. It's always special."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet): "I'm really happy. We put the team to the test. They've worked really hard in the last couple of days to try to put together all of the data that we got from running the whole week, and we came up with a setup a little bit different from what we've been running. Just having the time to think and go through the notes helped a lot. Usually Carb Day is a day that you just do a couple of outings to make sure that you didn't change the car much, but we actually changed the car, and it felt really good. I'm feeling very confident for the race."
JAMES JAKES (No. No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): "We had a gearbox problem all morning. We didn't really run. We did nine laps, and that was nine laps slow. The guys have got to go back, take the car apart again and find out what the problem is. It was not a good morning. Before I can even think about the race, we've got to get the car running right. The gearbox was off, so the engine wasn't the right combination. We weren't even running at full power there."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "The Verizon car was quite good out there today. It was pretty hot out there, which is likely what we will see in the race. We ran through our check list and we garnered a lot of useful information. We are looking good for the race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet): "We certainly made the most out of our final practice in the Shell-Pennzoil car today. We made changes, ran in traffic, and now we have a very good understanding of the car and what we will need to do on Sunday."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "It was really good to get back in the car on Carb Day and go through the one-hour practice. All credit to the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi racing crew for putting it back together in fine form. It's quick and slippery. We have a really good setup. I'm back to being confident in our race car. We just have to stay smart on Sunday, and there's no reason the NovoLog FlexPen car can't be up front at the end, which is the team's goal."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "The Service Central car feels really good, and I think we're pretty confident going into Sunday. I'm really definitely happy with the way the car feels. We have to get a little more speed and have to get the car to tow-up a little bit better behind people, but I can follow awfully close, and I think it's a good sign of things to come. We're looking forward to getting out there and start racing."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Dollar General Honda): "The car has changed a lot. We've had a phenomenal car the whole month, and things are starting to change. The car is accelerating with the change. It's weird to spend the whole week trying to figure out the car, and you're feeling good the whole time. Then all of a sudden, you're not feeling so comfortable anymore, and you've got no more practice time. It's time to race! You just have to hope you roll the dice right for Sunday and come up with the right calls. (About fans and heat): "I know there's going to be a ton of loyal fans out here on Sunday, and they're going to fight through the heat for us. Everyone needs to stay hydrated, just like us drivers on Sunday. Hopefully we don't have any incidents with fans overheating."
BRYAN CLAUSON (No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb-Agajanian Honda): "It was a busy day, since it was the last day everybody gets to work on their cars. Everyone was out there putting the finishing touches on their cars. Our car was pretty good this morning. We've got a couple of things to work on before Race Day on Sunday, but we made some good changes during the session to give us a good direction before we roll out Sunday on Race Day. (About racing in Hoosier Hundred USAC race tonight): "We're going to get a little extra practice in tonight when I run the Hoosier Hundred. I'm going over to the Indiana State Fairgrounds tonight, and it will be a lot of fun. Like the Indy 500, it's another great race with a lot of tradition that I haven't won. I'd like to add my name to the list of guys who have won that."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "It didn't feel quite as good as it did on Sunday, so we may go back on a couple of little changes. I feel pretty confident going into the race. We know what we've got, so we just need to repeat that, and we should move forward." (About heat Sunday): "It's going to change things on the car, but we have enough data on the computer to figure out what we need to change, so we'll be OK."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 41 ECat/ABC Supply Honda): "We worked on traffic and full downforce; we ran more downforce than a few of the other cars. I suspect that they were trying to match their downforces from today to what they believe they will be running on Sunday in warmer temperatures. We went the other way and ran as much downforce as we thought we'd be running in the race to try to match the gears to it. We didn't put up a stunning time, but what we did is what we think where the race is going to be, and I don't think the guys in front of us will be running as little wing or running the speeds that they ran today. When you're starting 26th on the grid like me, it's probably better to be running too much downforce rather than not enough."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "We improved the car in a few areas. I was reasonably happy with the balance. We still need to improve some areas we weren't very happy with, but we improved the car from (last) Sunday. I was able to run in traffic, which was definitely good preparation for Sunday. The most important thing now is to analyze the data correctly and make the changes we think will improve the car for the Indy 500 but obviously make sure we don't misjudge it. To prepare for the race mentally, you just need to keep your focus. There is good excitement building. Tomorrow will be a good autograph session and the parade. You can feel the atmosphere coming. The Indy 500 is here!"
