Marco Andretti turns fastest lap of month at Indy
But winning the pole for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" could go a long way to making the goal a reality.
The third-generation driver from one of racing's most famous families topped the timesheets on Fast Friday with a lap of 39.5535 seconds (227.540 mph) mph, the fastest lap of the Month of May.
It was the second time this month that Andretti's No. 26 Team RC Cola car was quickest in practice. He topped the speed chart on May 16 on the 2.5-mile oval (40.2367 seconds; 223.676 mph).
Thirty-two drivers recorded 1,206 laps without incident in a precursor to Pole Day time trials May 19 (11 a.m.-6 p.m.). All drivers were aided by a bump in the turbocharger boost of 10 kPaâ€”which equals about 40 horsepower and 4-5 mph per lapâ€”that will be utilized in qualifications.
Ryan Briscoe, driving the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car, was second quick (39.6764 seconds; 226.835 mph) and teammate Helio Castroneves was third (39.6973; 226.716) in the No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske car.
Three of Andretti's four Andretti Autosport teammates, all using Chevrolet power, wound up in the top 10 on a warm and cloudless day. Ryan Hunter-Reay (226.400) was fourth, James Hinchcliffe (225.974) was sixth and Ana Beatriz (225.653) was seventh. Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, was the top Honda driver in fifth (226.224). Teammate Dario Franchitti, a two-time race winner, was 10th.
The initial 24 car/driver combinations will be set on Pole Day, with the remainder of the 33 spots being filled on Bump Day, May 20.
DAY 7 NOTEBOOK:
Turbocharger boost levels will increase for "Fast Friday" and the two days of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500.
The standard boost level of 130 kPa (kilopascals) for superspeedways will be upped to 140 kPa for the practice today, Pole Day on Saturday, May 19 and Bump Day on Sunday, May 20. The increase will result in the addition of 40-50 horsepower.
The boost level is 130 kPa for all other practice days and Race Day, Sunday, May 27.
INDYCAR set boost levels for the Borg-Warner single and twin turbochargers utilized by Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus before the season based on testing. It also will be 130 kPa for the superspeedways of Auto Club Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. The boost level for the short ovals of the Milwaukee Mile and Iowa Speedway is 140 kpa, while it's 155 kpa for road and street circuits.
Indianapolis 500 qualifying procedures:
Order - A blind draw is conducted before each qualification day.
Warm-up laps - Each car is permitted two warm-up laps before the timed qualification laps. IZOD IndyCar Series officials may permit three warm-up laps if they deem it necessary.
Green-flag laps - A qualification attempt consists of four timed laps. The aggregate time is recorded as the official qualifying time for the car.
Qualifying is broken down into two segments, progressively narrowing the field to determine the pole winner.
Segment One - Held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., to determine positions 1-24 in the field based on the fastest four-lap averages. Once all 24 positions have been filled, bumping will occur until 4 p.m. Each car has up to three qualifying attempts. The top nine qualifiers advance to Segment Two.
Segment Two - Held from 4:30 to 6 p.m., the top nine cars will run in reverse order based on Segment One speeds. All cars are required to make at least one attempt in Segment Two. Cars making additional attempts will receive an additional set of tires. At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-9 based on their four-lap average during the segment.
Positions 25-33 will be determined based on the day's fastest four-lap average. Once starting field is set, any qualifying attempt that is faster than a qualified entrant in the starting field will bump the slowest qualifier, regardless of the day of qualification. The "bumping" entrant is placed at the rear of the field while the "bumped" entrant is removed from the field, but has the opportunity to bump its way back into the starting field as time allows. Each car is allowed three attempts.
Angie Hicks, founder and chief marketing officer of Angie's List, was the honorary starter today.
Curb/Agajanian, a sponsor and entrant of cars in the Indianapolis 500 for the past 40 years, will serve as an associate sponsor of the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing with Curb Agajanian Dallara/Honda/Firestone driven by rookie Bryan Clauson.
Clauson and Curb/Agajanian have a history, as Curb/Agajanian was the co-owner and sponsor for Clauson in 2011 when he won the USAC National Drivers Championship, which included midget, sprint and Silver Crown cars. As a multi-time USAC national champion, Clauson has more than 50 victories.
