Behind the Barriers - Indy 500 Opening Day

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Behind the Barriers - Indy 500 Opening Day

Steve Luczo, Jay Penske and Gil de Ferran have streamlined the name of their team. Previously known as Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports, the team is now named de Ferran Dragon Racing. The Pagoda from Gasoline Alley. Photo by...

Steve Luczo, Jay Penske and Gil de Ferran have streamlined the name of their team. Previously known as Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports, the team is now named de Ferran Dragon Racing.

The Pagoda from Gasoline Alley.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

"We changed the name because Luczo Dragon Racing/de Ferran Motorsports was too long," co-owner Steve Luczo said. "The placement of Gil's name first represents his vast accomplishments in the sport and his full time involvement as President of our race team."

The team starts the 94th Indianpolis 500 with two cars driven by Raphael Matos, who will contest the entire season and Davey Hamilton.

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Firestone has produced 5,620 tires for the 94th Indianapolis 500. Each full-program entry will receive 33 sets (132 tires) for the event. Additional sets are available for drivers participating in rookie orientation and veteran refresher programs. A single tire stagger of approximately 0.30 of an inch is available for all cars.

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Andretti Autosport has five cars entered in the 94th Indianapolis 500. Team owner Michael Andretti said the team has the experience to meet the challenge. "We did it twice when I was driving, so it shouldn't be that bad. We ran two weeks ago (at Kansas) with no problems. We think it brings value to the team."

Tony Kanaan got a taste of all five cars on opening day, shaking each one down before turning it over to its respective driver. Kanaan placed 5th, 6th, 15th, 16th and 25th fastest on the speed charts. He was fastest in John Andretti's No. 43 (224.793 mph). He was a tick slower in his own No. 11 (224.685 mph)

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Roberto Guerrero is back at Indianapolis. Guerrero is coaching Bryan Herta Autosport driver Sebastian Saavedra, who will attempt to qualify for his first Indianapolis 500. Saavedra is competing fulltime in the firestone Indy Lights Series.

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Gustavo Yacaman topped the speed charts in a single day Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 14. Yacaman turned a lap of 47.2493 seconds, 190.511 mph, in his No. 10 Cape Motorsport with Wayne Taylor Racing entry.

"I'm not surprised," Yacaman said. "(Engineers Nicholas and Dominic) Cape had a great car two years ago with J.R. (Hildebrand) and the car was really good. The credit goes to them. All I had to do was sit there with the pedal to the metal. "

Yacaman visited the NASCAR tire test at the Speedway in April where he received advice from Juan Pablo Montoya. "I think spending a few days with Juan really helped me a lot," Yacaman said. "I think he helped me get really comfortable with the car and he gave me some really good tips that showed up today. Hopefully we can keep this up for the race."

Pippa Mann was second fastest with a lap of 47.3125, 190.225 mph followed by Jeff Simmons (190.072), Charlie Kimball (189.864) and defending race winner Wade Cunningham (189.672).

The Firestone Indy Lights Series returns to the track on May 27 for practice and qualifying for the Freedom 100 held the following day.

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Jeff Simmons and Wade Cunningham participated in Firestone Indy Lights testing at the Speedway yesterday. Simmons signed to drive with Team E for the May 28 race, while 2005 Firestone Indy Lights champion Wade Cunningham returns to defend his 2009 race win with Sam Schmidt Motorsports."I wanted to build up gradually, and I think it was a testament to everybody at Team E that we were so quick right off the bat," said Simmons. "The last time I raced was Kentucky of '08, so to be able to have a car that I could be confident in was great. We were quick all day - basically in the top three all day - and if we wanted to play the super-drafting game at the end we probably could have gone a little quicker."

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Conquest Racing is will field two rookies at Indianapolis this year. Drivers Mario Romancini and Bertrand Baguette accompanied team owner Eric Bachelart on a visit to Turn three this afternoon to observe the veterans practice. The team is no stranger to fielding rookies. In its three visits to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Conquest Racing has competed with rookie drivers. In 2002, it was Frenchman Laurent Redon, who took the year-end Rookie of the Year title. In 2008, it was a pair of Brazilian rookies in Enrique Bernoldi and Jaime Camara and last season Conquest Racing claimed Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honors with Alex Tagliani.

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Roger Yasukawa was in Turn three today spotting for Lotus KV-Racing Technology driver Takuma Sato.

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Jaques Lazier was turning laps in Gasoline Alley today. "It's Indy; it's the month of May," said Lazier, "so there are always opportunities, but I would think they are very far and few between. We were close to getting something done. Unfortunately that fell through."

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Quick Trim is sponsoring the father-son effort at Rahal Letterman Racing. Graham Rahal will drive the No. 30 Quick Trim Dallara/Honda entered by his father, 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal. Quick Trim is also promoted by Kim and Khloe Kardashian of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

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Opening ceremonies included a parade lap by 125 Chevrolet Camaros owned by Indiana residents. The Camaro has served as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 six times (1967, '69, '82, '93, 2009 and '10)

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Seven drivers must complete their Rookie Orientation: Takuma Sato, Ana Beatriz, Sebastian Saavedra, Mario Romancini, Bertrand Baguette, Jay Howard and Simona de Silvestro.

The four phases of ROP include 10 laps at each of the following speeds:
    200-205 mph
    205-210 mph
    210-215 mph
    215+ mph

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS