Wednesday, July 3, 2013


INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, July 3, 2013) - INDYCAR announced today that it will implement three-wide starts for the IZOD IndyCar Series races at Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway, reinstating a "Triple Crown" tradition.

"After having the opportunity to test at Pocono and a successful event at Auto Club Speedway last season, we were able to analyze track data and compare to our current start procedure for the Indianapolis 500," said Beaux Barfield, race director, INDYCAR.  "Given the speeds of our starts, the location of accelerations zones, the spacing between rows and the length of the frontstraights at each track, we have decided to move forward with a three-wide lineup for the initial starts."

Three-wide starts have been utilized annually for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race since 1921, and were implemented at Pocono Raceway and Ontario (Calif.) Speedway during the 1970s and '80s for the tracks' Triple Crown legs.

The addition this year of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown renews the tradition of the three superspeedway races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono and Ontario from 1971-1980 and from 1981-89 at Indianapolis, Pocono and Michigan International Speedway.

The Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on Sunday, July 7, is the middle leg of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown. Cumulative two-lap qualifications on the 2.5-mile tri-oval are scheduled for 1:15 p.m. (ET) Saturday, July 6.

All restarts at both Pocono Raceway and the season-closing MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 19, will be single-file formation.

Monday, July 1, 2013


INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, July 1, 2013) – INDYCAR announced today that it has updated the aerodynamic specifications for the July 7 IZOD IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway.
After seeking feedback from drivers, engineers and teams on various configurations during testing, INDYCAR officials updated Rule as listed in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, adding the underwing strake to the list of optional parts for the Pocono aerodynamic specification to create more downforce.
  • Mandatory Parts
    • Rear Mainplane, 0 > -10.5 degrees
    • Rear Mainplane Profile
    • Rear Indy Wheel Guard 
  • Optional Parts
    • Side Wall
    • Trimmed Side Wall
    • Rear Wheel Backing Plate
    • Sidepod Top Infill
    • 2/3 Radiator Inlet Shutter
    • Rear Wing Wicker
    • Underwing Strake

Triple Crown Q&A With Al Unser

There wasn’t a $1 million bonus for Al Unser when he became the first – and still only – driver to sweep Indy car racing’s “Triple Crown” in 1978.
The Fuzzy’s Triple Crown, whose second leg will be contested July 7 at Pocono Raceway, renews the tradition of the three 500-mile races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Ontario (Calif.) Speedway from 1971-1980 and from 1981-1989 at Indianapolis, Pocono and Michigan International Speedway.
The $1 million bonus compliments of Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka will be awarded to Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan if he can complete the sweep of the superspeedway races at Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway on Oct. 19.
Unser won all three races in that single season in the Jim Hall-owned First National City Travelers Checks-sponsored car. He recently talked about the Triple Crown and related topics:
Q: What do you think about the Triple Crown coming back to Indy car racing

A: I give INDYCAR credit for bringing back the Triple Crown. You know it used to be three 500-mile races and over the years the tracks and track distances changed. In the beginning it was three 2½-mile tracks. Then we lost Ontario and raced at Michigan that was 2 miles so we had to run 250 laps. I am glad it’s back and maybe in the future they can make Pocono 500 miles to keep it all 500-mile races across the board. This is a start, a positive start.

Q: To win all three 500-milers in the same year …

A: Winning them all was a great gift.  We thought we accomplished the world when we won all three. Jim Hall was really happy and the whole team was, too. In each one of those races I didn’t think I had a chance of winning. We figured we had a chance of competing up front. You know, winning, oh man. We were not happy with that Lola. Then all of all of a sudden, like at Indy, I looked up at the board and we were in the race. Ontario was the same way.

I didn’t think we’d be all that competitive even though we won Indy and Pocono. And we pulled it off – between Jim (Hall), Huey (Absalom), Franz (Weis) and the whole team we pulled it off. At Pocono, we gambled by not changing tires.  We took a big chance and it paid off.  You never know for sure until that dang checkered flag falls who’s going to win. And we just did it the right thing time times that year. I got a ring that said I was a Triple Crown winner and USAC gave the team $10,000. I know for sure we didn’t get a million dollars.

Q: On your 1978 Indy car season and why join Jim Hall’s team
A: You search out who wants to go racing and win. When Parnelli (Jones) ended his Indy car operation at the end of the 1977 season I talked to Jim Hall, who wanted to get into Indy car racing. Jim came to Albuquerque and we sat down and had a long talk about all parts of the future operation – engines, chassis, sponsors, personnel. Jim’s first proposal was way off and I said, ‘We’re not going to make it,’ so Jim left and then he called me back two weeks later and we met again. This time he had everything in line, it all came together -- the right dollar figures, team members, sponsors, the engine department and we were good to go racing.

Jim got Huey (Absalom) and Franz (Weis); they were key people in the success of our program. Jim really wanted to win and made it happen. I felt that’s what drew me over to race with the team.

