Posts Tagged ‘ Indianapolis 500 ’

With buzz about the apparent end to rock band Motley Crue’s tours in entertainment news this week, a little-known racing connection between the 33-year-old band and INDYCAR surfaced: Vocalist Vince Neal’s racing dreams nearly broke up the band, according to Indianapolis Star reporter David Lindquist.

“Vince Neil exited Motley Crue in 1992, the year he competed in Indy Lights races at Long Beach (Calif.), Milwaukee, Phoenix and Portland (Ore.). His best finish was 10th at Milwaukee,” Lindquist wrote in a story about the band’s final tour. “On Valentine’s Day, the other members of Motley Crue issued this statement related to Neil’s departure: ‘Race car driving has become a priority in Neil’s life, and he’s dedicated much of his time and energy to it. The Crue’s relationship to Vince began to deteriorate because his band mates felt he didn’t share their determination and passion for music.’ Neil’s ultimate goal was to drive in the Indianapolis 500. ‘Racing’s just a hobby — but a pretty serious hobby,’ Neil told Spin magazine at the time. The singer returned to the band in 1997.”

Neil qualified the No. 69 P.I.G. (Personal Investment Group) car 14th at Phoenix (finished 12th), 16th at Portland (finished 12th), 10th at Milwaukee (finished 10th) and 17th at Long Beach (did not finish, placed 17th) in the CART/Firestone/Dayton Indy Lights Series. He also participated in the celebrity race as part of the Gold Coast (Australia) Indy car race weekend that year. He earned $6,900 during his short-lived racing career.

Like most professional race car drivers, Neil started out karting. After receiving a gift certificate to the Skip Barber Racing School at Sebring International Raceway and running the Formula Fords there, Neil was hooked. When someone suggested Indy Lights to him he eventually became co-owner of the P.I.G. Racing Team with Eddie Chiva, an ex-Formula One driver, fielding the No. 69 entry under the “Say No To Drugs” sponsorship.

According to USA Today, the glam-metal pioneers are calling it quits after a final tour that launched July 2. The band also includes bass player Nikki Sixx, guitarist Mick Mars and drummer Tommy Lee.

Two whirlwind months were capped for Nicole Pollard when Miss Indiana Audra Casterline was crowned June 21 in Zionsville.

The reason: Pollard, who served as Miss Indiana 2009 operates Next Level Pageantry, a consulting business for pageant contestants. She gives help with everything from tips on how to gracefully handle the interview portion of competition to how to walk across a stage confidently in a swimsuit. At the same time, she’s Verizon IndyCar Series driver Martin Plowman’s fiancée.

Miss Indiana 2009 Nicole Pollard, IndyCar driver Martin Plowman's fiancee, spent a lot of time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. When she wasn't talking racing, she was talking pageant preparations with this year's Miss Indiana contestants.


The two roles kept her busy during Spring 2014 as Plowman prepared for his first Indianapolis 500 in May while would-be pageant royals turned to Pollard for her expertise.

That meant that after the Indianapolis 500 Victory Banquet on May 26, when most of the IndyCar community was taking a breather, Pollard switched gears from racing to pageant preparations. She didn’t stop until pageant season was over.

Pollard and Plowman were in the audience for the Miss Indiana finals .

She learned about racing through her romance with the English driver and Plowman learned about pageants.

“I started dating Martin after I was crowned Miss Indiana but before I went on to Miss America so I was full-fledged in preparing. It was a weird way to invite (a person) into your life,” said Pollard. “One of my best friends, Rachel (Vogle, of Indianapolis) pulled him aside and said, ‘you need to understand how important this is to Nicole.’ She said, ‘it’s like if you could only compete in the Indy 500 once in your life.’”

That’s when Plowman seemed to really understand Pollard’s Miss America bid – she didn’t win but she placed in the top 15.

“He was very supportive once he grasped the concept of it being that one shot and you’re done,” Pollard said. “He flew out to Las Vegas to watch me compete. The first pageant he had ever gone to and he got to see the biggest pageant in the nation.”

Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Sage Karam finished an impressive ninth in the 98th Indianapolis 500 on May 25. But at Belle Isle this weekend, his attention is aimed outside the race car.

Karam, 19, who was in the spotlight when he missed his high school prom to race in the Indy 500, is at the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans supporting Verizon IndyCar Series driver Sage Karam (left), who missed his prom to race in the Indianapolis 500, is at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit this weekend, supporting his girlfriend, Anna de Ferran (right), who will perform.his girlfriend, pop singer Anna de Ferran. De Ferran, the daughter of 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner and two-time Indy car champion Gil de Ferran, is performing a set from 11:15-11:45 a.m. June 1 at the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage on Belle Isle. Afterward, she’ll sing “God Bless America” before the start of the second race of this weekend’s grand prix.

That’s when Karam and de Ferran will change roles from those they held last weekend in Indianapolis. He’ll watch while she works and lead her cheering section.

