Indycar

  • 99th Indianapolis 500 Starting Lineup

    Starting lineup for the 99th Indianapolis 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with rank, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:
                                               
    1. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 02:38.7579 (226.760)
    2. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 02:39.0458 (226.350)
    3. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 02:39.1900 (226.145)
    4. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 02:39.6428 (225.503)
    5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 02:39.6439 (225.502)
    6. (25) Justin Wilson, Honda, 02:39.8022 (225.279)
    7. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 02:39.8626 (225.193)
    8. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 02:39.8659 (225.189)
    9. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 02:39.8670 (225.187)
    10. (6) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 02:39.9297 (225.099)
    11. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 02:39.9703 (225.042)
    12. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 02:40.0830 (224.883)
    13. (32) Oriol Servia, Honda, 02:40.1585 (224.777)
    14. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 02:40.1828 (224.743)
    15. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 02:40.2446 (224.657)
    16. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 02:40.3041 (224.573)
    17. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 02:40.5064 (224.290)
    18. (18) Carlos Huertas, Honda, 02:40.5473 (224.233)
    19. (29) Simona de Silvestro, Honda, 02:40.8304 (223.838)
    20. (7) James Jakes, Honda, 02:40.8651 (223.790)
    21. (48) Alex Tagliani, Honda, 02:40.9140 (223.722)
    22. (8) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 02:41.0051 (223.595)
    23. (43) Conor Daly, Honda, 02:41.0865 (223.482)
    24. (24) Townsend Bell, Chevrolet, 02:41.1119 (223.447)
    25. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 02:41.2718 (223.226)
    26. (63) Pippa Mann, Honda, 02:41.3600 (223.104)
    27. (98) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 02:41.4958 (222.916)
    28. (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 02:41.5086 (222.898)
    29. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 02:40.9022 (223.738)
    30. (4) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 02:42.1617 (222.001)
    31. (88) Bryan Clauson, Chevrolet, 02:42.6328 (221.358)
    32. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 02:41.0602 (223.519) *
    33. (19) James Davison, Honda, 02:40.8960 (223.747) **

    * - Substitute driver for James Hinchcliffe, who qualified car on May 17; ** - Replacement driver for Carlos Huertas, who qualified car on May 17; *** - Replacement driver for Tristan Vautier, who qualified car on May 17. Note: Car order for Cars 5, 18 and 19 set by Verizon IndyCar Series entrant points entering event per Rules 8.1.8.6 and 8.1.8.6.1 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook

  • Briscoe Gets Indianapolis 500 Call Up

    Aussie Ryan Briscoe didn't think twice about accepting the short-notice request from Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner Sam Schmidt to drive in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

    Briscoe, 33, was named today to fill in for the injured James Hinchcliffe in the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hinchcliffe underwent surgery May 18 for a pelvic and upper left thigh injury suffered in a crash during practice earlier that day.

    Hinchcliffe is recovering and was transferred May 20 from the Intensive Care Unit at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Upon further evaluation, it was determined he will require no further procedures and is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries. Additional updates to Hinchcliffe's condition will be released when available.

    "First and foremost, I feel absolutely terrible for Hinch," said Briscoe, who completed 21 laps in a one-hour "familiarization session" granted by INDYCAR to become acclimated to the car and aero kits that debuted this year. "I wish him the best and a speedy recovery."

    Briscoe will join the rest of the 33-car field for the traditional one-hour practice May 22 on Coors Light Carb Day (11 a.m. ET, NBCSN) in his rush to play catch-up.

    "You (usually) sort of prepare for this race a year out," he said. "You visualize how you're going to go through practice, all the prep you're going to do, and something like this comes up and you throw that all out the window. I feel with my experience and the experience the team has, the experience that Hinch has had with (race engineer) Allen McDonald putting this car in really good condition for the race, I feel really confident that even with a few laps I'll be able to find my groove again."

    Briscoe will make his 10th Indianapolis 500 start and 130th overall in Indy car racing from the 32nd starting position (middle of Row 11). James Davison, who returned to the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda after Tristan Vautier qualified the car for him May 17, will start 33rd as determined by entrant points when a driver switch is made, per INDYCAR.

    Briscoe was the 2012 pole sitter for the 500 Mile Race and that year tied his best finish of fifth from 2007. Last year, he started 30th in the NTT Data entry for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and finished 18th.

    "We explored quite a few options and felt confident in Briscoe," team co-owner Schmidt said. "We were glad he was available and willing to drive for us with such short notice. Obviously, this was not a situation we were expecting to be in for the biggest race of the year, but we're making the best of it. Our thoughts and prayers are with James and his family right now."

  • Dixon Wins Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway

    Scott Dixon made his victory in the Firestone 600 look easy, though the three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion said it was one of the most hotly-contested and unpredictable in recent memory at Texas Motor Speedway.

    Dixon led 97 of the 248 laps in the No. 9 Energizer EcoAdvanced Chevrolet to earn his second victory of the Verizon IndyCar Series season and his second at Texas Motor Speedway in the fast-paced race on the 1.455-mile, high-banked oval.

    The 191.940 mph average speed set a track race record, aided by a lone caution for debris.

    Chip Ganassi Racing Teams teammate Tony Kanaan finished 7.8000 seconds behind in the No. 10 NTT Group Chevrolet. Helio Castroneves, who has won four times at TMS, finished third in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet.

    It was the 99th Indy car victory for team owner Chip Ganassi, and Dixon, his longest-tenured driver, picked up his 37th Indy car win - fifth on the all-time list. Dixon, who also won at Long Beach in mid-April, stretched his streak to 10 years with multiple wins.

    "It's never easy. Even toward the second-to-last stint we were just trying to make changes to the car," said Dixon, who grabbed the lead in a pit-stop exchange on Lap 194 and led all but one lap the rest of the way.

    "It didn't start awfully good because we had a lot of understeer in the car, but once we got the balance right, the car was basically on rails. With the pit-stop exchange we got the lead, and then the car was just very good in traffic and were able to keep the speed up. I knew, once we got the balance right, we could get up there and duel with (Kanaan) to the end.

    "This racing is great and you've got to give Firestone a lot of credit. They give us a tire that is very durable and safe."

    Dixon also won at the superspeedway on June 7, 2008 - one of six victories on the way to his second Verizon IndyCar Series championship. He is third in the 2015 standings through nine of 16 races - 43 points behind front-runner Juan Pablo Montoya heading to the June 14 Honda Indy Toronto, where he swept a doubleheader on the street circuit in 2013.

    Kanaan, who earned his 121st Indy car top-five finish, led 57 laps mid-race. Overall, there were 14 lead changes among nine drivers.

    "One-two for the team, I'm happy," said Kanaan, who won at Texas Motor Speedway on June 12, 2004, and returned that October to celebrate his only series championship. "It was a great race."

    With a fourth-place finish, Montoya increased his points advantage to 35 over Team Penske teammate Will Power. Marco Andretti, who started 11th in the No. 27 Snapple Honda for Andretti Autosport, placed fifth for his third consecutive top five. Power, the pole sitter, led seven laps but faded to 13th in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

    Hinchcliffe Issues Start Command

    Injured Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe gave the pre-race command for drivers to start their engines via video on Texas Motor Speedway's "Big Hoss" 20,633-square-foot HD display screen along the track's backstretch.

    Carter Brothers on the Spot for Andretti Autosport

    It was a busy few days in Texas for two members of the Andretti Autosport team, and a winning one. Brothers Cole and Dane Carter serve as spotters for Andretti drivers in both the Verizon IndyCar Series and in rallycross, and both were competing in the Lone Star State this weekend.

    That meant the Carters were shuttling between Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600 and Austin for the X Games. Dane spots for Marco Andretti on Verizon IndyCar Series oval tracks and Tanner Foust in rallycross events. Cole spots for Carlos Munoz in Indy cars and Scott Speed in rallycross. Andretti and Munoz finished fifth and sixth, respectively, at TMS a few hours after Speed took home the gold medal for winning the X Games rallycross competition.

    "A lot of people don't think spotters are ever used or needed in rallycross, but they're required," said Cole, 32 and the younger of the two Carters. "It doesn't seem like it because the guys always seem to run into each other. They're a lot more involved, actually. It's kind of like you have to do the race strategy and the spotting all at once because things happen so fast and it's a short race."

    After flying to Fort Worth from Indianapolis on Thursday, the Carters made the 200-mile drive to Austin for a three-hour rallycross practice session and returned that night to be at TMS for Firestone 600 practice and qualifying Friday. They went back to Austin late Friday night for the X Games heat races and final today, then scurried back to TMS in time for the Firestone 600.

    Cole and Dane both raced for years primarily in sprint cars and midgets. They are the sons of 17-time Indianapolis 500 starter and 1985 pole sitter Duane "Pancho" Carter, a longtime spotter working this weekend for Tristan Vautier in the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.

    "It's easy to be a spotter if you were a driver," said Dane, 36. "Former drivers, a lot of times they know what drivers want to hear, what they don't want to hear. Sometimes you get people (spotting) that will just talk too much. They say spotters talk a lot, but with Marco, there's very little we talk about. It's just short and concise, just what he needs to hear."

