IRL: Indy 500: New format for Pit Stop Challenge

NEW FORMAT, LARGER PURSE ADD EXCITEMENT TO PIT STOP CHALLENGE INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 23, 2006 -- A new format and an increased purse will add even more excitement to one of the most popular events of the Indianapolis 500, the 30th annual ...

NEW FORMAT, LARGER PURSE ADD EXCITEMENT TO PIT STOP CHALLENGE

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, May 23, 2006 -- A new format and an increased purse will add even more excitement to one of the most popular events of the Indianapolis 500, the 30th annual Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge on Miller Lite Carb Day, Friday, May 26.

The Challenge, which determines the fastest pit crew in the IndyCar® Series, starts at 1:30 p.m. (ET) during an action-packed day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Television coverage of the Challenge will start at 3 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.

Ten pit crews will compete this year in the Challenge for a $50,000 first prize from a $100,000 purse, up from $30,000 and $80,000 last year. Crews include the defending Challenge champion, the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske crew of 2006 WorldPoints Visa Card Pole winner Sam Hornish Jr. It was the record eighth victory in the Challenge for Marlboro Team Penske.

Nine of the qualified 2006 Challenge crews earned their spots through speedy pit work at previous IndyCar Series races, starting at the 2005 Indianapolis 500 through the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in April 2006.

The 10th participant, the No. 10 crew of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and 2005 Indy 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon, was added to the Challenge as a promoter's option.

Other crews participating in the 2006 Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge: No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske (Helio Castroneves), No. 7 Andretti Green Racing (Bryan Herta), No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon), No. 11 Andretti Green Racing (Tony Kanaan), No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing (Buddy Rice), No. 16 Rahal Letterman Racing (Danica Patrick), No. 26 Andretti Green Racing (Marco Andretti), No. 27 Andretti Green Racing (Dario Franchitti).

An exciting, new structure was created for this year's Challenge, splitting competition into a Qualifications Round and Eliminations Rounds.

All 10 crews will complete a simulated pit stop in the Qualifications Round, with the fastest and second-fastest crews automatically advancing to the semifinals of the Eliminations Round. The crews with the third- through sixth-fastest times will move to the quarterfinals of Eliminations.

The four slowest crews in Qualifications are eliminated and will earn sixth through 10th place based on their Qualifications Round times.

Crews with the third- through sixth-fastest times in Qualifications will participate in the quarterfinals of Eliminations. Those winners will advance to the semifinals against the two fastest crews from the Qualifications Round, with the winners of those pairings squaring off in the finals.

During every pit stop in Qualifications and Eliminations, crews must change all four tires while making a simulated fuel hose connection to the car. Fuel is not used in the Challenge.

Time penalties of various lengths will be assessed for violations, such as running over an air hose, leaving the pits before the wheels are properly tightened and pit crews and equipment straying from the marked pit box during the stop.

2006 CHECKERS/RALLY'S PIT STOP CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS

No.
Driver
Entrant

3
Helio Castroneves
Marlboro Team Penske

6
Sam Hornish Jr.
Marlboro Team Penske

7
Bryan Herta
Andretti Green Racing

9
Scott Dixon
Target Chip Ganassi Racing

10
Dan Wheldon*
Target Chip Ganassi Racing

11
Tony Kanaan
Andretti Green Racing

15
Buddy Rice
Rahal Letterman Racing

16
Danica Patrick
Rahal Letterman Racing

26
Marco Andretti
Andretti Green Racing

27
Dario Franchitti
Andretti Green Racing

* -- Promoter's option

2006 CHECKERS/RALLY'S PIT STOP CHALLENGE ELIMINATIONS FORMAT

Quarterfinals
No. 3 Qualifications vs. No. 6 Qualifications
No. 4 Qualifications vs. No. 5 Qualifications
Note: The losing crew in each pairing will be ranked by time for fifth and sixth place overall.

Semifinals
No. 1 Qualifications vs. Winner of No. 3-No. 6 Quarterfinals pairing
No. 2 Qualifications vs. Winner of No. 4-No. 5 Quarterfinals pairing
Note: The losing crew in each pairing will be ranked by time for third and fourth place overall.

Finals
Two winners of Semifinals pairings
Note: The losing crew will earn second place overall.

***

Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the 90th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Monday-Sunday during May, with special hours of 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Race Day. Online orders can be made at any time.

Ticket prices start at just $20.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Marco Andretti , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , CIP