Posts Tagged ‘ Indy 500 ’

The Final Laps

Posted on: June 7, 2011 | Comments(2) | Race Tracks | By: Iowa Speedway

Thanks for stopping back to the Iowa Speedway blog here on Indycar.com! Like the drivers who will be thanking their sponsors before and after racing in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer on June 25th, we too need to thank some people first before we get into this months topic – our readers. Without you we wouldn’t even be writing this story so thank you!

Watching this year’s Indy 500, which by the way was amazing, and seeing the final pass for the win an idea popped into my head – this month’s topic.

JR took the lead with three laps to go; I thought for sure the race would be over in the neighborhood of 120 seconds since drivers completed laps at just over 40 seconds when running at full speed. Could I have been more wrong?! Maybe. When JR took reins of this year’s 500 and until the winner, Dan Weldon, crossed the finish line there was an elapse time of 128 seconds. Eight seconds is a big deal in the world of motorsports!

A combination of Weldon being behind JR and not running at full speed to conserve fuel makes up that eight second difference. In my opinion, that final eight seconds is and probably will always be the longest of JR’s racing career, sadly.

Shall we compare the last 128 seconds of the Indy 500 to what might be the last 128 seconds here at Iowa Speedway so you can see how vastly different things can be from track to track? Lets!

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Tony Kanaan leading at the Iowa Speedway in 2010

In the time they turned those three laps at Indianapolis they would’ve completed over seven laps at Iowa Speedway. Circuits around this 7/8 or .875 mile oval are 17.5 seconds long at full speed in an IZOD IndyCar. That is a total of 28 turns here compared to only 12 they completed at Indianapolis, plus the lap traffic.

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Kanaan and Castroneves after the 2010 Iowa Corn Indy 250

Look back to 2010 when TK took the lead with 10 laps to go, about 175 seconds left in the race, and you can really see there was a greater chance of something going wrong. He had 40 turns to get through while dealing with several lap down cars. The winner is never known until the car crosses the finish line, and never has that been more true following this year’s 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.

Be sure to come out to Iowa Speedway on June 25th to see if we have that same excitement during the final seconds/laps of this year’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer. Thanks for reading. Please keep your comments and suggestions coming. We’re listening – and thanks again for the support!

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(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.

The Indianapolis 500 is a very, very long race event for us. It’s two weeks of content. And for the new media group, it’s overseeing both indycar.com and indianapolismotorspeedway.com. Most of our race events run from Thursday-Sunday, with indycar.com being the focus. Two weeks of racing is exciting, exhausting and a challenge. I love content, good storytelling and beautiful photography. Our May provided all of that. Some highlights.

Opening weekend brought the announcement of The Greatest 33. It was an honor working on this site and it was amazing to see how many fans voted, shared with friends and revealed their own personal memories.

The Greatest 33

The Greatest 33

4,028. That’s how many photographs were uploaded. It’s how our department sees what our photographers capture. We then title, caption and tag these images for our websites, media site, Flickr and so on. That’s a lot of images and it’s tedious work. BUT – it allows us to bring some really stunning moments to you (and shows what a great group of photographers we work with). A few of my favorite below. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Simona De Silvestro signs an autograph

One of the most compelling stories of the month

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Earlier this week we rolled out 25 QR Codes around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as well as introduced a new version of the Verizon IndyCar Mobile Application. We’re thinking digitally, while we celebrate the Centennial running of the Indianapolis 500. History meets technology.

If you don’t have the app on your Verizon phone, check it out here (as well as for compatible devices).

If you’re at IMS for Carb day or through the weekend, you can access 25 of our QR Codes around the Pagoda, Yard of Bricks and Gasoline Alley. These codes will bring you closer to the racing action, drivers from the IZOD IndyCar Series and reveal some of the behind-the-scenes information of our Series. All you need is a Verizon phone with QR Code reading software and you’ll have instant access to exclusive videos – and even a chance to win a trip to the IndyCar World Championships in Las Vegas. Cool.

QR Code Will

QR code Will

Both the app and QR Codes provide a closer connection to our sport and features content that highlights the diversity of IndyCar. We hope you enjoy and would love to hear what you think.

Having the Indianapolis Fire Department represented on the car of Jay Howard will only make this year’s race more personal to the people of Indy. To show his support in an even deeper way, Howard took time out of his busy May schedule to visit with patients at the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Wishard Hospital yesterday morning. He was joined by members of the IFC including Fire Chief Brian Sanford and Chris Major the president of the Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local 416. Howard took some time to visit with the firefighters before making his way into the burn center. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway makes Indy what it is and we are very lucky to get the chance to be associated with IMS, ” said Sanford.

