East Coast Logistics Crispy Memorial To Murcott

After an intense rain system passed through Brisbane on Friday afternoon many parts of the river city were left more than a little damp and AusDeck Patios Archerfield Speedway was no exception. Despite clear skies all day Saturday the infield area of the track remained far too wet and the event was postponed until Sunday 03 May 2015. It would be an afternoon event, with racing starting from 1pm, and concluding by 6pm. Several of the nominated drivers were unable to make the Sunday afternoon event, leaving twenty-five Sprintcars to contest another round of the East Coast Logistics Crispy Memorial Series. David Murcott was the standout from the beginning, setting quick time, winning a heat and taking race honours at the end of the 30-lap A-Main event. Andrew Scheuerle put in another strong and consistent run to finish the night in second with Darren Jensen filling the final podium position. Bryan Mann and Kevin Titman rounded out the top five.

Qualifying got underway with the sun still quite high in the sky. David Murcott was in the first group to hit the track and quickly set an unbeatable benchmark when he stopped the clock at 12.039 seconds. Bryan Mann, Kevin Titman, Darren Jensen, Andrew Scheuerle and Steven Rowell were all less than half a second slower, with Mick Sauer, Brent Kratzmann, Mitchell Gee and Brent Aprile rounding out the top ten. Lachlan McHugh, in his first qualifying run in a Sprintcar, qualified in eighteenth with a qualifying time of 13.168 seconds, and made it into the top eighteen inversion on a very difficult track. McHugh was relegated rear of the field for his heats as it was his maiden night of Sprintcar competition.

Mike Walsh and Steven Johnson started the front row for the start of heat one. The first start was aborted, officials deeming Johnson to have jumped the start and relegated the Q27 racer to the second row for the restart. Second time around it was Mike Walsh and Mick Sauer who led the field to the green, with Sauer managing to secure the lead by turn one. Steven Johnson took to the high line in turn two trying to find a way past Mike Walsh, only to get a little too high in turn three, clip the wall with his right rear, and invert the Brisbane Yamaha #27 racer. Johnson was not injured in the crash but was out of the race. Walsh and Sauer again led the field to the start with Walsh this time securing the lead by the time they hit turn one. Steven Rowell ducked underneath Andrew Liebke as David Murcott ran around the outside in turn one. By turn two both Rowell and Murcott had made their way in front of Liebke, only to come together, allowing Liebke to slip back through. Meanwhile Sauer was trying to slip back underneath Walsh as they raced down the back straight, only for the race to once again be brought under caution, this time for David Murcott who had slowed to a stop in turn three after the incident with Rowell. Walsh and Sauer led the field for the fourth attempt to get heat one underway, with Walsh again securing the lead. David Murcott however was on a mission and wasted no time once the lights went green. Murcott instantly took the highline and made his way past both Rowell and Liebke by the end of the second corner, and Brett Thomas, in his first night in a Sprintcar for a number of years, just half a lap later. Murcott now had Mick Sauer in his sights, and while it took a couple of laps, the reigning Australian Champion slipped underneath Sauer as they raced down the main straight before setting out after Walsh and the race lead. Walsh had built a comfortable lead but it only took Murcott a few laps to close the gap and take advantage when Walsh ran a fraction wide in turn two. David Murcott went on to take the race win ahead of Mike Walsh, Mick Sauer, Brett Thomas, Andrew Liebke, Anthony Lambert and Bruce Marshall. Steven Rowell and Steven Johnson both failed to finish the event.

Heat two saw Richard Morgan and Ben Hilder share the front row for the start, with Morgan getting the jump and quickly settling into the race lead. Hilder settled into second as Bryan Mann took to the high side and ran around the outside of Brent Kratzmann and Brandon Rawlings, before putting the pressure on Hilder and making his way into second by the end of the first lap. Andrew Scheuerle searched for a way past Brandon Rawlings, while Brent Kratzmann and Lachlan McHugh battled at the rear of the field. Mann gradually closed in on Richard Morgan and the race lead, and was just attempting a bold outside passing move for the race lead as the duo exited turn two, when the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Lachlan McHugh in turn three. Richard Morgan led the restart with just two laps to run and Bryan Mann right on his tail. Further back in the field Brent Kratzmann managed to slip past Andrew Scheuerle, the two putting on a great show for the fans as they raced towards the chequered flag. Richard Morgan went on to take the win ahead of Bryan Mann, Ben Hidler, Brandon Rawlings, Brent Kratzmann, Andrew Scheuerle, Kristy Bonsey and Lachlan McHugh.

