Posts Tagged ‘ Alex Tagliani ’

Sunday – Jan.26 – 2:10pm


Checkered flag for another Rolex 24 and another INDYCAR champion in Daytona.  Sebastien Bourdais and his ActionExpress Racing teammates drove an incredible race and it paid off.  They are the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona champions.  Now, in 6 of the last 11 years an INDYCAR driver has been on the winning team at the twice-round the clock classic in Florida.

Overall, what an event.  Tons of incredible action and every single one of the INDYCAR drivers performed well.  Unfortunately, as is often the case in endurance racing, the cars didn’t hold up.  Here’s how the drivers representing the IndyCar Series finished in the 2014 Rolex 24:

  • Sebastien Bourdais – P1 Overall, P1 Prototype Class
  • Simon Pagenaud – P11 Overall, P7 Prototype Class
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – P12 Overall, P3 GTLM Class
  • Graham Rahakl – P14 Overall, P4 GTLM Class
  • Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P15 Overall, P8 Prototype Class
  • Mikhail Aleshin – P21 Overall, P4 GTD Class
  • Sage Karam – P43 Overall, P11 Prototype Class
  • Justin Wilson – P47 Overall, P12 Prototype Class
  • James Davidson – P48 Overall, P22 GTD Class
  • Tristan Vautier – P56 Overall, P13 Prototype Class
  • James Hinchcliffe – P57 Overall, P14 Prototype Class
  • Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P58 Overall, P8 LMPC Class
  • Gabby Chaves – P61 Overall, P16 Prototype Class
  • Sebastian Saavedra/EJ Viso – P62 Overall, P17 Prototype Class

We’re still buzzing a bit from that finish.  More importantly, we can’t wait for the start of the INDYCAR season.

We’ll have quotes and updates from Sebastien in just a few minutes.

Sunday – Jan. 26 – 1:45pm

Just about 25 minutes remain and the #5 being co-driven by Sebastien Bourdais currently leads the Rolex 24.  Sebastien drove a very fast stint to put the car up front and Joao has been the model consistency since he jumped in the car.  It’s looking more and more like we’re going to see another victory by an INDYCAR driver at the Rolex 24.  Dixon and his #02 teammates were having another strong run as well.  Unfortunately, the floor of the car began to unravel and it was considered unrepairable.  Apparently, Dixon could see the track surface beneath his feet.  Crazy!

It’s going to be a fight to the finish.  The top two cars are only 10 seconds apart and you can be sure the #10 being driven by Max Angelelli is pushing as hard as possible!

Sunday – Jan.26 – 12:35pm


We’re officially under two hours remaining in the race.  What does that mean?  Aggression!  These drivers are pushing the cars to their absolute limits in order to make a charge to the front and the potential win.  Currently Sebastien Bourdais leads the field in the #5 ActionExpress DP.  2013 INDYCAR Champion Scott Dixon is back behind the wheel of the #0 and is turnining some of the fastest laps on the track.  He’s currently listed as 1 lap down.  If a caution comes out, Scott could potentially get his lap back and be in contention for the victory.  Ryan Hunter-Reay’s #91 Viper is currently 3rd in class and teammate Marc Goosens is driving. Dirk Werner is currently at the helm of the machine he’s sharing with INDYCAR star Graham Rahal they are in the 15th position overall, 4th in his class.  Justin Wilson is in the seat of the #60 but is currently P47 overall.

It’s bound to be an incredible finish.  Don’t miss these final 90 minutes!

Sunday – Jan.26 – 11:07am

Sage Karam just recently turned the car back over to Scott Pruett and stopped by the media center to chat.  He mentioned that prior to the start of the race he’d only had 1 hour in the car.  He spent roughly 6 hours in the car across his two stints this weekend.  Driving these cars require heavy focus and Sage told us that he was so focused on his pit stop/drive change and hitting his marks that he forgot to undo his belts to get out of the car.  This was Sage’s first experience with pit stops, sports car racing, sharing cars with teammates, and a car with a roof.  Needless to say, it was a big learning experience for Sage.  He did a great job during his stints and this young driver is sure to have a great career ahead.  He’s excited to have got the opportunity to work with Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend is hopeful that an opportunity will present itself for him to have a full-time ride in 2014.

Sunday – Jan.26 – 10:45am

Just over 3 hours remain in the Rolex 24.  The pace continues to increase as we approach the final laps of this event.  Sebastien Bourdais just climbed in the #5 and is dealing with a clutch/gearbox issue.  His teammate Christian Fittipaldi said it was an issue but was manageable.  Sebastien’s pace doesn’t appear to be effected by the issue.  Indianapolis 500 Champion, Tony Kanaan is in the 4th position about a minute behind Bourdais.  Ryan Hunter-Reay is running in the 4th position in the GTLM class, he’s looking strong in these last hours.  Sage Karam is back in the #01 and after several issues over the night they’re in the 9th position in the Prototype class.  A full-course caution has just been waved after the #18 GTD Porsche spun in turn 2.  Make sure you tune in and follow along here to see the sprint to the finish!

Sunday – Jan.26 – 7:30am

The sun is out.  The cars are green.  There’s been no cautions for fog.  All in all, a fantastic start to the last hours of daylight for the Rolex 24.  The INDYCAR drivers continue to make fans proud.  Currently Scott Dixon sits in the 2nd position in the #02.  Simon Pagenaud is running P19, Vautier P52, Hinchcliffe P55 (out of the race), Saavedra P58 (out of the race).  Ryan Briscoe and his beautiful #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R made the tough decision to call it quits overnight due to an overheating motor.  Conor Daly and Alex Tagliani unfortunately retired from the race after teammate Rusty Mitchell made contact with the barrier.  James Davison is behind the wheel of the #007 and is in 47th position.

