Team Penske led the way in the opening practice session for the 2014 Indianapolis 500.
INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, May 11, 2014) - Team Penske swept the top three spots on the speed chart as practice for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race opened at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Twenty-four car/driver combinations ran a total of 731 laps without incident during the six-hour session.
Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Will Power was fastest with a lap of 223.057 mph (40.3485 seconds) in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car. He totaled 82 laps.
JR Hildebrand, runner-up in the 2011 race as a rookie, was fourth fastest (222.200) in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer/Ed Carpenter Racing car. Ryan Hunter-Reay, runner-up in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, was fifth fastest (222.134) in the No. 28 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.
Kurt Busch, who will attempt to compete in the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Concord, N.C., the same day, got in his first laps with other cars on the Speedway.
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
Andretti Autosport driver James Hinchcliffe did not undergo a medical evaluation today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and no time for that evaluation has been set.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti visited the track today, turning laps in the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: "My seat in the Target car (he drove to his three 500 victories) was very comfortable. I spent several years perfecting it, but this pace car is a nice car and has a nice seat in it. I'm looking forward to taking it for a few laps here this morning. And I'm looking forward to leading the cars to the green flag on Memorial Day Sunday. I'll get to do that up to the green flag, then (three-time Indianapolis 500 winner) Johnny Rutherford is going to take over and do his in usual time and I'm making the most of it. We're going to work very hard with all the Ganassi cars and try to get one of those guys into Victory Lane. And it's a neat way for me to get back to the Speedway."
Nine-time Indianapolis 500 racer Sarah Fisher was the honorary starter today, waving the green flag to start the first practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500. Fisher is co-owner of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing which will field cars for Josef Newgarden and Alex Tagliani this month.
SARAH FISHER: "This is really special, not only because I am a mom and expecting and I have my daughter (Zoey) with me, but my mom (Reba Fisher) is here as well. She got to wave the green flag in 2004. So it makes sense for all of us to be out here on Mother's Day and opening day. I'm in trouble; she (Zoey) likes cars. It is really neat." (About expecting her second child on June 19): "I have a lot of patience, and more importantly, I have a wonderful husband. Andy (O'Gara), does a great job off-track and behind the scenes. I have a great family that supports me." (What's the best thing about being a mom?) "You appreciate the small things is what matters the most, and taking your time to enjoy those times. My mom and dad (Reba and Dave Fisher) were very special in my career. I'm real lucky that I have really great parents. Some kids don't have that experience; I'm really lucky that I have such great parents. They were very influential and very supportive the whole time." (About the gifts she received from IMS): "It's so neat that they came out and did that. It's so neat that IMS recognizes mothers on Mother's Day. It's such a long month and there are such a lot of crew guys that are working out here the whole month. They have wives and moms at home. It's so nice that the track recognizes that Mother's Day is important."
INDYCAR president of competition Derrick Walker talked about the transition the series is making today going from a road course race to an oval event in less than 12 hours.
DERRICK WALKER: "Everybody has been preparing for the quick change-over (. It's all part of the plan. The design of the track (road course) and the way the track was built; they were consciously thinking that overnight it would have to be turned back into an oval. When you look at all the road course lines, most of the lines have been taken off. It's back to oval today just like it always has been. A lot of organization went into the changeover. All the credit goes to the Speedway." (What did the teams have to do to change cars from road course to oval?): "The bigger teams that have more cars have dedicated oval cars. They put a lot more effort into that. Some teams have to use the same car; they have to put the oval suspension and the oval wings on. They like to clean up and make the body work fit nicely and appear clean and slick."
Integrity Energee Drink will be the primary sponsor of the No. 98 BHA/BBM w/ Curb Agajanian entry driven by Jack Hawksworth for the remainder of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series.
A. AL-AJLUNI (CEO, Integrity Assets Group, Inc.): "Integrity Assets Group was founded with a vision to supply and distribute products and services that make a real difference in the communities we serve. Integrity Energee Drink is our newest offering and we couldn't be more excited to launch this healthy lifestyle energy drink alternative through the fast-paced world of Indy car racing. The question we are asked most is, 'Where do I find Energee?' We will be using our INDYCAR partnership to share the answer to that and a variety of questions with the many racing fans and our Integrity family in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!"
BRYAN HERTA (Co-owner, Bryan Herta Autosport): "Integrity Energee Drink has tapped into the high demand energy drinks marketplace with an exciting product designed to taste great and promote well-being in the human body. INDYCAR provides Integrity the perfect platform to promote and launch their Energee Drink and we are proud they have joined our current partners Castrol Edge, LegalShield, Curb Records and the Collection Auto Group as primary sponsor for the balance of the season. I look forward to celebrating in Victory Lane with Energee."
Dennis Reinbold, owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, talked about the affiliation his team has with Chip Ganassi Racing to return to the Indianapolis 500 with rookie Sage Karam.
DENNIS REINBOLD: "We had targeted coming back and running the Speedway all along and had worked on it throughout the year. This program came along rather late with Sage (Karam) in alliance with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. It's come together well and we're really excited about it. I'm enjoying the day and being back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I'm elated to be here again. I will be the strategist on race day and call the pit stops. We do have one of the Ganassi guys (engineers) to help us. Dario (Franchitti) came over and gave Sage some advice on some advice on different driving lines early in the practice session today. He (Franchitti) will be working with us a little bit throughout the month. To put together a program for a rookie and have such resources like we have in place, we feel very fortunate and want to give Sage the opportunity of having a great Indianapolis 500. He (Karam) came up through the ranks (Mazda Road to Indy), winning the championship in Indy Lights last year. The ladder system is a good reflection through Sage of what it can do and how it can prepare you for the big cars. This will be our 15th year in a row; we have helped to make sure there were 33 cars in the field all those years. It's a special place; it's fun to be back. This is the biggest race in the world and we really want to win it."
Practice continues May 12 (noon-6 p.m. ET). Qualifications on May 17-18.
IndyCar Public Relations