Greetings from Homestead, Fla., where it is NOT in the single digit temperatures like it is in Indianapolis! I arrived yesterday for the first Firestone Indy Lights open test in advance of 2013, and currently have a great view of the road course from race control. I’m usually sitting in the media center in the infield where I don’t have a clear shot of the full track, so our Timing & Scoring staff are giving me a treat this time around.
We have nine awesome drivers out here today. Star Mazda (now Pro Mazda) is really representing, with last year’s champion Jack Hawksworth, 2012 standouts Zach Veach and Gabby Chaves and former competitor Peter Dempsey running in the top five this morning. Carlos Munoz, who’s going into his second season in Firestone Indy Lights, has been fastest all day. Check out this story on him and his quest to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 this year AND earn the Firestone Indy Lights title.
It’s great to see some familiar faces on the INDYCAR tech side and the team side. Chatting with one of them during the lunch break today, I was asked, “So…what is it you actually do here?” It’s funny how much time we spend around each other without asking that, so I didn’t mind.
During a test, I find a good place to camp (qualifiers: wi-fi, a decent view, safe to leave my things behind) with a radio so I can keep posted on what’s going on. I still have to do the things I do on a daily basis, like post to our Facebook and Twitter pages and respond to my email. Also, if we have any media attend, I work with them to make sure they have what they need and get to talk to the drivers they want interviews from. This test, we weren’t able to bring a photographer out, so I went up to the spotter stands to test my artistic abilities so I can have photos to post with web stories I’ll file after the day is over.
After the session is over and I see who’s fastest, or who went notably fast, I hunt them down during the lunch break and conduct interviews. I try not to interrupt debriefs or meal time, but I’ll take an interview with food rolling around in their mouths over no interview any day! We usually haven’t seen each other in a while, so it’s also a great time to catch up for a bit before the afternoon starts up. Today’s lunch break included new photos of Zach Veach’s puppy that he’s about to get.
From there, it’s back to my post to write and prepare stories for the new www.IndyCar.com/RoadtoIndy, where we’ll be posting all of the latest Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy news from now on. Hope you enjoy its new home, our web staff did a great job getting it up and ready, and we’re excited to get more news flowing through it about these great, up-and-coming drivers.
Let me know in the comment section below anything you’d like to see from our time here at Homestead and I’ll do my best to get it to you in the second day of testing tomorrow! We have a gallery of photos up on our Flickr page. — Kate
Before he got too busy with 2012 preparations, I caught up with Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda driver Thomas McGregor for a Mazda Road to Indy Q&A.
Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, he signed with Andretti Autosport in late October. The 2010-2011 Skip Barber Southern Regional Series champion chatted about his love of Eminem and football, ice cream and nightmare hotel rooms.
Now that the Cooper Tires Winterfest is just around the corner, what are you most looking forward to in 2012?
Everything! 2012 is a huge stepping stone and opportunity for me in my career. I am really looking forward to racing with Andretti Autosport in the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda.
We hear your first job was working at Dairy Queen! Did you get all the ice cream you ever wanted and more?
I worked at my dad’s DQ for a little while. I must say, it was nice eating ice cream each and every day once I was done with work. I still have access to that ice cream whenever I want it, but as I’ve gotten older it is more of a treat now rather than a daily occurrence.
We hear you like to listen to Eminem before a race. Ever considered a career in rapping? C’mon, you know you’ve practiced…
No, I can honestly say that I haven’t. Racing is the one thing I have always wanted to do. Besides, I don’t think I am musically talented enough to make it a career, but it is a nice thought.
Which are your favorite NFL teams/players and why? If you had to do a touchdown dance, what would it look like?
My favorite NFL team is the New England Patriots because my favorite player, Wes Welker, plays for them. My touchdown dance would be crazy. I’m not sure how to make it crazy, but it just would be.
You’re obviously a very experienced traveler. Any nightmare hotel stories?
During one race weekend in Florida, my manager Michael Duncalfe found bed bugs in his room/bed. He was so disgusted he woke up my teammate Shelby Blackstock, who was staying in a different room at the same hotel. The two were so creeped out and knew they wouldn’t get any sleep that night so they drove to McDonald’s for food and ended up wondering the aisles of Wal-Mart for hours. I was sleeping soundly and was none the wiser in the morning. Needless to say we all changed rooms.
The USF2000 Cooper Tires Winterfest begins Feb. 6 at Sebring International Raceway.
