IndyCar Watkins Glen Friday notebook
Newman/Haas Racing driver Hideki Mutoh took advantage of the week off between the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 20 and this event to make his second trip to Japan since the season started.
HIDEKI MUTOH: "I was able to go to Japan for six days since we had a weekend off. It always feels good to go home to see my family and friends. We just hung out and relaxed. I didn't go crazy, crazy."
Team Penske has started from the pole position in all five previous IZOD IndyCar Series races at Watkins Glen International (Helio Castroneves in 2005, 2006, 2007 and Ryan Briscoe in 2008 and 2009).
Though the team has fared well in qualifying at The Glen, it has not been able to produce a race victory.
Additionally, Team Penske is riding a series-record streak of seven consecutive earned poles. It includes poles won by all three drivers (Will Power - 4, Briscoe - 2, Castroneves - 1) and poles at all types of tracks (road courses, street circuits, short oval, 1.5-mile oval and superspeedway).
In five races at Watkins Glen International, Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers have claimed three wins, five top-five finishes, six top-10 finishes and have led 72 of 295 total laps. Scott Dixon won the first three IZOD IndyCar Series races at the track, from 2005-07.
MIKE HULL (Managing director, Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The Glen is a pure driver's track. Technical drivers excel at Watkins Glen as they find the balance for an entire lap. That's what makes it fun at TCGR because Dario (Franchitti) and Scott make every lap better than the last."
Adam Carroll, 27, who led Team Ireland to the A1GP World Cup of Motorsports championship in 2008-09, will compete in his first IZOD IndyCar Series race this weekend.
Carroll, a former winner in GP2, will drive the No. 27 Team Boost Mobile entry fielded by AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport.
ADAM CARROLL: "The thing I have to do is impress when I get the opportunity. I've been given the chance, and that's all I want."
IZOD IndyCar Series technical information for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen:
Honda overtake assist
Overtake assist was introduced to the series in August 2009 and will make its Watkins Glen International debut for IZOD IndyCar Series cars.
The system employed by Honda Performance Development is an ECU software alteration. It is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 RPM (about 10 horsepower) to the Honda Indy V-8 engine. Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout.
For Watkins Glen:
22 seconds duration for each use
10-second recharge period between uses
LES MACTAGGART (Senior technical director, Indy Racing League): "It's to provide the driver, if they're already making a passing maneuver, an additional tool to complete the pass or to defend a maneuver. It provides the teams options, which they have to choose how they're going to run the race, so it brings more strategy from a team aspect."
Firestone Firehawk tires
Each car receives six sets (24 tires) of primary tires and three sets (12 tires) of the alternate (red-sidewall) tires. Both the primary and alternate specifications were used in 2009 at Watkins Glen International.
The primary spec is Firestone Racing's most durable road course compound and construction, designed to withstand the high speeds encountered on the IZOD IndyCar Series' longest permanent road course. The alternate tires are identical in construction to the primaries, but contain a softer tread compound that will provide more grip and faster lap times, yet will trade off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages.
AL SPEYER (Executive director, Firestone Racing): "Firestone Racing engineers have opted to return to Watkins Glen with the same primary and alternate tires that produced a thrilling race last year. The primary spec is the hardest tire in our road/street course arsenal, and the alternate tire is about mid-range in our lineup, so there is quite a bit of differentiation between the two specs. Over the length of this picturesque road course, that difference in grip and durability can really add up to varying lap times."
Watkins Glen is in the road course/short oval category of aero packages for the IZOD IndyCar Series. Here are mandatory and optional items for teams:
Rear wings: Tire ramps and sidepod extensions are optional.
Front wings: Wing flaps are an open development area. A maximum of two elements per side is permitted, and a divider is mandatory.
The iconic motorsports name Lotus is back at Watkins Glen this weekend, as IZOD IndyCar Series rookie Takuma Sato is driving the No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology car painted in the marque's famed green-and-yellow livery.
Lotus recorded seven United States Grand Prix victories at The Glen, with Innes Ireland capturing the first F1 race at the track in 1961. 1965 Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Clark took the checkered flag for Lotus in 1962, 1966 and 1967 at The Glen, with Jochen Rindt in 1969, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi in 1970 and Ronnie Peterson in 1973 also winning at The Glen for Lotus.
Paul Tracy will compete in the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen in the No. 24 Honda Indy Toronto/DRR car for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
Tracy had previously announced that he would drive in the Canadian races in July -- the Honda Indy Toronto and Honda Indy Edmonton.
2003 Champ Car World Series champion Tracy will make his ninth IZOD IndyCar Series start and his second at Watkins Glen International. He is one of the most successful drivers in Indy car racing with 31 career victories.
Tracy will fill in for the injured Mike Conway at The Glen. Decisions have not been made on a driver for other races as Conway convalesces in the United Kingdom.
PAUL TRACY: "It's obviously a good feeling to get more races, especially being able to race at The Glen and building up momentum before going into the Canadian events. It's also great to have the support of Honda Indy Toronto and Motegi Racing for this race, as well. I'm really excited about working with Robbie Buhl again and to get to work with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. I've known Robbie from our early days in racing back when we competed against each other in the Indy Lights series. It's very exciting to branch out with another team I haven't been with before, and I'm looking forward to a good weekend."
ROBBIE BUHL (Co-owner, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "We are very happy to have Paul drive for us. He's a great driver and a big personality, and we are thrilled to have him driving for us in Watkins Glen. We were extremely strong there last year and with Paul's racing experience and him being teamed up with Justin Wilson, we feel that we'll have an extremely strong package for the weekend. We obviously wish that Mike could be with us, but we just want him to have a quick recovery. Paul was a perfect fit and we couldn't be happier to have him behind the wheel."
James Winslow and the No. 77 Sam Schmidt Motorsports team will return to Firestone Indy Lights for the Corning 100 at Watkins Glen International, team officials announced.
In three starts this season, Winslow has a best finish of seventh in St. Petersburg, though it's not the most accurate reflection of his talent.
Winslow's No. 77 Focal Point/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car is the same chassis and crew that Wade Cunningham used when he won Schmidt's fifth Firestone Freedom 100 title back in May. Focal Point Lighting, a company out of Chicago, will serve as the primary sponsor of the car.
JAMES WINSLOW: "I'm excited to get back into the car. I haven't raced since April, so the almost three-month break has me itching to get back out there. The team overall has done a great job in my absence, but I'd love to get back out there and contribute some great results for the organization and for myself."
The six Brazilian drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series - Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Raphael Matos, Vitor Meira, Mario Moraes and Mario Romancini - watched the World Cup quarterfinal match between Brazil and The Netherlands at the APEX-Brasil hospitality area this morning at the track. The Netherlands rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to win, 2-1.
The drivers each supported their home team by playing vuvuzelas - the plastic horns that have become the audio hallmark of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - decorated with IZOD IndyCar Series logos. Castroneves and Romancini wore Brazil jerseys to the gathering.
Photos of the Brazilian drivers watching the match and playing vuvuzelas are available at the IZOD IndyCar Series media site, indycar.com/media.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: "It's sad to be away from my home country, but at least we have a little bit of Brazil here at the racetrack, and we're all together."
TONY KANAAN: "Right now, nobody (in Brazil) is working. As a culture, that's what we grew up watching - soccer and racing - so it's a big deal. We've been home for a couple of weeks (since racing June 20 at Iowa Speedway), so I've been watching a lot."
Panther Racing's "Hometown Hero" for the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen is New York National Guard Sgt. John Adam Brois III, who joined the U.S. Army in July of 1995 as a 13B Cannon Crewmember and attended Basic Training at Fort Sill, Okla. After being honorably discharged from active service in December 1997, he enlisted in the New York National Guard in 2001 with the 1/108th Infantry in Hornell, N.Y.
Brois served at Ground Zero after the terrorist attack Sept. 11, 2001 and spent many months on bridge and tunnel duty following the disaster. He also volunteered to go to Iraq in October 2004 for a year-long deployment in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he joined Echo troop 2/101 Cavalry from Geneva, N.Y.
Brois currently is the Mortar Platoon Sergeant with A troop 2/101 cavalry (formally Echo troop) and employed by the Steuben Country Sheriff's Department as a corrections officer with nine years of service.
As part of his "Hometown Hero" honors, Brois will attend the IZOD IndyCar Series autograph session Saturday afternoon, where he will sign a specialty-made "Hero Card" featuring his picture and biography on one side and Wheldon's on the other. He also will be honored by Panther CEO John Barnes on Sunday before the race and then will be recognized on the pre-race stage before the start of the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen.
AFS Racing has become the co-entrant of Andretti Autosport's No. 27 IZOD IndyCar Series car, driven by series newcomer Adam Carroll, at this race and the Honda Indy 200 presented by Westfield Insurance on Aug. 8 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport pairing has enjoyed success together in the past, winning the past two Firestone Indy Lights championships, and is seeking an unprecedented third title in 2010 with another two-car effort. AFS/Andretti also joined forces for an IZOD IndyCar Series entry last season at Infineon Raceway for driver Franck Montagny.
Carroll, who dominated the 2009 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season on the way to a series championship, will debut the entry this weekend at Watkins Glen under the banner of Team Boost Mobile. Carroll's season will then continue at Mid-Ohio with primary sponsorship from AFS, one of the nation's largest multi-family automatic fire sprinkler contractors.
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, with its Snapple brand, and Inland Industrial Services Group also will serve as associate sponsors of Carroll's upcoming races.
GARY PETERSON (Owner, AFS Racing): "This is a good step for AFS Racing, and we're looking forward to working directly with a great, young talent like Adam Carroll. He tested well at Mid-Ohio this week, and we're excited to work with him at these two events. AFS Racing would like to make a move to the IZOD IndyCar level at some point in the future, and this is a good step in that direction."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (President and chief executive officer, Andretti Autosport): "AFS Racing and Andretti Autosport have enjoyed a lot of success together, and this effort will hopefully be more of the same. This is good for us as it helps us take our IZOD IndyCar Series program closer to where we want it to be, and it enables Gary to take further steps toward his goal of competing full time at the IZOD IndyCar Series level."