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DATE News (chronologically)
05/25/12
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Indy 500 Carb Day Notebook  Firestone Indy Lights announced today its intentions to debut a new race car for the 2014 season.

A request for proposal was distributed to potential manufacturers and development firms earlier this month for both engine and chassis, and series officials will begin reviewing and evaluating the submitted applications after the due date of June 30.

The desired attributes of the 2014 Firestone Indy Lights car include:

•New chassis is to reflect current contemporary race car design with a forward-thinking, sophisticated and exciting formula. Chassis must be adaptable to compete on road, street and oval circuits with a minimum of facility-specific parts.

•New chassis to surpass all current FIA static and impact regulations while having the flexibility to accommodate a broad spectrum of drivers and seating positions.

•Improved aerodynamic performance that must also allow for enhanced sponsor placement opportunities on the car.

•Improved technological package to include but not limited to: paddle shifting, data systems and sensors.

•Potential to integrate an alternative fuel source.

The project will be under the supervision of INDYCAR Vice President of Technology Will Phillips and Firestone Indy Lights Technical Director Vince Kremer.

Firestone Indy Lights is the official stepping stone to drivers and teams striving to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, and is the third rung on the Mazda Road to Indy driver development ladder system. Recent Firestone Indy Lights graduates competing in the 96th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27 include 2011 champion Josef Newgarden, 2009 champion JR Hildebrand, 2005 champion Wade Cunningham, James Hinchcliffe and Charlie Kimball.

TONY GEORGE JR. (Director, Firestone Indy Lights): "As we look to the future for Firestone Indy Lights, we believe it's important that we do everything we can to attract new drivers, teams, partners and manufacturers to our series to continue to improve our formal system of driver development. The debut of the new car in 2014 will be a key step in this process while allowing our teams to operate as a true business through improved value proposition."

VINCE KREMER (Technical director, Firestone Indy Lights): "With our premium on safety, our goal is to develop a car that is technology relevant to the new IZOD IndyCar Series car. It is our intent to remain a spec series, as it creates the right platform to identify driver talent and contain costs. While it is important for us to gain a manufacturer badge for the engine and receive the endorsement of the auto industry, we want to make sure it is done in the right economic structure for our teams."

***

Quaker Chemical Corporation, an official sponsor and technical partner of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR), will serve as a sponsor of the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb-Agajanian Dallara-Honda driven by rookie Bryan Clauson this Sunday in the 96th Indianapolis 500.

Quaker, with over 90 years of experience, provides process chemicals and fluids, fire resistant hydraulic fluids, liquid casting lubricants and multipurpose greases supporting a wide range of manufacturing industries.

***

GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series driver Ricky Taylor is at the Speedway today with his brother, American Le Mans Series driver Jordan Taylor, to support Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor, which is participating in pre-race ceremonies prior to the Firestone Freedom 100 with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.

Ricky Taylor will compete in the Rolex Sports Car Series event Friday, July 27 on the IMS road course during the inaugural Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.

RICKY TAYLOR: "It's pretty special today. I came with the Cape guys, who are running a (USF2000) car in Freedom 100 pre-race. It's nice to be here, and it's a really special place. It's nice to be able to share it with those guys." (About racing at IMS at Kroger Super Weekend in July): "It's a whole new perspective for me. We've tested here two years in a row, but to race here is going be pretty spectacular. The whole city of Indy is a pretty special place for me and (the SunTrust Wayne Taylor Racing) team. I've been watching the Indy 500 my whole life. I can't wait to be able to race at IMS myself."

***

A $100,000 purse is up for grabs among 12 IZOD IndyCar Series teams in the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge today at 1:30 p.m. today.

The Pit Stop Competition consists of four rounds of head-to-head competition in which teams change four tires and simulate fueling.

Unlike past years, the winning team in each round will advance by having the quickest time from drop of the green flag until the car reaches the finish line. The winning team will receive $50,000, with the remainder of the purse being distributed based on finish.

Seven entrants qualified through their performance at 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series races following the Indianapolis 500:

No. 2 Team Penske with Ryan Briscoe

No. 3 Team Penske with Helio Castroneves

No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Scott Dixon

No. 12 Team Penske with Will Power

No. 26 Andretti Autosport with Marco Andretti

No. 27 Andretti Autosport with James Hinchcliffe

No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Dario Franchitti

These five entrants qualified through time trials May 16:

No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing (Graham Rahal)

No. 4 Panther Racing (JR Hildebrand)

No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Oriol Servia)

No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing (Mike Conway)

No. 28 Andretti Autosport (Ryan Hunter-Reay)

***

Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Olivia Newton-John visited the Speedway today. She will serve as the honorary starter of the Firestone Freedom 100, in which her nephew Emerson Newton-John will compete.