Heat three rolled onto the track with Callum Walker to start from pole position with Mark Pholi alongside. Walker led them to the first corner, with Pholi challenging hard on the high side while Darren Jensen and Mitchell Gee argued over positions mid-field. Walker and Pholi were side-by-side coming our of turn two when Walker got a little crossed up and retreated to the inner bike track for a moment. Walker rejoined the race once he had settled the car but had lost positions to Brent Aprile, Darren Jensen and Mitchell Gee, and quickly faded to the rear of the field. Aprile, Jensen and Gee were embroiled in an intense battle, with Gee managing to slip underneath Jensen. Brandon Haynes spun to a stop in turn four and brought the race under caution, with Mark Pholi to lead the restart with eight laps still to run. Darren Jensen managed to slip underneath Mitchell Gee as they raced down the back straight, but an uncharacteristic spin in turn four left the Q75 racer stranded on the track and brought the race under caution once more. With barely a lap of the restart completed the race was again stopped, this time for Kevin Titman who had slowed to a stop in turn four with mechanical issues on the Q59 racer. Titman was unable to restart the event, retiring to the infield after completing just four laps. Mark Pholi again led the restart and while Brent Aprile put all kinds of pressure on Pholi for the remaining five laps, he couldn’t quite get the job done. Mark Pholi walked away with the heat win, with Brent Aprile forced to settle for second. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in third and led Brandon Haynes, Jason Bottin, Darren Jensen and Callum Walker across the line. Kevin Titman did not finish the race.

Heat four started with Callum Walker and Ben Hilder from the front row with Andrew Liebke and Mitchell Gee close behind. Walker and Hilder raced side-by-side into turn one, with Hilder eventually managing to secure the race lead. Walker settled into second while Brent Aprile had quickly made his way from fifth to third in just half a lap. Aprile spent a couple of laps searching for a way past Walker, while Walker did a great job holding off his more experienced rival. However track conditions got the better of walker and he spun the Q33 racer in turn three, bringing the race under caution. Hilder led the restart from Aprile and Mitchell Gee, with David Murcott in fourth. Aprile was all over the back of Hilder, the two putting on a breath-taking show for the crowd, while further back in the field Steven Johnson was trying to find a way underneath Kristy Bonsey. Still it was hard to take your eyes from the battle for the lead as Aprile committed to the high line, running around the outside of Hilder as they navigated turns three and four. Once in front Aprile began opening a sizable lead and weaving his way through lapped traffic. He slammed the wall coming out of turn two but had built enough of a margin that while he slowed briefly he was able to maintain his lead. Brent Aprile went on to take the win, with a margin of 1.897 seconds on second placed Ben Hilder. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in third ahead of David Murcott, Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson, Kristy Bonsey, Callum Walker and Bruce Marshall.

Brett Thomas and Richard Morgan shared the front row for the start of heat five, with hard-chargers Kevin Titman and Brent Kratzmann out of the second row. The first start was aborted, officials deeming Thomas to have jumped the start. Thomas was relegated to the second row for the second attempted start, with Kevin Titman now from pole position. Titman got the initial jump but Morgan was quick to challenge on the high side and had basically secured the lead when Titman got too sideways in turn two and lost several car lengths. Brent Kratzmann was quick to move and quickly blasted around the outside. Titman found himself in the middle of a very intense battle with Kratzmann, Andrew Scheuerle and Brett Thomas. Scheuerle challenged Titman before Titman put all kinds of pressure on Kratzmann, eventually slipping underneath the Q4 racer as they raced through turn four. Titman set out about chasing down Richard Morgan in the race lead, spending several laps closing the gap before giving it everything he had. It was a spectacular battle as Titman relentlessly searched for the right way past Morgan, while Morgan ran a smooth and consistent line, continually denying Titman every time he was challenged. Richard Morgan went on to take the win ahead of Kevin Titman, Andrew Scheuerle, Brent Kratzmann, Brett Thomas, Bryan Mann, Anthony Lambert and Lachlan McHugh.