We’ve taken a brief nap, changed clothes, and had a fresh cup of coffee.  We’re ready to dive back into the coverage of this twice-around the clock classic.  The pace is picking up and racing is become more ruthless.  Drivers aren’t as patient or passive as they were in the past 18 hours.  It’s sure to be battle to the end.  Who’s your pick for victory?

Sunday – Jan.26 – 1:32am

We’re just shy of the half-way point and it’s been quite an experience so far.  We’ve seen a massive accident, several multiple car accidents, debris scattered all over the track and a total of 9 full-course cautions.  Currently, we’re operating under a caution after the #87 spun off the track and subsequently caught fire.

INDYCAR drivers continue to showcase just how talented they all are.  Scott Dixon was listed as the leader prior to this caution.  He exited the pits after a yellow flag pit stop in P4 overall.  Ryan Briscoe is behind the wheel of the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and sits in P14 Overall, P5 in the GTLM class.  We did just receive a report that they are dealing with a water leak and have made several pit stops since the yellow came out.  Alex Tagliani is back behind the wheel after Conor Daly completed a 3 hour stint.  Currently the #08 is in P28 overall and P6 in the GTLM class.  Simon Pagenaud is on-track again and is currently running in P37 Overall and P9 in the Prototype class.  Tristan Vautier and Sebastien Saavedra are in P57 and 58 respectively.

We inch closer and closer to the half-way point and there’s a ton of action still to go.  We’re still going strong and will continue to update you through the night.

Saturday – Jan.25 – 8:38pm

As promised, here’s the quick update regarding Gidley and Malucelli… both of the drivers have been admitted to the local hospital here in Daytona.  They are awake and communicative.  As more information is made available we will pass it along.

Saturday – Jan.25 – 8:11pm

2013 Indianapolis 500 Champion, Tony Kanaan, just stopped by the media center after his impressive stint in the #02.  Tony had some issues at the start of his stint but stated that he decided that he at least had to return the car in the same position as it was when got in.  The result was a spirited charge to the front of the pack that featured some outside passes and very close, wheel-to-wheel racing.  Tony truly is one of the greatest drivers, not only in INDYCAR, but in any car.  He mentioned that he’d only had a few laps prior to his stint in the race tonight and that he felt there was quite a bit of pressure as his teammates were all successful endurance racers.  He also let everyone know that Chip told him, “Unless a meteor hits the car, everything else would be my fault.”  That received quite the round of laughter from the crowd here in the media center.  Tony is someone to keep an eye on over the next 18 hours.  He’s made it clear he’s going to be extremely aggressive behind the wheel.  After their pit stop, and subsequent driver change, the car sits in the P8 position with Kyle Larson in the seat.

Saturday – Jan.25 – 7:37pm


Graham Rahal just swung through the media center to update everyone on his stint.  He mentioned that adapting to this style of racing has been an interesting experience for him.  Traction control which is not a feature of the INDYCAR, is something the drivers utilize heavily in sports car racing.  Graham stated that he’s used to using his right foot to control the car and it’s taken a bit of time to get used to leaning on the traction control.  He mentioned that the cars were much heavier than the IndyCar’s that he’s typically used to driving and it doesn’t quite suit his driving style. However, he said that he’s been having a blast at the wheel of the #56 BMW.  He’s hoping that the Viper’s have some trouble over the next few hours as they seem to have the most outright speed.  He’ll be back in the car later this evening for a longer stint of night driving.  He’ll get about a 3 hour break and then he’ll jump back in for another 3 hour stint.  His team is currently running P6 in the GTLM class.

Saturday – Jan.25 – 7:00pm


We’re fully back into racing and it seems with every second there’s something new developing on-track.  Most recently, the Delta Wing, currently being driven by Indy Lights runner-up Gabby Chavez, had a brief off and nosed the car into the tire barriers.  They quickly returned to the pits and changed out the nose bodywork on the car and are back on-track.  They currently are running in the 15th position in the Prototype class.

Indy 500 champ, Tony Kanaan, is currently giving chase to the leader from the 2nd position.  Justin Wilson is in the seat for Michael Shank Racing and is making a charge from the 6th position.  Viso, in the #78, is holding steady in the 9th position, one lap down.

The circuit is currently under a full-course yellow condition after a spin by the #09 LMPC spinning in the International Horseshoe.  The #09 is the sister car to the #08 being driven by Alex Tagliani and Conor Daly.  They currently are in the 24th position overall and are running 4th in their class. Unfortunately, Conor’s team was penalized due to an improper pass during the wave-around after the red flag situation earlier.

We’re heading back out to grab some more photos from the evening.  We’ll be back with those and quotes from the steady stream of drivers we’ll begin to see in the media center here shortly.  Tweet us your questions or leave them below and we’ll do our best to answer them!

Saturday – Jan.25 – 6:00pm

After an extended red flag for the accident earlier involving Memo Gidley and Malucelli, we’re approaching a return to green flag racing.  We can’t provide much of an update other than that both drivers have been transported to the local hospital.  When more information is passed along we’ll be sure to include it in an update.

As we prepare to return to racing here’s a run down of where the INDYCAR drivers and their teams are currently positioned:

  • Sebastien Bourdais – P1 Overall (Fittipaldi is behind the wheel at this time).
  • Tony Kanaan – P2 Overall
  • Saavedra/Viso – P4 Overall
  • Sage Karam – P6 Overall (Rojas is in the car).
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – P11 Overall, P1 in GTLM Class (Farnbacher is in the car).
  • Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P 16 Overall, P1 LMPC Class (Cummings is in the car).
  • Ryan Briscoe – P18 Overall, P6 GTLM Class (Garcia is in the car).
  • Graham Rahal – P19 Overall, P7 GTLM Class
  • James Davison – P51 Overall, P22 GTD Class (Davis is in the car).

Unfortunately, there’s not much more to report at the moment.  We’ll be back with more action in a bit.  Don’t forget to send us your tweets and show your support for the INDYCAR drivers in the Rolex 24!