Olivia Newton-John also will attend the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: "I'm really excited. It's very exciting to be here. This place is huge, and you can feel the energy from all of the people that come through here. There's a lot of excitement, and it's great to be a part of it. It feels like an old movie, standing up and saying, 'Gentlemen, start your engines.' It's a new thing for me. I like new things. It's very exciting. My whole family is here to watch my nephew Emerson Newton-John in the (Firestone) Indy Lights race. Tomorrow I'll be riding in the (500 Festival) parade and going to a couple of events. I think I'll have to be the 'grand marshall-ette.'"

***

ESPN pit reporter Jamie Little is working Sunday's telecast of the Indianapolis 500 on ABC while pregnant with her first child, who is due Aug. 8. The child is a boy.

Little will wear a specially-made fire suit during the telecast as she works pit road. The top half has expandable material down both sides and the bottom part is similar to maternity pants, complete with a stretchy belly band.

Little, who also works as a pit reporter for ESPN's NASCAR coverage, will miss the Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 29 at IMS while she is on a two-month maternity leave. Her last race will be the IZOD IndyCar Series race on July 8 at Toronto. She will return for the NASCAR weekend in early September at Richmond.

Her husband, Cody Selman, is a native of Indianapolis and is working the "500" as a tire changer on the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb-Agajanian Chevrolet driven by Bryan Clauson.

JAMIE LITTLE: "I've been lucky with my pregnancy. I feel normal, and everything seems normal. I'm making a conscious effort to eat and drink more, especially when I'm on pit road and it's hot. But other than the fire suit being a two-piece and not a one-piece and having to get alterations every week to make it more comfortable, it's been normal." (About her child being a boy): "I'm very excited because I've been a tomboy my whole life, and my mom still doesn't understand why or how I was always a tomboy."

***

Susie Wheldon was presented with the Champion of Champions ring Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that her late husband, Dan, earned for his unforgettable victory last May in the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus and Ken Keltner of Herff Jones presented the ring to Susie Wheldon. The Champion of Champions Ring by Herff Jones features 1 carat of diamonds and 14-karat gold.

SUSIE WHELDON: "I just want to take a moment to thank everybody for the outpouring of love and support over the past several months for me and my family. Everyone from Indianapolis, around the country and the world, my racing family and Dan's fans. It has been so comforting to have the support of so many during such a difficult time. I am honored to be here to be here to accept this Champion of Champions ring on behalf of my husband. Dan loved the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and what it meant to win here, and I am proud to be here to represent him as a two-time winner. I'm proud to be here with my children, Sebastian and Oliver, to celebrate their father's life and legacy and him as a great champion and ambassador of the Indianapolis 500. Thank you again for all of your love and support."

***

Firestone Indy Lights team Jeffrey Mark Motorsport has joined forces with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Alexander's Army in the quest toward finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

Alexander's Army is a group of caring individuals dedicated to raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cystic fibrosis is a chronic genetic disorder that drastically impacts the digestive and respiratory systems of those afflicted. For the 70,000 patients worldwide battling CF, the average life expectancy is just 37 years old.

Jeffrey Mark Motorsport fields the No. 19 Freightliner Jeffrey Mark Motorsport car driven by Juan Pablo Garcia today in the Firestone Freedom 100.

JEFFREY MARK (Owner, Jeffrey Mark Motorsport): "The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation holds a special place in my heart. Having a cousin affected by the disease, I have become familiar with the daily struggles these families encounter. I am thrilled our organization is able to team up with Alexander's Army and assist those in need."

***

Bob Jenkins served as the honorary starter of Miller Lite Carb Day practice today. Jenkins is a longtime Indianapolis 500 and IZOD IndyCar Series broadcaster, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network anchor and IMS Public Address announcer.

BOB JENKINS: "Well, it's the second-most thrill I've ever had at the Speedway. The first was several years ago when I was allowed to drive A.J. Foyt's 1961 winning car around the track. But this is certainly a very close second, to get to wave the green flag and be the ceremonial starter for the final day of practice is just a huge thrill for me and something I will never forget." (On his emotions as the cars were passing by him to start practice.): "It was very emotional. I must say that my eyes got a little watery, because this place has meant so much to me over the years. I'm very, very lucky to play a small part in it."