BRYAN CLAUSON: "It's really cool to bring another company to our Indy 500 program that is highly involved with my USAC programs. With Curb/Agajanian's rich background in racing, I really hope we can bring them to victory lane this May."
MIKE CURB (Founder and chairman, Curb Records): "It's exciting to see Bryan have the opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500 with the excellent team of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Both Sarah and Bryan exemplify the history of Indianapolis champions coming from dirt tracks and ovals in America and ultimately racing in the world's greatest auto race."
SARAH FISHER (Co-owner, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing): "We are so happy to be part of the tradition of the Curb/Agajanian association with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bryan having support from them on both the USAC and IndyCar programs helps promote his background as he takes the next steps of his career."
1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones visited the track today. This is the 50th anniversary of Jones turning the first 150-mph lap at IMS, when he won the pole for the 1962 Indianapolis 500.
PARNELLI JONES: (What do you think of the 2012 car design?) "I think they're safer than the cars last year. I think that was very important. I think they've done some great things to make them safer. I think with these cars having so much ground effects that they're pretty easy to drive. It appears that way to me. Not that it doesn't take talent to drive these cars in the first place, but I think one of these days we'll get the car to where you have to back off at the end of the straightaway a little bit and put a little more emphasis into the driver and not so much into the car." (Didn't you go through a transitional phase when you were a driver, as well?) "We went through a transition, too, with the front-engine roadsters to the rear-engine cars. I even drove the side car, which was the turbine (powered) car. So I've had it all the way around. Of course, I've been here many years as a car owner, too, with Al Unser Sr., winning here a couple of times. So it has changed over the years, and it's hard to go backward, but we need to find ways to just make racing safer and more entertaining." (Do you enjoy coming back to the famed 2.5-mile oval?) "It's like a reunion, so to speak. Every year I come back. I used to like it really well when the (Speedway) hotel was here. I had closed-circuit in the room, and I could know everything going on at the track. Also, I could jump out and play golf when I wanted. I didn't realize how good I had it. Now we stay downtown at a great hotel, the J.W. Marriott. I enjoy coming back and being with my friends and seeing all of my friends."
The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation (SSPF) hosted its 13th annual Racing to Recovery Gala Wednesday, May 16 at the Dallara factory in Speedway, Ind., where nearly $300,000 was raised to support medical research to find a cure for paralysis. In addition, Sam Schmidt presented three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford with the Legendary Driver Award.
SSPF also recognized the efforts of the Holmatro Safety Team with the Silent Hero award for its skill and efficiency providing trackside support at every IZOD IndyCar Series event. As an expression of gratitude, each member of the Safety Team was presented with a new laptop computer donated by HP.
Numerous IndyCar Series drivers attended to support SSPF and watch the awards presentation, including Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Will Power, Katherine Legge, Ana Beatriz, Townsend Bell and Simon Pagenaud. In addition, Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Firestone Indy Lights drivers Victor Carbone, Tristan Vautier and Oliver Webb were on hand. Indy 500 legends also attended, including Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser and Arie Luyendyk.
The SSPF was started in 2000 by INDYCAR driver Sam Schmidt shortly after a practice-run crash left him paralyzed from the chest down.