Saturday – Jan.25 – 4:15pm

This continues to be one of the more intense starts to the Rolex 24 in recent memory.  The #01 car that will soon be driven by Sage Karam came in for a stop earlier.  Unfortunately, the car was dropped prior to the left rear wheel being secured and in the chaos the driver made contact with one of the crew members.  Thankfully, everyone is ok.  An interesting stumble early in the race.

There’s been quite a bit of contact as well.  None of the INDYCAR drivers have made contact so everyone continues into the late afternoon.

Alex Tagliani is behind the wheel for his first stint in the #08 LMPC.  His team appears strong and it should be exciting to see 2013 Indianapolis 500 Rookie, Conor Daly, get behind the wheel later this evening.  They are currently leading their class.

Scott Dixon continues to lead the Prototype class in the #02. Graham Rahal’s #56 car just entered pit lane for a driver switch and Graham will now be behind the wheel.  Currently they sit in 9th position in the GTLM class.

Ryan Briscoe’s team is sitting one position ahead of Graham in the 8th position in the GTLM class.  James Hinchcliffe is in the #70 LMPC.  Unfortunately, the team seems to be struggling and they are currently running in the 62nd overall position.

Saturday – Jan. 25 – 3:15pm

GREEN FLAG!  We’re off and running.  Just over 1 hour into the race.  Scott Dixon is still behind the wheel of the #02 and is currently running in 1st position.  The ActionExpress Racing DP is running in 9th position, Sebastien Bourdais has not been in the car yet.  The #01 car, currently driven by Scott Pruett, that will later feature Sage Karam at the helm is currently running in 11th position overall, roughly 58 seconds behind the leader.  The Delta Wing that will later be driven by Gabby Chavez sits in the 1oth position overall, Justin Wilson’s teammate, Oz Negri Jr sits directly behind them in the 12th position.  The rest of the drivers and their respective teams are in the following positions:

  • #70 – Tristan Vautier/James Hinchcliffe – P 61
  • #2 – Simon Pagenaud – P44 – Contact with the barrier just a moment ago with Van Overbeek behind the wheel.
  • #78 – Sebastian Saavedra/EJ Viso – P11
  • #08 – Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani  – P16, P4 in LMPC Class
  • #3 – Ryan Briscoe  – P27 Overall, P8 in GTLM Class
  • #56 – Graham Rahal – P30 Overall, P10 in GTLM Class
  • #91 – Ryan Hunter-Reay – P18 Overall, P2 in GTLM Class
  • #007 – James Davison – P56 Overall, P27 in GTD Class

It’s sure to be an exciting race as there has been a ton of action already. Simon Pagenaud’s team is working to repair their damage.  The INDYCAR group is looking strong with Dixon in the lead.  More coming soon!

Saturday – Jan. 25 – 12:45pm

It’s almost go time!  We’re putting our camera equipment together and scouting locations for where we’re going to head for the start.  There’s going to be some great racing at the start of this event (and throughout for that matter.  Make sure you’re tuned in earlier.  Part of the culture of this event is the preparation prior to the start.  Not just the cars, the teams and the drivers but the media and fans.  We spent some time at Target last night picking up coffee, red bull, sunflower seeds and an assortment of other items to keep us going during the 24hr stint.  Now, we want to see your setups and preperation!  Marshall Pruett, from RACER.com, posted a tweet earlier today asking you to send us your photos.  So, get to sending those in and we’ll retweet and reply.

Speaking of Marshall, he recently did some in-depth research on the new Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.  The same car that Ryan Briscoe will be driving in the Rolex 24.

There is some seriously cool technical information contained within his presentation, like the fact that the engine had to be DETUNED from the production model to meet up with the IMSA regulations.  That’s quite the statement.  Head over to Road&Track.com and check out the rest of the presentation now!

Saturday – Jan. 25 – 11:30am

We’re creeping closer to the green flag and the excitement is ramping up here at Daytona.  There has been a multitude of press conferences in the media center, some vintage track laps, and the autograph session is about to begin.  The autograph session is one of the coolest parts of the Rolex 24.  All the drivers are lined up in front of their garage with their teammates for a full-field autograph session.  It’s probably one of the only opportunities you can get autographs from so many champions from so many different series and disciplines in on one location.  We’ll be posting a few pics later.

One of the questions we’ve been asked is in regard to which INDYCAR drivers are starting for their respective teams.  Scott Dixon will be starting in the #02, Alex Tagliani will be starting in the #08, and James Davison will be first behind the wheel in the #007.  The remainder of the INDYCAR pilots will be stepping into the car later in the 1,440 minute event.

Again, we’re going to be here for the entirety of the event and will bring you all the content we can.  It’s important we hear from you as to what you’re looking for from us!  So tell us what you want to see, stories you want to hear, etc.  We’ll get out there and get it done!

Saturday – Jan. 25 – 9:45AM

It’s officially Race Day!  We’re beyond excited to get this thing off and rolling and get the party started.  We heard some of your requests for a spotters guide that is specific to the INDYCAR drivers competing in the event.  So, here you have it.  You may notice that the #78 doesn’t feature Sebastian Saavedra or EJ Viso.  Due to the late nature of their entry they were not a part of the spotters guide.  Rest assured that they are in fact racing in the #78 Starworks Daytona Prototype.  We hope you find it helpful!

At the end of the day, RACER.com writer, Marshall Pruett caught up with Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and their TUSC teammate Memo Rojas.  The subsequent interview is quite hilarious.  Over the course of such a long race these drivers seem to get a bit bored outside the car.  As a result, interesting antics ensue.

So, we’ve spent the past couple of days here and we’re feeling pretty confident in picking our favorites for the race.   Before we do that we want to hear your favorites and dark horses.  Send along your predictions in the comments below.  We’ll post another update later this morning.  Happy Race Day!