Q: Why were you and the team so good in the 500 milers

A: The Lola was a funny race car. If we had an on-board camera back then people would see how that car darted and bounced around on that (Pocono) track. I had to just hang on and let the car do want it wanted and it was never the same. A constant handful; it had its own head. But I’d hang on, drive and let (competitors) come back to me. I’d be driving around and one by one I’d catch up to them and soon enough I’d be leading the race.

Pocono was the trickiest track because Indianapolis and Ontario were smooth and the corners were all kind of alike. At Pocono, it was rough and each corner was so different – Turn 1 was like Trenton, Turn 2 reminded me of Indianapolis and Turn 3 was flat like Milwaukee. But it was important to try to get the last turn right for a good lap. I’d try to drive steady and smooth and it just seemed like they kept coming back to me, and soon enough my pit board had a “1” on it and I was leading.

Actually driving for Parnelli, I won the final 500-mile race of ‘77 at Ontario. So I won four straight 500-mile races – one in ’77 then the Triple Crown in ‘78. At Ontario, we just ran steady all day. I remember running against (Gordon) Johncock and (Johnny) Rutherford for the lead and Johncock ran out of gas at the end so that made it easier for us. He had the boost turned way up and just ran it out of fuel trying to keep the lead.

Q: What are Tony Kanaan’s chances to win the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown

A: All I can say is he is capable of winning. He showed that. But there are about 10 other guys out there that will be close chasing him. If he can win Pocono and then California (Auto Club Speedway) I’d be happy to have him join me as a Triple Crown winner.

