No, he wasn’t wearing the hat or the shades, and he didn’t have a proton-pack strapped to his back, but Dan Aykroyd could have been wearing pajamas and I still would have been honored to shake his hand. I got the opportunity during the pre-race festivities for the Honda Indy Toronto, when Aykroyd met up with driver and fellow Canadian James Hinchcliffe.
Chatting with Dan
The experience was one to remember. Firstly, I was so excited for the chance to interview him that I didn’t realize I was standing in the middle of his golf cart’s parking spot. I nearly avoided that disaster when someone yelled, “Look out!” just in time for me to jump out of the way. And yes, if I had gotten hit, I would have bragged that I got hit by a golf cart carrying Dan Aykroyd.
After shuffling my feet for a bit, I mustered up the courage to be the first to interview him. After the glorious hand shake, I asked him about being an INDYCAR fan, what he liked about Hinch and if he was looking forward to his experience as grand marshal. He was a true professional, answering every question with the fervor of an INDYCAR fan and the pride of a Canadian.
As I thanked him and stepped away, indycar.com editorial director Dave Lewandowski congratulated me on my brush with fame. IMS and INDYCAR photographer Chris Jones let me know he snapped a picture of my interview and would email it to me later, officially becoming my hero for the day. I take comfort in the fact that if my computer ever crashes, the photo will forever be memorialized here on the link to this blog.
Yes, this post has a somewhat peculiar title. Think about it and you’ll realize it’s a throw back to Limp Bizkit of all artists. Lyrics aside, this post is all about a his and hers perspective on everything that’s happening down here deep in the heart of Texas.
You probably already know him or are familiar with his website already. He’s Tyler Carmichael of IndyCar Garage. Whether you know her or you don’t, Julie can be found behind IndyCar.com or here. First, we’ll talk about each other and then we’ll talk about three photos from today with a his and her’s perspective.
Julie’s Perspective on Tyler: I met Tyler last month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but we began working together a few weeks prior. Tyler had put his website, IndyCar Garage up for an IndyCar.com contest for motorsports writers to represent fans in an iRacing Virtual 500 Race. Before “allowing” him to stake his claim to fans, I of course had to dig in and read. Just like me, Tyler loves using different types of content and letting everyone else have a voice too. Visit his website and you’ll see videos, forum threads, photos, and more but, most importantly, you’ll feel like you’re there for a chat among fellow fans. In person, he’s every bit as genuine as his website comes across and I hope you enjoy the perspectives he shares below.
Tyler’s Perspective on Julie: I met Julie through the virtual Indy 500 competition that she was promoting for IndyCar writers and bloggers. I participated in the virtual Indy 500 on behalf of IndyCar Garage but with very poor results, I think I finished 8th out of 10 drivers. Julie was kind enough to help www.IndyCarGarage.com get some recognition through IndyCar.com and the promotion of the Virtual 500. Julie seems to be an out of the box type thinker and person that has thousands of IndyCar thoughts coming through her head at any moment. In all reality Julie represents the future of what social media is for IndyCar and motorsports in general.
Photo 1 – Simona de Silvestro
Simona de Silvestro
She Says: When you meet Simona in person, she is warm and friendly. It’s as simple as that. And when Simona gets into a car and starts flying at speeds over 220 mph, I think of her like that badass best friend that skipped class in college to go drink at the bar. When I saw this photo it was like relief to realize she’s recovering from Indy. Everyone should have a badass best friend to laugh about the hangover with later…
He Says: When you see Simona you automatically think of the word HEARTBREAK, Texas last year comes to mind when she was on fire and literally couldn’t find anyone to put her out. Indy for Simona this year makes you think of more fire and ruining her primary car, and driving some thing called porkchop. The girl is still wearing gloves, driving an eight year old car, and doesn’t have much oval experience, but you can’t tell! I also can’t wait to talk with Simona before Saturday’s race (see more below).
Photo #2- James Hinchcliffe
She Says: Sometimes, I notice different things than other people. You see James Hinchcliffe and his silly hand position. I see the water bottle in his hand. Specifically, the Canadian Maple Leaf proudly represented on it. Growing up an hour and a half from the Canadian border (Erie, PA) I happen to be somewhat fluent in Canadian culture. Well, at least, how to order at Tim Hortons: large coffee, black and a box of cherry Timbits please. With Tags on the Pole now, all I can say is, “Go Team Canada.”
He Says: James is actually giving a thumbs up or down to his engineer about how his car felt when he drove it around the streets of Dallas last night for the Mavs/Heat Game. In all reality the young Canadian is probably trying adjust to his first experience at Texas Motor Speedway. Hinch is well spoken, considers himself a Mayor on twitter, and is one of the bright young stars of IndyCar. I think he would be a great guy to see in victory lane.
