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DATE News (chronologically)
05/27/11
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Indy Carb Day Notebook  Competitors in iRacing.com computer racing simulation will participate in the second annual iRacing.com Indy 500 on Saturday, May 28.

iRacing.com drivers will race 200 laps in a virtual versions of a Dallara chassis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with a laser-scanned track surface creating the ultimate in realism.

A record number of entries is anticipated for this year's iRacing.com Indy 500. But unlike the Indianapolis 500, everyone who enters the iRacing.com Indy 500 will be able to participate in the race. That's because the iRacing system can stage multiple numbers of 500-mile races simultaneously, each with 33 racers from around the world competing online. The system automatically assigns drivers to races based on their skill and experience levels, ensuring everyone enjoys a competitive race.

The top-rated split of the iRacing.com Indy 500 will be broadcast on iRacing.com beginning at noon Saturday, May 28. The race also will be streamed live on indycar.com and carried on the video boards at IMS. The winner of the top split will receive a valuable prize package, including a pair of tickets to the 2012 Indianapolis 500. zzzz

***

Fifteen-time Full Throttle NHRA Funny Car champion John Force visited the track today for the first time during the Indianapolis 500.

JOHN FORCE: "It's unbelievable. You know, I raced in the Long Beach Grand Prix in the celebrity race, but I had to go to our race so I had to leave the next day. So I never got to see the race. This is my first. I'm going to stick this thing out to the end. I'm excited. I got my traveling road show here, showing our race cars and comparing them to IndyCar and NASCAR. I'm excited. My driver, Mike Neff, Robert Hight, and my youngest daughter, Courtney, they came in. I wanted them to see something a little bit different. Tom Compton, the president of NHRA, he came in. He's been here before, but I wanted him to see the road show. It's pretty cool. I got to see (Chip) Ganassi, I hear (Don) Prudhomme's here walking around, A.J. Foyt - boy that's something. If I get to see Mario (Andretti), I'll be in heaven." (Would you like to take an Indy car for a spin?): "Oh, yeah. I love any kind of hot rod, you know what I mean? I watched them, and I watched the teams. We got a lot of fans here. Robert and I, Neff and Courtney - we're having a lot of fun."

***

Indianapolis 500 veterans Donnie Allison and Roberto Moreno visited the track today. Allison raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1970-71, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1970. Moreno raced at Indianapolis in 1986, 1999 and 2007.

DONNIE ALLISON: "Well, it's really phenomenal for me because I don't get to many functions at Indy because of the stock car, you know. But it's a great honor. I mean, I was really, really happy when I was contacted about this." (What's your favorite memory about the Speedway?): "Well, I have a lot of them. Naturally, my first year here in '70 when I won Rookie of the Year, I went to Charlotte; we flew to Charlotte that night in a Purolator plane. And I ran the World 600 the next day, won it. I got back in the airplane that night and flew back here for the Victory Banquet to get the award for Rookie of the Year." (That's a throwback to the old days, isn't it?): "Yeah, these guys now, they think they've accomplished something. I think I accomplished quite a bit."

ROBERTO MORENO: "It's fantastic. Always, it's good to be here. It's a great event. I'm glad I was part of it three times. It's amazing how much I miss when I come here. I wish I was in a car. I'm not done yet. I'm doing races in Europe. I'm 52 but still I have all the enthusiasm and speed that I need."

***

Team Penske and driver Ryan Briscoe won the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge today. Team Penske and Briscoe beat Target Chip Ganassi Racing and driver Dario Franchitti in the final with a stop of 7.882 seconds. Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Franchitti completed their stop in 8.481 seconds.

This is the 13th Pit Stop Challenge victory for Team Penske, extending its record. It's the first time Briscoe has won the event as a driver. This is the second time Matt Jonsson has won the event as a chief mechanic, as he led Team Penske to victory in 2005 with driver Sam Hornish Jr.

The last time the winner of the Pit Stop Challenge also won the Indianapolis 500 was 2009, when Team Penske and Helio Castroneves achieved the "double."