Friday – Jan. 24 – 2:10PM

Final practice for the Rolex 24 is complete.  Richard Westbrook turned the overall fastest lap in the final session with a 1:38.964 in his Corvette DP.  The INDYCAR drivers and their respective teams rounded out the session in the following positions:

  • Sebastien Bourdais – P3 Overall – 1:39.665 (Christian Fittipaldi turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P4 Overall – 1:39.822 (Scott turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Sage Karam – P5 Overall – 1:39.835 (Memo Rojas turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Simon Pagenaud – P12 Overall – 1:41.528 (Johannes Van Overbeek turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Justin Wilson – P13 Overall – 1:41.675 (AJ Allmendinger turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P21 Overall, P6 PC Class – 1:45.349 (Conor turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Ryan Briscoe – P26 Overall, P3 GTLM Class – 1:45.934(Jan Magnussen turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Graham Rahal – P30 Overall, P7 GTLM Class – 1:46.309 (Dirk Mueller turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – P33 Overall, P10 GTLM Class – 1:46.435 (Marc Goosens turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Mikhail Aleshin – P51 Overall, P17 GTD Class – 1:49.495 (Sergey Zlobin turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • James Davison – P54 Overall, P20 GTD Class -1:49.830 (Al Carter turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Gabby Chavez – No laps turned.
  • Tristan Vautier – No laps turned.

With the final session often being a simple shake down to make sure things are prepped for the big show tomorrow the results aren’t necessarily a prediction for the race.  Especially considering many of the teams used the session to get drivers who hadn’t had as much time in the car to get prepped.  Still, it’s impressive to have 6 drivers from INDYCAR inside the top 15 positions.

He has the name, the car and the number. Meet James Davison (“license to thrill”).  Davison, a Firestone Indy Lights race winner who competed in two IndyCar Series races last season for Dale Coyne Racing, is co-driving the No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage for TRG-AMR in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.  The team had a bit of James Bond fun in the garage area, posing in tuxedos with the car.  Davison, 27, of Australia, said he’s cautiously optimistic of making his Indianapolis 500 debut in May.

We managed to gather most of the drivers this afternoon for aquick group shot.  Unfortunately, many of them weren’t able to make it.  Still, it was a great opportunity to get the INDYCAR contingent together for a few minutes.  There was quite a bit of handling discussions as well as tips on properly navigating slower traffic.

Here’s how the INDYCAR drivers will start tomorrow for the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona:

  • Sebastien Bourdais – P3
  • Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P5
  • Gabby Chavez – P7
  • Sage Karam – P8
  • Justin Wilson – P9
  • Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P19
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – P24
  • Graham Rahal – P30
  • James Davison – P35
  • Mikhail Aleshin – P40
  • James Hinchcliffe – P59
  • Tristan Vautier – P60
  • Ryan Briscoe – P62
  • Sebastian Saavedra – P65

Action for the Rolex has come to a close for today.  So, we’re going to head over to Target and get our equipment for the long haul tomorrow.  We’ll update with a few more photos this afternoon.  Don’t forget to let us know what you’re hoping to have us show you over the next few days.  We’ll do our best to get out there and find it for you.  Overall, we’re excited and can’t wait to get this thing started!

Friday – Jan. 24 – 10:00AM

Good news race fans, RACING IS BACK!  The Rolex 24 marks the kick-off of the racing season and we couldn’t be happier to be here.  This year features not only one of the strongest fields in recent memory but there is a massive contingent from the INDYCAR paddock taking to the track this weekend.  Drivers from Indy Lights to the IndyCar Series are piloting cars in several different classes.  Overall, 30 competitors in this years event have competed in an INDYCAR race.  16 of those 30 have won at least 1 race in the IndyCar Series.  While that’s certainly impressive in its own right, what really shows the strength of INDYCAR drivers in the Rolex 24 is the fact that in the last 10 years INDYCAR drivers have won five of the races.

What does all that mean?  We’re in for quite the show!  I’m beyond excited to get this event started.  Not only is it great to see all the incredible drivers from the IndyCar Series behind the wheel this early in the year but the merged sports car series with new cars and drivers should be spectacular to follow.  So, here’s our plan… we’re going to bring you all the inside info and behind the scenes images from this event.  Starting today and going through the checkered flag on Sunday (yes, all 24 hours of the race) we will be providing frequent updates to this post.  So bookmark it, tweet it, share it on Facebook, email it to your friends.  This will be the one-stop shop for all things INDYCAR at the Rolex 24.  Are there things you want to see or information you’re looking for?  Let us know in the comments below and we’ll get out there and find it for you!

A Second Glance at May

Posted on: June 3, 2011 | Comments(6) | Indy 500 | By: Cassie

This May was my second with IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am an intern for the media department where we handle Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and blog posts. I spent a lot of the month captioning the many photos that are taken each day. I decided to choose some of my favorites from the month and pay a personal tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500.

Dan Wheldon takes the win

The only thing this photo is missing are the dropped jaws, the wide eyes and the shocked gasps coming from the crowd at the end of this year’s Indy 500 when rookie J.R. Hildebrand crashed while leading the final lap. The photo definitely depicts the controversy that came from the ending. The checkered and yellow flag are out as Dan Wheldon crosses the finish line, but Dan played fair and successfully grabbed his second Indy 500 title. Definitely a twist of fate that made for a memorable ending to a historical race.

Simona De Silvestro signs an autograph

How could I not choose a picture of Simona de Silvestro? Tough is the only word you can use to describe her. There is no way you could have watched the horrifying wreck she was involved in, watch her successfully qualify, and watch her finish the race and not have the most respect in the world for her. I’m not sure we even heard a complaint come from her lips. Being sure not to let down her fans, she continued to sign autographs throughout the rest of the month. Simona, you’re my girl!

Sam Schmidt and Alex Tagliani

There is no way to look at the picture above and not feel the emotion Sam Schmidt and Alex Tagliani must have experienced in this moment. After Tagliani grabbed the pole, he couldn’t thank Schmidt enough. You have to love and respect Sam Schmidt for all he’s overcome, and congratulate him because this was his first Indy 500 pole. It was great to see their effort and teamwork pay off.