***

Indianapolis 500-winning drivers will take ceremonial laps in classic Indy 500 vintage cars from decades ending in the number "2" during pre-race ceremonies Sunday morning before the 96th Indianapolis 500. The lineup of drivers and cars:

Driver

Car (Driver)

Buddy Lazier

1912 National (Joe Dawson, winner)

Mario Andretti

1922 Duesenberg (Jimmy Murphy, winner)

Bobby Unser

1933 Ringling & Henning Wonder Bread Spl. (Joe Russo, 17th)

Parnelli Jones

1952 Kuzma (Troy Ruttman, winner)

Johnny Rutherford

1962 Watson-Offy (Rodger Ward, winner)

Kenny Brack

1972 McLaren (Mark Donohue, winner)

***

Ed Carpenter, the only team owner/driver in the 96th Indianapolis 500, will have his university's support when he takes the green flag Sunday.

Butler University, just 8 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announced Thursday the Butler Athletics logo will be displayed on Carpenter's No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet on Race Day.

Carpenter is a 2003 graduate from Butler's College of Business in marketing. He is friends with many at the school, including head men's basketball coach Brad Stevens.

ED CARPENTER: "I am so thrilled to have the Butler Athletics logo adorning our Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet in Sunday's Indy 500. We have had so much support over the years from the Butler alums, students, facility and fans that it will be an honor to carry the Butler colors this Sunday in the race. I want thank President Danko, Coach Stevens, Michael Kaltenmark and others for their participation with our team effort. We look forward to strong race Sunday."

JAMES DANKO (President, Butler University): "Ed Carpenter is certainly one of Butler's most prominent alumni, and we are honored that he will proudly display the Butler colors for the Indy 500. Ed is not only a highly capable driver and IZOD IndyCar Series race winner, but off the track he conducts himself in a manner representative of the Butler Way. Seeing the recognizable Butler Bulldog logo take the green flag on the side of the No. 20 car this Sunday will be a proud moment for the entire Butler family. Needless to say, we're all pulling for Ed and Ed Carpenter Racing to represent Butler all the way to Victory Lane."

***

***

Brad Larsen, the lead mechanic for the No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb-Agajanian Chevrolet driven by rookie Bryan Clauson, received the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award today.

Larsen, 30, will receive a $5,000 check and a plaque with his name. He led the effort to rebuild Clauson's car after he crashed during Pole Day qualifying last Saturday.

Brawner was renowned for his mechanical wizardry, serving as chief mechanic for six national champions and 51 race victories. The Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award, in its 26th year and sponsored by Firestone Racing, is awarded annually to the Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic who, according to the Clint Brawner Foundation, "exemplifies the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm and expertise" of its namesake.

BRAD LARSEN: "When we first unloaded the car this month, it was fast," said Larsen. "It ran pretty good all week, then we spooked ourselves a little bit on Friday, got a little lost. We looked pretty good Saturday until he hit the wall. I love working for a guy as nice as Bryan as well as Andy(O'Gara) and Sarah (Fisher)."

***

The ESPN on ABC broadcast team for the 96th Indianapolis 500:

•Host: Brent Musburger

•Booth: Marty Reid (anchor), Scott Goodyear (analysis), Eddie Cheever (analysis)

•Pits: Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch

***

The IMS Radio Network broadcast team for the 96th Indianapolis 500:

Booth: Mike King (anchor), Davey Hamilton (driver analyst), Jerry Baker (statistics), Donald Davidson (historian), Paul Page (race strategy)

•Turns: Jake Query (Turn 2), Mark Jaynes (Turn 3), Chris Denari (Turn 4)

•Pits: Nick Yeoman, Michael Young, Kevin Lee

•Garage/Medical: Dave Wilson

IZOD PIT STOP CHALLENGE NOTES:

•Target Chip Ganassi Racing earned its first IZOD Pit Stop Challenge victory. The team had finished second three times, in 1992 with driver Eddie Cheever Jr., in 2002 with Jeff Ward and in 2011 with Dario Franchitti.

•Target Chip Ganassi earned $50,000 for its victory in the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge.

•This was the first time Scott Dixon advanced to the final of the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge.

•This is the first time Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing advanced to the final of the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge. The team formed shortly before the start of the 2012 Indianapolis 500.

•This is the first time Oriol Servia advanced to the final of the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge.

•The last time the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge winner also won the Indianapolis 500 in the same year was 2009, when Team Penske and driver Helio Castroneves pulled off "the double." The feat has been achieved only six times since the Pit Stop Challenge started in 1977.

***

SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):

8:45-9 a.m.

Chase Rookie of the Year Q&A, Coca-Cola Stage

9-10 a.m.

2012 Starting Field/Indy 500 Winners Autograph Session, Pagoda Plaza

9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Indianapolis 500 Memorabilia Show, Plaza Pavilion

10:30-11 a.m.

Public Drivers Meeting, Tower Terrace

11-11:30 a.m.

Roger Penske Q&A, Coca-Cola Stage

1-4 p.m.

Indy 500 Veterans Autograph Session, Plaza Pavilion

***

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