As I head into the last race of the season at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, I reflect back to the start of this season and the whirlwind it’s been.
In addition to the close of the season, I have the opportunity to reflect on the recent end of the Seventeen magazine “Pretty Amazing” contest, which has been one of the coolest experiences of my life. This contest was different than anything I’ve ever done. It is a huge accomplishment to be one of the top-five finalists (out of 35,000 who entered) in the competition where one of us would be on the cover of Seventeen, a magazine that reaches 13 million monthly readers!
At the beginning of the season, everything was extremely hectic and I was fully focused on the start of my first full season since 2006 in a new series, learning a new craft. It was March and we were entering our second race of the season when my management group, BRANDed, came to me with yet another opportunity! Some of you may remember the video contest we did a year ago encouraging YOU to turn OFF your cell phones and “Don’t text and drive”. In all honesty, I wasn’t super enthusiastic about it because I was focused on the start of my season and my performance on the track. However, I went ahead and came up with a short essay and we went ahead and submitted an entry. Here’s what I wrote:
At age five, my family and I entered a world that would later shape my life, character, personality and future forever. The industry was racing and I would start driving racecars the same year I began Kindergarten in Miamisburg, Ohio. I was the kid at the front of the line, the kid who won the fundraising competitions, participated in Student Government, was involved in my school, graduated in the top ¼ of my class, was elected for homecoming court and a two year National Honors Society member. But I was different than everyone – always have been, always will be and that is something that has stuck with me, defined me and given me confidence. At age five, I won my first race and never looked back. At the age of fourteen, I started realizing I could pursue racing professionally. Between now and then, I’ve been through nonstop ups and downs giving it my all to find sponsorships, connections and the means to be a professional racecar driver. Today, I am a fully funded and paid racecar driver continuing the pursuit of being a professional driver in the Indianapolis 500. My dreams have fueled me and will continue to be the seed beneath my life motto, never ever ever give up.
Soon thereafter, we got a call back from Seventeen asking for a 20-minute video answering questions about myself, my family, my background and what I do. They also wanted to see my bedroom and a little bit more about my personality. The funny thing was, I had just gotten to Indianapolis for the month of May and was living in a short-term lease, white walled, and generally furnished apartment that would show none of my personality! So, I sat on the bed with a comforter that I’d never choose, bare white walls and explained to Seventeen about my crazy life, why I was where I was, and what I was doing.
After a string of a few more calls and videos, Ann Shoket, the magazine’s editor-in-chief “skyped” me and told me the great news. I was one of the five finalists and would be making the trip to NYC for a week where I’d do a top of the line cover photo-shoot, meet the other finalists and experience all kinds of awesome stuff.
Between the trip to New York City and the time that I found out, I was really too flat out with racing and concentrating on that to really think about what the trip would entail. MTV came to Milwaukee to do some filming prior to the race weekend and I also kept myself busy with other racing related “activities”.
Finally, the time came to go to NY and I finally spent some time “offline” and enjoying being a girl. From the time I arrived at one of the swankiest hotels in SoHo until the time that I departed, cameras followed close behind. The first night, us girls got to meet each other and have a surprise dinner together. The following day was the beginning of nonstop activities that Seventeen and Neutrogena would keep the five of us busy with.
The day started off with a trip to Hearst Corporation where we met Seventeen Editor-in-Chief, Ann Shoket, who told us we were going to be giving a short speech to an auditorium full of girls about our age, in thirty minutes! We all had a bit of time to come up with thoughts and most of the girls wrote their speeches on note cards. I wrote a few bullet points down but chose to speak from my heart and ditch the note cards. It was truly an inspiring moment for me to be able to tell my story to hundreds of girls who I’d never met but would possibly be able to make an impact on. After our speeches, we got to “meet & mingle” with all of the audience and then were told we’d be getting full-on makeovers. Seventeen created individual “looks” for each girl and mine was “Edgy Sweet.”
We went to a top-of-the line salon in the city and each of us got our trial looks in preparation for the following day; the photo-shoot! I got my hair colored a bit darker and trimmed. They also gave me some layers. It wasn’t a whole lot different but I definitely liked it.
The next day was day one of the photo-shoot and most definitely the best part of the trip. I don’t think I realized how big of a deal the whole thing was until I walked into the set and saw the professionalism and amount of people it took to put this thing together: a photographer with two assistants, a celebrity stylist and his two assistants, celebrity hair stylist and Herbal Essences spokesperson and his assistant, make-up artist and his assistant, nail artist, television crew, media, Seventeen executives, MTV executives, Neutrogena executives and tons of other random people which I had know idea who they were.