INDYCAR News and Notes 7/1/2013

1. Fuzzy's Triple Crown bonus solely in Kanaan's hands: There are a million reasons why Tony Kanaan needs to win the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7.
As the Indianapolis 500 winner Kanaan can earn a $1 million bonus if he can sweep the superspeedway races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway on Oct. 19 and complete the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown. A potential consolation for Kanaan and others is a $250,000 bonus for winning two of the three.
Pressure isn’t foreign to Kanaan, who realized the first goal to winning the bonus on May 26 by winning the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in his 12th start.
“Obviously I'm the only one that has a chance to win the Triple Crown, so the pressure is on. But I'm excited,” Kanaan said. “Pocono will be the third of four races I will run in the Sunoco “Turbo” car, and after the success we have had in the first two -- finishing on the podium at both Texas and Iowa -- I really want to keep that momentum going at Pocono and hopefully do even better."
Kanaan is a noted fast closer, which was displayed in the past two superspeedway events. At Indianapolis, he started 12th, was leading by Lap 9 and was in the top three for the final 30 laps in a race that featured a record 68 lead changes. He started 13th at Texas, was running fourth with 10 laps left and passed Ed Carpenter on Lap 222 to finish third.
Kanaan, driving the No. 11 Sunoco “Turbo” car, got his first look at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway June 25 during a Chevrolet manufacturer test with KV Racing Technology-SH Racing. He’ll participate in an Open Test on July 4 in advance of the 160-lap race July 7 (noon ET on ABC).
"I have never raced at Pocono Raceway, but we know we had a good car at Indy and had a good test at Pocono a few days ago," Kanaan added.
The three oval races renew the tradition of the Triple Crown from 1970s and ‘80s Indy car competition. The previous Triple Crown included 500-mile races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Ontario (Calif.) Speedway from 1971-1980 and from 1981-1989 at Indianapolis, Pocono and Michigan International Speedway.
Only Al Unser won all three races in a single season, when the four-time Indy 500 winner drove the Jim Hall-owned First National City Travelers Checks-sponsored car in 1978.
“For Tony to win after all his tries, it was really good for him," Unser said of Kanaan earning the 500 Mile Race victory. "The man is capable of winning; he showed that. But there are about 10 other guys out there that will be close chasing him. If he can win Pocono and then California, I’d be happy to have him join me as a Triple Crown winner, for sure.”
Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka unveiled the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown Trophy designed by Jostens, which is on tour in eastern Pennsylvania, in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Tony did a great job in winning the Indy 500 and he is our clubhouse leader going into the Pocono Race on July 7,” said company founder and namesake Fuzzy Zoeller, the 1979 Masters champion and 1984 U.S. Open winner. “Tony can become the second person to win the Triple Crown if he wins at Pocono and Fontana. Not to mention that he can make a good haul by just winning one more.”
2. Briscoe to balance races at Pocono, Lime Rock on Holiday weekend: The Fourth of July weekend will be eventful for National Guard Panther Racing driver Ryan Briscoe, who will sandwich an ALMS race at Lime Rock Park in between testing and competing in the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7.
Briscoe, who tested the team’s No. 4 Chevrolet at Pocono on June 25 will miss on-track activity on July 6 and not make a qualification attempt.
"It will be a busy weekend between racing the National Guard Chevrolet at Pocono and the Level 5 car at Lime Rock,” Briscoe said. “It’s great that Panther is giving me the opportunity to race at Pocono even though I won't be here Saturday for practice and qualifying. Fortunately, I will be able to prepare the car for the race and it was a big bonus having the test day last week and then the Open Test on (July 4) to get as much track time as possible.”
The July 7 race will mark Briscoe’s fourth start in the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet and the race will be Panther’s first career start at Pocono’s “Tricky Triangle” – a unique tri-oval where Indy cars last competed in 1989.
“Last week, we spent our time working on our race prep and we worked hard on trying to find something that will get us through the field during the race,” Briscoe said. “Pocono’s a big track and it’s a long 400-mile race, so we feel plenty confident even having to start in the back. I know the National Guard crew will work hard, and with all the track time we’ll have on Thursday, we can get to the front."
Panther will be running a special red, white and blue National Guard livery in honor of the Fourth of July weekend that also highlights the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor. Panther hosts many Medal of Honor recipients as part of its “Operation: Hire Our Guard” veteran employment program, and former U.S. Marines Capt. (Ret) James E. Livingston, who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts in the Vietnam War, will be a guest of the team this weekend.
“This is obviously a big weekend for us with it being the Fourth of July and we’ve got some important guests that will be attending the race, so we’re looking forward to getting to Pocono and getting to work,” Panther managing partner John Barnes said. “I’m not concerned about missing qualifying and having to start in the back of the field; Pocono is a big place and we’ll have 400 miles to help Ryan work his way to the front. This is the first time we’ve had an extended period of time to test with him and that will pay off for us on Sunday.”
3. Pagenaud races to the clouds in Honda minivan: Simon Pagenaud said that his trip in the Honda Odyssey in the 91st Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30 was "a win for all the 'soccer moms.' ''
Pagenaud, the driver of the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports car in the IZOD IndyCar Series, spent his off weekend in Colorado for the event in the specially-outfitted van. He finished second in the Exhibition Class on the 12.42-mile, 156-turn course.
“For me, it was amazing," he said. "Pikes Peak was always a dream for me, ever since I was a kid in France. There is a lot of interest in this event in Europe, and I think that’s why you saw so many French drivers this year. Honda prepared a great car, really unique I have to say.
"With more than 500 horsepower, the conditions (rain, fog and light snow at high elevation) were tricky and kept me busy. I feel very blessed and very proud. I’d like to come back again next year with something even more crazy.”
Eleven drivers representing Honda R&D Americas and Honda Performance Development competed, with one class victory and eight other top-five results.
Meanwhile, two other IZOD IndyCar Series driver who moonlighted on the off weekend posted top-eight finishes in the Rolex Sports Car Series' Six Hours at the Glen.
Justin Wilson teamed with Firestone Indy Lights veteran Gustavo Yacaman to finish sixth, while Sebastien Bourdais finished eighth in the Starworks with Alex Popow entry after leading the event during his driving stint.
4. Tagliani delivers strike on Canada Day: Right down the middle, Alex Tagliani reports, is  where the ceremonial first pitch that he delivered before the Toronto Blue Jays hosted the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on July 1 traveled.
The IZOD IndyCar Series driver, who will compete in the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader at Exhibition Place on July 13-14, joined the Blue Jays in celebrating Canada Day by donning special red jerseys for the country's 146th birthday.
"My goal was to not bounce it before the plate," the driver of the No. 98 Barracuda Racing car said. "Trust me, I have seen all the worst first pitches that made it on YouTube and I didn't want to get there. It was absolutely a thrilling feeling on Canada Day to throw the first pitch to (Blue Jays left-handed pitcher) Mark Buehrle, a race fan. He signed the ball for me and he would have been invited to our pit for the Toronto races if the Blue Jays were in town.
"The atmosphere was amazing and I was surprised by how many IndyCar fans where in the seats on the field. I guess they love action and want to see it from close."
The first 20,000 fans in attendance for the sold-out game received a red replica Blue Jays hat, while one fan received a 2013 Honda Civic Touring Sedan during the game.
"Overall, thanks to Honda because it's a great way to promote the upcoming Toronto races and to engage sports fans."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Andretti Autosport is On It

With 9 races left in the season, Andretti Autosport has its trio of Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti all in the top 5 in points. In They are the only superteam to have all of their drivers running up front week after week. Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves is leading the points and has been on it as well, but teammate Will Power, who has been in terms of wins the most successful driver in IndyCar since signing with Team Penske in 2009, has not been the same Will Power this year. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti have also been surprisingly off their game this year, with Franchitti struggling the most. Honda’s lack of pace has something to do with it, but Franchitti has not cracked the podium nor won, which marks the first time since 2006 that the 4 time champion does not have a win this late in the season. Dixon, on the other hand and pulled off some impressive drives from the back of the pack to the front, but does not have a win yet.

