Friday News and Notes From Charlotte Kevin Harvick Clears the Air About Stewart-Haas Extension
Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
Kevin Harvick spoke to the media on Friday afternoon regarding rumors that had been swirling on social media about an impending move to Hendrick Motorsport before Stewart-Haas Racing announced they had signed the 2015 Cup Series Champion to a multi-year contract extension.
Harvick flat out denied there were any overtures made by Hendrick Motorsports, and certainly no discussion to take over for Kasey Kahne in the no. 5 HMS entry, but the out of control rumors led him to contacted Kahne directly to clear the air.
"It got so out of control that I actually went to Kasey Kahne and I said ‘look man, here's what's going on,'" said Harvick. "And I told him there's not been one person that's called me from your organization and I want you to have the trust in your team. I want you to believe in your team."
Indy Fast Friday Practice is Over The boost was increased, the special wings came out, and the Honda guys are still fastest in practice for the 100th running of the Indy 500. Sticking to non-tow-assisted speeds (this was practice for pole runs), seven of the eight fastest cars were Honda-powered. Townsend Bell topped the list, followed by Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz, Gabby Chaves all had sub-39 second solo runs.
Rossi to Pilot No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Curb Honda for 100th Running of the Indy 500
Rossi will drive the NAPA car
Iconic auto parts retailer NAPA AUTO PARTS, in conjunction with NAPA’s major supplier NAPA Balkamp and their supporting vendor partners, has joined with three-time Indy 500 champion Andretti Autosport to sponsor the No. 98 Indy car driven by Alexander Rossi in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Rossi’s No. 98 machine is fielded via collaboration between the Michael Andretti-led organization and Bryan Herta Autosport.
Tip Tollison, President of NAPA Balkamp in Indianapolis, stated, “Andretti Autosport symbolizes the excellence NAPA AUTO PARTS has maintained for nearly 100 years. With this being the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, I cannot think of anything that makes the historic event more complete than the joining of a premier racing family and a premier auto parts company.”
The no-chance-of-rain rain has come and gone, stopping practice here at IMS. Practice has restarted for what will be (weather permitting) a full "happy hour" of practice. However, many of the teams have already gone back to the garage.
Before the rain came, Marco jumped to the top of the leader board by less than 2/100 of a second over team mate Townsend Bell. Turning to the real numbers -- the no-tow-assisted numbers -- Townsend Bell still tops the charts. Will Power, Carlos Munoz, Simon Pagenaud, Gabby Chavez, Marco Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya were all over 230 mph. The top 30 cars are all within a second of Townsend Bell, with only Alex Tagliani, Buddy Lazier and Spencer Pigot having times more than 1 second slower.
Rain has forced NASCAR officials to cancel qualifying for the Sprint Showdown as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race scheduled for Friday night. The Showdown field will now by set by points, giving Chase Elliott the pole for the event, which is tentatively scheduled for 11am Saturday.
The truck series field will be set by the results from Thursday's practice session, putting William Byron on the front row for the race. The truck series race is scheduled to begin following the Sprint Showdown on Saturday.
Soggy Charlotte Motor Speedway
05/20/16 Persistent rain showers have blanketed Charlotte Motor Speedway for much of the day on Friday, delaying practice sessions for the NASCAR Sprint All Star Race and the Sprint Showdown.
Air Titans began track-drying operations at around noon in hopes of having the track ready for cars to hit the track later today, however more rain is forecast for this afternoon.
Should weather postpone the Sprint Showdown and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the Showdown would be moved to 11am Saturday, followed by the truck race, then All Star qualifying and the All Star race would proceed as scheduled.
Practice is at a pause in order to town in the stalled car of Bryan Clauson, but prior to that we've seem some impressive speeds here at Indy. As you race fans all know, the IMS / IndyCar people turned up the boost for qualifying, and the extra-special wings have come out, so speeds have responded according. Since the point of all of this is to predict how qualifying will go this weekend, let's just post the non-tow-aided speeds: Will Power, Townsend Bell, Carlos Munoz, Simon Pagenaud and Marco Andretti are all over the 230 mph mark. So, it's Andretti and Penske to the front so far. Thirty-one cars are within a second of the top un-assisted speed.
ABT retain di Grassi and Abt for year 3 The Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport team has retained Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt for the third season of the FIA Formula E Championship.
Di Grassi has won four races over the past two seasons for the German team, and is currently leading the 2015/16 standings, while Abt has taken two podiums and a pole position during his career in the all-electric championship.
AR1 has reported that the Chevys have been sandbagging all week at Indy, so it comes as no surprise that the Chevy of Will Power now sits atop the speed charts at 231.476 mph without a tow after just 6 laps.