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny's BBQ Honda):"I think we're in good shape. I really like the Sonny's BBQ car. We've got a couple of little things to do, but generally speaking, I think we'll just put it away and bring it out Race Day. I'm really pleased with it. Race Day is going to be hot and sticky, and the track is going to be slick. We'll just try to move forward whenever we can pick our way through, be smart and be there at the end."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (No. 30 Office Depot/RLL Racing Honda): "The car wasn't as fast as we wanted. It's frustrating because I am running flat-out behind guys. and they just pull away. The balance can be a little better, but we are lacking in speed because others just pull away. In practice, we ran this wing (configuration), and I could stay with guys with less wing, but right now they just pull away. We will keep looking at the data and see what the problem is."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "I don't think we really had an expectation going into the practice. It would have probably been a little nicer as a racetrack if it had been hotter. I think our primary concern for the race is what the car is going to do and what the downforce level you're going to need to run because of the heat. We played around with some things today and did a little bit more running (46 laps) than we were expecting, so I think we're as set as we're going to be for Race Day. We were guessing on a couple changes in anticipation of the weather on Sunday, and also were trying to make sure we know what we've got. You certainly don't want to be leaving Carb Day practice with too many questions. We certainly feel good about how our car runs in traffic. I think it's just a matter of adjusting for the conditions on Sunday."
KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "We ran a fair amount of laps out there. It was the first time I've ran in traffic. We were being very conservative, both myself with the traffic and the car having a lot of downforce in it. I think the car was good in traffic. My crew has done a great job. I think that we're going to have a great race on Sunday. My team has me drinking Pedialite today, hydrating for the heat Sunday. That's probably more of a big deal for the crew guys who are out in it all day. It's going to be really slick out there (on track), and we were hoping for similar conditions today so we could simulate it, but it was a loot cooler ambient and track temperature than what we expect Race Day."
The ESPN on ABC broadcast team for the 96th Indianapolis 500:
•Host: Brent Musburger
•Booth: Marty Reid (anchor), Scott Goodyear (analysis), Eddie Cheever (analysis)
•Pits: Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch
The IMS Radio Network broadcast team for the 96th Indianapolis 500:
•Booth: Mike King (anchor), Davey Hamilton (driver analyst), Jerry Baker (statistics), Donald Davidson (historian), Paul Page (race strategy)
•Turns: Jake Query (Turn 2), Mark Jaynes (Turn 3), Chris Denari (Turn 4)
•Pits: Nick Yeoman, Michael Young, Kevin Lee
•Garage/Medical: Dave Wilson
IZOD PIT STOP CHALLENGE NOTES:
•Target Chip Ganassi Racing earned its first IZOD Pit Stop Challenge victory. The team had finished second three times, in 1992 with driver Eddie Cheever Jr., in 2002 with Jeff Ward and in 2011 with Dario Franchitti.
•Target Chip Ganassi earned $50,000 for its victory in the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge.
•This was the first time Scott Dixon advanced to the final of the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge.
•This is the first time Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing advanced to the final of the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge. The team formed shortly before the start of the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
•This is the first time Oriol Servia advanced to the final of the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge.
•The last time the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge winner also won the Indianapolis 500 in the same year was 2009, when Team Penske and driver Helio Castroneves pulled off "the double." The feat has been achieved only six times since the Pit Stop Challenge started in 1977.
FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 RACE RUNNING:
At 12:30 p.m., the ambient temperature was 86 degrees with a relative humidity of 48 percent and southwest winds at 9 mph. Skies were sunny. The track temperature was 116 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
#28 Krohn stopped at start of pit lane at end of pace lap. Car was late leaving the grid.
Lap 1: YELLOW. Start waved off.. GREEN.
Lap 2: Four-wide entering Turn 1. #26 Munoz takes lead into Turn 1 after starting third. #3 Carbone passes #26 Munoz for lead entering Turn 3. Carbone leads at line by .0182 of a second.