    Football Great Haley Prefers to Take It Slow

    Charles Haley, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August and was honorary starter for the Firestone 600, was invited to take his 1968 Ford Mustang convertible out for a few laps on the 1.455-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval. He politely declined.

    "That's my girlfriend; we keep it real slow. Nothing over 45 (mph)," said Haley, who won a record five Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.

    The former defensive end/linebacker does appreciate the speed of the Verizon IndyCar Series cars and the mental fortitude of the competitors.

    "You have to be a little nuts to drive," he said, "but it's very exciting to watch on TV and now to see it in person."

    POST-RACE QUOTES

    WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was tough day for the Verizon Chevy Team.  We got a bit blindsided there and chose the wrong downforce level for tonight but I think our problems were deeper than that. We just need to take a good look at what we missed. We'll go back and look towards better results in Toronto."

    JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske): "Our Verizon Chevy was really quick. We came out of the pits there leading and we made a mistake with the front wing. I asked to take wing out and they went the wrong way. I started leading when I was full stiff bars and full on the weight jacker, and it was still really pointy and I said, 'This is going to get really loose,' so I just backed off and let a few people by and it just started wearing the right rear tire. By the time I stopped (again), I lost half a lap. You saw how good I was at the end, how I caught Helio. If that would've been the case (all race), we probably would've won the race, but it is what it is."

    HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet): "Mentally, physically it was incredible tonight. One of the toughest ones - especially because we have to control the car, plus at the end with the temperature, the front end of my car was getting a lot nervous.  The AAA car was actually strong. We chose in the middle of the downforce (level). We knew that the Ganassis had more downforce than us and in the end they ended up getting the best way. A good day for the championship and points, we're still fourth, but at least we're closer to Juan Pablo (Montoya) and we'll keep going.... Some of the close calls were incredible. To be honest, I was like, 'Ahhh!' and I closed my eyes. Sometimes it was like, 'That's going to be a close one.' With drivers that you can trust, when you run in the front like that all the time, it's great to run like that. It's fun, it's challenging. But stupid drivers, when they have no idea what they're doing, it's dangerous. I felt safer doing that type of stuff tonight than running 12th or 13th at Indianapolis. Because you know that everybody's going to give an inch, it's small, but they're going to give an inch. Very happy that we were able to finish in the top three."

    STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I am really happy to finish the race. I was struggling for the first 150 laps and then I started to understand a little more about how the car reacts on ovals and how to take the line and where to apply the throttle in the corners. In the end I started to have fun in the last 50 laps and pass cars. We were going faster and faster as the race went on and I said I wasn't confident at the start of the race, but now I feel a bit more comfortable."

    RYAN BRISCOE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): "It was a really good effort. I was pleased to be able to move our way through the field and it was a lot of fun. I had a really good car and I'm really proud of the effort by the whole Arrow Electronics team, their pit stops are impressive. We were constantly talking throughout the race to make improvements on the balance and we had to work with it a lot but I was really happy. I'm not sure what happened at the end. I was hoping for a top five finish but I think the strategy kind of played out a little bit differently. We dropped a couple of spots right at the end but it was a great effort."

    JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "We said we wanted to get top tens until the end of the year but honestly, I'm a little bit disappointed with ninth. I felt we had a better car than that and the No. 7 SPM MediaTech Honda was pretty solid. The crew did a great job all night and we just came up a bit short by going off strategy like that. We can still count it as a good finish and add some points. Now we move on to Toronto."

    SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Lexar Chevrolet): "It was a good race. I'm not thrilled with a 12th-place finish, but I'm also not disappointed. I think the main objective for this race, especially after the last few weekends, was just to complete all the laps and finish the best we could. This is a very difficult track and it was my first time ever racing here, so I didn't know what to expect. Every stint we were pretty loose and I was holding onto the car quite a bit, but it was a very difficult, challenging race. The Chip Ganassi Racing cars were competitive all night and I'm really happy for my teammates with the one-two finish. I made a little mistake and the car got loose which put me above the apron and I ended up getting a drive-through penalty. That put me out of contention for the top-10, but I'm just going to take it as a learning experience and move forward into this weekend in Toronto."

    SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Energizer EcoAdvanced Chevrolet, Race Winner): "A lot of credit goes to the Team Target engineering group for the option that we went with which was on the high downforce level. Another big thanks needs to go to Team Chevy for giving us so many good options to run with and the power they've given us as well. Once we got the balance right and we got some front wing in the car with some tire pressure changes, the car was basically on rails. That allowed us to run up there with TK and really push him along. After that pit stop exchange, we were able to take the lead and the car was just fantastic in traffic. I think that was the key to winning this race. We found out last year that not being able to run well in traffic was a huge disadvantage, so we made sure to correct that for this year. It was just one of those nights where you get towards the end and you just hope that there wasn't going to be any yellows. I knew we had a good car. We just had to get it dialed in. I can't thank the crew enough. This Energizer car, I told you, we had a run with this thing where we would constantly win. I am just over the moon with it, over the moon."

    TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Group Chevrolet): "That was definitely a tough race, but it always is here at Texas Motor Speedway. We saw the setups the Penske guys were running and they saw ours and I think both sides were so different that we were just thinking that someone definitely got it right and someone didn't. We decided to run more downforce and it worked in our favor. It was really close, good racing here tonight and in my opinion at least, I thought it was a lot of fun. You always want to win but I'm so happy for Scott, he ran a really good race. And while a second isn't a win, I'll take those championship points."

    SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut - KVSH Racing Chevrolet): "The Hydroxycut team definitely made progress since last year. The car was actually pretty good. I tried to drive it a little to free and killed the rear tires a couple of times. Then under a yellow, we decided to pit and it was too early, so we didn't beat the pace car out and got penalized. I also made a mistake. I thought it was a drive through penalty and it was a stop and go, so I had to come back in and we went down another lap. Toward the last part of the race we showed we had a good car. The last two stints were strong, but to make up two laps... We got very little out of a pretty good race and a solid race car, but it is what it is, now it is on to the next one."

    GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "After running so well last night, and yesterday in general, this was a shock to us. We're pretty disappointed in the performance; the car was extremely loose. This hurts us in the championship because we lost some ground. We didn't see this yesterday in those conditions even on old tires so it is a shock for sure to see the handling today like we had. It was a bad day but we will work hard to recover from this and be strong in Toronto."

    PIPPA MANN (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Overall I think we had a pretty solid race.  We were hoping to have a slightly better car after how well we ran last night in practice.  I had a lot of confidence coming in to tonight but we were just that little bit off and that hurt our result some. It is really hard when you can go a few laps longer than everyone else and then you are hanging on when they are just flying around you on brand new tires.  I'm really happy to bring the No. 18 car home for a good finish and hopefully this will be the start of a run of good finishes for this car."

    TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Well I had a great, great start. I passed like five cars in the first few laps. The car felt really good and stable but, unfortunately, halfway through that first stint the rear went really loose and I couldn't keep that pace.  I was just hanging on for the rest of that stint. Then we had a couple of issues with the weight jacker and had to reset the car under yellow.  I ended up with a mechanical failure. I think we were a bit stronger than we showed but I'm thankful to Dale (Coyne) for having me drive for him again this weekend and thankful to all the guys for their hard work.  Too bad we couldn't finish it."

    ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): "We were just riding around, finishing the race when something let go in the car. We were in no way, shape, or form in contention. It's disappointing. We've been strong here for the past couple of years. We have good road course cars right now. We just haven't been able to get this package sorted out for the ovals. A big part of that weight falls on my shoulders. I feel I need to do more to help these guys."

    SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet): "An up and down night for sure for the Avaya Chevrolet team. The car was really good out front with the downforce setup we had on the car. Unfortunately we had an electrical issue with our weigh jacker, which through the balance of the car off until we got a chance to reset the system under the second caution. But when we did that the engine shut down all the way into the pit stall and we lost several spots. An unfortunate situation for sure, but the guys continued to work on the car to make it better, but with our downforce setup it was just not the best in traffic. Now we go to Toronto - which is a place that I love - to try to get this team to Victory Lane."

    CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): "I think I gave 100 percent, everything I could. We needed to save a little bit more fuel than the other guys. We did one less pit stop. It was hard to save fuel, so we lost some positions there. We finished sixth - a great position, and I think I did quite good with our stops and pushing hard. It was good for experience, another top 10, and now we're looking forward to Toronto."

    MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "We were sort of just hanging on to it tonight. Seemingly lacking a bit of grip and pace to the front runners, so we had to get the top five the way we did it. It was an awesome job by my Snapple guys. We just need to keep hanging in there, that's all we can do."

    RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "Unfortunately, I think there's something wrong with this car - it's the same one we had at Indy - and we're going to 'kitchen sink it' as they call it, for the next oval race. We're just going to come back with a different tub, a different everything because it's not this difficult. There's no excuse for this... I'm just glad I brought it back in one piece - it was loose the whole night no matter what we did to it. Meanwhile, my teammates (Marco Andretti, Carlos Muñoz) were adding front wing the whole night trying to get the front to grip up..."

    JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): "We're not sure what happened yet, we just lost drive. It was a tough weekend. We struggled all weekend with the car's handling. We did everything we could to make it better. We did a good job keeping it in the race. We just didn't have enough for everyone. Capping it off with losing drive was a hard way to end the weekend. We put up a good fight. We did everything we could to be competitive. It was a tough weekend where nothing really went our way. All we can do is go to Toronto and have a solid weekend."

    CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): "Today was a big day for Chip Ganassi Racing with the first and second place finish - a huge congrats to Scott, Tony, Team Target, and the NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Team. We're a little disappointed to not come home with a top-five finish, especially with those guys at the end saving fuel. We definitely had the pace and the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet was really solid all night. We just had to make some adjustments during some stops to get in the position to go fight for a higher position out there when we could. I think the one restart took a little more out of the tires than I was expecting, but we fought through it and were able to make up some positions. Overall we had a really good, well-fought race, and we can use this momentum heading into Toronto next weekend."

    GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): "We constantly improved the car throughout the race, made our way through the field pretty well. We had a couple of slower stops, but all my crew and everyone on the team did a fantastic job to improve the car and give me a car I was comfortable racing with.  Two top 10s in a row is really good progress, and we're just looking forward to continuing to improve on this momentum going onto the next few races."

  • Firestone 600 Post-event Infractions

    INDYCAR announced the following post-event infractions and points deductions from the Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway:

    • Driver Stefano Coletti of KV Racing Technology was fined $5,000 and placed on a two-race probation for violating Rules 7.10.1.1 (Pit Safety Violation, improper lane usage) and 7.9.12 (Pit Procedures, pit speed violation at pit in) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. The two-race probation is in addition to the three-race probation Coletti was assessed following the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on May 30-31.

    • Driver Tristan Vautier of Dale Coyne Racing was fined $1,000 for violating Rule 7.10.1.8 (Pit Safety Violation, contact with equipment causing contact with personnel).

    • The No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry was fined $5,000 for violating Rule 14.8.5 (Rear Wing Main Plane Angle).

    • Chevrolet received a deduction of 40 manufacturer championship points and Honda a deduction of 20 manufacturer points for engines that did not attain their life cycle. According to Rule 10.6.4.3, 20 manufacturer points will be deducted for an engine that fails to reach its 2,500-mile life cycle. The Chevrolet engines in the Nos. 20 and 67 CFH Racing entries and the Honda engine in the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises entry did not reach their life cycle minimum before being changed out. Following the deductions, Chevrolet has 865 manufacturer championship points for the season and Honda has 820.

    Additionally, INDYCAR announced one new infraction and two rescinded infractions from the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on May 30-31:

    • Driver James Jakes of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was fined $500 for violating Rule 1.2.7.1.2 (Personal Safety Equipment, visor up during pit stop fueling) at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 1 on May 30.

    • A Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew member had a $500 fine rescinded for violating Rule 1.2.7.2 (Personal Safety Equipment, fueler visor up).

    • A Chip Ganassi Racing Teams crew member had a $500 fine rescinded for violating Rule 1.2.7.2 (Personal Safety Equipment, fueler visor up).

    Members may contest the imposition of penalties pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

  • Honda superspeedway kit features multi-options

    Reduced drag and increased engine performance equals speed on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, and Honda Performance Development COO and vice president Steve Eriksen believes its Verizon IndyCar Series entries in the 99th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race will have all three with its superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork platform and 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine.

    Honda’s superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork package on the No. 29 TE Connectivity Andretti Autosport entry to be driven by Simona de Silvestro unveiled today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway features a range of options available to teams to utilize for qualifications and the 200-lap race. The platform was designed, developed and supplied by California-based Honda Performance Development, and the aero kit will make its public on-track debut May 3 during a Promoter Test at IMS. Chevrolet's superspeedway aero package also will be on track May 3.

    Practice opens May 11, with qualifications May 16-17 and the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24. Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport, won the 2014 Indianapolis 500.

    "I expect an increase in speed (in practice and qualifications), but I won't say how much," Eriksen said.

    The superspeedway package includes a variety of individual aerodynamic components fitted to the Honda-powered Dallara chassis but is markedly different from the road/street and short oval kit that has been utilized in the first four races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. The front wing of the superspeedway kit contains fewer components to reduce drag and a rear wing element that Eriksen said is wide "like a glider." The rear wing main plane has "swan neck" supports that are carried over from Honda's sports car program, where HPD engineers learned that they helped with air flow over the rear wing. The rear wing main plane is unique to the Indianapolis 500, though an entry has the option to run the main plane to be used on the other three big ovals.
    "One of the great things about IndyCar is that this aero kit has to operate over such a diverse range of circuits, it's unlike any other racing series, and it's a real challenge to make a kit that is going to work on every track well. But we welcomed it and have enjoyed doing it," Eriksen said. "The process really started with us looking at what has made us successful. The Indy 500 wins that we've had we look at and say, 'What did we do well and what could we do better in the future.' We wanted to build on that experience to build the best kit possible, and I think we've done that."

    There will be differences between the Honda and Chevrolet superspeedway kits, within both manufacturers’ qualifying and race specs to achieve maximum performance, and within their respective teams that likely will run different elements – even asymmetrical on the cars – during practice.
    “We’re excited to unveil our superspeedway aero kit, the newest element in this era of enhanced manufacturer competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” HPD president Art St. Cyr said.  “Coupled to our proven Honda Indy V-6 engines, these aero kits are the products of thousands of hours of research, development and testing, as we seek to give our drivers and teams the tools they need to win the race that Honda holds as its most important goal each season: the Indianapolis 500.”

    Both manufacturers, under INDYCAR regulations, designed components in “legality boxes” that complement the standard components of the rolling chassis. Areas open for development in these legality boxes include sidepods, engine cover, rear wheel guards, front and rear wing main planes and end plates, superspeedway front wing main plane, and the Indianapolis 500 rear wing main plane. Standard components for all cars include the underwing, road course front wing and rear wing main planes, nose, mirror housing and roll hoop fairing.
    The road/street and short oval and superspeedway aero kits were developed by utilizing the latest in Computer-Aided Design and Computational Fluid Dynamics technology, then validated using Driver-In-Loop simulators. The process allowed the aerodynamic direction to be determined before full-size components were created.

    Full-scale wind tunnel testing was used to confirm performance characteristics and develop aero maps to be used during manufacturer on-track testing from early October 2014 through mid-January 2015.

  • Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Postponed by Rain

    Persistent afternoon rain canceled the remainder of scheduled track activity on the first day of qualifications for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, so the process begins anew May 17.

    A revised schedule for Old National Armed Forces Pole Day calls for the 34 entries to make one four-lap qualifying attempt each on the 2.5-mile oval (10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET), followed by the "Fast Nine Shootout" (1:45-2:30 p.m.) in which the top nine cars return to determine the Verizon P1 Award for pole position and the first three rows for the May 24 race. Finally, positions 31-33 will be determined in a 45-minute session (3-3:45 p.m.).

    Ryan Hunter-Reay (229.845 mph) and Carlos Huertas (228.235) were the only drivers to post four-lap qualifying runs before the rain today, but those will not count since not everyone was able to make an attempt. Two groups of cars will be accorded practice time from 8-8:20 a.m. and 8:20-8:40 a.m. (ET) May 17, prior to qualifying.

    In today's morning practice, Helio Castroneves recorded a lap of 233.474 mph that, while unofficial, is the fastest lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since the 1996 race when Eddie Cheever Jr., had the fastest race lap at 236.103 mph. That same year, Arie Luyendyk set the one- and four-lap qualifying records (237.498 mph and 236.986 mph, respectively).

    "That 233 mph number was pretty cool, but it was with a little bit of help (with a tow from cars in front of him)," said Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet. "The guys have really done an amazing job over the last couple of days since the (May 13 crash). To lose a day and still be on top of the practice speeds is a testament to how hard they worked. The weather, there is nothing we can do about the weather. We'll just come back and see what's in store."

    Castroneves seeks to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time Indy 500 winners, and he's in contention for pole history, too. Castroneves, with No. 1 qualifying efforts in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2010, is tied with Foyt and Rex Mays. A fifth would put him second among all-time Indy 500 pole winners, one behind Team Penske consultant Mears. Castroneves also could give team owner Roger Penske a record-extending 18th pole position at the Indy 500.

    Added Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, the Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader: "It's a little bit of a disappointment that we didn't get to qualify today because the Team Penske cars were very strong in the practice sessions. I've been happy with the car even though we continue to struggle a bit with the balance. We are confident that we know what direction we need to go with the weather. It's going to be a fast, exciting qualifying session, I know that."

    In 2014, Ed Carpenter earned the Verizon P1 Award in the Fast Nine Shootout with a four-lap average speed of 231.076 mph - the second consecutive year that Carpenter started from the pole. He'll seek to become the first to earn the pole in three consecutive years May 17. Twenty drivers have won the race from the pole - most recently Castroneves in 2009.

    "Last year we were pretty solid, so I think we can get in (to the Fast Nine Shootout), but we've got to play our cards right and find a little bit (of speed)," said Carpenter, driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet. "The thing we've got to figure out is how to make the fourth lap still be good."

    INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES

    WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "It's raining, and I think INDYCAR has got a pretty good plan to run tomorrow and get everyone through the line and have a Fast Nine. If anything, it'll be even more exciting, having it all really compressed. Looking forward to it. It's really difficult to see where everyone stacks up, but I felt very comfortable and I wasn't so much yesterday. Yeah, we'll see what happens."

    JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "It's a little bit of a disappointment that we didn't get to qualify today because the Team Penske cars were very strong in the practice sessions. Hopefully tomorrow the forecast will break up a bit and we can see if the Verizon Chevy has the speed to win the pole position. I've been happy with the car even though we continue to struggle a bit with the balance. We are confident that we know what direction we need to go with the weather. It's going to be a fast, exciting qualifying session, I know that."

    HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet): "That 233 mph number was pretty cool, but it was with a little bit of help (from a tow). The Shell V-Power Nitro+ guys have really done an amazing job over the last couple of days since the flip. To lose a day and still be on top of the practice speeds today is a testament to how hard they worked. The weather, there is nothing we can do about the weather. We'll just come back tomorrow and see what's in store."

    JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet): "It was nice to post a big number in the morning even though it doesn't really mean very much. It was with a tow, but it was fun to see it pop up on the dash. I still don't really know where we stack up in terms of our four-lap speed, but we're pretty good. Tomorrow, hopefully we'll get into the top nine. If we don't, I think we'll be close. That should give us a pretty reasonable starting position for the race. It's going to be a scramble, but I feel better about it today than I did a few days ago."

    GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda): "It's a shame we couldn't get qualifying in today, but it's the same for everybody. Our Steak 'n Shake car was pretty quick this morning and we'll be qualifying early in the day tomorrow at around 10:30 or so and I feel pretty good about our chances. We'll have to see how it plays out. Definitely the guys that will run two hours into the session will be facing a little bit warmer of a track, so hopefully that plays to our advantage. I would have liked to have got in today, but they would have only gotten a handful in today so we would have had to go again anyway and I would rather have to only hold my breath for four laps instead of eight."

    ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): "Days like today are hard. It stinks for all of the fans. I feel like the series is just in a funk as far as weather. It seems like it rains every important day or it's forecasted to be a bad weather day. I really hope this all moves out and it's a beautiful day tomorrow, where we can put on an awesome show for the fans. One thing about today being delayed is tomorrow's schedule and activities are going to be intense. There's going to be a lot of pressure. Everyone gets one shot to put it in the Fast Nine and that's it. You have to balance going fast and being aggressive to get into the Fast Nine, but knowing you only have that one opportunity. You can't be too aggressive and overshoot it and have a bad run because there's no second attempt. It will be a great day, it will be exciting. Hopefully a lot of people come watch us!"

    JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): "We'll get here tomorrow and try to do the whole program again. We didn't get it in today. The team looks good. We tried a couple of different things this morning in practice and JR (Hildebrand) looked really solid. We're really getting up to speed with our program. If we get all of our details right tomorrow, we should be in the hunt."

    TOWNSEND BELL (No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet): "We ran two qualifying stints this morning to get our balance squared away and the car felt good. To be honest, I'm not too disappointed we got rained out. Our car really works well when we have hotter conditions and Sunday is expected to be warmer than today. I just feel badly for the fans who came to see the qualifying. Hopefully everyone can make it out to see a run for the Fast Nine and the pole. I believe we are in the position for a spot in the Fast Nine. We were ninth today with the 'no tow' speeds. So we are on the edge. I'd love to have our little one-car Dreyer & Reinbold - Kingdom team slide into the Fast Nine and battle the big teams. So I'm anxious to get going for Sunday with the Robert Graham Special." 

    RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): (On dealing with rain delays): "You get used to them over time. In your earlier years, you have to think about things more. The pressure piles on a little bit, but it's part of it. You just have to wait for it, be patient and keep your thoughts cool and calm and collected and get on with the job. It's not a big deal. You want to just get on with it, though. Unfortunately, that's just the way it goes sometimes."

    GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins / Curb Honda): "It's disappointing for us. With a late draw in the qualifying line, we had an excellent opportunity to do a true qualifying simulation in this morning's practice and watch what speeds everyone else posted on their qualifying runs. This would have given us a great opportunity to make the Bowers & Wilkins Honda even faster and secure us a spot in the Fast Nine Shootout. But we know we have a fast car and are ready to come back and do it again tomorrow."  

  • IndyCar hits Chevrolet with engine penalties

    Chevrolet has been hit hard in defence of its manufacturer’s title following points penalties after the opening IndyCar round in Florida.

    The engine manufacturer swept to the first six places at the St Petersburg race, earning 128 points for its efforts.

    However officials clamped down under Rule 10.6.4.4, stripping the manufacturer of 220 points which means it goes into this weekend’s second round at Nola Motorsports Park in New Orleans on a negative count.

    A total of 11 of the 12 Chevrolet engines underwent non-minor engine repairs following the opening round of the series.

    Honda, which saw its highest place with Ryan Hunter-Reay carrying Andretti Autosport to seventh at St Petersburg, now leads Chevrolet by 162 points.

  • INDYCAR: Manufacturers Championship Points Update

    INDYCAR announced the following manufacturers' championship points adjustments following the Indianapolis 500 Open Test Day on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

    • Honda received a bonus of 30 engine manufacturer points for attaining the life cycle minimum for three of its engines. According to Rule 10.6.4.2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook, any engine that reaches a lifespan of 2,500 miles will receive 10 bonus for its manufacturer. Honda engines for the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry, No. 26 Andretti Autosport entry and No. 98 BHA with Curb Agajanian entry all reached at least 2,500 miles.

    • Chevrolet received a points deduction of 20 points. According to Rule 10.6.4.3, 20 points will be deducted for an engine that fails to reach its life cycle. The engine in the No. 83 entry did not reach 2,500 miles before it was changed out.

    • Chevrolet also had four of its entrants' engines - the Nos. 1 and 22 from Team Penske and Nos. 9 and 10 of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams - reach their 2,500-mile lifespans, but they will not receive manufacturer bonus points according to Rule 10.6.4.4, which states that an engine is no longer eligible for mileage lifespan points once it has undergone a non-minor repair approved by INDYCAR.

    Following the adjustments, Honda has a total of 380 manufacturer points and Chevrolet 216.

  • Juan Pablo Montoya Wins 99th Indianapolis

    Juan Pablo Montoya often has said that his three Team Penske teammates pose the most formidable competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

    In the closing laps of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, that proved to be the case.

    Montoya, who won the race 15 years earlier in his first start, held off reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and teammate Will Power by .1046 of a second -- the fourth-closest finish in race history -- in a thrilling battle over the final 15 laps that also included pole sitter and 2008 race winner Scott Dixon. Five of the 37 lead changes occurred in those 15 laps following a restart, with Montoya overtaking Dixon in Turn 1 for second place and Power in Turn 4 to lead Lap 197 by .0420 of a second.

    "It was awesome," said Montoya, 39, of Colombia, after placing the winner's wreath around his neck and letting the milk dribble down his chin. "This is what racing in Indy car is all about, racing down to the wire. These guys, Team Penske, did an amazing job. I had the feeling that I had a really good car, but that fight at the end was really, really hard. All the way down to the wire. This is pretty awesome.”

    The victory extended Roger Penske's record of Indy 500 victories to 16, and Montoya is the 11th different winner for Team Penske.

    "You give that guy the bit and put it in his mouth and he doesn’t give up," said Penske, the race strategist for three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. "It’s a great day for Team Penske. I knew we had two up there, but the worry was Dixon and the 83 (Charlie Kimball). At the end of the day, they played fair. Good passing and we won the race.”

    Montoya finished fifth last May in his return to the Indy 500 after a 13-year absence in which he won races in Formula One and NASCAR competition, and he is the first multiple winner in six races this season. He won the opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and extended his points lead over Power to 25 heading into the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans doubleheader May 30-31.

    Montoya, who started 15th in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, fell to 30th early in the race after being hit from behind while under caution, which necessitated a pit stop to change out the rear wing assembly. He then overshot his pit box on Lap 95, which cost precious seconds. Montoya worked his way up to third by Lap 102 and remained in the top five to challenge for the win.

    Power was two-tenths of a second behind Montoya entering the white flag lap, but couldn't make a dramatic last-turn pass.

    "I just had too much push when he got by," Power said. "I had to lift on that last lap.He was definitely better when he got behind me. That's why he got the run. Anywhere else I'd be happy with second. But here...

    "It was a great month overall -- first, first and second, second."

    Power won the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 from the pole and started second on the oval in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

    Kimball was .7950 of a second back in third -- a career best in five Indy 500 starts -- after starting 14th in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Dixon, who led a field-high 84 laps, was 1.0292 seconds arrears in fourth place in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Graham Rahal, who started 17th in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, finished fifth.

    “I think we generally had a pretty good restart there," Dixon said. "I was just trying to pace it. When I really needed to go, I just couldn’t turn the car. We were fighting a little bit with the car overheating, so we were trying to go over different ignition maps. There was definitely a lot going on. As the laps were counting down I was trying to make something happen.

    "I’m real proud of the Team Target guys. They did a good job all month but unfortunately we came away with fourth.”

    Marco Andretti, Castroneves, JR Hildebrand, Josef Newgarden and front-row starter Simon Pagenaud completed the top 10 that includes five Americans on this Memorial Day weekend.