Austin Dyne forms AD Racing Los Angeles’ own Austin Dyne will return to Red Bull Global Rallycross for the 2016 season with his own team, AD Racing. For the third consecutive year, Dyne will race the #14 Ford Fiesta ST in Red Bull GRC’s Supercar class.
“I’m stoked to be back in Red Bull GRC with my own team this year,” Dyne said. “The past two years have been a great learning experience for me, and we’ve had a lot of success so far. This year, we’ve got our eyes set on the prize: podiums, wins, and the Supercar championship. I can’t wait to get started in Phoenix!”
INDIANAPOLIS - INDYCAR has updated the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Rule Book to account for any car entered in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil unable to complete a guaranteed qualifying attempt due to a mechanical condition or on-track incident on Saturday, the first of two scheduled days of qualifications.
Per Rule 184.108.40.206.4, when there are 33 entries for the Indianapolis 500, any car that fails to complete its guaranteed qualifying attempt on the first day of qualifications because of a mechanical condition or on-track incident, and does not make a second attempt, will be listed at the back of the field after Saturday qualifying and placed in Group 1 second-day qualifying Sunday.
Friday morning update from Indy (Update) UPDATE The word of the day is patience.
Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull gave me some insight into what it will take today to get a good idea of the real speeds. Hull commented, "Today will be all about patience. We will work on trying to understand the mechanical advantage of the car for the race. That is huge when you get in a pack of cars because the air gets taken off the front of the car. So you work on that and today we will exactly diametrically opposed to that. We put full aero and the mechanical grip on the car for qualifying. And then we have to sit there in the pits and then we have to wait and wait and wait to go out to get 4 laps undisturbed by air. That is what we work extremely hard on. It is very different. It 's like two races. So if we get four or five quality runs today, that will be more than we probably deserve."
Lucille Dust reporting from IMS
Hunter-Reay leads Montoya and Kimball in Thursday action. RHR lost an engine Thursday as did one or two others. Do they have an engine reliability issue?
Good morning from the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is cooler today, high of only low sixties predicted and over cast skies. Rain is expected later this afternoon and will continue into early morning on Qualifying Day tomorrow. At least we are not as cold as last Saturday!
Today will be the final practice day before qualifying on Saturday. Weather is expected to be warmer tomorrow. Will the Hondas stay up on the top of the timing charts after today's 50 HP increase?
Charlie Kimball talked about the track changing yesterday. "I am blown away by how much all four corners change with a little wind direction, a little wind velocity, cloud cover and sun. So you need to make sure as far as mechanically and aerodynamically with the car, you've got a car that can work within that window as the track changes during the course of the week.
Carlin’s Colton Herta ended EuroFormula Open free practice today at Spa Francorchamps in impressive style setting the fastest time of the day as he took to the circuit for his very first outing. Herta, who was relishing in his first visit to the world-renowned circuit dealt with changing conditions well to set his lap in the dying seconds of the session. Team mates Ameya Vaidyanathan and Keyvan Andres made progress at Spa as they guided their way around the Belgium circuit to finish with combined results placing them 19th and 20th respectively.
Video: Daniel Ricciardo on Spain and Monaco From the AR1.com YouTube page, Daniel Ricciardo looks back at qualifying and the race in Spain, he talks about this week’s test and the next Grand Prix, which takes place in Monaco next week. Comment
The first INDYCAR team made up of all women will not meet its goal of racing in this year's Indianapolis 500. Grace Autosport says, despite a high level of interest from partners ranging from sponsors to manufacturers, "the missing component was a viable race car."
The team says the shortage of chassis is evident by only 33 cars are entered for 33 spots. All key roles on the team, including driver Katherine Legge, are held by women.
Chaves leads Honda 1-2-3-4 as Chevys continue to sandbag
Coyne teammates Daly and Chaves
Four Hondas, led by Gabby Chaves (227.961 mph), turned the fastest laps during practice Thursday for the 100th running of the Indy 500. It's obvious to everyone in the paddock the Chevys are sandbagging.
Dale Coyne Racing had its best Indy 500 practice day in history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, topping the time charts with Gabby Chaves and placing another two cars in the Top 10 with Conor Daly fourth and Pippa Mann 10th.
'Star Trek' star Pine to wave green flag at 100th Indianapolis 500 Chris Pine, star of the globally celebrated "Star Trek" movie franchise, will wave the green flag to start the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
"In addition to all our stars on the track, the 100th Running will feature a major lineup of stars off the track," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles. "We're thrilled to welcome Chris Pine to our flag stand, where he will officially get our epic race under way by waving the green flag."
Indy Thursday Practice Ends Practice is over for today at IMS, and with it, the end of race configuration tweaking for the next couple of days. Today's fastest lap was set early by Gabby Chaves, barely edging out Townsend Bell and Carlos Munoz. However, the real story are the times posted by cars not caught in a tow: Will Power, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Alexander Rossi all broke the sub-40 second mark, at over 225 mph.
