Jim drove AJ Foyt's #14 to victory at Ontario in 1970
Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee Jim McElreath, the 1962 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and a veteran of 15 starts in the "500" between 1962 and 1980, passed away Thursday, May 18 in his hometown of Arlington, Texas. He was 89.
One of the last eight surviving drivers who could claim to have driven a front-engined car in the "500," McElreath was 34 years old and had been racing on short tracks for 16 years when he burst on the scene at Indianapolis in 1962.
Howard shakes off rust to lead fourth Indianapolis 500 practice
Howard leads Alonso
Jay Howard has been away from Indy car racing for six years, but it mattered not in the fourth practice day for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Howard, driving the No. 77 Lucas Oil/Team One Cure Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, posted a lap of 226.744 mph in today's six-hour session that stands as the fastest of the week. Howard finished ahead of a trio of Andretti Autosport drivers on the speed chart: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Fernando Alonso.
Thursday Recap from Indy (Update) UPDATE Added today's times below. Note Fernando Alonso up to 4th quick almost the same speed as his two teammates in 2nd and 3rd.
05/18/17 All 33 cars made their appearance on pit road today, with only Buddy Lazier not taking a lap on the track. While Jay Howard (Schmidt-Peterson car) topped the speed charts with a 226.744 lap, it's doubtful that many of the rest of the teams trimmed things out for a pole simulation.
Tomorrow, the cars get the extra qualification boost. Rightly or wrongly, IndyCar feels the need to trim 1/4 second or so per lap to make a more exciting qualification event. So if the weather permits, look for vastly faster speeds tomorrow.
The other notable news of the day was the appearance of John Andretti. The long-time CART/IRL/IndyCar/NASCAR/NHRA driver (did I forget any?) was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. As most people know, stage 4 is where it has spread to other body parts, and it's deadly serious. He's spearheading an effort to get us to have a colonoscopy once we're over age 50 -- John found his during his first colonoscopy.
The battle to make the iconic Front Row photo at Indy is on this weekend; sadly, the once-thrilling battle to make the show is already settled.
(Editor's note: A longtime AR1 reader and former Indianapolis 500 driver shares his perspective on the state of NASCAR, IndyCar, and the Indianapolis 500).
NASCAR has decided to add extra stages to the Coca Cola (or whatever they call it now) 600. NASCAR is just a show. Let's hope that's not where Indy is headed.
What's really bad is that IndyCar has copied most of NASCAR's gimmicks to help prop up their series instead of developing their own identity and rules.
What does it say when the top three teams in this year's 500 (Penske, Andretti, Ganassi) own 15 of the 33 starting cars? And when IMS has to make financial deals with at least a half dozen cars (and maybe more) to even get 33 cars to race?
Josef Newgarden is ok following a Thursday crash at Indy
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 2 HUM BY VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, had incident at the exit of Turn 1 on his 36th lap during practice for the 101st Indianapolis 500. He was checked, cleared and released from the infield care center.
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
“I’m fine. Tough break for us in the (No.) 2 car with Team Penske. It’s obviously not something you want to do, especially on a day like today – a pretty nice day out, no big issues. I’m disappointed that we ran into a problem. I just got called into the pits, so I was coming in and I didn’t want to check up too much for the guys behind me and cause a problem. It just seemed to get away from me. Until I get to look at everything, I’m not 100 percent sure what caused it. We were having a really good day. We had a good run up until that, so again I’m not sure what went on. It was probably my mistake, but until I get to look at everything it’s hard to tell. I feel bad for our guys that we’ve got extra work.”
2017 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil Press Conference A.J. Foyt Racing Conor Daly, Carlos Munoz, Larry Foyt May 18, 2017
MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. We have A.J. Foyt ABC Racing with us, a couple of really talented guys. Always good to see Larry here with us, another Indianapolis 500 with the Foyt name, Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz, who certainly are looking for big things .
Weather plays games at Indy... The weather is usually the story at Indy, and this year will be no different.
First, the predictions call for rain Friday, Saturday and maybe into Sunday. Which to speak in heretical terms here, is maybe a good thing -- perhaps we really should only have a 1-day qualification show if there is no bumping.