Lap 3: #26 Munoz passes #3 Carbone for lead in Turn 1. #3 Carbone passes #26 Munoz for lead entering Turn 3, leads at line by .0736 of a second.
Lap 4: #26 Munoz passes #3 Carbone for lead entering Turn 3. #3 Carbone noses past #26 Munoz for lead at start-finish line.
Lap 5: YELLOW. Accident in Turn 2 involving #17 Wagner, #22 Ostella, #7 Webb, #15 Dempsey, #42 Newton-John. #17 Wagner , #7 Webb touch in Turn 2, collecting #22 Ostella. All three made hard contact with SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. #42 Newton-John spun across track to avoid three cars initially involved in incident, collecting #15 Dempsey. Dempsey drove to pit lane despite extensive damage. Wagner, Ostella, Webb, Newton-John climb from cars with assistance from Holmatro Safety Team. Heavy damage to all cars involved in accident.
Lap 7: RED.
Lap 8: YELLOW. Red flag lasted 11 minutes, 21 seconds. Green flag will resume race the second time past the flag stand.
Lap 9: GREEN.
Lap 10: #26 Munoz passes #3 Carbone for lead in Turn 1 after restart. #3 Carbone regains lead entering Turn 3, leads by .2015 of a second.
Lap 11: #2 Yacaman, #3 Carbone side by side in Turns 1 and 2 for lead.
Lap 12: #3 Carbone keeps lead. #3 Carbone leads #2 Yacaman by .1546 of a second.
Lap 13: #3 Carbone leads #2 Yacaman by .0756 of a second.
Lap 14: #3 Carbone leads #2 Yacaman by .0591 of a second.
Lap 15: #3 Carbone leads #2 Yacaman by .0723 of a second. Top five cars separated by .8456 of a second.
Lap 17: #3 Carbone leads #2 Yacaman by .0690 of a second.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR medical director: Emerson Newton-John, David Ostella and Oliver Webb were evaluated and released without injury from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center at IMS. They are cleared to drive. The other two drivers involved in the accident, Peter Dempsey and Brandon Wagner, returned to the pits in their cars and did not visit the IU Health Emergency Medical Center.
FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 RACE RUNNING (cont.):
Lap 19: #3 Carbone leads #2 Yacaman by .0868 of a second.
Lap 20 (halfway): Top 10 - #3 Carbone, #2 Yacaman, #26 Munoz, #27 Saavedra, #11 Guerrieri, #77 Vautier, #4 Goncalvez, #86 Horton, #9 Day, #19 Larrison.
Lap 22: #3 Carbone leads #26 Munoz by .1263 of a second. Carbone has clinched two bonus points for leading most laps in race.
Lap 23: #3 Carbone leads #11 Guerrieri by .0871 of a second.
Lap 24: #26 Munoz passes #11 Guerrieri for second. #3 Carbone leads #26 Munoz by .0197 of a second.
Lap 25: #26 Munoz passes #3 Carbone for lead with outside move in Turn 1. #3 Carbone passes #26 Munoz exiting Turn 4, leads by .0004 of a second at line.
Lap 26: #3 Carbone leads #26 Munoz by .3131 of a second.
Lap 27: #77 Vautier leads #3 Carbone by .0119 of a second.
Lap 28: #77 Vautier leads #3 Carbone by .1809 of a second.
Lap 29: #2 Yacaman passes #3 Carbone for second in Turn 1. #77 Vautier leads #2 Yacaman by .0714 of a second.
Lap 30: #2 Yacaman, #77 Vautier side by side for lead in Turns 1 and 2. #77 Vautier keeps lead on backstretch. #77 Vautier leads #26 Munoz by .0551 of a second. Top eight cars separated by less than a second.
Lap 31: Three-wide for lead entering Turn 1. #77 Vautier leads #26 Munoz by .0750 of a second.
Lap 32: #77 Vautier leads #2 Yacaman by .3403 of a second.
Lap 33: #77 Vautier leads #2 Yacaman by .1761 of a second.
Lap 34: #2 Yacaman, #77 Vautier side by side in Turns 3 and 4 for lead. #77 Vautier leads by .0701 of a second.
Lap 35: #77 Vautier leads #2 Yacaman by .1359 of a second.
Lap 36: #77 Vautier leads #2 Yacaman by .1720 of a second.