The process began and I started with make-up, went on to hair, then nails and stylists. They had the music up loud and the fans blowing (haha!). A few of the girls were super nervous but I was seriously excited and felt awesome, or should I say “Pretty Amazing”? The rest is hard to put into words so here are a few “behind the scene” photos.
That evening we met one of the judges, Jared Eng (founder of Just Jared—much like Perez Hilton’s celebrity gossip site) and had a dinner with him. We then had a somewhat early night to get rest for the second day of the shoot. The girls who hadn’t gone the first day went at the beginning of day two and in the afternoon we were surprised with the challenge of coming up with our own photo-shoot for all of the girls together. It was pretty fun and within an hour we had to make a set and come up with outfits. Check it out.
The final day was a red carpet luncheon and we started the day off with hair and make-up again. I got used to not having to do anything to get ready and after I returned from the trip wasn’t sure what to do without the pampering!! Speaking in front of a huge group of Seventeen and Neutrogena Executives about the amazing experiences of the week. We walked the red carpet, posed for the paparazzi individually and with actress and singer Miranda Cosgrove who was one of the contest judges. She was truly a sweetheart and really genuine. My speech went very well and it was a bittersweet ending to a great trip.
Of course all week, everyone was speculating who would win and wondering when they would tell us, but we heard that we wouldn’t find out until the “Pretty Amazing” special on MTV, which aired on August 30th at 8pm.
We were all asked who we’d want to win if we didn’t and without a blink of an eye I chose Zoe. We really hit it off and connected having similar stories of overcoming adversity. I am extremely happy and proud for Zoe because she is a very inspirational girl who has gone after her dreams and will do great things in her life.
Although I didn’t walk away with the cover, I walked away with a truly amazing experience and am proud to have been one of five out of 35,000 who applied.
I can’t thank all of the IndyCar community enough for all of your votes and encouragement throughout the whole thing. It’s been very humbling and an honor.
My Public Relations twintern Emily Lewandowski and I hit the streets of Trois Rivieres Thursday night in an effort to give away 20 free tickets to the Grand Prix de Trois Rivieres. As my only foreign language is Spanish, the experience was a hilarious mess of me running up to random people asking “Parlez voux anglais?” in a Spanish accent. However, I got through to several people who did indeed walk away with a three-day pass to the event. My personal favorite, Rose, was an elderly (yet extremely hip) local woman who actually flagged me down and demanded tickets (a woman who knows what she wants). I also gave one to our very sweet waitress at dinner in a desperate effort for a free drink, which worked like a charm. Look for our video blog coming soon!
As I went through our adventure, the most amazing thing was how alive the city was. When we landed in Trois Rivieres and eventually trekked over to our hotel, the city seemed quiet and fairly unassuming. As evening hit, the city roared to life with a street festival that brought in hundreds of people of all ages. There was a swaying pirate ship ride, men on stilts walking the streets, street musicians and booths along the beautiful Rues de Forges. We learned that the festival runs the Wednesday through Sunday of the Grand Prix week, and is a major attraction of the area.
It’s a totally different experience than racing anywhere else on the schedule. People have no idea what the IZOD IndyCar Series is, so it gives them a bigger appreciation for the Firestone Indy Lights, which can often be overshadowed when scheduled with their big brother. The track is a first for all but five of the Indy Lights drivers, who raced here with Star Mazda. It was with a bit of pride that I observed the fans watching practice today, knowing they were getting their first look at an extremely talented group of drivers who deserve every bit of the attention they get this week.
This weekend’s stop on the IZOD IndyCar Series circuit in Iowa is jammed packed with action.For the first time in Indy Racing League history all 4 series, leagues will be competing on the same weekend in the same city on the same oval…The IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights Series, Star Mazda Championship and the USF2000 Series.This completes the progression for up and coming drivers who are aspiring to be IZOD IndyCar Series drivers.
I’ve been to Iowa, many a times in my day…but that is a different topic.I’ve only been to Iowa Speedway once, in 2009 and I was impressed.I personally think its cool to see IndyCars on short ovals, and Iowa Speedway is short.I have a certain appreciation for people like Tomas Scheckter and Tony Kanaan who seem to be able to pass anyone at anywhere on restarts especially on tracks as tight as Iowa.