Hunter-Reay is having a year quite similar to last season when he won the championship. His two wins mirrors his result from last year, but what showed his determination and skill was his run at Iowa. Early race contact with Graham Rahal relegated him to the last car on the lead lap early in the race. He wasted no time picking his way through traffic and made it all the way up to second place by the end of the race. Had it not been for lapped traffic, he may have caught and challenged Hinchcliffe for the win, but catching him is one thing, passing him is another. Hinchcliffe did lead 22x laps and made mincemeat out of the entire field. He has the determination to stay in the game under pressure and move forward when needed. When Power crashed out of the MavTV 500 last season and made a heroic return to the track with to improve his position, Hunter-Reay had to finish in the top 5 to take the crown. Hunter-Reay answered the bell and ran where he needed and backed that up with the finish he needed to take the title.

Hinchcliffe has had a breakout season. Since getting his first win at St. Petersburg, Hinchcliffe had a bout of two poor finishes at Barber and Long Beach, but pulled off a last lap pass on Takuma Sato to win the Sao Paulo Indy 300. Engineer Craig Hampstead said at the beginning of the season that he is excited to see the James Hinchcliffe 2.0, less mistakes, and so far, Hinch has done just that. His race at Iowa was the definition of perfect. Flawless pit stops, flawless restarts, and consistent laps led to one of the best oval performances by a single driver in recent memory. He is in a bit of a hole after poor finishes at Barber, Long Beach, and the Duals in Detroit which has set him back 66 points.

The 3rd generation Andretti is having a career best season. With only 1 DNF at Milwaukee and consistent finishes inside the top 10, he resides 3rd in the standings. Andretti had never been consistent enough in his previous seasons to challenge for championships and race wins, and this season he has turned it around. He is much more comfortable everywhere, and with help from consulting a driver coach in the off season, his road and street course craft has improved, which has translated into great results.

Also noteworthy mentioning was AAs Indy Lights man Carlos Munoz run at the Indianapolis 500. Munoz qualified second and drove an aggressive race remaining in the top 5 all day and had it not been for the last caution with 3 to go, he may have pulled off the ultimate upset with a “500” win.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

INDYCAR News for 6/25/2013

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:

1.      Iowa technical penalty update
2.      Teams use test day to get to know Pocono
3.      Franchitti gets his kicks with Philadelphia Union

1. Iowa technical penalty update: There were no technical penalties issued following the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway on June 23.
2. Teams use test day to get to know Pocono: Eight IZOD IndyCar Series teams took an opportunity June 25 to get a close-up look at Pocono Raceway during a test day at “The Tricky Triangle.”
Seat time and race setups were the order of the day as Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso (Andretti Autosport), Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Saavedra (Dragon Racing), Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing), Ryan Briscoe (Panther Racing), Simona De Silvestro and Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology), Helio Castroneves and Will Power (Team Penske) logged laps on 2.5-mile tri-oval as part of a Chevrolet manufacturer’s test.
James Jakes and Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Josef Newgarden of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing also tested their Honda-powered cars.
An Open Test is scheduled for July 4 in advance of the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7.
"It's always good to be out there,” said Castroneves, the IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader. “It doesn't matter if it's today or next week. We're always learning things that can help us. There aren't 20 cars here, but (the test) gives you the knowledge of where to start for the race weekend. It's a good opportunity."
While some drivers, such as Castroneves and Power, have been to Pocono for a Firestone tire test, it was the first chance for others to see the circuit that will host its first Indy car race since 1989. Newgarden came away impressed.
"Pocono is pretty incredible,” he said. “I've never been to an oval like this. It's a challenge and unlike anywhere we've been. It almost combines a bunch of ovals. You have one corner that's like Milwaukee. Another corner that's like Kentucky and one like Road America with a kink-like corner. It’s very unique and very difficult to get right."
Added Carpenter: "Turn 1 (at Pocono) is a beast in the IndyCar. It's going to be a fun corner to drive in the race and I think the fans will enjoy watching it. It's definitely different than any place I've ever been to. We were trying to compare it to places we've been in the past and it reminds me of Phoenix a little bit. It's its own animal.”
The race will be the middle leg of the Fuzzy's Triple Crown, which carries a $1 million bonus if Kanaan can sweep the races at Indianapolis, Pocono and Auto Club Speedway. A driver who wins two of the three will receive a $250,000 bonus.
3. Franchitti gets his kicks with Philadelphia Union: Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti dropped by the Philadelphia Union's practice session June 24 on his way to testing at Pocono Raceway.
Union defender and auto racing aficionado Ray Gaddis presented Franchitti a team jersey and gave him a few on-field pointers. For the record, Franchitti is a stout Celtic FC fan.
The IZOD IndyCar Series competes at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on July 7 in the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco. Watch the race on ABC (Noon ET)

So Who's Testing at Pocono?