Team Penske and Briscoe earned $50,000 for winning the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge. Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Franchitti earned $30,000 for finishing runner-up.

RYAN BRISCOE: "I think what you saw now is a taste of what these guys are going to be doing for me in the race, and it's so important. I put so much pride in their pit stops, and I'm just lucky to have the best guys in pit lane. Helio has definitely been the favorite over the past few years, but I've got this guy (Matt) and I was never looking at who was beside me. We were really consistent, and after the first one we just wanted to keep repeating. They did it all. The Penske pride in the competition goes back a ways, so we don't want to show up here and not be in the competition."

MATT JONSSON (Crew chief): "This win means a lot. It adds confidence for Sunday, of course, and we're planning on doing the same thing on Sunday and trying to move up through the field. We win as a team and lose as a team, and that's our job on Sunday, to try to move up the field. Ryan came in on a consistent speed, stopped right on his marks. That's key for us. We don't have to adjust; we just do the same thing every time. If everyone stays calm and collected, that's the way it turns out to be: consistent."

***

Talk-show host and former NBA star John Salley visited the track today. Comedian Adam Carolla and Salley will co-host "The Car Show" starting this summer on SPEED.

JOHN SALLEY: "I think this place is unbelievable. I've been trying to get here since I got into the sport of racing. I really just fell into it. I was asking when I was at FOX Sports to come out here, but they wouldn't let me. But, with the new show with Adam Carolla on SPEED, I finally got to come out here. I'm just really, really happy that I finally got to come to this place where racing is true. It's true racing here. I've literally learned more than you could dream about this open-wheel car and Indy car racing. I can really see that the things to do in this wonderful state are basketball and racing. I'm loving every minute of it. I've already made plans to be back here next year for the entire weekend."

***

HVM Racing chief mechanic Brian Fellows was announced as the recipient of the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award today for his work in leading the team to prepare the backup car for Simona De Silvestro to qualify this year after her primary car was destroyed in a crash in practice.

Fellows received a $5,000 check and a plaque, and his name will be added to a permanent trophy housed in the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.

The Brawner Award, celebrating its 25th anniversary, recognizes an Indy 500 chief mechanic who "exemplifies the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm and expertise" of its legendary namesake. The award winner is selected by the Clint Brawner Foundation committee. Firestone underwrites the award.

BRIAN FELLOWS: "It means a lot to win this, especially with it the 100th anniversary of the race and the 25th anniversary of the Brawner Award. I've only been in this industry for 11 years, so I feel like I'm a rookie still compared to some of these guys. It's probably one of the best things that's ever happened to me."

***

Beginning in 2012, the IZOD IndyCar Series will specify four- or six-cylinder engines boosted exclusively by BorgWarner's new line of EFR turbochargers. Badged "Engineered For Racing" or "EFR," these turbochargers feature Gamma TiAl (titanium aluminide) turbine wheels, ceramic ball bearings and stainless steel turbine housings. IZOD IndyCar Series engine manufacturers can choose EFR turbochargers for either single-turbo or twin-turbo engine arrangements, each with two turbine housing sizes that can be selected on a track-by-track basis by IZOD IndyCar Series teams.

TIM MANGANELLO (Chairman and chief executive officer, BorgWarner): "A testament to BorgWarner's technology leadership in turbocharging, this product is engineered to meet the demanding performance requirements of IZOD IndyCar Series racing. BorgWarner's EFR turbochargers offer an unprecedented combination of advanced technologies, designed to boost the performance of down-sized engines while improving fuel economy. We are thrilled to add our latest turbocharging technology to our 100-year legacy of innovation at the Indianapolis 500."

***

IZOD IndyCar Series 2012 Car Project Manager Tony Cotman met with the media today to talk about the progress of the new car.