The sixth and final heat of the night rolled onto the track with Mike Walsh and Steven Rowell set to lead them away. Walsh got the jump on the start, but Rowell was strong on the high line, stealing the lead through turn one, only for Walsh to fight back hard on the low line through turn two to regain the lead. By turn three Rowell had slipped back underneath Walsh to take control of the race, leaving Walsh to defend his position from Mark Pholi. Darren Jensen was on his way forward when the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Brandon Haynes in turn four. Steven Rowell led the restart from Mike Walsh and Darren Jensen with Jensen and Mark Pholi both making their way past Walsh over the next few laps. Rowell opened a sizable lead, leaving Jensen and Pholi to argue over second and third, and while Rowell slammed the wall at one stage, he was able to maintain his lead and went on to be the first to greet the chequered flag. Darren Jensen and Mark Pholi battled all the way to the line, with Jensen crossing the line in second and Pholi forced to settle for third. Mick Sauer was fourth past the chequered flag, leading Brandon Rawlings, Mike Walsh, Jason Bottin and Brandon Haynes home.

Next up was the B-Main event, with eleven cars taking to the track for twelve laps. Andrew Liebke started from pole position with Mike Walsh alongside and Brett Thomas and Callum Walker right on their tail. Liebke got the best start and quickly settled into the race lead, with Walsh in second followed by Thomas and Steven Johnson. Johnson managed to slip underneath Thomas at the end of the first lap while further back in the field Anthony Lambert was working the high line trying to make his way into a transfer position. Lambert soon made his way into fifth, just one spot shy of a transfer, and joined the battle that was unfolding as Steven Johnson and Brett Thomas each tried to find a way past Mike Walsh. Thomas had just managed to slip back under Johnson when behind them Callum Walker drifted too high coming out of turn two and slammed the concrete wall hard. Walker tried to limp the broken Q33 racer off the track but didn’t quite make it to the infield and the race was brought under caution. Andrew Liebke led the restart from Walsh, Johnson and Thomas, with Lambert still in the hunt for a transfer position. Liebke got a brilliant start and immediately opened a small but comfortable lead, while the battle raged for the minor places. Brandon Haynes had a truly spectacular run, slipping underneath Anthony Lambert, Brett Thomas and Steven Johnson in little more than a lap, but ultimately faded as all three drivers eventually found their way back past. Steven Johnson caught Mike Walsh and gave it everything as the two put on a spectacular show. Neither was willing to give up without a fight, with Johnson eventually able to secure the advantage. Andrew Liebke went on to take the win, nearly three seconds ahead of second placed Steven Johnson. Mike Walsh crossed the line a very respectable third while Brett Thomas secured the final transfer to the A-main in his first night of Sprintcar competition in quite some time. Anthony Lambert crossed the line in fifth ahead of Brandon Haynes, Jason Bottin, Kristy Bonsey, Lachlan McHugh and Bruce Marshall. Callum Walker did not finish the event.

Eight cars lined up for the 6 lap Dash event, with Brent Aprile and Darren Jensen from the front row and Bryan Mann and David Murcott out of the second row. Both Aprile and Jensen got a great start and they drag raced side-by-side into the first corner. Unfortunately slight contact between the pair as they exited turn one launched Aprile into a series of quick, low to the ground, flips. Aprile was quick to exit the wreck but would sadly be out for the rest of the evening. With Aprile out of the event, Bryan Mann was promoted to pole position for the restart but Jensen had a brilliant run on the high line and quickly secured the race lead. David Murcott instantly challenged Mann for second and while Mann held on for the first lap, Murcott ran the highline perfectly and made his way into second. Andrew Scheuerle briefly challenged Mann for third, while Murcott closed in a little on Jensen. Still there was no stopping Darren Jensen out in front, the Q75 racer taking the win ahead of David Murcott, Bryan Mann and Andrew Scheuerle. Mark Pholi finished fifth and led Richard Morgan and Steven Rowell across the line. Brent Aprile did not finish the event.