Brian Herta and Daniel Herrington Grill their Meat (2009)
But there is another reason that Iowa is so cool.I wish I could name the restaurant but I can’t.More important than the name is the style!Last year I ventured over to this unnamed restaurant with a few co-workers from IMS Productions and the IRL.We walked in the doors and behind the hostess was a large meat locker.That’s right a MEAT LOCKER.I immediately started to drool.
Then I looked around and saw 2 enormous grills.Yep, I got to grill my own dinner.Not only did I get to hand pick my meat out of a locker, but I got to grill it along side a freshly garlic buttered slice of texas toast.
So this weekend, I am watching from Indy.I’ll be on Race Control and I’ll also switch over to Star Mazda and USF2000.com for LIVE streaming of their events on Saturday evening.
If you are in Iowa, seek out the place where you can grill your own meat.Its fun and tasty!
The Road to Indy continues this weekend at Iowa Speedway for the final combined show of the 2010 season with the IZOD IndyCar Series. It’s also the final oval on the schedule for both Star Mazda and USF2000. More on this weekend’s event in just a few sentences…
When we last checked in, we were getting set for Indianapolis. By now you probably know that Wade Cunningham (Firestone Indy Lights), Conor Daly (Star Mazda) and Patrick McKenna (USF2000) won their respective series’ events in Indianapolis. Nice work, boys.
Indy Lights Drivers #77 Wade Cunningham & #26 Charlie Kimball at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
We can’t believe it’s over! Thanks so much for following the Indy 500 Live Blog. Catch up with the next installment of race action at Texas Motor Speedway this coming weekend for the Firestone 550K Race. (BC, DI, DL, JK, KM)
Sunday, 4:43 p.m.
We’re now uploading lots of images to the IndyCar.com site and our Flickr page. Check back for some amazing shots from throughout the day and race. (DI)
The crowd is on their feet! THIS IS IT! 4…3…2…1…laps to go. Who is going to make it? Oh no! Mike Conway’s car goes airborne on the last lap, the most serious crash by far today. (BC)
Sunday, 3:43 p.m.
The fans at the Snake Pit are having a blast! Took a short trip out to turn three and the official Snake Pit tent. The party tent is bumping music by DJ Eddie while race fans swarm. This is the only place to be during the race if you want a legit party scene. These fans will continue partying until the end of the race and long after. Did I say end of the race? Only 48 laps to go!
Text INDYCAR to 234-500 to receive text message alerts that will include important details concerning the race.
Race Control on IndyCar.com
Watch the race on Race Control presented by iRacing.com with Verizon live timing and scoring at racecontrol.indycar.com. Check out this camera view. (BC)
Sunday, 1:55 p.m.
The Indy 500 is a trending topic right now on Twitter. The hash tag, #indy500 is now up to 4th position in terms of Trending Worldwide Topics. I wonder if the #indy500 can win today? If you’re not following us on Twitter, check us out, @IndyCarNation. And if you’ve never heard of Twitter, you can learn about it, here. The article is longer than 140 characters. (DI).
“It wasn’t my fault,” Pace Car driver Robin Roberts says when informed that there’s a car that made contact in Turn 2 on the green flag lap. (DL)
Sunday, 12:04 p.m.
Another outstanding opening to the 500 Mile Race broadcast by ABC and IMS Productions — the theme being “Who wants it?” — with the significance of Memorial Day worked in. (DL)
Sunday, 11:46 a.m.
Anthony Thomas of Minnesota — the 2 millionth Eagle Scout — marched in the parade around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with other Scouts.
The Boy Scouts of America is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and part of the promotion is an association with Dale Coyne Racing. BSA’s centennial logo is on the sides of the No. 19 car driven by Alex Lloyd throughout the IZOD IndyCar Series season. The millionth Eagle scout was honored in 1982. (DL)
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
ESPN’s production of the 500 Mile Race on ABC will use 59 cameras, including a 360-degree rotating onboard camera mounted behind the driver on multiple cars. Unique views will be provided by Track Cam, a high definition camera running on a cable over pit road and the frontstretch that can move at more than 80 mph.
ABC comes on the air in 30 minutes. Here are comments from 1998 race winner Eddie Cheever Jr., part of the broadcast team: “There’s always a million different stories that develop. I really think it’s going to be a battle between Darth Penske and Darth Ganassi, who is going to control Indianapolis.