Today, 4 teams will be on track at Pocono Raceway for a Chevrolet Manufacturer Test in preparation for next weekend's Pocono IndyCar 400 Presented by Sunoco.

The teams and drivers are:

Andretti Autosport
Marco Andretti
James Hinchcliffe
Ryan Hunter‐Reay

E.J. Viso
KV Racing Technology
Tony Kanaan
Simona de Silvestro
Panther Racing
Ryan Briscoe
 Ed Carpenter Racing
Ed Carpenter

Monday, June 24, 2013

What They're Saying: Quotes from Iowa

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): "We just had to go off of experience and all goes to the team.  We have a great track record here but this year with so many different things and a day race, everything was different.  We took a bit of risk.  We wanted to make sure the car wouldn't get understeer because that kills you in traffic.  I can't believe we led that whole thing.   The guys were awesome in the pits."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): "It was so hard to catch back up to James (Hinchcliffe) and then lapped traffic.  It's one thing if you're a lap down but if you're five laps down or six laps down just making it tough on the leaders was uncalled for.  But hey, we can back from 22nd or whatever we were to finish second.  Definitely had the car to win today but just made a mistake there trying to get by Graham (Rahal), keeping my foot in it. The front just had no grip on it when I turned to pop out and pass him.  Easy mistake.  We had a tough weekend.  To come second out of this thing, I'm pretty please with that.  Good job to James (Hinchcliffe).  It was a good day in the point for the No. 1 DHL Chevy. Definitely have to be happy about that."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./ A.J. Foyt Racing): "We made some gains in the first stint as well as on the pit stop so we gradually moved up positions. On the restarts I really had fun and gained some good spots so it looked like it was going to be quite an exciting race for the ABC Supply team because the car was working well. But then after that second pit stop I started to struggle with speed. We tried to figure it out by doing different engine maps and mixtures but it didn't work. Finally we had to pull out. It's very disappointing to be unable to finish the race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was a good job today by the Hitachi team. We drove as hard as we could today. When they told me I came in 8th, I was like 'What?' I certainly felt we had a better car than that. I guess in traffic we got held up coming in and out of the pits which cost us some positions. The Hitachi car really came alive with about 50 laps to go and it felt great. Maybe it was a little too late for us. But, we still have the points lead and we will look for a better result in Pocono."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Chevrolet): "It was a pretty up and down race for me. I think at some points, especially at the beginning of the race, we showed tremendous speed, and I thought at that point we were going to make it to the front.  Unfortunately in the second and third stint, we didn't have the similar speed and I went to the back. I recovered again to finish in the top-10. It was not the best weekend for us, even from the beginning. But I am happy for my two teammates James (Hinchcliffe) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay) for finishing first and second."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): "We were fighting really hard. It would've been nice to have a solid top ten finish. I got caught on the high side when I tried to pass Dario [Franchitti]. I touched the marbles - my mistake. I'm sorry to the Barracuda Racing guys who have been working so hard. I got caught in the grey. I pushed up and just tagged the wall."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "It was a total handful when it came to traffic. I'm disappointed we couldn't get the RC Cola car up there with the teammates but congrats to those two (James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay)."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Sunoco "Turbo" KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): "We had a good car.  We got into a little bit of a problem with some heat temperature so we had to lose a few spots in the pits trying to pull an inlet out of the side pod so the engine could breathe a little bit better.  It was a good race.  We had a podium finish and we will take it.  I like when people race you hard and it is what it is."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Tough day for the Verizon team. The rear handling of the car was an issue pretty much from the start of the race. It was frustrating because we tried everything we could to make it better but we just couldn't get it to where we wanted it. It was a good job in the pits by the Verizon guys and we look forward to testing this week to make sure we feel good heading into Pocono."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "We worked through the race as best we could. It was tough in traffic, but we just kept trying to maximize everything. We made it to the end with no incidents, and gained seven spots after being in a hole, that was no fault to our own.  Not a bad day from the spots we gained. We definitely wanted more, but I think we did the best we could for the situation at hand, so I'm excited to move on to the next one."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): "It was a good run for the Fuzzy's Vodka Chevy team.  We moved up to the front early and, then on the second stint, we had a understeer condition that sent us back in the field a little.  It was a long slow fight to the front again after that.  The Fuzzy's guys gave me a great car today and we probably weren't as aggressive enough early in the race on our changes.  But we made all of the right changes late and we were fast at the end.  I think we had a car fast enough to win today.  Our last green flag pit stop didn't go as we wanted, but we came back and nearly got a podium today.  Overall, we still got a top-five finish today so it wasn't a bad day for us.  This is a really fun place to race.  There were multiple lanes today and I ran both the low and the high groove.  Seemed like others were only good in one lane.  I just wish the race was a little longer for us because we were closing fast on the leaders.  But we'll move on and go to Pocono.  I'm really looking forward to that race."  