SSPF is leading the charge to cure paralysis by funding scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and technological advances benefiting those with spinal cord injuries, stroke victims and people diagnosed with ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE QUOTES:
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "We feel pretty good. We'd like to find a little more speed in the National Guard Chevy, but we more or less accomplished everything we set out to do today. Now it's just a matter of trying to figure out what our target speed will end up being when Pole Day comes around tomorrow. The Panther boys have done a good job and the Chevrolets look strong out here so far, and that certainly bodes well for us. The thing we did a good job of today is just focusing on what we're doing and figuring out what we can get out of the car while just loosely paying attention to what other people are doing. The boys have done a great job staying out of the whirlwind that becomes practice at Indianapolis, and hopefully that pays off for us." (About two production crews following him today and his fan appeal after finishing second last year as a rookie): "The big thing for us is that after everything that happened last year â€¦ you can have a situation like that and get a lot of different reactions from people, but 99 percent of the folks that we bump into just want to go out and see us kick some ass. That's what it's all about for us, and that's why it's so cool to see that from all the fans."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): (About added boost): "The speeds rocketed up a bunch. They were telling us it was going to be 5 miles per hour, but I didn't quite believe them. I guess they know what they are talking about because that's about what we saw, maybe even a little more than that. Huge credit to the team because the cars have been awesome. When you throw that much more horsepower, that much more speed, in a car, you never know how it's going to react, and the (cars) were solid. From where we're sitting, we're very happy. We've made a couple of gains throughout the day, and we're just going to polish the GoDaddy car, put it away and really focus on tomorrow." (Pole Day predictions): "It's tough. You never know if everybody is showing their full hand until it really counts and everything is out on the table. But with this extra horsepower, it really sort of forces guys to put their foot down and get on with the job. So if you look at some of the runs other guys are having compared to (the Andretti Autosport cars) - and it's really not just one of us, it's all of us I think - it puts the team in a really good position for tomorrow. I don't think it's safe to say an Andretti car is going to be on pole. There are a lot of good cars out there, and it's so close that something like track temperature or a gust of wind could really make the difference. So it's going to come down to the (qualifying order) draw, and it's going to come down to a little bit of luck. But at the end of the day, the preparation from this team has been so phenomenal that even if we're not 100 percent lucky, we're still going to be very good."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Team AFS Chevrolet): "Overall, it was an amazing day for the entire Andretti Autosport team. It's great to see all of the cars toward the top and progressing every time we go out. It is that particular time you push yourself to the limit that you need your teammates to really help you make improvements. That is what we have with everyone here because we have great communication. It has been a positive day, so we are looking forward to what will come tomorrow. I feel very confident and know that the whole AFS Racing team does, also. We'll need to go out there and just do a good job. I am looking forward to a good starting position."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Scott and I are the first two of the Honda-powered cars right now, and I think we have some work to do. That's it, really. It can't be roses every day, and you just need to keep pushing. We have some work to do, and the Target guys are working very hard on this with the Honda guys to come up with something before tomorrow. Whatever happens, we'll do our best, and that is all we can do."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): "A pretty good day. We made progress and found a little bit of speed. I think we should be all right for qualifying. We know where we are, and we made some improvements today. The team has been working hard, stepping it up every day. Today we made some little changes, but we're definitely going the right direction, so that's really positive."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): "I think everyone up there had a tow. I had a lot of help on the last lap from (Sebastien) Bourdais. I think we're up there, definitely top nine, for sure. It's hard to know where everybody stacks up because it's hard to get a clean lap, but we're up there. We're competitive, and we're certainly going to work hard tonight to come out strong tomorrow." (About competition): "(Andretti Autosport) is going to be heavy favorites tomorrow, and I'd say for the race, as well. I haven't done many long runs with those guys, but I've seen them running together, and they looked pretty good out there. They've done a good job, definitely. I think them and together with our package at Chevrolet, we're very pleased with how things are progressing over the last week in practice. It's going to be close. There are a lot of teams that are really doing well this year for the Indy 500. There are a lot of small teams that are sticking to the big guns. We've got to be on our toes and keep working hard." (About changes to the car with added boost): "I think the biggest difference is the tire degradation. With the extra speed, you are certainly putting more force through the tires. It's harder to be consistent over four laps. It was great. Maybe we should race with this horsepower and qualify with our road course boost. I'd love that. I'm glad we've done this. It's nice to be in the 220's consistently, and it makes it a challenge. I don't think (qualifying) will be about who can be quickest. It's going to be who can be quickest on Lap 4 tomorrow, and a lot of that is because of the extra boost we get from the motors."