  • Montoya Leads Indianapolis Motor Speedway Opening Day

    Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was highlighted by a significant jump in speed in the on-track debut of superspeedway aero kits from Chevrolet and Honda. Twenty-one drivers surpassed last year's fastest lap of Opening Day as drivers turned more than 1,800 laps in preparation for this month's 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

    Footage from Opening Day practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is now available Click Here.

    "It's faster, for sure, no doubt about it. Speeds are going to be up," 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay said. "The difficult part for teams and drivers is balancing the clouded read you get from a big tow and new tires versus getting a read on the new car."

    Juan Pablo Montoya, who 15 years ago won the Indy 500, recorded the fastest lap at 226.772 mph (39.6874 seconds) on the 2.5-mile oval as 28 driver/car combinations became acclimated to the aero kits and developed a baseline for practice that begins May 11. The fast lap on Opening Day last year was set by Will Power at 223.057 mph.

    "(Having the fastest lap) is good for Verizon and for Chevy and for everybody that is paying attention. But I think the time sheet, as always, is irrelevant until you get to the race or until you get to qualifying," Montoya said.

    Montoya, the Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was 0.0533 of a second faster than teammate and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Marco Andretti was third on the speed chart at 226.268 mph and the fastest of the Honda contingent. Scott Dixon, driving a Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, was fourth at 225.881 mph and Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske was fifth at 225.641 mph.

    Takuma Sato (225.571) was sixth in an AJ Foyt Racing Honda, followed by Simona de Silvestro (225.317) in an Andretti Autosport Honda and two-time defending Indianapolis 500 Verizon P1 Award winner Ed Carpenter (225.257) in a CFH Racing Chevrolet. Hunter-Reay was ninth in an Andretti Autosport Honda (225.208) and Sage Karam, who made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the 2014 Indy 500, was 10th (224.931) in a Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Chevrolet.

    A rookie orientation test and refresher test for drivers who had not competed in a Verizon IndyCar Series oval race since last May also was part of the on-track activity.

    Gabby Chaves of Bryan Herta Autosport completed the three phases of the rookie program that examines car control, placements and a consistent driving pattern at various speed parameters. Stefano Coletti was out of the country and will run through the rookie phases May 11 in a KV Racing Technology Chevrolet.

    Overall, 1,845 laps were turned without incident.

    A balance between aerodynamic drag reduction and maintaining sufficient downforce is the hallmark of both manufacturer superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork kits. Different approaches were taken by manufacturers to achieve optimal performance in conjunction with their 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines, and it is reflected in their base platforms.

    Both manufacturer packages include a variety of individual aerodynamic components fitted to the Dallara rolling chassis that make them markedly different from the road/street and short oval kit that has been utilized in the first four races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. Additionally, multiple options are available to teams to explore during practice for qualifications May 16-17 and the May 24 race.

    "We have a laundry list of changes to try and luckily we have time to work with it," Andretti said of the aero options.

    Verizon IndyCar Series teams return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 7 for a Promoter Test on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in preparation for the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9. Pagenaud was the winner of the inaugural road race in 2014 while with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

    Daly Will Be 'Fueled By Bacon'

    Smithfield Foods will be the primary sponsor of Conor Daly's No. 43 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda at the Indianapolis 500. The team's third entry will be called the Fueled By Bacon Special in reference to Smithfield, the global food company founded in 1936 that is the world's largest provider of high-quality pork products.

    "We've been in motorsports, as most people know across the country, now in (NASCAR) Cup," said Bob Weber, Smithfield's vice president of corporate marketing. "It's exciting for us to finally step forward with the Indy 500. It's the next logical step for us. Our motorsports has proven very effective for us, not only in expanding our brand nationally, but also in generating sales for our company."

    Daly, who made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with AJ Foyt Racing, participated in today's open test on the 2.5-mile oval.

    Clauson Ready for Second Indy 500 Chance

    Despite a three-year absence from the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," Bryan Clauson feels on more even footing with the competition as practice began today for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race - thanks to the new superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork kits that debuted with the oval test.

    Clauson, the multiple champion in the U.S. Auto Club national series for sprint cars and midgets, made his one and only Indy 500 appearance in 2012 as a benefactor of an INDYCAR scholarship that funded his ride with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (now CFH Racing). Clauson started 31st and finished 30th, retiring after just 46 laps with mechanical problems. The Noblesville, Ind., resident has had a year to prepare for this opportunity after being named to drive the No. 88 KVSH Racing/Jonathan Byrd's Chevrolet in May 2014.

    He spent Opening Day going through the mandatory driver refresher program to get himself back up to speed at a methodical pace. Clauson, 25, believes the fact everyone else has little experience with the new aero kits will work to his benefit.

    "I guess it's probably a good year to come in again because everybody is starting, not necessarily from scratch, but not everybody knows what they have when they rolled in here this morning," Clauson said. "So we're all kind of starting from the same level to some degree. It's been too long for me (since driving an Indy car) to sit here and say that I could tell you the difference between it. It seems like the aero kits are definitely more efficient from what we've seen and definitely add some intrigue."

    Making Entrepreneurs Out of Lemonade

    A group of local young entrepreneurs met today with the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers they are paired with to raise funds for charity on Lemonade Day Greater Indianapolis, May 16 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    A total of 10 lemonade stands will be set up on Pagoda Plaza that day. The young business owners selected to operate the stands will sell their individually prepared beverages to fans attending the first day of qualifications for the 2015 Indianapolis 500. Portions of the proceeds from each stand go to charities designated by the driver teamed with each stand. Among the charities benefitting from the day will be: the Julian Center (Juan Pablo Montoya), Susan G. Komen (Pippa Mann), Indianapolis Humane Society (Will Power, Simon Pagenaud) and Indy Family Foundation (Ed Carpenter).

    The stand owners and drivers held an introductory session this morning to prepare for the big event. Lemonade Day is an annual national initiative directed at teaching children the fundamentals of starting and operating a business, as well as giving back to their community. Scott Jones, local entrepreneur and founder of Cha Cha, spearheaded bringing the program to Indianapolis in 2010.


    POST-PRACTICE DRIVER QUOTES:

    JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, fastest of the day): "It's OK. (Having the fastest lap) is good for Verizon and for Chevy and for everybody that is paying attention. But I think the time sheet, as always, is irrelevant until you get to the race or until you get to qualifying. Everybody is posting times in the draft and it's a matter of who is doing the best in the draft. I'll tell you, the Hondas are looking strong - I think they were doing a lot of race work at the end, so we'll see."... (On switching from today's oval test to the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis road course): "It's going to be a little bit of work for the team this week to switch the cars over, but it is what it is, and it's the same for everybody. This is a pretty cool road course and the race last year was pretty amazing. With the long straights and the draft, it's pretty exciting and it should bring really good racing."

    MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda, third fastest of the day): "It's interesting. I think there are definitely still some gremlins to work out. We have an overwhelming laundry list of changes to try. Luckily we have a lot of time to work with it, but we're going to need some time. I don't really want to go into a lot of detail, but there are a lot of things to work out still. I'm not thoroughly pleased with my car now. The good thing about that is we're still in the hunt speed-wise."... "I enjoy the road course. It's tougher on the (team) because for me, you can wake me up and I'll drive whatever and wherever. But I enjoy this layout with the long straightaways, we're going to see a lot of different downforce levels and a lot of games being played. From that standpoint, it's fun. We're trying to find the ultimate lap time, do you want to trim, do you not? And it's going to be the same for everybody."

    GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda):  "It was a good first day testing the aero kit. We also had to mileage out an engine, which we successfully did, but we have a little work to do with the handling of the Steak 'n Shake car. It's better than last year, but we're not where we need to be. It's the first on-track day of the month, which is good, so there is a lot of time ahead of us. The team is a little split up right now over the two cars, but once we get a full staff in here it will be a lot easier."

    DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 24 Robert Graham Special Chevrolet, filling in for Townsend Bell, who was racing sports cars at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca): "It's cool to be back and in a race car. Townsend couldn't be here today. We're just running the car to shake it down and do a system check. We're doing a few baseline runs. It's definitely not a full test; just for today and then Townsend will take over."

    JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): "The day started off really good, but as soon as it got a little hotter it got a little difficult and we started to slide around quite a bit. All in all I'm quite pleased with the first day, there is still a lot to work on and lots to try and understand with the new aero kits and the new downforce levels. We're not sure what is a typical baseline for running race run trim or qualifying trim, so we're just working it all out."

    CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): "The first day with the new Honda oval aero kits - our first time at IMS with the new aero kits. Today was just a learning day. I feel really good with the car and I think we had a fast car all day. Here in Indy, it comes down to whoever has the best tow, the least amount of aero. It's only the first day; we still have a lot of testing to go, but it feels pretty good."

    SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda): "Today was a pretty good first day.... I think our speed was OK. For me, it was a really good day just being with the team and learning a little bit on the oval. I think we're all pretty happy with the test day, and for sure we have some work to do, but I think we'll be OK. I'm just happy to be back in the car here in Indy."

    ORIOL SERVIA (No. 32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda):  "I enjoy driving here almost every time. It felt really good, I felt at home immediately and it helped that I was with the team I drove with last year. Everything felt like it was only yesterday that I drove an Indy car here instead of a year ago. The team did a great, great job. It already felt better than last year. We just went through a lot of changes and gathered data. We have a whole week now to look at the data and basically understand the new aero package. We have wind tunnel figures, which is good, but it's not the same as being on track so both cars tried different things to gather as much data as possible. Graham (Rahal) and I did a lot of laps today, but this week the engineers have a lot of work ahead of them to go through. I'm feeling pretty good. It's quite amazing to see how different the two aero packages are and yet are still so close in speed."

    PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "First off, it was just absolutely fantastic to finally be back in an Indy car after almost a year sitting out on the sidelines. It's great to be reunited and continue the strong relationship with my team at Dale Coyne Racing. I'm pretty happy with our performance on day one since we were able to get over 223 miles per hour. We have some work to do next week to help polish out everything, especially the driver. We certainly knocked the rust off today and I am really looking forward to getting in the car on a more consistent basis come next week. It was also great to get the INDIEGOGO logos on the pink Indy car and out on track today for people to see because our partnership with INDIEGOGO is so important to help us raise money in the fight to end breast cancer forever."

    GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda, who completed his Rookie Orientation Program): "This was a very special day for me to be out there in an Indy car and to work with the new aero kits. The car felt great, very comfortable. I can leave today with a very positive feeling and I'm very happy with the teamwork. This is the first time I have gone over 200 miles per hour. It's very different. I thought it would be closer to what it was like in an Indy Lights car. When you're running 30 miles per hour faster than you have ever gone before, everything comes at you a lot quicker. That was the first thing I noticed, how quickly I am completing laps. We managed some pretty good results, top three in the trap times. We kept finding more speed all day. Now we can focus on trying to build a strong consistent race car."

  • Newgarden Scores First Career Victory at Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

    Josef Newgarden wasn't nervous with three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and a hard-charging Graham Rahal within striking distance in the closing laps of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. The 24-year-old Tennessee native held off both competitors and pulled away for his first Verizon IndyCar Series victory in his 55th start.

    Newgarden, driving the No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, is the fourth different winner in as many races this season. This was the first victory since the merger of Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and the team's sixth win overall.

    "This is the way I wanted to do it. I didn't want to win on some crazy incident, or on luck," Newgarden said. "This team deserves it. They gave me an incredible car and let me get out there and rip with the thing and pass people on pure merit. And that's due to CFH Racing - they were just incredible today. We're going up against the giants, but I think this team can be a giant one day."

    Rahal, who charged from fifth in the final 10 laps on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park road course, overtook Dixon on the final lap to claim his first podium finish since Belle Isle 1 last May. Rahal, driving the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, finished 2.2061 seconds behind Newgarden.

    "The Honda did a great job for me today," Rahal said. "I passed a lot of guys and I hope everyone enjoyed the race because we were pushing to the last seconds. A few more laps and I think we would have had (Newgarden)."

    Dixon, who won a week earlier on the streets of Long Beach, Calif., finished third in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. He has finished on the podium in all six races at Barber Motorsports Park (four second-place finishes and third in each of the past two seasons).

    Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power, who won at Barber in 2011 and 2012, placed fourth in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the past two races at Barber, finished fifth in the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda.

    Helio Castroneves was running fourth in the final laps but had to pit with one lap remaining for a splash of fuel. The unplanned stop dropped the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner to 15th place in the waning laps - one position behind Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who maintained the series championship lead by three points over Castroneves heading to the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9.

    Newgarden, who started a season-high fifth, had a previous best finish of second (Baltimore 2013 and Iowa 2014). He placed eighth after starting fourth at Barber Motorsports Park last year. He led a field-high 46 laps - more than double his previous career total.

    Auburn Football Coach Impressed in First Visit to Race

    Gus Malzahn has coached some great athletes on the gridiron, but the Auburn University football coach had a newfound appreciation for the conditioning of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers after visiting the KV Racing Technology compound before today's race. Malzahn was a guest of Raymond Harbert, chairman and CEO of the Harbert Management Company that is an associate sponsor this weekend on the No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet driven by Stefano Coletti.

    "I enjoy Indy car racing and this will be my first experience seeing it first-hand," Malzahn said as he took his first close-up look at the KV cars. "The fact that it worked out, I was in town already with Mr. Harbert and Charlie Miller (Harbert's executive vice president and global head of distribution). It's great to be here. I'm just learning about it behind the scenes."

    Malzahn, who guided Auburn to the national championship game in his first year at the helm in 2013, planned to be an interested spectator in Coletti's pit during the race. He was impressed with the preparations drivers must undertake to stand up to the rigors of Verizon Indy Car Series racing.

    "It's real interesting to me about the drivers, how much they have to work out and how fit they've got to be," Malzahn said. "I just got through talking to (Coletti) and he was talking about his workout routine. A lot of people probably don't know that, but working out two hours a day and the mental and physical awareness you have to have to do this is really unbelievable."

    'It Feels Good' for Country Singer to See Race

    Drake White's current country music hit is "It Feels Good," which described well the local native's first visit to a Verizon IndyCar Series race. White sang the national anthem before today's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

    "It does feel good," White said when asked to sum up his excitement. "Because I say it all the time, I try not to make the pun, but it does feel good out here, man."

    White, from Gadsden, Ala., felt even better seeing his name decaled on the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet driven by Sage Karam. White is signed to Dot Records, a Big Machine subsidiary, and said he draws motivation from the progress of Karam, who at 20 is the youngest driver in the field.

    "To come out here and see my name and my hard work paying off from a music standpoint, and being plastered on the back of a car, is pretty awesome," White said. "(Karam) being a young guy and being able to come out here and do what he's been able to do is just a testament to his dedication and his talent.

    "I love the aspect of maybe telling somebody to follow the dream or push forward or go for it. Just because it hasn't been done doesn't mean that it can't be done. He's really inspired me to go out and push my boundaries musically."

    Of Note
    Brian Campe, race engineer for Juan Pablo Montoya's No. 2 Hawk Performance Team Penske Chevrolet, grew up in Huntsville, Ala., where his father was a NASA employee. Montoya won the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29 and led the point standings heading into the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. "We finished the 2014 season on a high note and we have carried that momentum through the offseason and into the start of 2015," Campe said. "We found out where our weaknesses were and we attacked those, which were the street courses and road courses, and we've been strong in those areas so far."... Spencer Pigot (Juncos Racing) made it a sweep in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, winning the weekend doubleheader nightcap today by 5.9781 seconds over Jack Harvey (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agjanian). Pigot took over the championship lead by seven points over Ed Jones (Carlin).... In the second Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend, Neil Alberico (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) inherited the lead and drove to victory after pole sitter Weiron Tan (Andretti Autosport) was penalized and moved to the rear of the field for blocking at the start. It was the third win in five races this season for Alberico, who holds an eight-point lead in the standings over Santiago Urrutia (Team Pelfrey).


    POST-RACE DRIVER QUOTES

    JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, race winner): "This is the way I wanted to do it. I didn't want to win on some crazy incident or on luck. This team deserves it. They gave me an incredible car and let me get out there and rip with the thing and pass people on pure merit. And that's due to CFH Racing - they were just incredible today. We're going up against the giants, but I think this team can be a giant one day. We've got great partners in Chevrolet and Firestone - they deserve it and today they made it easy on me. Today was a good day and we need to have more of these."

    GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda, second place): "I'm really proud of these Steak 'n Shake guys. They've worked extremely hard and today I drove that race 110 percent, every single lap. We knew when we made the strategy call to stay out (that) we had to go fast in order to make up the gap. I've got to say Honda did a great job for me today. It's still tough to follow, but obviously I passed a lot of guys. This team has come a long way and I think we have proven that. Eventually one of these days we'll win one of these things. I hope everybody enjoyed the race because we were pushing there until the last second. It was great racing with Ryan (Hunter-Reay), Will (Power) and (Scott) Dixon - he gave me room there in those last couple turns. That's pretty nice of him; not a lot of guys do that."... (On if he had a chance to win): "(Jack) Hawksworth got out of the pits in front of me and that held me up and we lost a few seconds right there, so we had to pit a little earlier than we wanted to. A couple laps
    earlier, we would have gotten him I think."

    SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Coke/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, third place): "It was definitely a tough day. It started horribly, we kind of got pushed around there at the start and just didn't get a clean line there. We dropped like a rock - we bled the rear tires off on the first set and I think we were the first to stop in that situation. It kind of altered the day and how we could kind of deal with tires and fuel and all that kind of stuff. We knew the alternate strategy was going to come late and it came strong. All in all, congratulations to Josef (Newgarden) - he's a hell of a driver, with a small team, and for them to get a victory is really cool to see."

    WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, fourth place): "Very eventful. A fun race that you like if you end up in a good position. Man, I didn't even see what happened when I got put in the gravel there (the incident with Sato). But I did everything I could to get back and got back to fourth, so it's a good result considering. After (the incident) I was just focusing on doing a good job, saving fuel and passing when we could. Did everything we could, got back. I didn't even see what happened on that penalty because I just felt a hit from behind. I thought I was clear. I looked in the mirror, it was hard to see, but that's racing."

    RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda, fifth place): "I think that was as good as we were going to get today. We really worked hard on saving fuel. We had to have a lot of discipline to pull that off. Some guys pitted a little later than us and they were able to go a little heavier, a little harder (at the end), so we missed out on the podium because of that. All in all a good day. Progress. We had to save a lot of fuel today. One of the worst things in an Indy car is having to save fuel while guys behind you are on good tires and don't have to save any (fuel), like Graham (Rahal)."

    JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, series points leader): "We had a long day with the No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevy. We started with a bad qualifying effort, but we seemed to be in an OK position to dig ourselves out of the hole at one point. We were racing with (Ryan) Hunter-Reay and he finished fifth. It's hard to race with some of the guys in the back of the pack. They are young and sometimes make moves like you aren't even there when you are right beside them. So we ended up with two broken wings and a 14th-place finish."

    HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet): "Not the finish we hoped for the AAA Insurance Chevrolet. There was just a bit of miscommunication on our fuel number that, unfortunately, caused us to have to pit with one lap left. You never want to see the white flag on pit road. We were on the same strategy with (Josef) Newgarden and (Scott) Dixon, but we were needing to meet a different fuel number than they were and I didn't understand that. So I was trying to balance making the number we had to meet with not giving up a position to Dixon, who was behind me. Unfortunately that caused us to come up short. I hate it because the AAA guys gave me another car that could've easily won the race, but it was a crazy race out there today."

    STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "We were off to a great start with a great strategy. We pitted and then after that we were running 10th and the car felt great and we were up there. However, when we pitted, an accident just happened and Race Control apparently thought that I came in when the yellow was out, which I really don't think is the case. We need to get that clarified because they sent me to the back of the field and my race went downhill from there. I tried to pass (James) Jakes and we both made contact and spun, and then I got a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact and after that it was really over for me. I feel bad for my team because they have been working so hard to give me such a fast race car, but we seem to be getting the worst luck and hopefully that changes soon."

    JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): "The race was pretty good for the Arrow Electronics team. We were able to pick up a couple of spots, obviously. The pace of the car was really good and I think the guys called the right strategy for where we started. We were missing in one area: We just didn't quite have it on the brakes today, unfortunately. That allowed Graham (Rahal) to stay in front of us while he was on blacks (primary tires) there and it really got us stuck behind those Coyne cars for way too long. You look at where Graham finished and we were right with him there. Obviously we missed a bit but strategy was good, car was good and like I said, if we'd of just had a little bit more on the brakes, I think we could've made some good headway. We stayed out of trouble, had a good points day and we'll take it. We get faster and faster, more and more competitive in these races and that's what we need to see. A big thanks to all the Arrow crew guys for a solid weekend and we look forward to the GP of Indy now."

    JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It was a disappointing day for the No. 7 MediaTech Honda with UMP and HelpForScoliosis.com. We just had an error in the pits and then we got turned around, actually when we were on the lead lap. It's disappointing but we'll take credits from this weekend and move on to the Indy grand prix. Obviously, the No. 5 car got some more points for the team, which is good, and we'll try to do the same next week."

    SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet): "Another rough day for the No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet. We started out well on that first lap and actually moved up a position fighting for a spot in the top 10, but then the setup just went kind of loose. We came in and looked at what was going in and it looks like one of my rear springs actually broke. There's nothing we can do about that, but it's still a shame because I think we had a good car all weekend."

    TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "It was a tough day for NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing. We really had a roller coaster of a race weekend with a bad practice to start and then a solid qualifying effort. It just kind of went downhill even from the first lap when I got caught between some cars and dropped a few spots. It was just a hard day for the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet, with struggling to maintain tires and get back to the front of the pack. I'm happy for Scott (Dixon) for scoring another podium, but the 10 car definitely needs to get back up to the front."

    SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs-KVSH Chevrolet): "We had a great day. The Mistic machine was awesome. It's just Race Control ruined it for us. You can't leave two drivers stranded out there because they did a great job. Simon (Pagenaud) and I were managing our tires better than most people, we were first and second and we were going to come into the pits a few laps later and they called a caution for debris. They should have let us know they were going to call a caution and given us a chance to pit. They didn't do that and it ruined our day. After that, it was recovery mode. Thankfully, we had a great car and we beat all the guys we were competing against... some guys in front of us and the guys who were on the same strategy. But you can't overcome being dropped to the back of the pack like that. That was a shame because it should have been a very different day. The Mistic crew did a great job and we will keep trying, but for sure it is very frustrating."  

    TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "It was good to finish the race under the very tough and difficult circumstances. At the start of the race we gained a couple positions and we were working through our strategy when the yellow came out and we tried to take advantage of it, so we pitted. I think the decision was OK as there were a couple other good cars on the same strategy. We used red (alternate) tires in two stints, but one stint was really long and later in that stint we were struggling to keep pace quite a lot. Now you can say we should have come in, change tires, get a splash of fuel, etc., but at that time it was a difficult decision. We were losing a lot of positions, but the team decided at the time to stay out so I would only have one more pit stop. It was a tough day. And I had the collision with Will (Power), which looked like he didn't see me when I was already committed into the turn. He just came out of the pit and we were side by side and I tried to avoid him, but it was not possible. He is the last guy I would want to hit out there. It was a tough day but we learned something for both cars and hopefully we can put it to good use for the Indy grand prix."

    RODOLFO GONZALEZ (No. 18 Dale Coyne Honda): "We were really competitive and it is a bit misleading to see a 20th-place finish because we had made up some really good ground during the race.  I had a lot of interesting battles with some big names in the series, so that was good. We finished quite a few places below where we were running a lot of the day because we took a little gamble on fuel at the end and didn't have enough to make it to the end. We were still running pretty good even though I was saving fuel and then I had to save even more, which was difficult. We ran as high as 10th and were running P15 at the time. I had some good battles with (Juan Pablo) Montoya and (Takuma) Sato, who are very good drivers. Two laps from the end, we didn't quite make the fuel numbers and it was disappointing I had to come in and finish 20th. In the end, it was good experience and in the future I just have to be more cautious of the way I save fuel."

    FRANCESCO DRACONE (No. 19 Dale Coyne Honda): "This felt like a never-ending race because of all of the track action and how physical it was out there. I was a little disappointed in my performance during some phases of the race, but there were others where I gave some guys a good battle when I was in the middle of the pack. I got my lap back and was slightly off strategy, so I was fighting for position for a while with some fast guys. During the last stint someone came into my rear tire and we had to do an extra pit stop. I didn't have any more (alternate) red tires left so we had to go to black and I ended up last because of this. I think I would have finished 21st or something without that puncture. The strategy was really good and I was running in clean air, but someone hit my tire and that was it."

    SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): "We had plenty of pace in the Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet. Plenty. Plenty. We would have challenged for the win. In the first stint when we got by Will (Power), we were looking really strong coming up on Helio (Castroneves) and (Josef) Newgarden. It was a little bit of a shame. We just got unlucky with the yellow there. From then on we had to be really aggressive and attack and pass people, which we did. That was fun from that part; I'm happy with my driving. But I feel like we had a much better car than the result we actually had, but there are always some outside factors you can't control. Congratulations to Newgarden on his first win. He deserves it. He has been knocking on the door for a long time. I'm really happy for him."

    CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): "I think sixth for me is like a victory today. I mean, I always want to win, but this sixth feels so good because of how we started the weekend. Starting 22nd at Barber (Motorsports Park), it is really hard to make your way to the front. My team did a great job - in pit stops, in strategy. I think I did a great job at saving fuel; I'm more or less a rookie at saving fuel, but I think now I have my 'saving fuel degree' from university (laughs). Now I'm looking forward to the next one."

    MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "I lost too much time early in the stint to (Scott) Dixon and Ryan (Hunter-Reay). I had a go at Dixon... I got pushed off the track, so we lost a lot of track position. I lost a lot of time, really, in that stint trying to conserve (fuel). I need to get better at managing, but we were losing the rear tires, so it was a real struggle."

    JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "I didn't get a great start off the line, got caught in it in the first corner, but got my rhythm in the first stint and picked off a few cars. Then we pitted and had a good second stint and were running with (Simon) Pagenaud and (Tony) Kanaan. Then on the restart, I passed Pagenaud but couldn't stop the car on the exit and I ended up losing that spot. Then we settled into a rhythm and were doing OK, but we died there on the reds (alternate tires) at the end and should have pitted a lap earlier. When we did pit we had an issue and we lost a lot of time in the pits, so then it was day done. We just had to bring the car home. It's disappointing really because we could have gotten a top 10 or 11 out of it. So a bit disappointed."

    CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "It was kind of a frustrating race with some of the calls that were made and I think they're worth investigating further. Overall, the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew just never stopped fighting. We had really good pit stops. We did get caught out with that first yellow and had to go with an alternate strategy, but we were quick when we needed to be. I mean to be knocking on the door of a top-10 finish after our strategy went completely wrong is a pretty good result for the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet. I'm looking forward to the Indy road course and the entire month of May. I feel like we made a big step as a team this weekend and hopefully we can keep that up in a few weekends at the GP of Indianapolis."

    GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): "We ended up with the right strategy to take us to a possible top-eight finish. One of our stints on the (alternate) red tires, we just couldn't hang on to the handling. About four or five laps in, and it just took us off the pace. I'm very happy we again showed our strength in race trim and had strong stops by the BHA guys."