“As always, so many things develop during the race. This is a race you can prepare for years for that one special moment and something out of your control can get in the way. It will be quite an event. I think it will be an historical ending to all this. My money is on Helio Castroneves being the one to beat.” (DL)
Sunday, 11:09 a.m.
Fan of the Day- Nick Zoellner
This morning while hanging out in the Snake Pit, the crowds parted just long enough to expose Race Day-Fan of the Day. He had a small paparazzi forming around him already. Wondering why?- Read about his checkered “vest” on the Fan of the Day Blog. (BC)
Sunday, 11:04 a.m.
Jack Nicholson will be the honorary starter for the 500 Mile Race. He was among the celebrities on the red carpet this morning. “Jack, Jack! this way,” the photographers yell to get his attention.
The man is so adept at these events, but doesn’t being tugged and corralled wear on a person? (DL)
Jack Nicholson at the Indy 500
Sunday, 10:47 a.m.
How does Justin Wilson prepare for the race? “Just get up and go,” he says. “I feel remarkably relaxed.” (DL)
A relaxed Justin Wilson
Sunday, 9:53 a.m.
Bob Jenkins, VERSUS’ lap-by-lap announcer of IZOD IndyCar Series races, is celebrating his 50th anniversary of watching the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in person. He has a few recollections:
My first in-person visit to the place I had seen so many times in pictures and on television was on May 18th, 1957. It was Pole Day and my dad and I watched between rain showers from a top our car parked up next to the fence in the third turn. Pat O’Connor dashed to the pole at an unbelievable four-lap average of 143.984. At age 9, I was hooked. The love and respect I have for the place has never left me.
Sid Collins’ radio broadcasts of the race, qualifying and a 7:15 weeknight program called “Speedway Gossip” on WIBC maintained my fascination with the place, as I hoped and even prayed that someday when I was old enough, I would get to go to the 500. That opportunity happened in 1960.
For my family, Memorial Day each year meant traveling to Lafayette, Ind. That’s where my mom’s parents are buried, and our annual trek from my hometown of Liberty was to place flowers on the graves of her relatives. I never liked doing that though it always made my mom cry.
But 1960 would be a bit different. We still went to Lafayette, but this year my dad would fulfill my wishes and take me to the big race; what Collins always called on radio “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” We drove to downtown Indianapolis, parked at Union Station and boarded the train for the Speedway. I don’t remember much about the short trip there, except for a lady who asked me a lot of questions. I had no time for small talk. I was too excited about getting to the track, in my seat and waiting for the command from Mr. Hulman.
Our seats were in Grandstand “C”…right on the frontstretch, and right across from the pits. The cars were being pushed to their starting spots when we got there. The roar when the 33-cars came down for the green flag was deafening — just the way I wanted it. I don’t remember sitting down all race. Thoughts of eating lunch or going to the bathroom would just have to wait until all the excitement was over.
The 1960 ‘500’ was one of the most exciting to date. There were 29 lead changes among five drivers but it boiled down to a battle between Jim Rathmann and Rodger Ward. I vividly remember standing in my seat looking toward Turn 4 nearly every lap near the end of the race, to see which one was leading. I’d yell his name to my dad, who was probably enjoying watching me as much as I was watching the race.
Rathmann went on to victory when Ward had to slow down because he was wearing out his right front tire and decided rather than risk a crash, he would settle for second.
On the walk back to the train, a guy was selling an “extra” that the Indianapolis News would print throughout the race. The headline wasn’t about Rathmann’s win, but about a homemade scaffold that had collapsed in the infield killing two people. It seemed strange that the race was safe, but death had visited the Speedway once again this time in the infield. Never again would scaffolds, that people used to build to get a better look, be permitted.
The 1960 race was special because it was my first ‘500’, and also because I shared it with my dad. He’s largely responsible for my passion for racing. Although not nearly as “crazy about it” as I became, he continued to attend the ‘500’ and as many other races as possible until just before his death in 1988.
I’ve only missed two ‘500s’ since 1960 — in ‘61 and ‘65, and I’ve been working at the race in one capacity or another since ‘79.
I wouldn’t even venture a guess as to how many times I’ve been to the Speedway. But every time I enter I think about my dad and get the same indescribable feeling as I did the very first time I visited. (DL)
Sunday, 8:30 a.m.