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "For Fast Friday, we definitely have the speed to compete for the front couple of rows. But we are still searching for some grip. We just seem to be sliding around a lot. The Chevrolet power is unbelievable, and we have been running great today. Unfortunately, we are still scrubbing off too much speed in the turns. We just can't put our finger on the cause of it right now. The positive is that we have a fast car, but the negative is we haven't figured how to get it through the corner just right. If we can figure that out, we'll have a car as fast as anyone here. We'll work on the qualifying setup today, and I hope we can get it right. Because I feel that we can get right in the mix of the action on Saturday."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL SunDrop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): "All of the credit for our speed goes to the entire Andretti Autosport team. Everybody's been digging really deep to get everything out of the cars, and that says a lot about this team. We're all working together on and off the track, and that makes a huge difference. Indy is a special place, but you have to respect it, so we're taking it one step at a time preparing for qualifying. But if you're driving an Andretti Autosport car, you'll go to bed tonight believing you have a shot at the pole - and certainly a front-row spot."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We're definitely not where we need to be. I sort of got a big tow lap there at the end that sort of pulled us up the (speed) chart, but realistically I think we're around ninth. We're not where we want to be. I think we can get a little bit tomorrow, but I think the others will get a little bit, too. We'll do a couple of runs in the morning and see what level we can actually trim it out to, but I think we're getting pretty close to what the max is anyway. We'll have to try and dream something up."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): (Is Fast Friday a good indicator for Pole Day?): "I sure hope so. Why not try to go for the pole? I think, now all the sudden, today was a big day for us. I thought we were at a bit of deficit to my teammates to start the month, but we just kept rubbing on it, we never gave up, and you know we kind of woke the car up and obviously with this added boost today it woke my car up, in particular, as well. But you know we've been working really hard, too, and finding that every couple of tenths of a mile an hour, and it all adds up. So it's going to come down to a couple of a tenths of a mile an hour, I really believe that, And the four-lap average, I've been really working specifically hard on the consistency over the four laps that I think is going to make a difference tomorrow." (What would the pole mean to you?): "If you're going to be in the top nine, you might as well be on the pole. It would mean the world to me. I showed up this month to win the race 100 percent. And I still believe I can do it from 33rd, but if we could do it from first, it would be fantastic. Especially, they just told me in that last interview that it's been since '87 with my grandfather (an Andretti winning the pole), so that was the year I was born, so it would be cool to be able to be on the pole tomorrow, for sure. Hopefully, tomorrow if we're knocking on the door for a pole, that'd be pretty ironic because last year we were just trying to get into the show. So it's just credit to the guys. We've just been working so hard, and I think that Al McDonald, my engineer, and I have been working really well together. He has a lot of faith in me and vice-versa, so that's all you need is that kind of chemistry. And, obviously, the five of us work together, as well. But there's only so much that five of us can find. A lot it's credit to the guys and just rubbing on the cars, and every little bit counts. And that's all we're doing is attention to detail. We learned that when we were just trying to get into the show, but now all the sudden that we roll off with pace, now all those little things are putting us in the position to potentially run for the pole." (Are new faces among fastest just a fluke?): "I don't count anybody out. I think you'd be foolish to. That's the beauty of the IZOD IndyCar Series: The depth of the talent from the drivers and the teams is unreal. We're not going to get overconfident. We're going to come out tomorrow and try to do the same thing we did today. We know this place can be tricky, and it changes. So I'm just hoping that this thing replicates tomorrow, and we're just quick. But yeah, I don't count anybody out. I've got to say, it's been great working with Chevy, and we've been really making a statement out there, especially with this bit of a deficit that we started with at the beginning at the month. You know, with Chevy behind you, that it's not going to be any kind of a deficit or a problem, so I think that'd be a huge statement to put 10 Chevys in the top 10 tomorrow."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): (About thoughts before first Indianapolis 500 Pole Day): "Right now, I'm thinking more about how I can make the car go faster through the corners and less about qualifying for my first Indy 500. We haven't found that happy balance in qualifying trim that we need. These types of days are long and short at the same time. We need to go through everything that we did today and what Townsend did today and see how we can improve. We're very happy in race trim, but qualifying might be a bit difficult. It's not frustrating, it's just racing."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Team Ipiranga Chevrolet): "Today was our most competitive day trimming for qualifying and getting the most speed that we can out of the car. I think the Andretti team did an awesome job and now the cars are pretty fast, so I am proud today - especially for the Ipiranga Andretti car. If we want to make sure we are in the top 10, I think we still need to work a little bit, and hopefully tomorrow we'll get some more speed and get a little closer to our teammates. But I'm pleased and happy with what we accomplished today."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 BraunAbility-Schmidt Pelfrey Motorsports Honda): (How much different was car with more boost?): "It was not any different, just a little faster. The balance is all the same. We just lost our way a little bit today. So we need to think hard where we need to get to handling-wise. The power is fine. The straightaway speed is good among the Hondas. You know, we measure ourselves against the other Hondas. But right now, we're not where we need to be. We need to get it sorted out. I'm confident we can get there." (What did you say when you pulled the team together when you got back to the garage after the last run?): "I just wanted to tell the guys they're doing an awesome job, and there's nothing inherently wrong with our car or our motor. The engineers and I just need to get our heads together to get the car to turn. And if it's not turning, you need to lift. I just wanted to make sure the guys knew they're giving a great effort, and I appreciate everything they're doing."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "It was a good day for the Dragon Racing team. No major drama, no moments, no nothing. Just what we want as we build confidence and get data on what the corrections are when you change things like the wing. We're just going through what we can with the little time we've got. We were able to get in quite a few laps and get a lot of done. We have to keep still working at it to try to get some more speed out of the car. We only ran minus-five (wing setting) today, so there's still quite a bit of speed to be gained. We'll keep dialing the car in and get a little more racy out there."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/Embrase KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I had an OK day. I'm improving my car every time I'm on track, so I look forward to a good qualifying tomorrow."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO/PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "It was definitely a day of improvements. Things went very smooth. We picked up a lot of speed with the changes we made to the car. The things that we learned yesterday were good today, and we still believe that we can make some changes for qualifying tomorrow. Hopefully they will be productive and take us to a good qualifying spot. Then Sunday we can finish our race setups and be ready to go."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet): "Obviously, it was not in our plan nor was it our ideal day because we wanted to get a feel of the car. We started the car, and we saw some smoke and thought it was the engine. We rushed to change it to try to get out on track. When we put in the new engine, it was still smoking just as much, which we then discovered that it didn't have anything to do with the motor. The bad thing is we didn't get to run today, but the good news is we didn't have the penalty that we thought we were going to have in Detroit. The truth is, JR had the whole day, and he only did two runs. It's not like we missed a lot. All we wanted to do was check to make sure that everything was fine, and he did, and he's happy with the car. I'm pretty sure tomorrow we'll just need to do a couple of runs before qualifying and we'll have the time to do that in the morning, and I know that we will have a strong car."
JEAN ALESI (No. 64 Lotus-FP Journe-Fan Force United Lotus): "This was our final day of testing. The balance on the car is good. Now we go for tomorrow, for the qualifying. I feel we have a good car under us, and I could notice the horsepower change we had in the engine, a little. We have been getting better day after day, and doing what we have to do, and now the next thing we have to do is qualifying, as we prepare for the race. So let's see what we can do."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "We accomplished a fair bit with our Verizon car today. We would've liked to find just a touch more speed, although we always want that. Looking ahead to tomorrow: We're in good shape, really, and we will give it a go."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet): "I felt we made a lot if improvements in our Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Chevy during Fast Friday. Today certainly helped prepare us for tomorrow, and I'm really looking forward to qualifying."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Dollar General Honda): "Tomorrow the plan is to qualify as well as we can and race from there. All we can focus on is what we're doing, so we'll try to maximize our position and focus on racing. Anything can happen in the race. It's obviously a very long distance. I think we'll be competitive in race mode. The objective for us is to make the best race car we possibly can and run from there."