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): "The car was better today than yesterday, but it's still not quite there yet. It feels like we're in damage control mode right now. We rolled off the truck not so good and didn't have a ton of track time to get it fixed, so we got in kind of a pickle there. For the race we tried a few different things which got us closer, but it was still a long race for us.  I'm excited to go testing and hopefully we can turn all of this around. We've struggled the last two races, so we'll just have to keep working on it."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "The race was good.  I didn't quite have James' (Hinchcliffe) speed today but we were close. And as you know, coming from where we have been over the past few weeks, this feels pretty good. But obviously I'm disappointed to not finish higher; we wanted a podium today if not better. The guys have really worked hard to get this Midas / Big O Tires car back to the front and we're getting closer.  We struggled a bit at the start of the race. On the second set (of tires) the car came on for me and felt really, really magical. That's when we went from 10th to second. I don't know what it was at the end of the race, we just lost a little bit of overall grip and struggled a little bit. The last couple of laps when Ed (Carpenter) got me, I just couldn't keep the thing turning. Earlier in that stint, I was chasing Hinchcliffe down but at the end of the race I was losing a little bit of everything in the car.  I'm proud of these guys because as I've said too many people, the last few weeks hasn't been easy for us.  I'm really proud of the engineering staff and everyone.  For everybody to keep coming back week after week with their chins up means a lot to me. I felt like I could have won the race today. I don't know how we lost a spot on that pit stop today because I thought we had a good stop, but we did and unfortunately we got behind Hunter-Reay and never really recovered.  I feel like I got robbed; I should have had a podium at least today but we'll take a fifth."
JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "It was a difficult day all around. We just struggled in general from the start of the race. We will go back and analyze the data to figure out what happened. Obviously the No 15 car did a great job.  We will move on and look at what was wrong and try not to repeat it again."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Team Owner, Andretti Autosport): "It was another great day in Iowa.  We love coming here as a team. James (Hinchcliffe) did a heck of a job and it was a huge win for us. This is GoDaddy's hometown , so it was great for them. Ryan (Hunter-Reay) did a great job. He broke his front wing early and came back from basically last to fight his way back second and that was a heck of a drive. We had four cars in the top-10 so it was a great day for our team."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It was a good race for us even though you're generally not too excited to finish 13th! I'm very excited about everything we learned today though. I was struggling before the race to run different grooves and be good in traffic. I feel like I took a huge step forward today at least on this type of track. I managed to run both grooves all race long. It's tough when you start in the pack because you're stuck in the train and you can go a lap down really quickly. There were a few times where I was running with the leaders at a good pace, so I'm happy to have a positive day for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and our sponsor"
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "The National Guard Chevy was great all day. This is the first time I can remember that I didn't ask for a single change to the car for an entire race. It was the restarts today that cost us; the best restart I had the No. 55 car almost spun in front of me and I had to check up. But I felt like we were faster than a lot of the guys around us all day today. To be honest, seeing that I was seventh at the end was a surprise because I felt like we were much higher than that, but a big thanks to the team and the National Guard for such a great car today."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "We were really strong on restarts today because the HP car was handling really well. At the end I'm not sure what we were missing because the car was really hooked up. I had a blast though. The restarts were fun, the racing was fun, and it was just a great day of competition. From the cockpit it was back and forth going as hard as you could into pit lane and getting out just as fast. We were trying to grab positions any way we could. Traffic played a big role in the race, but it was great for the HP car to be up front on an oval today."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "It was a decent day; starting from where we were it was not easy. Every time you start at the back you have some restarts that play your way and some that do not. I had a really good one halfway through the race but then on one restart I got caught behind (E.J.) Viso because he was running my line and couldn't get going so that put us in the back. After going a lap down I tried to be as less of a factor for the leaders but then you have to start to let people by and you can't run your race anymore. We were able to make a lot of progress with the car from the heat race to the feature race. When you have to drive from the back and don't have a rocket ship it's pretty tough to make it up to the front."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "It was a very disappointing weekend for us. I am very frustrated after coming to Iowa with a lot of momentum and we were just not able to create a reliable car for the race. With having this little of practice time before the race, if you do not come with a well-balanced car it's very hard to catch up to the front. The race for us was just a matter of keeping it a clean race. We made a bad call when we could have gained our one lap back in the beginning and the really finished the day early for us."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We had what I thought was a pretty good car today. From where we started we were able to move up and contend midway through the race. Unfortunately we encountered a misfire when we were in the top five after a restart and then just gradually faded back outside the top 10. We lost power at the end and will have to take a look and see what happened. Tough day for the Target team at Iowa."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Iowa Corn 250 Wrapup

NEWTON, Iowa--Can you say dominance? James Hinchcliffe led over 4/5th of the race and was only passed under green briefly by Graham Rahal and took his 3rd win of the year at Iowa Speedway. It was Hinchcliffe's first win on an oval as well.