Second, with the last 2 days being very windy, no one has taken the risk to fully trim out their car for a test qualification run. I caught up with Jay Howard -- who has spent most of the day atop the speed charts at 226.744 --and he did mention that the wind was playing with the cars, especially yesterday. And he confirmed that no one, including him, was running trimmed out.
We ran into Bob Lazier, father of Buddy Lazier, and all-around great guy. My impression was that he was so busy shaking hands and getting hugs that he wasn't able to help unpack the car. Fortunately, though, he "has people". Lazier's entry makes 33 for the month.
This year Buddy's guaranteed to make the show, so expenses are probably a bit lower and sponsors a bit easier to come by. Rumor has it that Indy was also anxious to have 33 cars. Team officials told me that they're ready to make a "major" sponsor announcement as soon as the sponsor's marketing people get things done. I'm not one to start a rumor, but could it be related to the "Bubba Burgers" logo on the back of team shirts?
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will sport a special paint job when he makes his final All Star Race start on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, bringing along collision repair specialists Maaco for the million-dollar race under the lights.
Maaco logo's will be featured on the quarter-panels of Earnhardt, Jr.'s no. 88 Sam Bass-designed Chevrolet in partnership with Earnhardt, Jr.'s primary sponsor Axalta Coatings.
Earnhardt, Jr. was the first rookie to win the All Star race, winning the event in 2000.
"I've always enjoyed working with Axalta," said Earnhardt, Jr. "It's great to see how they've rallied behind our team and they are working with their partners like Maaco to bring them into the sport. I'm looking forward to working with Maaco for the All Star race - it's a fun race that the fans really enjoy, so we'll do our best to give the Maaco folks plenty to cheer about."
Josef Newgarden crashed a few minutes ago in Day 4 practice for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. The driver of the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet lost the back end of the car exiting turn 1 and hit the outside wall on the left front side after a 180 degree spin.
Newgarden would get out of the car on his own power but appeared to be in some pain as he climbed gingerly into the ambulance.
We'll pass along more information as we receive it. Currently, Jay Howard leads Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti in a Honda 1-2-3 on time charts.
NASCAR Invites Top Execs To Inaugural Summit On State Of Industry
Brian France faced with explaining downward spiral of his sport
NASCAR today is holding an inaugural summit for top leaders across the sport’s various stakeholder groups to discuss the state of the industry. NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France publicly revealed its existence in a press conference earlier this month, but not much has come out about the closed-door event since then.
However, NASCAR COO Brent Dewar in a statement to THE DAILY said, “It will be comprised of a mix of guest speakers and panels designed to foster additional collaboration and help continue to drive the sport forward.” Sources said attendance is being kept to more high-level execs in the sport.
NASCAR Schedule Release Coming Later As Dates Are Finalized (Update) UPDATE Adam Stern tweets that.@IMS was asked (by NASCAR) to move up the NASCAR weekend a few weeks in next year's schedule, and is also still mulling whether to move to a race on its road course.
05/11/17 The '18 NASCAR national-series schedule is not expected to be released this week, according to a source, as the sanctioning body finishes up final changes to next year’s slate.
NASCAR’s '17 schedule was released during the first week of May in '16, but sources said that the later release this year stems at least in part from a delay with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is still finalizing its date for '18.
IMS was asked to move up a few weeks, according to sources, but has yet to agree to the move and is also still mulling whether to move a race to its road course. Adam Stern/SBD
Lear Corporation to sponsor Luyendyk Jr. SST Truck at Detroit Grand Prix Racing fans in Detroit will have another hometown team to root for in the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks (SST) Series races at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, June 2-4. Metro-Detroit based Lear Corporation will sponsor the unique and distinctive No. 119 SST truck at the Grand Prix with experienced and popular driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. behind the wheel at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
Now into the third year of their renewed relationship with Honda, McLaren were supposed to make further strides this season – but so far the evidence is that they’ve actually gone backwards in relative terms. But what does that mean for the McLaren-Honda partnership moving forwards? Formula1.com sat down for an exclusive chat with Zak Brown, Executive Director of the McLaren Technology Group, to get the inside line…
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