Recently discovered film of Amelia Earhart shows the famous aviator talking to drivers before the start of the 500 Mile Race. She was the honorary referee for the 1935 race. Two years later she disappeared during an around-the-world flight in a Purdue University-funded plane. (DL)
Sunday, 7:15 a.m.
Earlier I stepped outside to grab some sunrise shots. I noticed the Borg-Warner Trophy being wheeled into the Pagoda. I was separated by some gates and didn’t have much time to react but I did manage to snap this shot. It made me think of the tradition behind this race and how many times the trophy has been moved into place. (DI).
Getting the trophy ready
Sunday, 6:00 a.m.
The percussion bomb just went off: GATES ARE OPEN! The sun is slowly sneaking up over the grandstands as the fans begin to pour in for the greatest spectacle in racing. It’s finally here; welcome to the Indianapolis 500. (BC)
Sunday, 5:32 a.m.
I came in on 16th Street and stayed in the outside lane. It was a lot easier than I thought. There were cars lined up on the inside lane for well over a mile. People wandered in and out of cars, drinking beer, socializing and waiting for the gates to open. It’s quite a scene. Right now I’m looking at the track and it’s completely dark – seems surreal. Good morning everyone! (DI).
Race Day 5am
Saturday, 11:22 p.m.
Just finished my second Red Bull as the new media crew uploads images, but that’s what it takes for great coverage! Camp Freddy is about to take the stage on Monument Circle and Race to the Party is still underway. We are all excited- the 2010 Indianapolis 500 is just hours away! (Gates open at 6 a.m.) The blog, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr will all be in full operation, with the latest news from the Snake Pit, Miller Lite Party deck and of course the race! Also, make sure to check out Race Control for live timing and scoring. (BC)
Saturday, 10:02 p.m.
The Darling Stilettos are rocking the stage now on Monument Circle. The IZOD FANtasy 500 Party is also underway at the Hilbert Theater, tons of celebrities and race fans entering on the red carpet. What a night to be downtown! We will be keeping the pictures coming all night! Stay tuned to the blog and our Flickr stream. (BC)
Ron Perlman, Jen Morrison and more at the IZOD Fantasy 500 Party
Saturday, 9:03 p.m.
Spotted at Race to the Party: Dan Wheldon, Jewel, IZOD Girl, Bruce Jenner, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Courtney Kardashian, Al Unser Jr., Mark Whalberg, Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner, Pro Football Hall of Famers and lots more! Check out the pictures on IZOD IndyCar Series Flickr set here: Race to the Party. (BC)
IZOD Girl poses for the Paparazzi
Saturday, 8:26 p.m.
Just spotted Kim Kardashian on the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Party. Kim was incredibly friendly as she stopped to take pictures and talk to reporters. She even took the time to pose with the Indianapolis 500 Princesses. (BC)
Kim Kardashian with Indy 500 Princesses
Saturday, 8:15 p.m.
Hanging out at Race to the Party in downtown Indianapolis (on the circle) come join us! There is a live concert going on, Rising Sons is opening up for Camp Freddy and tons of other pre-race festivities are happening. There is a IZOD FANtasy 500 Party presented by GQ and a Vanity Fair Party going on. Don’t worry we will be taking tons of pictures and uploading them as soon as we can. Make sure to keep checking the blog for the inside scoop on everything Indy 500. (BC)
Saturday, 7:08 p.m.
Before we left the track to come downtown to cover the pre-race parties (photos of drivers/celebs to come) we had to find a fan-of-the-day. We set off to the campgrounds and found Eamonn Brandon. The campgrounds were packed with race fans grilling out, partying and enjoying the beautiful weather. Check out his fan-of-the-day profile here: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Fan of the Day. (BC)
Fan of the Day- Eamonn Brandon
Saturday, 4:02 p.m.
Dario Franchitti received a bagpipe serenade on his birthday last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Scot received even more Friday night when he was inducted into the Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers Hall of Fame during its 48th Tartan Ball at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Indianapolis. (DL)
Saturday, 3:45 p.m.
Indy 500 Pace Car driver Robin Roberts, co-host of “Good Morning America,” is a class act.
From her address after a practice session: “Can I just say one thing? And I cannot be more sincere about this. I have been a part of Super Bowls, Final Fours, presidential inaugurations, have traveled the world. The people here at Indy and the people who run this race are so superior over any people that I have been associated with an event. Their passion, their hospitality, their gratitude, they really get you excited about being here. Don’t lose sight of what you have here and the tradition, the pageantry, the beauty, the athleticism and all of that. You are so incredibly blessed. I just really appreciate being a part of it.” (DL)
Robin Roberts this morning
Saturday, 3:36 p.m.