  • Power Wins Third Consecutive 600 Pole

    Will Power earned the Verizon P1 Award for the third consecutive year at the Texas Motor Speedway oval and tied a legendary Indy car driver for career pole positions in the process.

    Driving the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power recorded a two-lap average speed of 218.519 mph (47.9410 cumulative seconds) as the first of 23 Verizon IndyCar Series qualifiers for the Firestone 600 to be run under the lights June 6 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN). It is Power's fourth pole this season and 40th of his 11-year career, tying him with retired Team Penske driver Rick Mears for fifth place on the all-time list.

    Power set track qualifying lap records earlier this season on street courses at St. Petersburg and Detroit Belle Isle, as well as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. He was six-tenths of a second off his 2013 Texas Motor Speedway two-lap qualifying record on the 1.455-mile, high-banked oval and led a Team Penske sweep of the top-three qualifying positions.

    "When I drew No. 1 (in the qualifying order), I was a bit worried about conditions, but it stayed consistent throughout the whole run of qualifying," said Power. "I was really happy to get pole, honestly. I felt if I could be in the top five, I'd be happy. Starting first, really happy about that."

    Power will be seeking his second victory at Texas Motor Speedway in the 248-lap event. He won the second race of the same-day doubleheader in 2011.

    "The race will be interesting," he said. "There are many (aero kit) components you can put on the car to add downforce, but it's really draggy so it's going to be about finding the compromise between speed loss and grip."

    Simon Pagenaud, fastest in the late-morning practice in the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet, earned his third front-row start of the season with a two-lap average speed of 218.441 mph.

    "I just missed it by a little bit," said Pagenaud, who posted the fastest lap of the practice session at 218.744 mph.

    Helio Castroneves, who has won four times at Texas Motor Speedway, qualified third (218.069 mph) in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet. Carlos Munoz, winner of the first race last weekend at Belle Isle, broke the Penske stranglehold up front by qualifying fourth (217.831 mph) in the No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda for Andretti Autosport.

    Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya (217.530) and Graham Rahal (217.438) qualified on Row 3.

    "Starting up toward the front with these boys is exactly where we need to be. Obviously, points are a big focus for us right now," said Rahal, who is fifth in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. "It is going to be a tough race; everybody is going to have to manage their tires as well as they can. I feel like our race car is pretty good and I feel like track position is going to be pretty important here, too."

    Ryan Hunter-Reay, uninjured in a crash in the morning practice, qualified his repaired No. 28 DHL Honda 21st.

    1. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 218.519   
    2. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 218.441   
    3. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 218.069   
    4. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 217.831    
    5. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 217.530   
    6. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 217.438   
    7. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 217.411   
    8. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 217.337   
    9. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 217.323   
    10. (8) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 216.920   
    11. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 216.876   
    12. (7) James Jakes, Honda, 216.864   
    13. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 216.686   
    14. (67) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 216.210   
    15. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 216.197    
    16. (19) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 215.929   
    17. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 215.621   
    18. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 215.303   
    19. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 215.162   
    20. (98) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 215.146   
    21. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 215.026   
    22. (18) Pippa Mann, Honda, 214.654   
    23. (4) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 211.930   

  • Scott Dixon wins the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

    Through two races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon was off to his worst start since 2009.

    It certainly was too early to be overly concerned, he said, following 15th- and 11th-place finishes. Maybe, but his results in eight previous starts in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach -- one top-five finish -- wouldn't necessarily pump up the three-time series champion's confidence entering the 80-lap race.

    Qualifying third -- his best on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn seaside street circuit -- was a positive and overtaking Juan Pablo Montoya on Lap 2 showed that the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet had the pace. When Dixon beat Verizon P1 Award winner Helio Castroneves off pit lane on the first service stop on Lap 29 of 80 to take the lead, he wasn't to be denied in the race that had only one caution for four laps.

    Dixon's first victory at Long Beach was his 36th overall, breaking a tie with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car list. Al Unser is fourth with 39 victories. It was the 98th Indy car victory for team owner Chip Ganassi.

    Castroneves was held in his pit box by chief mechanic Travis Law to avoid contact with the incoming No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet driven by Tony Kanaan. The extra second was critical. And though the crew of the No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California entry had a blazing second and final stop on Lap 55, Dixon was six-tenths of a second ahead of Castroneves on his out lap entering Turn 1.

    Kanaan broke up a Team Penske podium sweep in the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., and Dixon did the same at Long Beach.

    "This is huge. I love the event, but as far as coming here and doing well it hadn't been on that list. That pit stop exchange definitely helped us get to the lead but the car was fast and all we had to do was maintain that lead," Dixon said.

    Scott Dixon and Helio CastronevesCastroneves, who finished 2.2221 seconds back, forged his second consecutive runner-up finish and 37th of his career to tie Bobby Rahal for second on the all-time list (Mario Andretti with 56 is first).

    "My AAA car was awesome and we were pretty good all the way," Castroneves said. “The guys did a great job in the pits and especially the (close call) between me and Ganassi. It was just perfect. It was better to be safe than sorry, but it was a great job overall for Team Penske. At the end of the day, second place is not bad.”

    Castroneves closed from 10 points back of Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya to three points of the front-runner. Montoya, who won at St. Petersburg, placed third in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

    Simon Pagenaud finished fourth and Kanaan also earned his second top-five finish of the young season. Sebastien Bourdais placed sixth and Josef Newgarden was seventh. Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz and Sebastian Saavedra completed the top 10.

    Dixon also tied Bobby Unser, Emerson Fittipaldi and Castroneves atop the all-time list with an Indy car victory in 11 consecutive seasons, and he has 13 seasons with at least one victory. A.J. Foyt with 18 is the leader and Mario Andretti with 16 is second.

    "Long Beach is never an easy place to win and Scott Dixon did a great job today and so did his pit crew to get him out front," said Unser, who four days earlier was honored in Long Beach by the Road Racing Drivers Club. "Racing is a team effort and both Scott and his crew earned the win, my congratulations to them.  Scott is a smart, smooth driver and once again proved it. Scott Dixon has a big, big abundance of talent and he has proven it over the years.

    "He wins driving on any type of course he races his Indy car on. Scott wins on ovals, big and small; street courses and road courses.  I remember last year he came from dead last to win at Mid-Ohio. Scott Dixon has talent and skill and will win races for years and years to come."

    Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power had a tough weekend in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. He qualified 18th and on Lap 7 stalled on the pit lane entrance under caution.

    "I feel bad for the Verizon Chevy team," said Power, who finished 20th. :They worked so hard and me finishing P20 was a result of a bad day in qualifying. I didn't get it done and it was snow ball effect from there. Today I made mistakes and I stalled the car on pit road during the first pit stop. Was hoping for a top-10 finish but it didn't happen. It makes me more motivated to make up for it the next couple races."

    The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 26 on the Barber Motorsports Park road course in Birmingham, Ala., will be the third race in as many weeks.

    Conor Daly, who was called by team owner Dale Coyne an hour before the morning practice April 18 to fill in for the injured Rocky Moran Jr., qualified 21st in his second Verizon IndyCar Series start and brought the No. 18 Honda home with nary a scratch in 17th place.

  • Wilson suffers head injury at Indycar event

    Justin Wilson was transported by helicopter to a hospital Sunday after he appeared to have been struck by a piece of debris from Sage Karam’s car when it crashed in front of him during the final laps of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.

    Karam was leading when his No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet spun on its own in Turn 1 on Lap 179 of the 200 lap race. As parts from his car littered the track, one of the pieces appeared to strike Wilson, who was trailing.

    Wilson’s car immediately veered into the left and into the inside wall on the exit of Turn 1. Safety workers immediately arrived and frantically worked to extricate Wilson from the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda.

    Wilson is currently in a coma and in critical condition while undergoing further evaluation at Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa

    The wall where Wilson hit was covered by a SAFER barrier.

    Karam emerged from his car under his own power. He appeared to be shaken, but walked to an ambulance. He was later checked at the infield care center. IndyCar said he would be transported to Allentown as well, to evaluate a right foot injury.

    IndyCar did not red flag the race for the incident, instead allowing a single file of cars to parade around the track as the safety crews worked.

    Wilson, 36, is a native of Sheffield, England, who resides in Longmont, Colo. He has competed in American open-wheel racing since 2004, and competed in six races this season for Andretti Autosport, owned by former driver Michael Andretti.

    “It’s a tough one right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with Justin right now,” team owner Michael Andretti said after watching another of his drivers, Ryan-Hunter Reay, win the race under caution.

    Hunter-Reay was subdued in the winner’s circle as Pocono Raceway and its fans fell silent.

    “I saw the trucks around him. … First thoughts with Justin, for sure. He’s my friend. I have no details right now, so it’s a bit hard not knowing anything,” Hunter-Reay said. “I thought Justin was OK the whole time. I thought he was in an ambulance and was going to get a check.”

    Hunter-Reay was later told that Wilson was “unconscious and not responding” when he was airlifted to the hospital.

    Wilson’s brother, Stefan Wilson, who spent four seasons (2009-12) driving in Indy Lights, the Verizon IndyCar feeder system, tweeted that he was trying to get himself and Justin’s wife, Julia, to the area, but that he had no update on his brother’s condition.