FRANCHITTI LEADS FINAL PRACTICE; CASTRONEVES TAKES PIT STOP CONTEST INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 28, 2010 - Target Chip Ganassi Racing hopes Miller Lite Carb Day could be a good indication of Indianapolis 500 Race Day. Dario Franchitti, who will...
FRANCHITTI LEADS FINAL PRACTICE; CASTRONEVES TAKES PIT STOP CONTEST
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 28, 2010 - Target Chip Ganassi Racing hopes Miller Lite Carb Day could be a good indication of Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
Dario Franchitti, who will start the 2010 Indianapolis 500 from the outside of the front row, topped the speed chart for the final practice session, the final opportunity for teams to fine-tune their cars before Race Day.
Franchitti, driving the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, topped the speed chart with a quick lap of 225.574 mph (39.8983 seconds). Franchitti's teammate Scott Dixon (225.159 mph) and Verizon Team Penske's Will Power (223.575 mph) were right behind.
FAZZT Race Team's Bruno Junqueira was fourth at 224.898 mph in the No. 33 Bower & Wilkins/TorcUP car, while polesitter Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Team Penske car was fifth (224.753).
Castroneves hopes that winning the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition remains a good omen.
Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, defeated Hideki Mutoh of Newman/Haas Racing in the championship round. His pit crew received the $50,000 first prize for its speed and accuracy.
The winner of the competition has gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 six times, including Castroneves' win last year. Penske Racing teams have won the pit stop competition a record 12 times, including the last five that it has been contested.
ZZ Top headlined a concert to conclude the busy day.
MILLER LITE CARB DAY NOTEBOOK:
Entry update: Tony Kanaan has switched from the #11T that he qualified 32nd on Sunday to his #11 car for the Indianapolis 500. He will start 33rd, moving Sebastian Saavedra to the No. 32 starting position.
Jerry Coons Jr. won the 40th First Financial Bank "Tony Hulman Classic" presented by Budweiser and 500 Express USAC National Sprint Car Series feature Thursday night at the Terre Haute Action Track. Coons took the lead from Levi Jones with three laps remaining in the 30-lap feature.
Honda has been a fixture in North American open-wheel racing since 1994 and has played an active role in the development of the IZOD IndyCar Series -- as both a manufacturers' championship competitor and sole engine supplier -- since joining the series in 2003.
The company scored its first Indianapolis 500 victory in 2004 with Buddy Rice, manufacturers' championships in 2004 and 2005 and became engine supplier to the entire series in 2006. Honda has supplied racing engines to the entire 33-car Indianapolis 500 starting field every year since 2006, and for a record four consecutive years, there has not been a single engine failure in the '500.'
The 2010 Indianapolis 500 will mark Honda's 100th race win as a manufacturer and engine supplier in IZOD IndyCar Series competition.
NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. were in the media center today. Fouts is a guest of series sponsor IZOD this weekend.
DAN FOUTS: "Just to be here and see the size and magnitude, and feel the enthusiasm and excitement as it builds for the race on Sunday, it's very unique. I've been to a lot of big sporting events, Super Bowls and whatever. But this is totally different just because of the size and the number of people. I've always watched the Indy 500. As a kid it was part of 'Wide World of Sports,' and you tuned it in because it was going to be something special. It's fascinating, the teamwork involved with the racing teams. I kind of like that part of it."
(On the correlation between teamwork in football and racing): "Being a quarterback, I can appreciate the guy behind the wheel. The teamwork involved, it is similar to playing ball. You've got your hierarchy, and you've got the guys doing all the grunt work. You've got to pull together to make it happen, and usually the better team wins."
(What are you looking forward to the most?): "I think I get to take a lap today. You know, I've flown with the Blue Angels twice, and this is like on the bucket list. This will be a first-time, only-time deal, and I can't wait."
AL UNSER JR.: "It's just like Fouts said. Rick Galles, my car owner the first time I won the Indianapolis 500, modeled the team after a football team with the driver being the quarterback and the pit crew being the linemen, and so on. It was all modeled after how a football team operates. I never played football or anything, but I did 'quarterback' my team and talk to them and so on. When things were down, it was we or the team who had to bring things backup again. I can't think IZOD and Phillips-Van Heusen for bringing the Legends of Football here. The push that they (IZOD) are making is going to take the Indy Racing League to its next level."
Fans can choose among legendary drivers of the sport to name the trophies awarded to the oval and road champions of the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Media selected the top-five nominees from each discipline and through June 3, IZOD IndyCar Series fans can vote for their preferred legend at www.indycar.com.
The oval trophy honoree will be announced during the IZOD IndyCar Series event weekend June 4-5 at Texas Motor Speedway while the road trophy honoree will be revealed July2-4 at Watkins Glen International.
Oval nominees: Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Ted Horn, Rick Mears, Bill Vukovich.