Dario shakes the hand of Roger Penske

Any picture that includes a member of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske is a great one to me. It’s so easy to create the thought that there is a rivalry there, but this picture goes to show that isn’t quite the case. If you ask me, every IndyCar fan is either a Ganassi fan or a Penske fan. You can’t like both, but you can probably hate both out of jealousy for the numerous success stories both teams have. Dario shaking Roger Penske’s hand in this picture shows the camaraderie that exists between Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. One of my all time favorites for sure!

A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti

I chose this picture and put it last in order for a reason. This year was the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500. This picture includes IndyCar legends and embodies the whole history of the race and the series. A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, and Johnny Rutherford – all legends of the Indy 500 and the IndyCar sport. This picture is everything that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wanted to accomplish during the 100th anniversary – a celebration of the history of those who have made the Indy 500 the “greatest spectacle in racing” and kept it there for 100 years and counting.

To see more pictures from May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway check out IndyCar Flickr.

As members of the media, Brant James and Tony Fabrizio are used to getting interviews from winning race drivers.

On March 8, the reporters were giving interviews after winning the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg  Media Go-Kart Enduro at Andersen Race Park in Palmetto, Fla.

James, who covers motorsports for SI.com, and Fabrizio, the motorsports reporter for the Tampa Tribune, teamed with Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg VP/GM Tim Ramsberger and IZOD IndyCar Series driver Alex Tagliani to win the 50-minute go-kart race.

“I’m not going to say it was fixed, but look at our team,” James joked as he pointed to Ramsberger on the podium following the event.

Hail to the victors.

Media and VIPs were allocated to nine teams of three and joined by professional racing drivers who will compete in the five series that will race on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., later this month.

The Mazda Road to Indy was well-represented with Shannon McIntosh, Zach Veach and Spencer Pigot attending for the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda, Nick Andries and Joao Horto representing the Star Mazda Championship and Martin Plowman and Tagliani representing the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Andries, a St. Petersburg-area native who will race on the streets of St. Petersburg for the first time, topped the field to take the fastest lap award.

“I have a little unfair advantage over the others because I’ve been here so many times,” said Andries, who nearly ran down Veach’s Team Rocket kart for second place. “ I think if Veach or Plowman had more time here, they would have been closer.”

The star of the day, though, may have been Veach, who finished second though Tagliani accused of having an unfair advantage because of his small stature.

“I’m glad Zach is here because I’m not the shortest,” said Tagliani, who carried the teenage racer over his shoulder and lifted him over his head. “But how much weight do we get to add to his kart?”

Veach’s weight advantage, though, helped Tagliani in the race as the pair used a stock car-style bump draft to gain on their competitors.

“You saw the Daytona 500,” Tagliani told Veach. “Some people are pushers, and some get pushed. You my friend are definitely a pusher.”

Turns out Tagliani didn’t need the push.

Tagliani is a hit at Lightning game

Posted on: March 8, 2011 | Comments(3) | Drivers | By: Arni

Alex Tagliani was surprised by the number of Canadians who showed up to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning play host to the Washington Capitals in an NHL game March 7.

“There are a lot of people speaking French here,” said Tagliani, who led the crowd at St. Pete Times Forum in yelling “let’s play hockey” just before the puck dropped.

Alex Tagliani meets with a family of fans from his homeland in Quebec.

One such group of French-speaking fans, the La Fortune family, was first in line to meet the Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver. The family was vacationing in Florida from their home in St. Roche de L’Achigan, Quebec, which isn’t far from Tagliani’s home of Lechanaie, Quebec.

“Living five minutes from Alex’s hometown, I know who he is,” said Patrick La Fortune. “It’s very nice to get to meet him and get his autograph.”

Another Tagliani fan, Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Road Show member C.J. Miller, took the opportunity to enlist Tagliani in his planned marriage proposal.

Miller had Tagliani sign a hero card with the message: “Tracy, will you please marry C.J?”

“She told me to come up with an original way to propose,” Miller said. “I thought this was pretty original.”

IZOD IndyCar drivers Ed Carpenter, Justin Wilson, and Alex Tagliani visited Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana this past week in conjunction with the Racing for Kids organization. The visit, meant to be a unique opportunity for patients and families at Riley, turned out to be special for the drivers as well.

Ed, Justin and Alex had the opportunity to visit playrooms where the kids were drawing or playing with toys and video games. The drivers enjoyed talking with the children and giving away signed hats, hero cards, IZOD IndyCar Series calendars and Hot Wheels diecast. The children enjoyed the visit as well– greeting the IZOD IndyCar drivers with numerous smiles and autograph requests.

Arts and Crafts with the children at Riley Hospital

IndyCar Drivers Alex Tagliani, Ed Carpenter and Justin Wilson spend the day at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In addition to the playroom visits,  the IZOD IndyCar drivers also had the opportunity to visit individual rooms of children too ill to visit in common areas. For the patients and families at Riley, this week’s visit brought a momentary break for the challenge of childhood illness. For Ed Carpenter, Justin Wilson, and Alex Tagliani, the visit brought the chance to meet some of their biggest (well okay, littlest) fans.

Justin Wilson signing autographs

Justin Wilson signs autographs at Riley Children's Hospital

Flickr and most comments

Posted on: November 7, 2010 | Comments (0) | Drivers, Flickr | By: Daniel

It’s been four weeks of Flickr related posts and the 2010 IndyCar season – reviewing some of the coolest images, most interesting, viewed, favorited and today, commented. This has been a fun series to write, I  hope you’v enjoyed reading and viewing.

What we learned in reviewing Flickr’s methods of measurement is this -

Most Interesting and views was dominated by our fans – images of your 2012 Chassis Designs.

Most favorited, saw the return of photography.

And most comments? Let’s take a look and start traditionally, with the 99th most commented image.