Chris Major talked about the positive affects of the crest being placed on Jay’s car. “It’s a great way to make people aware of the efforts we make,” said Major. Stanford addressed Simona de Silvestro’s crash earlier this May. “It shows how far of a reach a burn center can make. It doesn’t only deal with house fires and accidental burns.”

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Once inside, Howard took time to visit with patients of the Wishard Burn Center. He signed autographs, took pictures, and chatted with some very excited patients. One lady kept telling Jay that he had made her day. She was given one of the Jay Howard/Indianapolis Fire Department shirts and Jay signed it for her.

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Howard was then given a tour of the burn unit. He learned that around 550 patients are treated at the burn center every year. Also, there are 7 other burn units in the U.S. modeled around the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Wishard Hospital. It was also shared with Jay that the staff of the burn center makes regular trips to Central America for mission trips. They have built the only burn center in Central America. Each trip costs around $30,000-50,000 and the burn center staff raises all the funds themselves. They are currently preparing for their 5th trip to El Salvador with a staff of 22 people.

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Howard is driving in this year’s Indy 500 to support burn victims. If you would like to show your support you can purchase the shirt Jay is wearing in the pictures above. For more information on the t-shirts and helping out the Wishard Burn Center follow this link: http://www.n-depthfiregraphics.com/jayhoin500sh.html

Firestone Racing was there for the very first Indy 500 in 1911, won by Ray Harroun on Firestone brand tires.  Legend has it that tires played a pivotal role in the outcome of that first race.

Knowing that tire/wheel changes were difficult and time consuming back then, Ray asked the Firestone Racing engineers how fast he could drive without a tire failure.  He was told 75 miles per hour.  Sure enough, on May 30, 1911, he crossed the finish line first with an average speed of 74.602 miles per hour – and he only had to change one tire for the whole race.

So many memorable Indy 500 moments have happened on Firestone brand tires.  Of our 61 Indy 500 victories, 43 were consecutive between 1920 and 1966.  Great names such as Gaston Chevrolet, Wilbur Shaw, AJ Foyt, Jimmy Clark, Mario Andretti and Al Unser have chugged the milk in Victory Circle, thanks in no small part to the reliability of their Firestone race tires.

For many years, Firestone would advertise in newspapers around the nation after the race with artwork featuring all of their Indy 500 victories, proclaiming our Indy success.  This ad typified the “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” mentality.

In 2011, the Centennial Anniversary of the first Indy 500, the 62nd driver will cross the  finish line on Firestone tires, and we have re-created that classic ad.  Who do you think it will be?  Comment below and let us know.

The month of May is known to be the most hectic month for the IZOD IndyCar stars, but it’s just as crazy for the helmet painters, in particular at the ArtRotondo.com shop, when you paint for many of the Indycar drivers. The month of May is an incredibly hectic month but that all comes to one big reward on that historical race day. This year being the centennial year, it is a tremendous honor for us to be part of this great race, alongside so many of this Series finest drivers. We’re truly living a childhood dream by being involved in this great race and hope that one of our drivers will be the first to cross the finish line on this coming May 29th, 2011.

This year’s Indy 500 will not only mark the 100th anniversary of the great American race, but it will also mark the heroic return of IndyCar star Mike Conway. He will return on board his Andretti Autosport IndyCar to face the track which prematurely took him out of his 2010 season. For this tremendous event we had no choice but to make a special Indy 500 themed helmet for his triumphant return, we put the complete focus on the speedway’s landmark tower and hope it will bring him that extra edge in this grueling 500 mile dash.

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Mike Conway's new helmet

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Car Town!

Alex Tagliani tweeted that the first person to win his Big Rig gets the gloves he’ll use in the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500.

Huh? It all makes sense if you’re playing Car Town on Facebook.

The game that features the IZOD IndyCar Series now includes actual races on 17 different tracks, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that is playing host to the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500, for players to compete.

Lead your favorite driver to first place on each track to unlock the team’s Big Rig.

Cars are available for multiple drivers plus the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Event Car, which honors the 100th anniversary of the first running of the race.

In the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Garage, users can select a car driven by top IZOD IndyCar Series drivers and complete the Indy 500 Challenge with the help of a pit crew they select from among their Facebook friends or by spending in-game points. Players can even race against the clock and compete against other Car Town pit crews, striving to top the Indy Pit Stop Challenge leaderboard.

Race now in Car Town. CLICK HERE

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?