By the time Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay made it to the rooftop bar in Midtown Manhattan where friends, family and Verizon IndyCar Series staff gathered May 27 to celebrate his win, he was arguably already the toast of New York.

Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay toasts his victory with his wife, Beccy, and friends following his victory media tour in New York City on Tuesday. The party was held at Top of the Strand, a rooftop bar in midtown Manhattan.

After prevailing in a six-lap duel to the checkered flag with Helio Castroneves, Hunter-Reay captured hearts as he celebrated with wife Beccy and 1-year-old son Ryden. When they arrived in New York for a victory media tour, journalists couldn’t get enough of Hunter-Reay and his toddler look-alike, dressed in a pint-sized version of his dad’s firesuit. Affable Ryden accompanied his parents from an early morning appearance on “Today” to a stop to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and finally to a late-in-the-day photo opp atop the Empire State Building as well as multiple interviews in between.

But even after all of that, Ryden was still up for more socializing.

The Hunter-Reays arrived at a cocktail party, organized in their honor at Top of the Strand (33 W. 37th St.) about 6 p.m.,  and it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see the child become tired and a bit cranky.  Even his parents were worn out. But the toddler busied himself unintentionally charming everyone in that room, too. Playing with a yellow balloon, Ryden bounced around the soiree as cocktails, champagne and appetizers were served to the adults socializing above his head.

The scene unfolded in the casual, open-air bar with spectacular views of the Empire State Building. The event’s décor included a photo of Hunter-Reay minutes after he passed the checkered flag at  Indianapolis 500, pouring the ceremonial winner’s milk on his head. Gift bags were stuffed with red and yellow tissue (the colors of Hunter-Reay’s sponsor, DHL), Indianapolis Motor Speedway hats and limited edition Indy 500-themed bottles of Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka.

The highlight of the party came, though, as the sun was setting over New York and the intimate group raised champagne glasses to the Hunter-Reays. They toasted Ryan’s win, the Verizon IndyCar Series and the end to a good day in New York.

Meanwhile, Ryden kept chasing his yellow balloon.

Bronte Tagliani is comfortable in front of a camera. A professional model, she’s been photographed in swimsuits, pantsuits and more for magazines, websites and newspapers.

Bronte Tagliani

But Bronte – the wife of Verizon IndyCar Series driver Alex – will be the one pointing the lens when the busy month of May begins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As Alex prepares for a run in the Indianapolis 500 on Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s team, Bronte will be walking around the track, collecting snaps for a fashion blog, BellenNoir.com (which means “beautiful in black” in French). She’ll document what she wears while Alex races and at Indy 500 parties and appearances, too.

She also plans to include the paddock’s other style mavens, so expect shots of Scott Dixon’s wife, Emma, James Hinchcliffe’s girlfriend, Kirsten Dee, and Charlie Kimball’s fiancée, Kathleen Thompson. And photos and commentary on anyone around IMS whose look catches her eye also will be included, she said.

“It’s just another social media outlet for me. I love Instagram and I love Twitter,” said Bronte. “It’s going to be a more expanded Instagram, more like a story in pictures. I don’t know where it’s going to take me.”

The site launches from Indianapolis in May, but Bronte, who is Australian, plans to update it as she travels.

“I just want to highlight street style – what people are wearing, what I’m wearing and the cool things I’m seeing,” she said. “The Speedway is going to be a great place to get pictures.”

Although she says she doesn’t have expected results for the project, anyone who knows Bronte knows to expect the unexpected.  Even in her own look.

Bronte Tagliani's new blog will feature street fashion from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May.

Racing fans who have seen hundreds of photos of Bronte will immediately recognize her, or most of her, when they visit BellenNoir.com.

One thing is different. She recently traded her long-time short brunette hairdo for a bleached blonde look. The reason: She wanted to know what it’s like to be blonde, so she’s giving it a try.

Inside Shot – Indy 500

Posted on: June 6, 2011 | Comments (1) | Flickr, Indy 500 | By: Chris Jones

In previous Inside Shot entries I have discussed one image from an IndyCar race that was featured in the indycar.com galleries or the IndyCar Flickr site.  For the Indy 500, it is difficult to single out one image.

For most IndyCar race weekends, the activities take place over 2 or 3 days.  For the Indy 500, activities started on May 7 with the Mini-Marathon and weather-postponed Balloon Race, and ended on the evening of May 30th at the Victory Celebration banquet.  During that period, I shot at the track 20 days and took over 9,600 images.  For comparison, at Long Beach where both IndyCar and Indy Lights were in action, I shot around 2,300 images.

You may wonder why we spent so much time at the track given there were only 10 practice and qualifying days.  At Indy, there are so many other activities we covered including the Celebration of Automobiles, the American Dairy Association Rookie Luncheon, celebrity two-seater rides, Emerging Tech day, the unveiling of the Marmon Wasp postage stamp, Community Day, and Rookie Orientation.