We’ve been downtown for the “500″ Festival Parade, at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course for the IZOD Celebrity Golf Tournament and in the Pagoda for video interviews with some our longest standing ticket holders. Not to mention a blogger forum, driver autographs and driver meeting. Some of us are out in the Camp Grounds doing video interviews, and the rest will be headed downtown shortly to prepare for tonight’s festivities. If you’re plans are open tonight, check this page out. (DI)
Any guesses who this is?
Saturday 2:23 p.m.
More photos from the 500 Festival Parade downtown. So many celebrities are in Indianapolis this weekend! (BC)
Marco with Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian
Saturday, 12:40 p.m.
The 500 Festival Parade began at noon downtown. Before the parade drivers met up in the parade green room. (JK) snapped a photo for us:
Drivers get ready for the 500 Festival ParadeThe parade will conclude at 2:00.
The parade will conclude at 2:00. Meanwhile, back at the track the IZOD Celebrity Golf Tournament is underway at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. Some of the celebrities in attendance include Mark Wahlberg and Adrian Grenier! Daniel (DI) was able to capture some of the fun. (BC)
Adrian Grenier- Getting ready for some golf.
Saturday, 10:35 a.m.
All morning drivers have been having autograph sessions with the fans. Now the Public Drivers Meeting is about to start at the Tower Terrace. The crowd is cheering as the drivers enter the track, what a great day to be at IMS. I love race fans! (BC)
Saturday, 8:57 a.m.
Just finished a venti cappuccino and sitting in the Blogger Town Hall meeting organized by Paul Dalby from Planet-IRL, featuring about 15 racing focused bloggers from around the country. We’ve got IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reps here. It’s gonna be nice to put a face with the blog – already noticing people from OpenPaddock, TheRaceGirl, MyNameisIRL, 16thandGeorgetown, FuriousWedge, Motorsport.com, and maybe a couple of others. It’s early. Need more caffeine (DI).
The Blogger Town Hall
Friday, 10:01 p.m.
Just noticed (JK) uploaded this image.
Pro Football Hall of Fame & Phillips Van Heusen Cocktail Reception
I’m at home on the couch. But it looks like he’s having a good time at the Indianapolis Museum of Art with the IZOD team, former professional football players and race car drivers. Good night! (DI).
Friday, 6:08 p.m.
Miller Lite Carb Day was a huge success! ZZ Top jammed out to a large crowd-they rocked it. Then while the fans began to trickle out of the track, the sun getting lower in the sky, the new media team was uploading all of the great photos that were taken today. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll keep this post short. Check out all of the Carb Day action here on our Flickr account: IZOD IndyCar Series. (BC)
Carb Day's Pit Stop Challenge- Helio Won!
Friday, 3:15 p.m.
Once the track opened to the public this year, each day we have dedicated some time into finding “Indianapolis Motor Speedway Fan of the Day.” Once we find a good candidate we ask them a couple of questions about their Indy 500 race experiences and memories. Today we selected Tara Roth. Read all about Tara here: Fan of the Day Blog (BC)
Fan of the Day- Tara Roth
Friday, 2:51 p.m.
Robbie Knievel visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time since … “hmm, I remember coming here with my dad and A.J.”
The 47-year-old remembers hanging out when his father, the legendary stuntman Evel Knievel, visited with longtime friend A.J. Foyt. “My dad used to be on the A.J. Foyt pit crew and I used to ride minibikes on his ranch with his son (Tony) when I was a kid. I have a lot of great memories and follow IndyCar racing today. The history of this place is incredible. It’s cool to look up and see all the fans, and I love coming to stadiums as a fan.” (DL)
Friday, 1:46 p.m.
This race report brought to you by the New Zealand tourist board. Kiwi Wade Cunningham didn’t need directions to Victory Circle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He became the first three-time winner of the Firestone Freedom 100 by holding off Charlie Kimball by 0.4368 of a seond to the checkers. (DL)
Friday, 1:08 p.m.
Two things I love. The Pagoda and clouds. Carb Day is hot, dry and filled with fans. Enjoy this picture. (DI).
Pagoda and Clouds
Friday, 12:01 p.m.