TONY COTMAN (Project Manager, 2012 Car): (On how manufacturer anchor teams will affect competition): "There will always be development, but the difference is that we've taken a lot of the parameters away. Because the rules in the homologation table are so tight, you aren't off developing cams and cranks and everything like you have in the past. The development areas are very, very confined compared to what they used to be. Just because there is an anchor team, it doesn't mean that they will do all of the testing. The manufacturer has a lot of say in who does the testing. They can have all of their teams participate in a test. Honda can have an engine test and invite all of the Honda teams to participate. I think you'll see that there will be a team. It will be like a team of teams where it's the Team Honda, Team Chevy or Team Lotus." (On how the different levels of horsepower will affect competition): "I think the product will already be enhanced. I think the racing will already be better. I would rather see the base horsepower go higher than push-to-pass be implemented. It's drivability. It's fuel economy. It's horsepower. It's getting power to the ground. People will still be sorting out the cars. The racing will be good. The racing will change. But I think it will be better." (About not having much time to practice with the new car, and more specifically the aero kit): "Selfishly, for a spectator at Indianapolis it's better if the team has to show up here and figure out what they're going to do. And if a team has a problem, all a team has to do is spend 70,000 bucks to get out of their predicament, where before they had to buy a whole new car." (About the new car design): "We've left a large window for people to play, think, dream, whatever they want. The rules are pretty open for that. We're trying to allow more diversity."

***

William Rast, the "New America" denim culture brand founded by Justin Timberlake in 2005, has signed a multi-year endorsement agreement together with its eyewear license partner, Viva International Group, with 2005 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Danica Patrick to endorse William Rast Eyewear and William Rast Racing Eyewear.

DANICA PATRICK: "It's funny, actually. I was laying by the pool. It was less than two months ago. I had just stopped in an airport and bought some sunglasses with some time off. And I was at home, and I was laying by the pool, and I was putting them on and I was thinking, 'Why am I buying sunglasses?' There's got to be somebody out there. An hour later, my agent called and said: 'OK, don't freak out. I've got a good deal for you.' And he told me about this. And I was like, 'I need to start saying things like that more often.' So I'm very, very excited for them to want me to represent their products and their line of sunglasses. And William Rast Racing being the name of their sport collection, I think sounds really great. A lot of lines have so and so sport, but William Rast Racing just has a great sound to it. Thank goodness, because it means I fit in a little bit better, I think. I just think we're going to have a lot of fun with it." (On what a good fit William Rast is for her): "I have the great luxury to be able to really like and enjoy and wear the products that I represent. I feel really lucky for that, and this is definitely one of them."

***

ABC will televise the Indianapolis 500 for the 47th consecutive year Sunday, with live pre-race coverage starting at 11 a.m. and race coverage at noon.

What began as highlights on "ABC's Wide World of Sports" in 1965 moved to a same-day, prime-time program in 1971 and became a live telecast (except in Indianapolis) in 1986.

ESPN on ABC's production will use 64 cameras to televise the premier race of the IZOD IndyCar Series, including a 360-degree rotating onboard camera mounted behind the driver on multiple cars. Unique views will be provided by Batcam, a high-definition camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph. All 33 cars will carry GPS boxes for the Sportvision RaceFX system to provide telemetry and pointers to help identify the cars for viewers. ESPN will use a radio replay system that can record, play back and edit radios from any of the 33 drivers, and viewers will learn more about the technical aspects of the sport with segments from the Emmy-winning ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.

The ABC broadcast team: Brent Musburger, host; Marty Reid, play-by-play; Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever, analysts; Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch, pit reporters.

***

The IMS Radio Network will broadcast the Indianapolis 500 live Sunday, with pre-race coverage starting at 11 a.m. and race coverage at noon.

IMS Radio Network coverage of the race also can be heard on SiriusXM, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of INDYCAR. SiriusXM listeners can hear the race on channel 94 on XM and channel 212 on Sirius Premier.

The IMS Radio Network broadcast team: Mike King, play-by-play; Paul Page, analysis; Donald Davidson, historical information; Davey Hamilton, driver analysis from in-car; Jerry Baker, Turn 1; Jake Query, Turn 2; Mark Jaynes, Turn 3; Chris Denari, Turn 4; Kevin Lee, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young, pit reporters; Dave Wilson, garage/medical center.