Road nominees: Mario Andretti, Mark Donohue, Dan Gurney, Al Unser Jr., Alex Zanardi.
The Honda overtake assist system will be used in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time this year.
The system, which was introduced last August at Kentucky Speedway, provides a 200 revolutions per minute and extra power (5-20 horsepower) boost for a prescribed time limit on all racetracks via a button on the steering wheel designed to complete a pass or defend one.
For the 500 Mile Race, Honda Performance Development has set the duration at 18 seconds for each of the 15 activations. There's a 10-second reset time between activations.
The Art Institute of Indianapolis joined the FAZZT Race Team in their goal to reach out to younger IZOD IndyCar Series fans, as students at Ai Indy were asked to design a logo, website and autograph card for children.
Ai Indy graphic design students Alex Noonan and Angie Fields created a logo for FAZZT Kidz and a hero card that was distributed Wednesday during American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day at IMS. The website, once completed, will include puzzles and games for young children to play and photos and videos by FAZZT driver Alex Tagliani. The site is being created by Ai Indy Web Design & Interactive Media students Jason Luzader, Chris Johnson, Jake Kawaguchi and Matt Turpin.
ALEX TAGLIANI: "This is a great project The Art Institute of Indianapolis and their students have undertaken for me and the FAZZT Race Team. It's nice to be able to have something that appeals to the kids and hopefully gets them interested in racing and learning about motorsport, as they are our future as fans."
Butler University men's basketball coach Brad Stevens was the honorary starter today. Stevens coached the Bulldogs to the NCAA Division I championship game, where they lost to Duke at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
BRAD STEVENS: "I was supposed to wave the green flag a couple of years ago, but it was raining. This is the first time in (my) last five tries coming to the track that it wasn't raining. I'm excited that I get a chance to be here on a nice day. It's a beautiful day, and it's one of my favorite weekends."
(What was it like to wave the green flag?): "When they came out of the pits, it was one thing, but when they came down the straightaway it was another. It was really neat to see those cars. I've been here for a few races and will be here on Sunday, but it's also one of the few things that I get to listen to on the radio rather than now watch on TV. When I was growing up, I listened to it on the radio, and it was just a great event, something you look forward to every spring."
(His pick to win the race): "Well, I probably should stay away from picks. I don't want to put any pressure on him, but I'm friends with Ed Carpenter, so I'll l be paying close attention to the Butler graduate."
Don Lambert, chief mechanic for Bryan Herta Autosport, was named as the winner of the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award for the 2010 Indianapolis 500.
Lambert earned a $5,000 check and a plaque. The award is presented annually by the Clint Brawner Foundation and supported by Firestone Racing and recognizes an Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic who exemplifies the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm and expertise of legendary Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic Brawner.
Lambert, an Indianapolis native, was recognized for playing his part in the fledgling Bryan Herta Autosport team that helped rookie driver Sebastian Saavedra earn a spot in the race. Saavedra crashed heavily late on Bump Day but still qualified when Paul Tracy and Jay Howard withdrew qualified runs and failed to improve on them.
DON LAMBERT: "It's just hard for me to express how I feel, because this means a lot. I guess I was pretty emotional when they told me because of everything else that went on the previous two days, Saturday and Sunday, and then crashing and looking at the car and thinking, 'Oh, man!' I mean, it broke everything - gearbox, bell-housing, underwings, sidepods, engine cover - and then looking at the work, trying to get the thing put back together, I was just taken back that I actually won that award. I had seen guys in the past that had won that award, including my teammate, Butch Winkle, and I was thinking, 'Man, that would be pretty cool,' and I didn't think I would ever win it!"
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel star Brandon Bernstein is visiting the track today.
BRANDON BERNSTEIN: "I'm just enjoying the atmosphere today. It's nice to come here. I'm back living in the Indy area now. It's good to be back and have a roundy-round course. I just came out to experience some good racing while we've got some time off before starting a brutal nine-week racing schedule."
Indianapolis 500 veteran and Rolex Sports Car Series driver Scott Pruett spent some time in the pits on Friday with the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team. Pruett is a Grand-Am championship winner for the Ganassi organization.
SCOTT PRUETT: "It's great being back here seeing Dario and Scott running as good as they are. The Target cars are looking good. It's nice to come here. There's nothing like Indy. Being here in Indy cars, being here in NASCAR, being here in Rolex when we did that test (at IMS), there's nothing like being at Indy and going fast. I think it would be awesome if we (the Rolex Sports Car Series) could get the opportunity to come here and do something different that we haven't done before." (Is it hard to watch the cars running when your last time here for the Indy 500 was a near victory?): "You know, it's just one of those things. It was a long time ago. We'd love to be here with the Rolex Series and love being here with the Ganassi organization."
IZOD INDY 500 PIT STOP CHALLENGE NOTES:
* Team Penske won the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge for the 12th time, extending its record. Galles Racing is second, with six victories.