Darren Jensen and David Murcott led the field of seventeen cars, missing only Brent Aprile, around for the start of the 30-lap A-Main event. Jensen got the initial jump on the start and led the way into turn one, but Murcott positioned the A1 racer perfectly through turn two, to almost effortlessly slide underneath Jensen and steal the lead with just half a lap completed. Bryan Mann and Andrew Scheuerle argued over third and fourth while Richard Morgan and Mark Pholi were embroiled in their own battle. Brent Kratzmann and Mitchell Gee had a great battle and were soon joining by Kevin Titman who was having a truly spectacular run, predominately on the high line and putting all kinds of pressure on Gee as they entertained the crowd. Behind them the battle between Mick Sauer, Ben Hilder and Brandon Rawlings was really starting to heat up, the trio often wheel-to-wheel as they traded positions several times, while B-Main transfers Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson and Brett Thomas continued their battles from the B-Main event. The race was however brought under caution when Mitchell Gee, Ben Hilder and Steven Rowell came together in turn four. Rowell ended up on his side, Gee had a flat left rear and Hilder suffered sufficient damage to end his race. All three were unable to restart the event.

David Murcott led the restart from Andrew Scheuerle, who had managed to find a way past Darren Jensen, with Jensen in third ahead of Bryan Mann with seventeen laps left to run. Bryan Mann and Darren Jensen had a great battle but it was Kevin Titman and Richard Morgan who captivated everyone's attention for several laps as they relentlessly raced wheel-to-wheel and exchanged positions several times, with Titman eventually emerging in front and setting his sights on Brent Kratzmann. Titman was on a mission and was spectacular to watch, while Kratzmann refused to give up, fighting hard to maintain his position. Titman managed to get his nose in front as they crossed the line, just moments before Steven Johnson spun to a stop in turn three and brought race under caution.

David Murcott, Andrew Scheuerle, Darren Jensen and Bryan Mann led the restart with just thirteen laps left to run, but all eyes were again on Titman as he worked the high line beautifully to make his way in front of Mark Pholi. Mann and Jensen argued over the final podium position, while Brandon Rawlings and Mick Sauer raced two abreast for several laps, but there was no touching David Murcott out in front. Murcott went on to take the win, with Andrew Scheuerle in second and Darren Jensen hanging on to finish third. Bryan Mann and Kevin Titman completed the top five with Mark Pholi, Brent Kratzmann, Richard Morgan, Brandon Rawlings, Mick Sauer, Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson, Brett Thomas and Mike Walsh rounding out the finishers. Steven Rowell, Mitchell Gee and Ben Hilder all failed to finish the event.

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."

Tata appointed broadcast supplier for GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup

Tata Communications, a leading provider of A New World of Communications™ and the Official Connectivity Provider to Formula 1®, today announces that it has been chosen by Formula One Management (FOM) to provide broadcast services for the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup racing series. Tata Communications will provide a fully diverse end-to-end fibre and satellite solution to broadcasters from across the globe at the 12 race locations in 2015.

With this agreement broadcasters will have access to a provider with knowledge and experience in motor racing and the infrastructure capability to provide specific media management and movement services that go above and beyond the core technology.

Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group commented: “We are always looking to help provide our partners and clients with the highest standards of support and service and our decision to appoint Tata Communications as the provider of these broadcast services is designed to deliver this.”

The agreement will also enable broadcasters covering GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup races to take advantage of Tata Communications’ Race Network Operations Centre (NOC), located in the Formula 1 Technical Centre, Formula One Management’s 150 ton, 750 square metre nerve centre present at every F1 Event.

Servicing the requirements of GP2, GP3 and the Porsche Supercup is a key milestone in Tata Communications’ journey as a Technology Supplier to Formula 1, and as an enabler of innovation in sport. Tata Communications already provides MPLS, Internet access and managed hosting and security, as well as Content Delivery Network (CDN) and co-location services for FOM. This robust global platform also delivers data and live broadcast quality video to FOM and since 2012 Tata Communications has successfully supported 57 races with over 400 hours of live service management. The same platform also delivers a range of connectivity services to the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team and Chello DMC, which distributes to Dutch sports channel Sport1.

Tata Communications installs and tests its network infrastructure in two days at the 19 race locations, then dismantles it in just three hours after the races.

Vinod Kumar, MD and CEO, Tata Communications, says: “Tata Communications’ work with Formula One Management is a testament to the diversity and versatility of our services. Each Formula 1 race demands a range of connected services similar to that of a small city. By consolidating fixed line connectivity needs with Tata Communications, Formula One Management will be able to take the greatest possible advantage of that infrastructure and tap into the versatility, on and off-site support and existing knowledge and experience of our platform and our team. We are a unique player in the ecosystem and well-placed to help deliver high quality live feeds to customers all over the world.”

New Motorsport Complex for Brisbane/Gold Coast

One of South–East Queensland’s largest motorsport projects is underway. “Loves Speedway and motorsport complex”, is set to create history, being the first multipurpose motorsport park in Australia. Strategically located between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Loves Speedway and motorsport complex is earmarked to host local, national and international events.

Our vision is to become the hub for automotive based activities including Speedway, 1/8 Mile Street legal drag racing, Burnout competitions, Go-kart and Drift Tracks, Car shows, Monster Trucks, Stunt Shows and Super Cross and Motorcross events. It will also cater to more than 40 competitive sports and provide a large exhibition area for outdoor shows and events.

With a ‘fans first’ approach to planning and design, the stadium will offer an unrivaled spectator experience. Once completed, the complex will feature corporate facilities, meeting rooms, club house, catering services, medical facilities’, state of the art L.E.D lighting, and large display screen.

The “Loves speedway and motorsport complex” project will be built at no cost to local rate payers or taxpayers alike. This facility will create local jobs, and generate millions of dollars in annual revenue for the city. The local community will also benefit from regular charity and non-profit organised events. These events have been encouraged by the local authorities, aimed at reducing community crime and driving related offenses.

The consortium behind this exciting new development is made up of the current management team from Archerfield Speedway, John and Kathy Kelly. John and Kathy are well recognised promoters and accomplished competitors. Local Businessmen, Scott Wilson and David Grose, will also join this duo to support and create this facility. Our goal is to provide a complete venue for competitors, their families, friends, and spectators looking for local entertainment. This project will ensure a bright future for motorsport in South East Queensland.

BLYTON IS THE NSW WINGLESS CHAMPION

It was a season of success for Dubbo’s Mark Blyton as he scored victory in the 2014/15 Aussie Forklift Repairs and Fruitwheels Refrigerated Transport NSW Wingless Sprints Club Championship.

In a season that was full of consistency, which included two wins, The Dubbo Flyer was rarely out of the top five in the results.

Sadly the grand final of the championship succumbed to rain and that was enough for Blyton to win the pointscore by 30 points over Nathan Dicker who, like Blyton, also had a very consistent season.

Both Nathan Dicker and Mark Blyton were locked into a battle that lasted the majority of the season which, if weather permitted, would have been a fascinating conclusion to the season.

Finishing in third, just 44 points off the lead was Brian Briton. Briton won the opening event of the season back in October and remained in the hunt right through to the end.

Throughout the championship, fans were witness to some of the best racing in the history of the NSW Wingless Sprints. Many of the main events provided close wheel to wheel racing with the results sometimes not certain until the final corner.

It certainly has been a breakout year for the NSW Wingless Sprints.

Season 2014/15 winners:
October 11: Brian Briton
October 18: Dean Thomas
November 8: Daniel Sayre
November 29: Damian Abbott (NSW Title)
January 3: Jason Bates
January 31: Mark Blyton
February 7: Blake Darcy
March 7: Mark Blyton
March 21: Blake Darcy

Final Points Club Championship: (Top 10)
Mark Blyton – 2844
Nathan Dicker – 2814
Brian Briton – 2800
Jason Bates – 2787
Mikaela Blyton – 2745
Sean Dicker – 2715
Marshall Blyton – 2679
Nikki Briton – 2649
Ashleigh Jack – 2587
Clint McCorquodale – 2559

Enders-Stevens: 'We're definitely headed in the right direction'

Erica Enders-Stevens, driver of the Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro, is the defending NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock world champion and recently scored her second event win of the season at her home event in Houston. It was her third final-round appearance of the year, and she has been the No. 1 qualifier at two events. She also won the K&N Horsepower Challenge specialty race in Las Vegas for the second consecutive year. She took part in a recent NHRA media teleconference to talk about her season to date.

Q: Erica, it seems that Las Vegas kick-started the season a little bit for you guys. What did you find either going into that race or at that race that kind of was a breath of fresh air to the team?

Enders-Stevens: We kind of struggled a little bit at the beginning of the year, as all teams have with the rule changes and the tire and the fuel. The key to our success in Vegas was staying after the Charlotte event on Monday and doing some testing. We made some significant changes to our race car and definitely headed in the right direction. So Vegas has been really great to my team and me over the last few years. I was very happy to be able to get everything lined up in order to go into that event and come out with a double win again.

Q: We race in Vegas twice a year. Does it give you that little bit of comfort at the start of the season thinking you can sort some stuff out and boost the season?

