Brazil IndyCar Notebook - Friday
Danica was giving a press conference, her normal, every weekend meet with the press. I didn't take notes but I heard her say something to the effect: That all the women drivers in the series have done well and did well in other formats before coming to IndyCar. With regard to NASCAR, she said what she liked about NASCAR is you can give back to a driver (retaliate) without putting them in danger (banging fenders). But she didn't say anything about her plans for next year. Personally, we think she'll go full time NASCAR.
|Tony Kanaan's No. 82 with Itaipava sponsor livery for this weekend|
|Scott Dixon with Kellogg’s livery this weekend|
There are 26 cars entered. Should be the same as Long Beach. Helio is in a red and white car sponsored by Itaipava and TNT. Kanaan is also sponsored by Itaipava. Saavedra is just listed as Conquest Racing. James Jakes has Visit Orlando as his car name. Dario is in the Kellogg's car this weekend. Briscoe's car name is Penske Logistics, i.e. Roger Penske's wallet.
In addition to the Itaipava beer sponsor as title sponsor, Nestle is well represented. The bottles of water in the media center are from Nestle. No beer samples though.
Several Penske and KV people missed their flight to Brazil on Delta through Atlanta because of the recent bad weather in the States. Their connection was delayed in arriving which meant they missed their international flight. So they had to lay over a day and arrived on Friday (instead of Thursday).
Since it is a two day event, the cars run Sat. and Sunday. Firestone Tires selected Mike Conway for the "Tire-ific Move of the race for his pass of both Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe at LB.
Signs over major highway in Sao Paulo near the hotel and track stated traffic would be affected from 4/28 to 5/2. Even on my United flight the pilot announced before landing that Sao Paulo has lots of traffic so expect delays. Then said the Indy 300 would be causing lots of traffic issues this weekend. Last year they opened the track up at night for traffic.
I am amazed how many lanes of "freeway" there are here. Seems like they have three or four lanes, then built a parallel street next to it with another three or four lanes. At one point I counted four of these roads, all stop and go traffic. The traffic was the same, stop and go, in the other direction. What was interesting was there was no smog for all the cars running - they must have favorable winds. It was clear blue skies with some white clouds on Friday. But the weather forecast is for rain this weekend.
IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball, whose career was sidetracked for a year while he was treated for diabetes, opened the doors of his team's garage to host some Brazilian kids who suffer from the same illness.
Seven kids from a local diabetes association visited the American driver on Friday as he prepared for Sunday's Sao Paulo 300. Kimball showed them his car and explained how he is still able to race at a top level despite having diabetes.
"It's important to show them at an early age that it's possible to live a normal life and participate in sports," said Kimball, of the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team.
The IndyCar race in Brazil brings good memories for Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro, who made an impressive debut in the series at the Sao Paulo 300 last year.
"We had a strong car here last year so I think we should be pretty good," de Silvestro said. "I like the track a lot. I think if everything goes right we can have a pretty strong weekend."
"We can run up front, we showed that in St. Pete when we were running second and were keeping the pace," she said. "That just gives you a little bit of confidence."
"The field is so talented and we are so close to each other in lap time, so when you miss a little bit you easily fall back," she said. "I just have to try to minimize the mistakes for the race here."
Practice for the São Paulo Indy 300 begins Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. ET.