* Team Penske has won the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge the last five years (2005, Sam Hornish Jr.; 2006, Helio Castroneves; 2007, Castroneves; 2009, Castroneves; 2010, Castroneves). The event was canceled by rain in 2008.
* Helio Castroneves was the winning driver in the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge for the fifth time, a record. He shared the record with Danny Sullivan entering this year. Castroneves has been the winning driver in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
* Helio Castroneves will attempt to complete the Indianapolis 500 "sweep" of winning the pole, IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and the Indianapolis 500 in the same year for the second consecutive year, an unprecedented feat.
* Helio Castroneves won the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge and the race in 2002 and 2009.
* This is the first IZOD Pit Stop Challenge victory for Team Penske chief mechanic Sean Hanrahan. Castroneves earned his first four victories in this event with Rick Rinaman as chief mechanic. Rinaman moved to an in-house role this season at the team, overseeing all three Penske teams and engineering.
* Team Penske's winning time of 8.001 seconds was the second-quickest final-round time in the history of the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, which started in 1977. Team Penske and Castroneves won in the final round last year with a stop of 7.962 seconds.
* This is the fifth time Newman/Haas Racing has finished runner-up in this event. The team also placed second in 1988 (Mario Andretti), 1989 (Mario Andretti), 1993 (Mario Andretti) and 1995 (Michael Andretti). The team won in 1987 (Mario Andretti).
Paul Tracy will compete for KV Racing Technology in the Honda Indy Edmonton IZOD IndyCar Series event July 23-25 at Edmonton, Alberta, it was announced today.
Tracy is a native of the Toronto area.
Indianapolis 500 veteran Paul Tracy met with the media today. Tracy failed to qualify for the 2010 Indianapolis 500 in the No. 15 GEICO-Curb Records-KV Racing Technology entry.
PAUL TRACY: (On his recent announcement in Toronto): "After leaving here on Sunday with our tail between our legs and waking up in Toronto and still not feeling very good with how the weekend went, we were there to make an announcement about racing in Canada. We announced a sponsorship there (for the Toronto Grand Prix) with Honda Canada and the Blue Jays baseball team. The primary sponsor on that car is a charity, Make-A-Wish Foundation, which supports kids who are sick with various forms of illnesses that are life-threatening. Jimmy (Vasser) and I both got up in the morning and had breakfast. We were both still crying in our cereal bowl about how Sunday went. When we got to the venue where the car was, there were a half-dozen kids there. Your heart just sank. You think you've got troubles, and you've got kids there that are sick. It kind of put things in perspective that life's not so bad for me because I didn't qualify for the Indy 500. So we're supporting a great cause for the Toronto races."
(What are your plans for Race Day?): "I'll just be staying here with the sponsors trying to keep our relationships going. We work with the team. Obviously, there's really not much I can do after that, other than just trying to keep ourselves in the loop here."
(Will you be spotting or anything specific like that on Race Day?): "No, that's a big responsibility. They have guys that do that full time."
All carbon emissions connected with the opening race of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season - the Sao Paulo Indy 300, held on a street course in Brazil's largest city on March 14, will be compensated by more than 23,000 trees planted at the largest sugarcane processing mill in the world, it was announced in a press conference today. The trees were planted based on a study by an independent consultancy, which quantified emissions produced by the Sao Paulo race and estimated the number of trees needed to offset those emissions.
The study, produced by the Sao Paulo-based Totum Institute, was commissioned by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) with support from the Indy Racing League. The tree planting was completed May 18 by the world's largest sugarcane processing mill, Sao Martinho, located in the town of Pradópolis in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.
In all, 23,580 native Atlantic Rainforest seedlings were planted on 14.2 hectares of land around the Sao Martinho mill, to offset an estimated 1,137.85 tons of CO2 and equivalents emitted by the race in Sao Paulo. The assessment report called for only 8,128 trees to be planted, but the mill decided to expand the planted area. The mill and the Sao Paulo state Environmental Secretariat have pledged to monitor the area for at least five years and replant seedlings whenever necessary.
JOEL VELASCO (Chief representative for North America, UNICA): "UNICA was able to bring together all the necessary players to ensure credibility and transparency every step of the way, from the assessment report produced by an experienced and recognized institution, to direct supervision of the tree planting by two state government offices."
TERRY ANGSTADT (President, Commercial Division, Indy Racing League): "It was a huge investment and huge effort to compensate for the carbon footprint around the Sao Paulo event. I think it was a great effort from our good partners at UNICA, and we are working hard to possibly neutralize more events, which would be fantastic."
SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m. Public gates open
10:30-11 a.m. Public Drivers' Meeting, Pit Lane in front of Tower Terrace
Noon IPL 500 Festival Parade, Downtown Indianapolis
6 p.m. Track Closes
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues May 30 with the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway The race will air live on VERSUS.