Photo #3- JR Hildebrand
She Says: Fresh from a wreck at the Indy 500 with the 5 o’clock shadow to prove it. I can be a perfectionist and not doing my best can cause me to lose sleep at night too. But here’s the thing, the guy did he best and caught some tough luck. He’s out here today and he’s FAST plus, he’s packing the incredible experience of running the oval at Indy. When I see this shot, I see a young guy that’s hungry. He wants a win and came close enough to taste it two weeks ago. Tomorrow night, my eyes will be on JR.
He Says: JR is thinking, can I catch a freaking break? I am 300 yards from Indy 500 history and I hit the marbles? Then I injury my knee promoting the Texas race? What are the chances I hit the marbles and tear my ACL within two weeks?. They say bad things come in three, well lets hope JR had something bad to him that no one knows about. He is a young American that deserved a ride two years ago and finally caught one this year with a great sponsor in the National Guard. JR can’t play the “What If” game or he would drive himself crazy, he is focused, determined, well spoken, and a huge 49ers fan, lets hope he catches some better luck at Texas.
Last things last, He and She have a challenge. We’ve decided to try and get 500 “Likes” on this blog post. Julie is starting with an email to her friends and Tyler is starting by placing a phone call to his mother. Perhaps if you’re an INDYCAR fan you could show us some love with a “like” too. He mentioned it above, but keep an eye on IndyCar Garage for Tyler’s interview with Simona…. he’ll be talking with her tomorrow about her improving team, new sponsor, and upbeat attitude about how she wants to be an INDYCAR driver, unlike some other female drivers driving Open Wheel.
It’s an odd post title, but it’s a fitting one for a discussion on Twitter. Twitter has hit it’s stride this season with more and more teams, drivers, journalists and sponsors joining the online dialogue. The most pleasant surprise are the amount of driver’s genuinely using Twitter to reveal their personalities. A video interview in pit lane isn’t always the best way to know someone. 140 characters in a tweet on the other hand…
TK ready for Indy
Twitter is obviously on the rise. It’s a social tool that people are finally understanding and utilizing. IndyCar blogger, @pressdog wrote a four-part series earlier this year, illustrating it’s growing importance within the sport. Followers of @IndyCar have grown over 300% in just over a year. It’s become a more accepted method of communication and we use it to share race updates, official results, news stories, videos, Flickr images, blog posts and lots more. There are now multiple voices around the INDYCAR experience. We are listening.
Yesterday, we interviewed James Hinchcliffe (video below). It got me thinking about driver’s that are web savvy. I remember watching Hinch last season and being impressed by his personal online strategy. His site, videos, and use of Twitter were exceptional. He was ahead of the game. And now, the game has caught up with him and embraced the web community. In my opinion, it’s the most important way we (and I mean ‘we’) can help grow the INDYCAR brand. We all have a voice to help grow this sport.
There have been lots of memorable Twitter moments recently. These are bringing the online world into the at-track world. They are bringing together the personalities of the sport into a new environment. They are giving our faithful, loyal fans new ways of connecting to the speed and racing action. Twitter is removing traditional walls. Some quick examples -
Tomas Scheckter’s blog post last December got some real chatter online and then on Twitter.
Most races are followed by some interesting driver banter – all before our Twitter eyes.
Today, Scott Dixon gave away a watch to one lucky fan. All of this was done through Twitter!
Tweet with drivers and you could win!
And a current contest from Ryan Briscoe: “Who wants to win a trip and be my guest at this years Indy500? Guess my qual speed to win! Go to www.ryanbriscoe.com for details”.
For fans, I can’t think of a better way to follow the sport or a favorite driver. You can tweet directly at them and there will be a lot of chatter this month of May. What are you waiting for?
So – we’ve created a full listing of IZOD IndyCar Series drivers on Twitter for you HERE.
Check them out, follow their tweets, join the conversation and as always, let us know what you think.
Above gas prices and overspending for the 2012 Summer Games in London, the talk of the town in the United Kingdom is the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29 at Westminster Abbey.
There’s a thriving business of commemorative items for sale — mugs with the mugs of the happy couple, thimbles, plates and T-shirts, etc. – and more than 4,500 street parties have been licensed.
So if IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers who are subjects of the Crown were invited to the nuptials, what would they present as a gift? A sampling:
James Hinchcliffe (Canada): A gourmet bottle of maple syrup.
Alex Lloyd (UK): I would give the couple a pair of Indy 500 tickets. They can pay their own expenses, and get the opportunity to mingle with Mr. Trump. The Donald and Kate could enjoy a nice discussion about hair pieces.
Martin Plowman (UK): After thinking for a long time about what I would take as a wedding gift, I was torn between a toaster and a blender, as I’m unsure which one they needed more. On second thought, (girlfriend) Nicole is telling me that she would gladly be their ‘gift’ as she could fill in for Kate in all Princess roles.
Mike Conway (UK): Since they probably have everything, I’d take a certificate for a two-seater ride with me as the driver.
Paul Tracy (Canada): I’d bring a hockey stick for “Kate the Commoner” to whip out when William steps out of line.