Sitting front and center

The 99th most commented image - Dario

[More]

FANtastic Contest Winners

Posted on: October 20, 2010 | Comments (1) | Fans, New Media | By: Admin

When you win an  IZOD IndyCar Series Contest, we dig deeper! Actually, we just request that the recipient take a photo with their new gear and send it to us- Nothing creepy, we just want to make sure our winners are happy. We also want to feature them on our website and Flickr account, because let’s face it- race fans are passionate people and we like to give appreciation when appreciation is due! Today we are featuring two of our contest winners, Courtney Braden and Rudi Womack:

Courtney Braden may not know this, but she was the first contest winner since we began “Contest Wednesdays” back in June.  She won a RT contest on Twitter (@IndyCarNation) by being the 50th person to retweet our message- pretty cool, so a big thanks to Courtney for being our guinea pig!

Contest winner: Courtney Braden

Courtney with her IZOD IndyCar Series Prizes

[More]

Sunday 4:48 p.m.- Thanks for keeping up with the live blog this weekend. Can’t wait for Edmonton! Here are some victory lane photos for you, see the rest here.

The Winner

Will Power #1 at Hondy Indy Toronto

Tons of confetti

Top 3 with lots of confetti!

Sunday 3:25 p.m.- After going through the predictions on both Facebook and Twitter we have two winners from the “Pick the Top Three Trifecta Contest.” Congratulations to both Michael Hannowsky and @ACDonahue for guessing the top three drivers in the right order: Will Power, Dario Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Sunday 2:47p.m.- WE HAVE A WINNER- Will Power to Victory Lane! Highlight video and tons of pictures from throughout the race to come!

Ready for racing

Will Power wins at Honda Indy Toronto

Sunday 2:34 p.m.- Sixth full course yellow of the race- Last year there were only 5! Alex Tagliani and Tomas Scheckter connect in the corner. Justin Wilson spins out and Scott Dixon loses his front suspension. All in one lap!

[More]

The Beautiful Game

Posted on: June 5, 2010 | Comments(6) | Drivers, Random | By: Daniel

I know we’re in the midst of a pretty exciting IndyCar season, but I wanted to take the opportunity to mention something else occurring this summer – the World Cup. I’m a huge soccer fan and will be glued to the TV June 11 – July 11, rooting for England (hey, I was born there) and hoping for some magical goal, incredible matches and a thrilling cup final. Player of the tournament? My pick is Wayne Rooney. Disagree?

I know soccer isn’t very popular in the US, but it’s huge a sport and there are many similarities to IndyCar – the global appeal, Brazilians seem to always do well, cool fans, great athleticism, etc.

There are 32 teams at the World Cup. There are 26 drivers in tonight’s Firestone 500k race at Texas Motor Speedway. So what’s the Nation/Driver breakdown? Before I get into that, check out Rafa Matos visiting the Kansas City Wizards of MLS.

Teams going to South Africa

Australia – Ryan Briscoe, Will Power

Brazil – Helio Castroneves, Mario Moraes, Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira, Raphael Matos, Mario Romancini

England – Alex Lloyd, Justin Wilson, Dan Wheldon, Jay Howard

Japan – Hideki Mutoh, Takuma Sato

New Zealand – Scott Dixon

South Africa – Tomas Scheckter

Switzerland – Simona de Silvestro

USA – Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Sarah Fisher

Not in the World Cup :(

Belgium – Bertrand Baguette

Canada – Alex Tagliani

Scotland – Dario Franchitti

Venezuela – E.J. Viso, Milka Duno

We had some time down here in Texas, so IMS Productions asked some of the drivers what their picks were for the World Cup. Take a look -

Who’s your pick for the 2010 World Cup?

And, BTW – IndyCar staffer Arni Sribhen and Indy Lights driver Martin Plowman have a friendly wager going on the England vs USA match June 11. Stay tuned for a blog post on that.

48 hours of Blogging

Posted on: May 23, 2010 | Comments(17) | Drivers, Indy 500 | By: Dave

The journey begins

Boarding the plane

2:20 p.m.

“Home, James.” It’s time to leave New York but it’s not the end of the day for many Indianapolis 500 competitors.

The regional jet is scheduled to land at 4:30, which leaves just enough time for a shower and change of clothing for sponsor dinners, media obligations and – for the fortunate ones — dinner with family and friends.

It’s been a whirlwind tour of 33 drivers, 3 cities in 36 hours. And though everyone is fatigued, there’s unanimous sentiment that it was a hit and definitely broke up the focus on the racetrack and the Indianapolis 500.

“Ready to do it again next year,” Justin Wilson says.

1:40 p.m.

“I saw a lot of press, a lot of energy, a lot of excitement today where the IZOD IndyCar Series came in and was able to take over a big piece of New York and make a big image,” says Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard, who is attending his first Indy 500 promotional event on Herald Square. “Anytime you’re able to do that it’s great for your sport. IZOD, American Honda and the IZOD IndyCar staff should be cogratulated because they really worked hard on this.”

That’s about all Bernard can fit in before being whisked away to interviews at Fox Business.

1:22 p.m.

Only in NYC can a gaggle of race car drivers in multi-colored and multi-logoed firesuits stoll down Broadway and — aside from cell phone photos and some ‘Good luck’ shouts — not really stop sidewalk traffic.

The Fastest Drivers...

Honda's, IndyCar drivers and autographs

Mike Conway pauses to grab a photo of Conway Herald Square, featuring women’s apparel for $10 and under in its windows. “Another one of my stores,” the Brit says. Nice to see he’s expanding the portfolio beyond auto racing.

1:10 p.m.

Patrons of Macy’s flagship store on Herald Square patiently (well, some anyway) wait to have their photo snapped in the same frame as Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves and/or Mario Andretti and get their autographs. It’s a good time to snap up IZOD wear, featuring the new Indianapolis 500 heritage series. The yellow 1911 Marmon Wasp T-shirt is my favorite.