Tomorrow the teams get more boost -- probably around 50 hp -- and probably specialized aero bits for most. Those making a Pole run will soon make themselves known, while the rest will probably be content to just safely make the show. Look for speeds to be 2 mph faster tomorrow, with a lot less practice in packs.
Mario Andretti, IRE To Provide 200-MPH Fan Rides At Indy For First Time Ever
Andretti giving 2-seater rides at St. Petersburg
How would you like to scream across Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s famous yard of bricks at 200 mph in a two-seat, open-wheel car with legend Mario Andretti behind the wheel? On Monday, May 30 – the day after the 100th running of the Indy 500 race – 33 lucky fans that have paid $3,300 each will get that first-of-a-kind opportunity.
Two-seat rides at Indy are nothing new – they have been offered since 2001, when the Indy Racing Experience (IRE) was conceived. And while quick – around 170 mph – the rides have been run at just 75% of qualifying IndyCar pole speeds. Why that number? “Because the lawyers told us initially that it sounded good from a safety perspective,” says Scott Jasek, one of three equal partners at IRE.
IndyCar practice for the 100th running of the Indy 500 has come to a temporary halt courtesy a problem with Juan Pablo Montoya. His car just slowed to a stop, so IMS had to send a tow truck out to get him.
So far today we've had a total of 1357 laps under near-perfect weather conditions. Thirty-two cars have taken to the track, and all are within 1 1/4 second of each other (the top 30 are separated by only a second). Gabby Chaves set the early pace with a 227.961 in a tow-assisted lap. Non-tow, the leaders are Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya and Alexander Rossi, all over 225 mph.
Harvick signs long-term deal with Stewart-Haas KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (May 19, 2016) -- Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the championship-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, has signed driver Kevin Harvick to a long-term contract extension.
Harvick joined SHR in 2014 after 13 Sprint Cup seasons and his impact with the organization was immediate. In his debut year with SHR, the Bakersfield, California-native scored eight poles, won five races and led 2,137 laps en route to his first Sprint Cup championship. Harvick's title defense in 2015 was incredibly strong, as he won three races and earned career-best numbers in top-fives (23), top-10s (28) and laps led (2,294) before finishing second in the championship. Harvick already has a win, five top-fives, nine top-10s and 688 laps led in the 12 Sprint Cup races run this season.
Number of the day Exhibit A -- Yesterday, Grace Autosport's effort to put Katherine Legge into this year's Indy 500 officially came to a close, and did so with a rather puzzling, maybe bitter, press release. The all-woman effort cited a "lack of cars" that were available to them, 'cause teams were cutting down the number of cars or something.
Which, if true, would be strange -- there are a least a couple of extra motors to be had, and certainly the current spec car seems to have ample numbers among teams. Talking with Gabby Chaves -- who had an aborted effort with Michael Shank for this race -- the problem isn't one of "lack of cars" but rather "a lack of cars at a reasonable budget." Judging by the comments of Chaves and others, the price for a ride this year seems to be somewhere north of $750k, which is a hefty chunk of change if you're a new team w/o an announced major sponsor.
It is with great pleasure that Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announces the signing of Maverick Vinales to ride for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team for 2017 and 2018. Vinales, who is presently fifth in the MotoGP Championship standings, will partner nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, whose contract renewal was already announced in March this year.
Maverick Vinales, born in Figueres (Spain) on 12th January 1995, made his World Championship debut in 2011 in the 125cc Class. His racing career highlights include the victory of the Moto3 World Championship in 2013 as well as 3 'Rookie of the Year' awards in 2011 (125cc), 2014 (Moto2) and 2015 (MotoGP).
Weather could be an issue for NASCAR All-Star Weekend As unsettled weather continues ahead of this weekend's events at Charlotte Motor Speedway, officials are taking precautions to make sure everything runs smoothly.
So far this week, the Charlotte metro area has received over a half inch of rain. With mainly light and scattered showers expected on Wednesday and Thursday, NASCAR expects to get all practice and qualifying races in without problems.
Too Soon to Estimate IndyCar's Sales Tax Impact for Watkins Glen
IndyCar at Watkins Glen in 2010
Adriano Manocchia/ AR1.com
As IndyCar is set to make its way back to Watkins Glen International this coming Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 1-4), Schuyler County Officials are eager to see the event's sales tax revenue impact.
For Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn, the event is a great pickup for the area, especially since WGI announced there wouldn't be a concert series this year, such as the Phish Magnaball event held last summer.
The absence of the concert event could mean a sales tax revenue drop totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars for the county. And while the IndyCar series on Labor Day Weekend won't bring quite as much money in as NASCAR weekend or the Magnaball festival, it will certainly make a positive impact on the county's revenue.
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