***

American Honda and its Honda Performance Development (HPD) subsidiary will power all IZOD IndyCar Series entries fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing as manufacturer competition returns to the series in 2012, HPD and Ganassi officials announced today.

The Ganassi organization will be Honda's "anchor" team, as set forth in the regulations for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, and HPD will provide its new, turbocharged 2.2-liter V6 engines to the Ganassi team.

ERIK BERKMAN (President, HPD; vice president, product planning, American Honda): "We'd like to take this opportunity to announce this association with Ganassi Racing team, and let me take just a second to reflect a little bit on the background and what brought us to this point. We've been supplying as the sole supplier of engines here for the sixth year, and we've had some great success in that we've been able to power the teams with high-quality engines, manufacture in a competitive environment in very competitive racing on the track among the teams. But we've been strong advocates with the INDYCAR folks to let's change it back to the era of competition with more manufacturers, so we're very happy that it's culminated and coming back for competition here. So with that, we've had great success with the Ganassi organization. Chip's won championships for us by himself and for his drivers, and we're had a lot of great success together, and you'll recall those awesome years back in the 90s when we were running together. We're so looking forward to this chance to name Ganassi as our anchor team and, along with the other manufacturers, put on a pretty good show. So we're well on our way to prolong that development and with the start of testing on track here very soon with the new chassis and the new engines, we're ready to roll. Having high technical capability on both sides, having good people working hard, good chemistry, good management and leadership we can be very successful. Without it, we would just fight and struggle and all that. In our experiences in racing, both here and abroad, we've learned a lot on how to keep that in balance. The technical component is key."

CHIP GANASSI (Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing): "I can tell you that I feel honored that they've chosen us. There's a bit of testing that needs to be done, and I think that, and again I don't want to speak for them, but I don't think they can give anything to a team that they can't give to anyone else and their team, but they need someone to try these things out. And I think that's partially the great relationship over the years with Honda. It even surprised myself when I realized it's seven more championships with Honda-powered cars, and we're very proud of that. So we feel honored to be chosen as the anchor team. This is a partnership. In terms of what the team will be able to do, it's not about them serving us. It's really not about us serving them. We have to work together. We both want to win as much as each other and so does the other Honda-powered teams - they're going to want to win. This has been prudent for us in our sports car program that we ran in the (American) Le Mans Series. We have multiple teams. But if you come out with a new development and you've gone through the virtual world and now it's time to go to the track, you want to get there fast because you don't have a lot of time and you want to try it out. The partnership is so we can prove things out as efficiently, effectively and quickly as possible. And then the other Honda-powered teams will have the opportunity to benefit from those developments."

MIKE HULL (Managing director, Chip Ganassi Racing): "Can we drop 'anchor' and call this a partnership? We think it's exciting that IndyCar racing has been instrumental in bringing three manufacturing into the series. Because what that then does is bring back the reality of innovation. Innovation is what needs to drive this to another level. Partnering with Honda, we know what that means for us internally as a team, we know what that means to our drivers, we know how important it is. But we think it's going to be more important for the fan base, for places like the Speedway here and for other places that we race, because as we go forward, the definition of technology and innovation is the most important item for what we are."

***

The U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) demonstrated the Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle (CERV) as part of special events leading up to the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500. The U.S. Army labeled the CERV as one of the "greenest technologies" and demonstrated how its advanced hybrid electric powertrain developed by Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. and TARDEC saves taxpayer dollars and soldiers' lives.

In support of the U.S. Army's drive for energy efficiency, Quantum developed the Military Aggressor, a first-generation fuel cell hybrid electric alternative mobility vehicle (AMV) several years ago. This high-performance vehicle was designed for quick-paced mobility operations such as reconnaissance, surveillance and target designation. The CERV is a newer-generation stealth vehicle that incorporates Quantum's Q-Force all-wheel drive diesel hybrid- electric technology and a light-weight chassis to produce a torque in excess of 5,000 foot-pounds. The unit has a top speed of 80 mph and can climb 60 percent grades, while reducing fuel consumption by up to 25 per cent compared with conventional vehicles of comparable size.

