IndyCar Kentucky Day 1 notebook
The IZOD IndyCar Series will compete in the Kentucky Indy 300, a 200-lap race on 1.5-mile oval at 2:45 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday. The race broadcast will air live on VERSUS. The Firestone Indy Lights will compete in the Kentucky 100, a 67-lap race, at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday. The race will air live on VERSUS.
Drivers will have 20 uses for 12 seconds each of the Honda overtake assist for the Kentucky Indy 300.
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.
One overtake use was enabled for the second practice session Oct. 1.
Firestone Racing will have a new tire specification at Kentucky, featuring the same body construction used at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in June paired with new tread compounds for all four tires to provide similar grip and performance characteristics as the Texas tires.
Each entry receives eight sets for the race weekend.
The updated tire spec was made available to teams that tested Sept. 23 at Kentucky and in August at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The same spec will be used at the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas
JR Hildebrand had a wardrobe malfunction Sept. 30 at Kentucky Speedway.
"A little piece of me just died putting this on," the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate said of the Arizona Diamondbacks jersey he wore to a media event.
Panther Racing teammate Buddy Rice just laughed.
Seems Hildebrand was on the losing end of a month-long bet that was decided when the Diamondbacks (Rice's hometown team) won the National League West division to qualify for the Major League Baseball postseason. Alas, Hildebrand's rooting interest, his hometown San Francisco Giants (the reigning World Series champions), fell short.
The loser had to wear the jersey of the opposing team to public events during the Kentucky Indy 300 and the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda race weekends.
"I was having a really nice day, cruised down here in the Chevelle and now I'm wearing a Diamondbacks jersey," Hildebrand said, glancing at the 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion seated a few feet away.
"It worked out really well," Rice said.
But that's not all. Hildebrand will wear a shocking pink camouflage firesuit -- to match the pink camo livery of the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car -- in the Kentucky Indy 200 and the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16.
The program is to recognize and honor women who currently serve in the United States military, as well as our nation's female veterans. Maj. Bobbi Jo Mayes of the Kentucky National Guard is Panther Racing's "Hometown Hero" for the Kentucky race weekend. After multiple deployments and numerous awards and decorations, she serves as the Operations Officer for the 238th Regiment in Frankfort, Ky.
Team Penske will have two chief mechanic changes this weekend. Sean Hanrahan, who has served as chief mechanic of the No. 3 car for the past two seasons, was injured in a motorcycle accident last weekend and he will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Matt Jonsson will return to his role as chief of the No. 6 car beginning this weekend while longtime Team Penske mechanic Rick Rinaman returns as chief of the No. 3 car team. In Japan, Rinaman took over as chief of the No. 6 car while Jonsson focused on the development of the 2012 program with Chevrolet.
KV Racing Technology-Lotus driver Tony Kanaan is fifth in the championship standings. Team co-owner Jimmy Vasser holds the team's season-high finish, placing sixth in the standings in 2005. ... Team Penske has won the past two races at Kentucky Speedway -- Helio Castroneves in 2010 and Ryan Briscoe in '09. ... Castroneves has seven top-five finishes at the speedway in ninth starts.