Enders-Stevens: Yeah, absolutely. We love going to Vegas because of our past success there. But had we not gone to Charlotte or stayed at Charlotte and tested, we would not have run like we did in Vegas this spring. That was crucial to our success there. Vegas is lucky for us. Some drivers have lucky tracks. Some crews have tracks where they have better setups. It seems to be a combination of both of those for our team. I think we have 18 consecutive round-wins there now. And headed into the fall race later this year in October, you know, that's the second-to-the-last race before the season ends. Hopefully we're right in the mix of things like we were last year.

Q: You've been doing this it seems like forever. I wonder if over the years your personal habits have changed in terms of working out or dieting. Your reaction times are amazing. Is that something you can actually work on, or over the years are there exercises or programs that you've done that keep you in shape?

Enders-Stevens: Yeah, absolutely. My sister, Courtney [Enders], is a personal trainer. She has my entire team and me on some sort of a meal plan. I'm pretty mindful of what I put in my body on race weekends. Obviously, living on the road is pretty hard to stay in shape while you're gone on the road all the time having to eat out three meals a day, just being physically and mentally exhausted. She's really been a help to me. What you fuel your body with is pretty crucial to how you perform. As far as reaction times and stuff goes, I have a simulator here at our shop in New Orleans. Every race weekend, I get in my car in the pit area, and I sit in there for 15 or 20 minutes alone by myself, and I do a lot of visualizing. That mental side of it really helps to perform the best that I can.

Q: Could you talk a little bit about getting that second championship after coming off of a championship? Talk a little bit about the special moments that you've had already trying to become a repeat champion and what you hope will work for you to get you that second one.

Enders-Stevens: It was such a dream season last year for my entire team. Aside from my engine guy, Nick Ferri, none of us had won championships before. It was a first for us. We all definitely wanted it very badly. I talk about my team a lot. I feel like people are the most important part of the puzzle. This is the first time in my professional career that I have had such a solid group of guys. I mean, they have my back. They treat me with respect. It's just an awesome environment to work in. It's positive. That's what allowed me to do my job better, I believe. Being able to have fun with these guys, we have a lot of natural team chemistry; we choose to spend our time away from the track together as well. Typically, when you're done racing, you're just out of there, going to hang out with your family or friends rather than your team.

I've got a unique environment to work with, and they're definitely the reason why we are successful. This year is a little different. We've had a little bit of a target on our back throughout my career, just being a girl. When we started to have success again after I joined back with Cagnazzi in '11, '12, and '13 and our dominant season last year with Elite Motorsports. It's different to be chased rather than to chase. It's a little bit of a different mindset. Going through the struggles that we did at the beginning of this year, being able to tackle those issues and come out on top again, the season is very, very long and challenging. I'm sure it will be another knock-down, drag-out fight till the end of the year with Jason [Line] and me. Being in the position we are now, having accomplished exactly what we accomplished last year to this point -- last year, we had a runner-up at Gainesville, doubled up at Vegas, win at Houston -- this season, we had a runner-up at Phoenix and went on to double up at Vegas and win Houston. We're on the track to doing what we did last year, but just keeping at the front of our minds that we're out here to have fun. We're a lower-budget team, but we're doing the best that we can with what we have. Richard Freeman has just organized a great group of people. I'm really excited and optimistic about what's to come.

Q: Is there any part of being a champion that you can't quantify, can't define, that you either have it or you don't?

Enders-Stevens: I don't know. I mean, I do believe that you either have it or you don't as far as being able to drive is concerned. But I go back to what I said a second ago: It's all about the people. When I drove for the team prior to this one, we had the horsepower, and we had a huge budget actually, almost a million and a half dollars more per year than what we're running on at Elite Motorsports. We weren't able to get it done. I believe it was because of the people. I've got the best people in the world now. I'm a firm believer in the idea that there's a plan bigger than mine. I understand now why he made us wait. It was all about having the perfect group together.

Q: When you tested the car, did it come easily in finding what you were looking for, or was it so fine that it took you all a few runs to discover that answer you were looking for?