Lap 38: #26 Munoz, #11 Guerrieri split #77 Vautier high and low in Turn 1 to take top two spots. #11 Guerrieri leads #26 Munoz by .0352 of a second.
Lap 39: YELLOW. #4 Goncalvez low in Turn 2 and does half-spin, hits SAFER Barrier with left front and left side of car. Does half-spin forward, slides down track.
Lap 40: YELLOW and CHECKERED. #11 Esteban Guerrieri wins Firestone Freedom 100 under caution.
FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 WINNER'S QUICK QUOTE:
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM w/Curb-Agajanian): "I'm really, really happy. It was one of those weekends that I trusted I was going to finish well even though I qualified bad. I'm overjoyed. From last to first, I'm really happy." (About pass for lead): "That was a tough one. Halfway through the race, I was fighting with oversteer. My engineer, Tim Neff, told me to be patient, that everything would happen in the last five laps."
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR medical director: Jorge Goncalvez was evaluated and released without injury from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center at IMS. He is cleared to drive.
FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 POST-RACE NOTES:
•This is the fifth career Firestone Indy Lights victory for Esteban Guerrieri and second victory this season. He also won the most recent event, at Long Beach.
•Sam Schmidt Motorsports now has won seven of the 10 Firestone Freedom 100 races.
•Sam Schmidt Motorsports has won four consecutive Firestone Freedom 100 races, an event record.
•This is the fourth time the Firestone Freedom 100 has finished under caution. The other years: 2004, 2007, 2011.
•Esteban Guerrieri is the first Argentine driver to win a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
•Rookie Carlos Munoz finished a career-best second. His previous best was fifth at Long Beach.
•Esteban Guerrieri and Tristan Vautier each have finished in the top three of all four Firestone Indy Lights races this season.
•Sebastian Saavedra finished fifth. He will race in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, the only driver performing the Indianapolis 500-Firestone Freedom 100 "double" this year.
UNOFFICIAL FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POINT STANDINGS (after Firestone Freedom 100):
1. Esteban Guerrieri 177
2. Tristan Vautier 163
3. Sebastian Saavedra 159
4. Victor Carbone 122
5. Gustavo Yacaman 113
FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
J.V. HORTO (No. 86 Juncos Racing): "It was very exciting. Coming from 16th position, it wasn't easy. It's my first time here. I'm still learning. It's the first time on the team, also. It's a new team in the series. I think the whole team did a great job. I'm looking forward to next year. Now that I know how it works, it's a totally different track. For sure I'm going to come back stronger next year."
CHASE AUSTIN (No. 87 Juncos Racing): "I thought we were going to have a few more cautions than we did. The driver messed up. I passed a car trying to catch the lead pack, and I thought I was in fifth, passing him, and I was actually in fourth when I down-shifted. I wasn't in a drafting gear, and it just killed all my momentum. By the time I got back up to speed, they were already gone. I was just sitting there by myself for a while, trying to get the car as best as I could if there was a caution, and it just never happened."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser): "I am proud to be here and also I'm really happy to be my first oval race and finish second. There is more to come this year. I hope this is the start of the year, of a pretty good year. I hope to finish like that, and then we can have a great car. And I have to thank my team, Andretti, for the opportunity. It was an awesome race. It was a really fun race. We were overtaking all of the time for second, third, fourth. It was really fun, though. I knew the race was in the last laps. We had a really good car all weekend. I have to thank my team for that."
OLIVER WEBB (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "We had a really good start. I got up to eighth from the back of the grid because of an engine change. The car was feeling absolutely amazing. David Ostella, coming up behind me, started to come down. He cleared my right and made contact with someone who made a late move down to my inside and touched my rear tire. Anyone higher than me, we were all collected together. A disappointing way to finish my first Freedom 100."
DAVID OSTELLA (No. 22 TMR-Global Precast-Xtreme Coil Drilling): "I feel so bad for the team. They worked so hard. Going into Turn 2, the guys in front of me kind of just touched and spun. I tried to go high, but I just got collected. It's unfortunate because our team worked so hard."