“This is the sixth year we’ve come to New York for this day before the ‘500′ and it gets bigger each year,” says Castroneves, the pole sitter who is seeking his fourth victory. “IZOD knows how to do it big.”

It’s on to a media luncheon for all the drivers. Try the veal.

12:45 p..m.

“OK, guys — and gals – look left, now right, now throw your hat into the crowd,” the instructions of Brian Gordon of Phillips-Van Heusen boom over the public-address system during a media/fan/passersby photo-video op and autograph session on Herald Square in New York.

Broadway between 35th and 34th is closed to vehicular traffic. “It’s not the Thanksgiving Day parade is it?” a shopper wearing a “I love NY” T-shirt says.

1 IndyCar and 33 Honda's

Herald Square, NYC

With 33 Honda Crosstours (nice vehicle byt the way) lined up in 11 rows of three on Broadway, the starting lineup for the Indianapolis 500 poke out of the sunroofs for the media event as hundreds of spectators anxiously await an IZOD IndyCar Series hat tossed in their direction or an autograph of their favorite drivers.

Fronting the field is Mario Andretti and the two-seat IndyCar that will lead the procession of race cars in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” May 30. The passenger in “The Fastest Seat in Sports” will be award-winning producer/actor Mark Wahlberg.

10:33 a.m.

Mario Moraes emerges from the cockpit of NIRL and aplogizes for the landing at Newark International. “I tried my best,” he says with a smile from behind aviator sunglasses.

In best pilot voice: On the right side of the aircraft you’ll see the new Meadowlands Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets.

Next stop: Herald Square and the event at Macy’s flagship store.

6:55 a.m. Tuesday

Did you “Wake Up with Al Roker”? Sarah Fisher did as the team owner/driver was on the Weather Channel set bright and early. The forecast for the Indy 500 is a mid-afternoon high of 80 with plenty of sunshine. Thanks Al and Sarah.

Speaking of warm temps, the 90 degrees that blew through Indianapolis over the weekend has worked its way to New England. It will be a steamy one today in Boston and New York, where the field is headed soon for the Herald Square event.

Also, an addendum to the Robin Roberts note from Monday morning (below), her interview with Danica Patrick will air Saturday on “Good Morning America.” Roberts is the Pace Car driver for the ‘500.’

11:10 p.m. Monday

Paparazzi fill the media “bullpen” and spectators clamor for the attention of drivers and celebs who walk the red carpet to the IZOD “Race to the Party” event at Rumors nightclub on Warrenton Street in Boston (this is all between 8:45-9:15). All pose for photos with the ubiquitous “IZOD Girl,” whose name BTW is Carmen, and many are sidetracked for interviews.

THE IZOD girl

IZOD girl, Carmen

“Quite a hopping place for a Monday,” says Rafa Matos. “It is Monday, isn’t it?” Yes, everyone is a little spent after the non-stop day. Before departing to take in the Celtics home playoff game — they fail to sweep the Orlando Magic — 1969 Indy 500 champion Mario Andretti poses with actor/producer Mark Wahlberg on an IZOD logoed two-seat IndyCar. “Hey, you guys coming?” says pole sitter Helio Castroneves, holding open the door of the limo, “we’re going to be late.”

Mark and Mario

Mark Wahlberg and Mario Andretti

It is getting late, but while some drivers depart for their cells (hmm, 40ish Davey Hamilton and John Andretti are noticeably among the first to leave the pounding music of the club) others chill on a white leather couch and chat, take photos of each other in groups and E.J. Viso and Danica Patrick share iPhone apps. They compete on the same racetracks, but they rarely get to spend much time together socially. For some on this rare night off (after the ‘500′ on Sunday the series swings to Texas Motor Speedway four days later), another stop is Beantown is likely in order.

“I had a stressful weekend so it’s nice to have a party to relax,” Tony Kanaan says.

Also enjoying the atmosphere is Micky Ward, a retired pro boxer whose life will be portrayed by Wahlberg in an upcoming feature film. “Mark is a perfectionist, so I expect the movie to be great,” he says. “He’s been hitting the gym hard and looks great.”

It’s wheels up at 9 a.m. for Newark, N.J., and the bus to 36th Street, where the Indy 500 starters will drive IZOD-logoed Hondas a few blocks to Herald Square for media photos/video, an autograph session with fans along Broadway and a media luncheon at Gotham Hall.

5:30 p.m.

Weary drivers slide off the bus from the short (well, by distance anyway; it’s rush hour in Boston) trip from Bedford (Mass.) airport and enter the Liberty Hotel — which was a former prison. The hotel’s main restaurant is appropriately named The Clink. Lots of exposed brick and beams, but fortunately no cots in the cells, er, rooms.

The front-row starters — Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Dario Franchitti — arrive before the rest, having hitched a ride on a helicopter from ESPN in Bristol, Conn., after being guests on SportsCenter. “Beautiful countryside to fly over,” says Franchitti, a licensed helicopter pilot.

A quick shower and change and it’s off to dinner with GQ execs, actor/producer Mark Wahlberg (some say the Boston native “owns” the city but he hasn’t produced the deed) and local sports celebs. Cam Neely lightly(?) punches my arm as a way to say hello on the elevator. I’m sure some of his checks during his All-Star career with the Bruins were devastating.

The menu is better than your typical prison food (not that I would know).

4:20 p.m.

At Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn., the ‘500′ rookie qualifiers load onto the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp.’s G4 for the flight back to Indy. They have the Fastest Rookie Luncheon (Mario Romancini) sponsored by the American Dairy Association of Indiana on Tuesday morning.

3:00 p.m.

“I think I’m going to glow tonight,” Dario Franchitti says as the bus pulls up to the farm that grows satellites on the sprawling ESPN campus.

