Thursday practice notes from Indy Dillon Welch, the son of ABC-ESPN IndyCar Series pit reporter Vince Welch, finished third in the USAC Kenyon Midget Car Series feature race Wednesday night at Mount Lawn Speedway in New Castle, Ind.
Finishing 12th in the 30-lap feature was Nelson Stewart, father of 1996-97 IndyCar Series champion and 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Tony Stewart.
Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter received a set of Hitachi Power Tools today in recognition of the company's primary sponsorship of his #20 IndyCar Series car at the Indianapolis 500.
ED CARPENTER (Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I woke up this morning, and they told me that I needed to come over to the garage to talk to the Hitachi people. I got over here, and they unveiled this (display of tools) for me. It's quite a surprise. The good thing is that I will actually use all of these things, so I'm pretty happy about that. I called my buddies that I work on the houses with already and told them that Hitachi had given us a bunch of new power tools, and they were really excited about it, too. The cool thing is that it's all on display out here, and if somebody sees something that they might like, they're all for sale at Lowe's. So it's a good thing."
At a press conference today, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced a partnership with Bachrach Clothing. The men's clothing retailer's logo will be featured on the IndyCar Series machines of Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher during the 2007 season beginning at the Indianapolis 500.
ROBBIE BUHL (Co-owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "We're very pleased to announce a new partnership with our team. It's a men's clothing store called Bachrach Clothing. It's all about quality, fashion, and customer service. In regards to Indianapolis, we're going to do a lot of promotion here with the store, doing what we can to drive traffic with show-car programs, as well as discount hero cards, that will give 10 percent or a percent-off coupon, things we can do to introduce our fans, the Indy Racing fan to their product. We'll focus here in Indianapolis, Nashville and Detroit." (About how month is going): "We're going to learn a lot this month, every day that we get on the track. Opening Day, with Buddy and Sarah, we ran the most combined miles of any team out there, so I think that gives you a good sense of direction about where this team is going."
DENNIS REINBOLD (Co-owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "We're excited and want to thank the Bachrach group for coming on board with us as part of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. It's very exciting for us. We don't have any excuses for not looking better now."
BRIAN LIPMAN (CEO, Bachrach Clothing): "We are really excited to be associated with the Dreyer & Reinbold team because Indy, and Indiana is one of the better markets for us. Of course, all of the markets where the IndyCar Series races are important markets. Kansas, Nashville, Detroit, Dallas are all markets where we have a big presence. That's why this association and this partnership makes a lot of sense. In the short time that we've been associated with the team, it's been an absolute pleasure. This whole Indy Racing is new to me, and it's really exciting." (About sponsoring female driver Sarah Fisher): "It should be known that in the men's fashion wear industry, that 85 percent of all men's clothing is purchased by women, so we're really happy to have Sarah on board."
SARAH FISHER (No. 5 AAMCO/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "Well, as we all know, a lot of times women are responsible for dressing the men. It is just a tremendous product they have, and we are really excited to have them on board. And hey, jackets are universal. It is going to be a wonderful experience for Indy."
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 A1TeamUSA/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "I can use all the fashion sense and help to look better. It's great to have these guys on board. Right now, we can use all the help we can get with the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team, especially to look better, so it makes our presentation that much better." (About the 2007 season): "We have had a good season up to this point, with the exception in Kansas, but that was out of our control, but those things happen. We have a lot of work if we want to overcome here on the first few rounds of the '07 season. A lot of credit needs to given to Robbie and Dennis for their commitment with what they want to do with this team, bringing on the engineers they've brought on, bringing the personnel to really step up this program. It has already jumped significantly from what it has been to where it is now. Since my '04 season. I have not had a car that has run this good since I've been here. I'm really excited about it right now. At the end of the month we are going to show a lot of people that this team has a lot of capabilities."
Archie Griffin, the only player to win the Heisman Trophy twice as college football's top player, waved the green flag as honorary starter to begin practice today. Griffin, who played in college at Ohio State, also played in Super Bowl XVI in 1982 for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford drove Griffin around the 2.5-mile IMS oval today in a Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car.
ARCHIE GRIFFIN: (About comparing playing in the Super Bowl to driving a car at the Indianapolis 500): "It would difficult to imagine that. I can't imagine going that fast. We were going 120 (mph) in the Corvette, and that was fast enough for me." (About an IndyCar Series car covering the length of a football field in .9 of a second): "I wish I could have been that fast. If I had been that fast, I would have been dangerous."
Today is Helio Castroneves' 32nd birthday. Team Penske crew members plan to present him with a cake following today's practice session.
A total of 40 cars are at the Speedway. Thirty-nine have passed technical inspection. Twenty-nine drivers have been on the track to date, turning 1,238 laps today and 3,627 laps this month. Tomas Scheckter turned 85 laps today, most of any driver. Milka Duno has turned 209 laps this month, most of any driver. A total of 95 IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series drivers have passed physical examinations at the Clarian Medical Center. There were seven cautions today for a total of 1 hour, 3 minutes.