Enders-Stevens: We did stay after in Charlotte. We were fighting weather all week. It rained Monday morning, so we only actually got a half a day of testing in. We made six runs, which is a handful. My crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones and Mark Ingersoll had a list of ideas they wanted to try. They were pretty significant changes. The Pro Stock cars are very finicky. The work that has to be done on them is very tedious, but at the same time, there were some huge swings for the fence that we had to change. We don't test as much as the other teams because of budget. But since we struggled so much, we had to make the decision to stay. They were changes that we weren't comfortable making during qualifying or elimination rounds because typically those changes can either make it or break it for you, I guess, without trying to divulge too much information on what we changed. They were huge swings. Fortunately enough for us, they were in the right direction. We picked away at it on that Monday test. We started with smaller changes. When we saw we were heading in the right direction, we were able to use that data we acquired to make other changes as well. When we left that test in Charlotte, the confidence in my crew chiefs' voices was very evident. That's something I feed off of. I'm excited we did stay and they were able to make the changes they wanted to make. It was definitely crucial.

Q: You're very dependent then on the crew chief and the technicians working on your car. What kind of stress was it for you to make the runs not knowing exactly whether it was going to work or not?

Enders-Stevens: I have all the faith in the world in my guys. I know that we all want it very, very badly and that everybody is trying their hardest every time we go up there, including myself behind the wheel, every crewmember that I have from my tire guys to my engine guys to my crew chiefs making the calls on the race car. It was very challenging for us at the beginning when we were uncertain with what was happening with the new rule changes. We had to dig deep and do the very best we could, even when the future didn't look extremely bright certain weekends at the racetrack, Charlotte for instance. Had there been 17 cars on the property, we would not have made the show. We did not get down any qualifying passes, and two were taken from us due to rain. That was a very grim weekend and very challenging. But we all dug deep. Staying after that Monday, it just completely turned everything around for us. I rely on them greatly. I'm there for them when they fall and vice versa. When I'm not up on the wheel, they pick me up and give me even a better race car than they normally do. It's a great team environment to work in.

Q: Dynasties, great performances are all built on little moments. Not all of them necessarily happen on the racetrack. Where does the 11-minute engine change that your team went through this past week rank for you? Does a moment like that, where your guys do something that is really impossible, yet they pull it off, does that make you a better driver?

Enders-Stevens: The motor change going into the semifinals in Houston was probably one of the most amazing experiences in my professional career. To be in my pit area when not just my team but Drew Skillman's team jumped in on my race car to get it done. We pitted after second round, did our normal maintenance on the car, serviced it for the next round, but we went to warm the car up. There was 15 minutes left before we had to be in the water for live TV. We just manned up. Everybody threw in on the race car. Drew Skillman's guys got an engine out of the trailer, took the intake manifolds and carburetors, while my guys drained the water, disconnected the motor in my car. There was one moment prior to deciding what we were going to do that one person said, “I don't know if we have time. We’ve got to be in the water in 15 minutes.” I'm like, “We got to try; we got to try.” That was it. Everybody pulled their weight, pulled together. Not only did they get it done, but they got it done with zero mistakes. It was just such a cool environment to be in.

As far as making me a better driver because of it, I mean, over the years, I heard champions like Bob Glidden, Greg Anderson, Jason Line, Allen Johnson say, “You’ve got to learn how to win.” That is one of those moments I completely understand that. Had I not been in an experience like that before and gone up to the starting line, I mean, your heart's pounding, things are so crazy, you've still got to go up there and get suited up and buckled in in time, then have your wits about you to calm down, get your heart rate under control, get your breathing under control. We were running Jonathan Gray, who is one of the best leavers in the class. I had my work cut out for me. I knew I needed to be on the Tree. We were able to get it done. That environment in our pit, I can't wait till people see the footage of it because it was absolutely incredible.

Q: You're starting to approach Shirley Muldowney on the list of female all-time winners. Do you look at numbers like that or do you let it fall where it may race to race to race?

Enders-Stevens: Yeah, I mean, I know the two females that are ahead of us right now are Angelle [Sampey] with 41 wins and Shirley with 18. They're heroes of mine, mentored me, been friends of mine over the years. First of all, it's awesome to have my name on the list with theirs. If the trend continues with what we've been able to accomplish over the last couple years, I'm hopeful we can continue to rack the wins up. I know where we stand with wins as far as those two women go. At the same time, we're going to go out and do what we love, have fun. I'm proud of my team regardless and very optimistic about the years to come with Elite Motorsports. I've never had as much fun in my entire life, and it's because of the guys that are involved.