PAUL SKALNY (Director, TARDEC NAC): "In keeping with the nation's interest in fuel efficiency, renewable power and energy security, TARDEC is fully engaged in ambitious programs that push development of hybrid electric vehicles for U.S. military use. Having CERV at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the proving ground from which both the defense and automotive industry have learned so much, is a solid indicator of where this technology can go."

***

AeroCat High Performance Bicycles will award a carbon-fiber road bike to the winner of the Firestone Freedom 100 today. The AeroCat ACR500 monocoque carbon-fiber bicycle, with a retail value of $2,500, has Shimano components and Easton wheels.

AeroCat is based in Portland, Ind. For more information, visit www.aerocatbike.com.

DAVE POOLE (President, AeroCat): "One of our arching objectives is to align our company and products with the high-performance motorsports industry. Enhancing driver performance through the use of cycling is a natural path. The Firestone Indy Lights program is a perfect match, as it is providing a development path for up-and-coming drivers."

***

Officials from the Mazda Road to Indy program met with the media today. The Mazda Road to Indy is the official development ladder of INDYCAR, consisting of three ladder series leading to the IZOD IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the Cooper Tires presents USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda.

The 2011 Firestone Indy Lights champion will receive a scholarship to compete in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series; the 2011 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear champion will receive a scholarship for a full season in the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights, and the 2011 Cooper Tires presents USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda champion will receive a scholarship for a full season in the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.

JOHN DOONAN (Director, Mazda Motorsports): "It's unbelievable for our drivers, it's that boyhood dream (to one day drive in the Indianapolis 500). These American kids have grown up watching 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing' and watching those icons like A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Rick Mears and Dario Franchitti compete for the big prize.Finally now we have this ladder system in place that helps solve the problem that a driver can have the most talent in the world but if you don't have the funds to go forward, you're not going to be able to do so. What (Mazda) has tried to, as a brand and now in partnership with the IZOD Indy Car Series, is provide the funds - a real budget - for that driver, from karting to the USF 2000 to Star Mazda to the IZOD Indy Car Series. It's a real check that allows them to showcase that talent even though they didn't have the budget. It becomes reality for them. To see the starting grid and the kids - Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti, Jay Howard, and Simona De Silvestro, who was in our Atlantic series - those drivers are like family to us. They've chosen at least once in their careers to use Mazda as a stepping stone."

GARY RODRIGUES (Owner, Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear): "We're in our 23rd consecutive year of promoting drivers. We have been longtime partners with Goodyear. The Mazda Road to Indy concept is starting to increase the number of young drivers in open-wheel racing. The lower we can keep the cost of the car, the more kids we can attract to the series. We do that through rules stability. We stick with one car design; we're not out to redesign the car each year. When you give these young drivers and teams a level playing field, the driver's talent can begin to show."

DAN ANDERSEN (Owner/CEO, Cooper Tires presents USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda): "We have a clearly defined ladder where drivers from America and from all over can see the progression, where young drivers can see where they can start. We attract kids right out of go-karts from all countries and from all types of racing and start them up the ladder. We are very proud that we have five drivers (Dan Wheldon, Buddy Rice, JR Hildebrand, Jay Howard and Charlie Kimball) in the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 lineup."

FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF INDIANAPOLIS 500 FINAL PRACTICE:

Pos.

Car

Name

Time

Speed

1.

9

Scott Dixon

39.9159

225.474

2.

77

Alex Tagliani

40.0464

224.739

3.

10

Dario Franchitti

40.0609

224.658

4.

14

Vitor Meira

40.0927

224.480

5.

98

Dan Wheldon

40.0999

224.439

Fastest rookie: #4 JR Hildebrand, 11th, 223.830

***

All 33 drivers combined to turn 1,406 laps during final practice. Drivers have turned 10,265 laps - a distance of 25,662.5 miles - overall this month. The circumference of the Earth at the equator is 24,901.55 miles.

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