ANDERS KROHN (No. 28 Bryan Herta Autosport): "It's something very unexpected. I don't think I've ever experienced something like this before, just starting the seize-up right as we left the line here, and it just kept getting worse. It's such a shame, I was so excited to be here with Bryan Herta Autosport with my sponsors I-Tec, Yellow Jacket, Premier Glass & Mirror, and I wanted to put on a good showing for them. And not to take the green flag and cross the Yard of Bricks is so tough. But I want to come back. I will beat this place."
EMERSON NEWTON-JOHN (No. 42 Fan Force United): "It was just a gaggle of cars doing pretty ridiculous things. Two of them got together. I was close to getting out of it. I just got to a certain angle, and the thing broke loose."
BRANDON WAGNER (No. 17 Team E): "It's really unfortunate. We had a great race car. Just sometimes these guys, I don't feel like they use their head. I know it's obviously Indy and a huge race for us, but you've just got to be patient. We were going four-wide. That's fine and all, but when you're only on the fifth lap of the race, that's just crazy. Unfortunately, we had the position going into (Turn) 2, and the 7 (Oliver Webb) just came down on top us. I don't know what happened. I don't know if he didn't see me. It's just unfortunate."
ALON DAY (No. 9 Belardi Auto Racing): "Considering we almost didn't run because we had a damaged engine, I'm pretty happy. My first real lap here was qualifying, and I'm pretty satisfied. I finished the race, and it was good experience. It was my first time on an oval. Of course, I wanted to be closer to the front, but I'm still happy with the finish. The team did a great job changing the engine and working on the car. I'm happy. It's pretty amazing to drive here. It's my first oval, and I'm speechless."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS): "I think the experience I brought from racing here in 2009 helped today. I started 10th, and in the first corner, I was already fourth. It was a bit risky, but I wanted to get points here. From then on, we tried to save tires. I was just counting the laps until five to go, when I started pushing to get to the front. Unfortunately with four laps to go, there was an incident bringing out the yellow flag, and that killed everything. Congratulations to my teammate, Carlos. It was a very solid run, but I'm looking forward to Detroit to regain the points lead."
JORGE GONCALVEZ (No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing): "It was three laps remaining in the race, and I was trying to get the best finish I can. I came in really fast, and I lost the car in Turn 2. I don't know exactly what happened because the car got loose in the back, and I went straight into the wall. I want to win to race, and I thought I had the opportunity. It was very competitive, but it happens."
JUAN PABLO GARCIA (No. 76 Freightliner Jeffrey Mark Motorsport): "I am new to ovals; each lap was new to me. I didn't know what to expect. I finished the race. Now I need to work harder on oval racing. I really don't know how to race on ovals. I am still learning."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM w/Curb-Agajanian): "It was so close. I really thought I had a good shot (at winning). I had so much fun. A big congrats to my teammate Esteban (Guerrieri). He started last and ran really strong. A big thanks to the whole team. I guess I'll have to come back next year and try to win it. I really thought that we had it. There's only one lap to lead, and that's the last one, and we didn't (lead it). I'm happy and frustrated at the same time. I wanted to win, but I'm here (in third). It's still a great day for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "
MIKE LARRISON (No. 19 Belardi Auto Racing): ""Well, it got a little hairy there at the start. I got a little high between Turns 1 and 2. I brushed the wall, and we bent one of the U-links on the front end. It had a lot of understeer. I'd get up to the pack, and it just wanted to shove up to the wall. I tried every tool that I had in the cockpit, but I kind of hurt myself there at the start. We were there with the front pack and ended up ninth, so I'm excited for a top 10."
GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling): "It was pretty complicated. It's sad to see that other people weren't following the rules. Something was said in the drivers' meeting, and people weren't following what was said. Applying the rules here - I don't know - it's elective."
SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
Chase Rookie of the Year Q&A, Coca-Cola Stage
2012 Starting Field/Indy 500 Winners Autograph Session, Pagoda Plaza
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Indianapolis 500 Memorabilia Show, Plaza Pavilion
Public Drivers Meeting, Tower Terrace
Roger Penske Q&A, Coca-Cola Stage
Indy 500 Veterans Autograph Session, Plaza Pavilion
The 96th Indianapolis 500 starts at noon (ET) Sunday. Live coverage on ABC and the IMS Radio Network starts at 11 a.m.
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.
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