BRYAN CLAUSON (No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb Agajanian Honda): "Today we added Angie's List to the car. We brought a primary sponsor in, and that's huge for us, so it was an exciting day off the track. On track, we struggled a little bit to find a good balance, but we kind of got it back there at the end. We'll work on it overnight to improve our qualifying position for tomorrow. It's going to be a matter of how far up we can start. Hopefully we'll make some gains on it tonight and put in a solid effort tomorrow to get to the race."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "We're as prepared as we can be. We got a few runs in today with as low downforce as we could get, and the ABC Supply car feels pretty good, but we're looking for just a little bit more speed. We wanted another mile an hour to be looking really good. Just have to try and polish the car as much as we can tonight and hope the speed comes in the morning, but right now we're not quite as happy as we want to be. Have to go through the pit data tonight and see if there's anything we can find there and come out stronger tomorrow."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 41 ECat/ABC Supply Honda): "We went out this morning in the ECat/ABC Supply car, and we were relatively happy in terms of times to the other guys with similar downforce level, and we rolled back to the pad in the middle of the session with the goal to go back out later with low downforce level. Unfortunately, there's something going on mechanically with the car, and I wasn't able to complete a run after we went back out. So now there's a big old question mark about where we're going to be in our performance and where we're going to slot in the field. After each day of positive momentum, it's disappointing to roll into Pole Day tomorrow having probably our worst test so far. The first thing we have to do is set the car down and find out what's going on mechanically. Until we know where the car is, we can't really determine what's wrong. We have a couple hours of practice tomorrow and then we can go out and make a couple of attempts, so all is not lost. It's just not the ideal situation."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "It was not an easy day. Today was all about qualifying preparation, starting to trim the car aerodynamically, and we got extra boost, too. Straight-line and corner-entry speed was a lot faster than the last five days, and we were working on improving both the mechanical grip and the reduction of the drag. There were a few elements that were positive, but we have work to do before qualifying tomorrow."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (No. 30 Office Depot/RLL Racing Honda): "It was not such a good day. On Fast Friday, you are excited to work on the qualifying setup, and unfortunately we had a problem early on and we didn't run many laps. So we weren't really able to work on our qualifying setup. I felt a loss of power, and the guys told me to shut it down. I don't know what they saw in the telemetry, but they told me to shut it down. Then I saw smoke, so there was a fire. I could definitely feel the difference in power with more boost. It was fun to drive. It was our first run, and we were just starting to trim the car. Tomorrow is qualifying, so we don't know where we are at, set-up wise. That is what we were going to work on today. It's a long race, though. It's not the end of the world."
KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "We're not even worried about qualifying. If we just get it in the field, we'll get ready for the race."
The teams from General Motors and Ilmor Engineering that developed the Chevrolet INDYCAR V6 Engine were presented with the 46th annual Louis Schwitzer Award sponsored by BorgWarner today at IMS.
Members of the team receiving the award were Mark Kent and Matt Wiles of GM and Steve Miller and Steve O'Connor of Ilmor.
The award, presented to engineers by engineers, recognizes individuals with the courage and conviction to explore and develop new concepts in motorsports technology for use in the Indianapolis 500.
The Louis Schwitzer Award has been presented annually since 1967 by the Indiana Section SAE International in honor of early racing pioneer and past Indiana Section Chairman Louis Schwitzer. Award sponsor BorgWarner provided a $10,000 cash prize to the winners, and the winner's name will be added to the permanent trophy on display at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.
Sam Schmidt and Davey Hamilton, co-owners of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports, surprised their driver, Simon Pagenaud, with a surprise birthday cake this morning in the garage area. A contingent of race fans and members of the media sang "Happy Birthday" to Pagenaud as he received his cake from the team owners. Pagenaud turned 28 today.
SIMON PAGENAUD: "They told me to get ready at 11:30, and I thought, 'That's weird.' They haven't told me to be ready this week so far, so I didn't expect it. It's really nice from the guys. It is really such a great atmosphere in this team. It's just a good sense of humor and a good atmosphere. It's just fantastic. So, thanks to the guys." (Is celebrating your birthday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, when you are participating in the event, a good birthday present for you?): "Yes. And, we get 50 more horsepower today, so that's a good birthday present for a driver, and it's a good cake, as well."
Thirty-three drivers have been on the track to date and turned 1,206 laps today and 8,976 laps since Opening Day this month. Scott Dixon turned 60 laps today, most of any driver. There were four cautions for a total of 36 minutes today.
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