"We took a couple gambles with the set-up and we really wanted to make sure it was going to be good in traffic and turn, and man, that car was hooked-up from the get-go," Hinchcliffe said. "We pulled away from everybody and had a good race with Graham (Rahal) there on one of those restarts.  I’m just so stoked." 

Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay recovered from early race wing damage early in the race which relegated him to the last car on the lead lap to finish second and close the points gap on Helio Castroneves to 9 points with a second place finish. A potential shot at catching Hinchcliffe was hampered by getting caught up with lapped traffic, notably Tristan Vautier and Simona de Silvestro.

"It was so hard to catch back up to James (Hinchcliffe) and then lapped traffic," said Hunter-Reay. "It’s one thing if you’re a lap down but if you’re five laps down or six laps down just making it tough on the leaders was uncalled for.  But hey, we can back from 22nd or whatever we were to finish second.  Definitely had the car to win today but just made a mistake there trying to get by Graham (Rahal), keeping my foot in it. The front just had no grip on it when I turned to pop out and pass him.  Easy mistake.  We had a tough weekend.  To come second out of this thing, I’m pretty please with that"

After a miserable last few races, Rahal won his qualifying heat race on Saturday and today remained inside the top 5 for most of the day and ran side by side with Hinchcliffe for a few laps on a restart. Rahal finished in 5th position.

"I didn't quite have James' (Hinchcliffe) speed today but we were close," said Rahal. "And as you know, coming from where we have been over the past few weeks, this feels pretty good. But obviously I'm disappointed to not finish higher; we wanted a podium today if not better. The guys have really worked hard to get this Midas / Big O Tires car back to the front and we're getting closer"

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What They're Saying, Quotes From Day 1 at Iowa

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): “You know, it was way off the mark.  We’ve been sitting on our own thumbs all day today.  We just missed it today.  No. 1 DHL team will have to regroup and come back tomorrow because we’re starting buried in the pack.  We gave up points today.  An important day and we just missed it a bit.  It’s to fight another day and that’s tomorrow.”

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Peterson Motorsports Honda): "We had a good qualifying run earlier today but we saw in the heat race that we’re lacking some speed in race conditions. I knew racing would be harder than qualifying for me so I’ve got to try to learn as much as I can from this heat race to be prepared for tomorrow."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "I thought we had an ok day. It wasn’t what we wanted, we really wanted to qualify better and hopefully run in the final heat race and then if we could have won that we would have started on pole, and that’s obviously the main goal, but that’s not what happened. I think we have a strong car for the whole race distance tomorrow, so it’ll be interesting. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be hot, drivers and teams are going to struggle with set up and you just have to grind through it."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "The HP car is really good. We had a little bit too much understeer at the end, which is why we lost some ground. I think we’re really close though with where we need to be with the car. We can run every lane, which is the most important thing here at Iowa Speedway. Starting from 11th is good. We started 25th in this race last year and ended fifth, so we’ve put ourselves in a better starting position this year." (About Rahal’s pass for second):"That was a bold pass by Graham (Rahal). He didn’t give me any room and I had to go up in the gray area on the track. I guess I’ll just have to give him the favor back sometime."

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): “I’m really disappointed. The team’s been working really hard, but we’ve been fighting with the car since the second practice in Milwaukee. The car was great in the first practice there, but since then we haven’t been able to get it back to where we need it to be. It’s really frustrating. I know it’s there, because it was awesome in Texas as well. We’ll make some changes again tonight and hopefully get a good car for tomorrow’s race. We really want to go out and put on a good show for the Nuclear Clean Air Energy sponsors that are here this weekend. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Sunoco “Turbo” KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): “The car was good in the beginning of the race, but we developed some understeer as the laps came in. The good thing is that we found out about the problem tonight, so we have some time to work on the situation and I am confident we will be ready to race tomorrow.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): “The first heat race was great. I thought we had a good car this morning. The Midas / Big O Tires guys did a great job and we charged from seventh and got up there and won the race. We really, really felt the car was very competitive and were able to charge through the field which not a lot of the guys were seemingly able to do. And again in the second heat race, I think we could have won it.  I think we had the car but unfortunately Ed (Carpenter) and I bumped and we lost four percent front COP (center of pressure; from front wing damage) so the car didn’t want to turn.  The fact that we could still run high 18’s (18-second lap time) without a front wing is pretty impressive so I’m pleased with the car. I think it’s going to be pretty good.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “We missed the balance a little bit in qualifying.  We had a little too much understeer.  It’s too bad it’s not a night race because it helps with the grip in the race. It will be a little more slick in the day and will probably be more of a one-groove track.  It’s easier for a second groove to open up at night.  I think more people will run the second grove in the race because there is more banking.  Then the low grove won’t be as good in the race.  You are drafting all of the time here.  It’s non-stop drafting.  This is one of the most physical tracks that we run. Iowa is a little less physical that it used to be because the grip level isn’t as high.  But it is still a very tough race.   We were not too good in our first heat race tonight.  We tried something different.  It wasn’t very good and I felt fortunate to transfer to the final heat.   But the Fuzzy’s Vodka crew busted their butts to make some quick changes in between the heats and the car was much better in the final heat.  We ran 100 laps today and I think we learned some things for Sunday’s race.  Unfortunately, it will be in the heat of the day.  So I’m hoping our changes in the final heat will help us on Sunday.  I definitely feel better about our Fuzzy’s Chevy now.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) Verizon P1 Award:  It was great. I wish, is that over? Does that mean we don’t have to race tomorrow? [Laughter] It’s great. I’m very excited to be honest. The Hitachi boys did a hell of a job, again, and these points, it’s always good, it’s always crucial when you are fighting for the championship and every point counts. So I’m very proud. We learned a lot today, tomorrow is obviously a different ballgame, let’s put it this way because we still have more traffic, it’s going to be a little bit hotter. There’s a lot of things going on. But I’m excited. I’m very happy to be here and have the pole position. (About how running in traffic will be tomorrow):  It’s going to be tough. The good news is my car, as you could see, is really fast. Anything could happen. In the end of the day, Team Penske did a hell of a job again. Now we’re going to enjoy this victory, or this pole position I should say, and tomorrow we’re going to start working again.