Brian Barnhart, president of competition for the Indy Racing League, is relieved. The 33 drivers who will start in the Indianapolis 500 were clean during the 60-minute final practice session on Miller Lite Carb Day (and large quantities of the beverage appear to be an early morning favorite).
Dario Franchitti tops the speed chart with a quick lap of 225.574 mph (of his 36 laps). Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon (225.159) is second. Danica Patrick, what’s the deal? She is 21st (222.306). (DL)
Friday, 11:48 a.m.
Randy Bernard takes Oprah’s “No Phone Zone” Pledge with beginner driver from the Andretti Autosport Team. The pledge asks that participants make a conscious effort not to text or use their cell phones while in the car. Additionally, all of the Indy 500 drivers have taken the pledge and signed an iPad that will be auctioned off on charitybuzz.com. (BC)
Friday, 11:30 a.m.
They announced the parking lots inside the massive Speedway are full, which lends credence to the early bird axiom. With ideal weather for fans and cars, the crowds assembling for IZOD IndyCar Series practice, the Firestone Freedom 100 and other events throughout the day are in for a treat. (DL)
Friday, 11:12 a.m.
The race fans are really starting to pour into the track for Carb Day as the IndyCars begin to practice. Don’t forget there are so many opportunities for fans to get up close and personal with sponsors and teams. If you do venture down to the track today, which you should, make sure to check out the Fan Zone located in front of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. There are a ton of sponsors giving away freebies! For instance, when you stop by the IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Zone today you get a limited edition Helio Castroneves poster! Be sure to check it out. They are giving away posters until they run out! (BC)
Free Helio Posters at the IndyCar Fan Zone
Friday, 10:25 a.m.
There’s a news conference in session with Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi — the only two team owners to win the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500. Behind them are the Borg-Warner Trophy and Harley J. Earl Trophy.
Atop the Earl trophy, named after the famous car designer, is a race car that looks more like an Indy car than a hulking, slow stock car. Is this where they got the idea of the Delta Wing? (DL)
Friday, 9:30 a.m.
The season-opening race on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule has been certified carbon neutral as UNICA (the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) confirmed that 23,580 native Atlantic Rainforest seedlings have been planted in the state of Sao Paulo.
The announcement was made on Carb Day, which should be renamed Carbon Neutral Day.
UNICA and the Indy Racing League are exploring the mechanics and logistics of making the entire 17-race season carbon neutral. (DL)
Friday – 8:45 a.m-Road to Indy Summit
The Road to Indy drivers and teams have been participating in the “Road to Indy” Summit over the past 2 days at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This morning, the New Media department had the opportunity to discuss a few ways that young drivers should utilize online media and websites to begin to develop their marketability for their future driving careers. To make the presentation “stick” we enlisted everyone’s favorite online personality and the mayor of “Hinchtown”, James Hinchcliffe to speak with the group. He did a fantastic job discussing the importance of differentiating your personal life and a driver’s racing career as well as reiterating the advantages of using online tools such as Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs. (JK)
Road to Indy Summit with Indy Lights Driver James Hinchcliffe
Friday – 7:08 a.m.
Earlier this week, the IndyCar Blog pumped out 48 hours of continuous updates that spanned visits to the ESPN studio, Boston and New York City. We had so much fun, we decided to repeat this experiment with live coverage of the Indianapolis 500 weekend, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We’re talking about the inside scoop on Carb Day, a Blogger Town Hall meeting, a Celebrity Golf Tournament, IZOD’s Race to the Party, the new Snake Pit, and of course, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Version 2.0 of live blogging will include veteran live-blogger Dave Lewandowski (DL), as well as other IndyCar staff, Beth Corneglio (BC), Daniel Incandela (DI), Jarrod Krisiloff (JK) and Kyle Morin (KM).
All roads truly do lead to Indianapolis this month as the young talent from two of the three Indy Racing League “Road to Indy” ladder series’ (USF2000 and Star Mazda) will compete at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind. on Saturday, May 29th as part of the famed “Night Before the 500.”
As a tune up, USF2000 and Star Mazda held an open test at ORP last week for their teams and drivers to get acquainted with the challenging oval. Unofficially, Star Mazda driver Conor Daly set a track record – shattering the times of any series that has competed there (USAC, Nationwide Series, etc.) before them. Side by side racing was the norm over the course of the two days and this was only a test! I can’t wait to see what they can do when there are championship points and a trophy on the line. Oh wait, and not to mention the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights team owners and drivers that will surely be in attendance….no pressure guys!