My favorite images are those that tell a story.  Although these may not qualify as the “best” photos during the month, they are photos that help tell my favorite stories from the month.

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One of the top stories of the month was the hardship that Simona de Silvestro faced after her accident.  It was obvious her hands were still hurting watching her get in the car after her incident.  She didn’t let the pain stop her from signing autographs even though everyone would have understood if she said she needed to let her hands rest.

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J.R. Hildebrand had a great month – fastest Rookie in the field, first day qualifier, race runner-up and Chase Rookie of the Year.  Unfortunately for him, he would have been the race winner if not for his final lap incident in turn 4.  Similar to Simona, the way he reacted to his adversity showed his class and character.

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To me, one of the big stories that got overlooked throughout the month was the success of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, especially Bertrand Baguette.  Here was a team that hadn’t raced this season, with two drivers that hadn’t raced in IndyCar this season either, and only one previous Indy 500 start between the two drivers.  Both Baguette and Jay Howard were first-day qualifiers, and Baguette was one late caution period away from winning the race.

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Of course, the big story was Dan Wheldon’s win in a one-off ride with Bryan Herta Autosport.  According to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson, Wheldon is the first winning driver at the Indy 500 to lead only one lap, and he probably led less than a quarter of a mile.  It was great to see the pure emotion he expressed after his win.  He should continue to be a great ambassador for the Indy 500.

Next up is Texas Motor Speedway.

A Second Glance at May

Posted on: June 3, 2011 | Comments(7) | 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.

This month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been packed to the brink with IZOD IndyCar Series drivers, Firestone Indy Lights drivers, Mazda Road to Indy drivers, and returning Indy 500 legends. It had us thinking, what advice do the younger drivers ask the returning and former drivers for when preparing to race.

As the first African American to qualify and race in the Indianapolis 500, Willy T. Ribbs has helped paved the way for a diverse crop of younger drivers to reach their dream of racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In his interview, Willy shared which drivers gave him advice back in 1991:

Firestone Indy Lights driver, Chase Austin shares his relationship with Willy T. Ribbs and talks about what it’s like to go from stock cars to Indy cars and still be successful at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Before today, the driver had only slipped in two practice laps at the track. Find out what his game plan is to run well in today’s Firestone Freedom 100:

We’re asking fans to help decide which web writers will rep best at this year’s Virtual Indy 500 competition (Read more about the competition here). Any web writer ready to stake their claim will be put in front of our esteemed panel of sharp, clever, witty and good-looking judges (A.K.A. – you!).

So take a look at this entrant and leave your comments and likes here or hit us @INDYCAR with a tweet if you think Trackside Online will provide fans with the best Virtual Indy 500 coverage this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

Trackside Online | Website | Twitter “Providing INDYCAR Coverage for Over Ten Years.”

TrackSide Online presented by Honda Racing is a news service devoted exclusively to INDYCAR racing.  Commonly referred to as TSO, TrackSideOnline.com has been covering the IZOD IndyCar Series for over 10 years by attending all of the practices, qualifying sessions and races, including the international events.

A highly trusted news source, TSO’s in depth coverage is read by drivers, team owners, officials and race fans that want the inside scoop on what is really happening within INDYCAR.

That’s what we do.  So why does Joe from TSO want to run the virtual Indy 500 against other journalists?

Back before he joined up with TSO, he used to pass the time running racing simulations.  Anyone remember “Indianapolis 500: The Simulation?”

He used to spend hours trying to win in the Lola/Buick using a keyboard.  IndyCar Racing?  Grand Prix Legends?  He spent far more hours on all of these games than he probably should have.

But that was before marriage and two kids.  Why does he want to get back into sim racing against journalists?

Simple – he thinks he can win.  Is he good enough to beat anyone with any actual racing talent (real or sim)?  Of course not.

But based off some go-kart races against other journalists, and if I get some seat time in iRacing, I think I can win.

Ho-Pin Tung: History in the Making

Posted on: May 16, 2011 | Comments(2) | Drivers | By: Cassie

Ho-Pin Tung has raced numerous cars in numerous countries, but he has finally made his way to IndyCar. What’s more, he’s on his way to making history. He has become the first Chinese racer to enter the Indy 500, and is hoping to be the first Chinese driver to qualify for the race.

Tung is driving for Schmidt Dragon Racing for this year’s Indy 500 and sees this race as a huge learning experience.  Drivers such as Arie Luyendyk and Al Unser Jr have inspired and motivated Tung to meet his Indy goals this May. So come out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and cheer Ho-Pin Tung to his goal of being the first Chinese man to qualify for the Indy 500.

Watch the interview below and listen to everything Ho-Pin Tung has to say about his racing career, IndyCar, and the experience of racing in the Indy 500.

What is your prediction for Ho-Pin Tung’s performance in the Indy 500 this season?