33 drivers and lots of satellites

33 drivers and satellites

Are they really for broadcast purposes or to listen for extraterrestrial contact? Fronting the massive structures and an IZOD IndyCar Series backdrop, the 33 starters hang in the mid-afternoon sun for photos and video and to say “hello” to ABC affiliate presidents and general managers gathered in New York for meetings.

For the 46th consecutive year, ABC is broadcasting the Indianapolis 500 (noon ET May 30).

Next up are more interviews (Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power to Studio E for SportsCenter Australia please), and interspersed are autograph sessions for ESPN employees and their families. IndyCar simulators are nearby, which draw a crowd. “Don’t hit the wall E.J. Viso encourages a participant. “I did and it hurts.”

On the short walk to the bus — and brief interlude with Hannah Storm and Linda Cohen — a tape editor thanks the large group for visiting on what otherwise would be a day off. “It’s something we’ll talk about for a long time,” he says.

Soon it’s off to Boston and a GQ dinner hosted by actor/producer Mark Wahlberg with Boston sports celebs past and present (Bobby Orr, Dwight Freeney, etc.). Later there’s a red-carpet event at a downtown nightclub.

1:50 p.m.

Robin Roberts is taping an Indianapolis 500 promo on the ESPN campus. She has a more vested interest than past year; the “Good Morning America” host is the Pace Car driver.

“(Johnny Rutherford) is a great instructor and he really calmed my nerves,” says Roberts, who got behind the wheel of the Chevy Camaro for the first time last month. “Now I’m ready to go. It’s the greatest spectacle in the world and to be a part of it is amazing.

“I’m looking over at Helio (Castroneves) because he reminded me that the first time he won (2001) there was a woman Pace Car driver (Elaine Irwin Mellencamp). He feels I may be good luck to win his fourth. If there is a 34-car field this year, I’ll be in the back.”

Robin and Helio

Robin and Helio

1:20 p.m.

Alex Tagliani shakes his head when asked about his beloved Montreal Canadiens, who face playoff elimination. “I was talking about it with the boys (at FAZZT Race Team) yesterday about it, and I don’t understand how can they beat Washington and Pittsburgh — two strong teams — and then struggle against Philadelphia,” he says. “Once they beat Pittsburgh, I was dancing because I thought they’d be going to the Stanley Cup finals. It’s frustrating for a fan.”

12:55 p.m.

And we’re back for a lunch break at ESPN headquarters. The field just finished a studio taping for First Take and SportsCenter … they nailed “We are the starting grid for the 2010 Indianapolis 500 and you’re watching SportsCenter” on the third take. The first take was a tad too soft (“What, are we in church?” the director says). The second was OK, but not quite. The third: “Home run!” the director says.

Live on Camera

SportsCenter!

After a brief lunch break is off to the farm where the grow satellites.

11:10 a.m.

Danica Patrick is live on SportsCenter in Studio F.

10:50 a.m.

Mike Golic wants to know if his mug will be added to the Borg-Warner Trophy after claiming victory (with partner Danica Patrick) in a tire change competition at ESPN headquarters. “We won; I should receive the rewards,” the co-host of “Mike & Mike in the Morning” says.

Lots of bobble heads

Mike and Mike

“Pit stops are a team effort,” says Patrick, who joined Dan Wheldon and show co-host Mike Greenberg for the segment that closed the weekday show (on radio and ESPN2). “You have to hit your marks, and if they’re one second off you lose about 100 yards.”

Chimes in Greenberg: “Golic couldn’t run the length of a football field in 12 seconds so he’d be left way behind.”

Simultaneously, Graham Rahal, Sarah Fisher and Alex Tagliani are being interviewed for SportsCenter.com; Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti are doing shoots for the ABC broadcast of the Indianapolis 500; Scott Dixon, Darrio Franchitti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power are taping a segment for Game Night Radio; and Helio Castroneves is taping a piece for Page 2.

It’s a packed day at the campus.

9:18 a.m.

The field of satellite dishes is a landmark for air travelers, screaming “Welcome to Bristol, Conn., home of ESPN.” It’s on to lane in Hartford, which whispers “Welcome to the home of First and Last Tavern, the Mark Twain home and, well, that’s about it. Have a nice day.”

7:45 a.m.

Graham Rahal occupies his time in the air by sorting images and playing games on his iPad. A half-dozen rows back, Helio Castroneves snaps photos on his phone of unsuspecting (dozing, eating, movie-watching) compatriots that are destined for Twitter.

Rahal and an iPad

Rahal and iPad

Handlers go over details of the ESPN itinerary of interviews, tours and employee autograph sessions at the sprawling campus – plus what’s in store for the evening (a dinner hosted by GQ with Boston sports celebs and a party at Rumors). There’s a rumor that some ‘500’ participants will head straight to the bus for the 7:30 a.m. Tuesday departure for NYC. Hey, it is their only free night for a week and all – save for Sebastian Saavedra – are of legal age.

Thirty-three drivers, three cities, 36 hours. This May 24-25 IZOD IndyCar Series whirlwind field trip to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., Boston and New York is unprecedented for the starters in the Indianapolis 500, and mixes some fun and business.

“Oh, I always enjoy the trip to New York,” says pole sitter Helio Castroneves, “and now they’ve expanded it so it’s all good.”

All good, and packed with public, media and personal appearances — capped by the second bash in front of Macy’s flagship store on Herald Square in New York (11 a.m. for photos and autographs on Broadway if you’re in the vicinity).

The journey begins

The journey begins

6:32 a.m.

The sun broke the horizon, the fog rolled out and the drivers who will start the Indianapolis 500 rolled in — coffee cups in hand — for the first leg of the journey. Pockets swapped stories of the wild weekend of qualifying and the great crowds at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It’s a fun day, just because we are exposed to a lot of media. Even though I’m an old guy (47) and it’s early, I enjoy this,” Davey Hamilton said. “I have to say, this year with IZOD stepping up and taking us to ESPN, the GQ party, New York, I think it’s even better.”

Next stop, the media blitz at ESPN.

The front row

The field is set - headed East