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): “Tenth is definitely good for us, and you’ve seen the way things can go here with people going back and forth, so it’s not a bad place to start. Today we really accomplished what we wanted in the National Guard Chevy with a little bit of a race sim to see where the car is going to go. I felt very good in qualifying and in practice, we were just a little bit off (in the heat race) but that’s what this is good for; it gives us a chance to get it better for tomorrow. Honestly, the car felt good it just had a little too much understeer, which is the better evil to have and to solve. So I feel pretty good about tomorrow.”
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Chevrolet): “Very difficult day for me today. I believe we didn’t get all of our factors together. Qualifying was really not the best, and then in the Heat we were lacking plenty of grip so we lost some positions. That is not a huge issue – I started from the same place in the back and have made it all the way to the front in the past, and that could also happen tomorrow.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “It was a good day I think considering that we had to change the engine. We still qualified in the top 10. In the qualifying heat, the  race was quite productive for the ABC Supply team. I think we still need to find a little bit more speed for tomorrow but I think running the two heat races worked well for us in terms of understanding the car better than if we had just run the final heat race.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet):  “I think we were a little conservative in the Heat Race with the RC (Cola) car. We ran a little more of a (race day) car and we could have been more aggressive – that kind of hurt us. In the end of the stint we would have started moving forward but it was too late. Starting fourth isn’t all bad though… we’ve done it (won) here from 17th.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): “The GoDaddy car was great. Huge credit to the Andretti (Autosport) guys because they gave us a car we could move up. We didn’t see a lot of guys making passes today, and we were able to move up from where we started. It’s a shame we lost that position to Will (Power) there with about 20 (laps) to go – I would have liked an outside starting spot (for tomorrow’s race). We’re certainly in the ballpark. Helio (Castroneves) has been quick all weekend, and we know where we are relative to him so we just have to keep our heads down, make a couple changes for tomorrow and hopefully we can be there.”

Iowa Qualifying Heat Summary

NEWTON, Iowa -- Helio Castroneves took the win with a flag-to-flag victory in the Iowa Qualifying Race and collects 9 championship points in the process and takes the pole for the Iowa Corn 250, his first since April 2012.

"The car is really good," said Castroneves. "We were watching the other ones, first heat and second heat, so that we can learn something.  It's the toughest one, because you want to make some change, but you don't know what.  It was in the end the right decision what we did, again."

However, Castroneves will start 11th in the race due to a 10 place grid penalty for changing engines before the mile limit.

Will Power qualified 2nd, finishing 3.1480 seconds behind teammate Helio Castroneves.

"The car was very solid," said Power. "Obviously everyone's going to go back and work on theirs tonight, but you know, hopefully we have a good car tomorrow and another good result, because we need to keep chipping away on the points."

Andretti Autosport teammates James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti took positions 3 and 4 to fill out the second row.

Qualifying Race 1 determined the outside row lineup for positions 12-24. The top two finishers that transferred into Race 3 were Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato.

Qualifying Race 2 determined the inside row lineup for positions 11-23. The top two finishers that transferred into Race 3 were Graham Rahal and Ed Carpenter.

The only incident of the day was James Jakes' contact with the wall on lap 49 of Race 2. He was uninjured.

Click here for Iowa Corn 250 Qualifing Results

Iowa Corn 250 Practice 1 Results