James Winslow (UK): I’d probably take them a sponsorship package proposal … there are quite a few Brits here in Firestone Indy Lights and IndyCar, so it only makes sense for them to sponsor a team.
Stefan Wilson (UK): They’ll get plenty of nice china sets; I’d give them one of those souvenir Royal Wedding tea sets with their faces on it.
Justin Wilson (UK): I have no idea what I would get them. (Wife) Julia is the gift buyer in the family. I’m a guy; we’re lucky if we remember the day, so when it comes to the gift for the Royal Wedding I don’t have a clue what I would get.
The conversation flowed as freely as the Bloody Marys as late-Sunday morning regulars at the counter of Jerry’s Famous Deli dissected the previous day in South Florida sports and offered their unsolicited advice for the Dolphins’ Monday Night Football match-up with the New England Patriots.
Even the IZOD IndyCar Series race the previous evening was topic du jour as Jerry, the resident bartender/waiter, handed out condolences to Will Power along with the cheese knishes and bagels (cream cheese on the side please). Holding up the sports front page of the Miami Herald, he shook his head and said, “Tough way to lose a championship, but good for Franchitti.”
A few blocks north on Collins Avenue, the staff of the W Hotel was welcoming guests for the Championship Celebration. A cooling breeze 30 yards off South Beach also was welcome as IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers began to congregate poolside mid-afternoon to soak up some sun, relax and chat at length with each other and extended family members and guests.
Soon it will be time to slip into something a bit more fashionable for the informal awards program and party under the stars.
Dario Franchitti also is poolside, but he’s in jeans and working. The now three-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion is answering basically the same questions that have been asked for the past 18 hours on a satellite media tour (SMT).
Dario Franchitti ready for his first interview
Nearby, lounging on a rattan recliner with tropical drink in hand is Power and his fiancée, Elizabeth, and Team Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe and his wife, Nicole. At least for the moment, he’s enjoying his runner-up finish.
During a break in the SMT, I ask Franchitti if during one of the post-race parties (that went on till 4 a.m.) team owner Chip Ganassi wrangled his signature on a cocktail napkin (like what happened in September 2008 to return to the series) for a new contract.
“Winning or losing last night I don’t think changed anything,” he says. “Both of us are keen that we continue and I don’t see it not happening. I want to stay with the team and the team wants me to stay, so it’s just a matter of getting it done.”
It’s the quiet before the party. Poolside at the W is transforming in preparation for tonight’s activities. Check back later as we bring you more updates, more images and new video.
The W Hotel is ready
Firestone Indy Lights driver James Hinchcliffe has arrived to interview guests of the Championship Celebration.
8:15 p.m. on…
James Hinchcliffe interviews fellow competitor and friend Stefan Wilson.
Next up, Hinch caught up with Roger Bailey, Executive Director of the Firestone Indy Lights during the party and talks about the 25 years he has spent associated with racing in the US.
We’re on standby for the time being. Waiting on some images to upload and for some more video. To highlight some of the event (you may know this if you’ve been following on Twitter) – it’s been a blast, the weather is great, food delicious, and everyone is in good spirits. Oh, and by the way – Dario got thrown into the pool by Tony Kanaan.
Tony Kanaan gives Dario Franchitti a gentle nudge
Video time – our gracious host, James Hinchcliffe (not camera shy) grabs a minute with Team Penske’s Will Power, to talk North Carolina, surfing and more.
You can view a bunch of images from tonight on our Flickr account – or you can view them in the slideshow, right below. It’s been a good night so far.
Terry Angstadt – President of the Indy Racing League Commercial Division talks with James Hinchcliffe about the 2010 season, working with IZOD and more.
There’s an after-party at Wall inside the W Hotel, compliments of series sponsor Global Corporate Alliance. This is where we end coverage. In the meantime, enjoy a goodbye from our amazing host Hinchtown.
And – by the way – we will have more videos from tonight, later in the week. Think of it as a treat.
James Hinchcliffe is a Firestone Indy Lights Driver and member of the Pace Car Team. In this post “Hinch” describes his participation during the Firestone 550K Race at Texas Motor Speedway.
When the manager of the Pace Car Team told me I was going to Texas Motor Speedway for the latest round of the IZOD IndyCar Series, I was stoked! What she neglected to mention was that it was going to be 1000 degrees and 800% humidity! Being a pasty Canadian fellow, this presented a problem. But armed with SPF 85, a full brimmed hat and those crazy wrap-around sunglasses that old people in Florida wear, I was good to go!
This trip I got to go down with CK, whom you all know from his famous underwear line. OK, it’s not THAT CK, it was fellow PCT member Charlie Kimball. We flew down Friday morning and when we walked out of the plane it felt like we got hit by a Mack Truck of heat!
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).
As I catch up on my blog posts, I thought that my Barber adventure was best displayed in pictures. One of my favorite events so far this year, Birmingham and its rolling hills did not disappoint. And at one point, we did experience the “backwoods of B-ham” while detouring around a traffic jam (someone nominate Zepp to be a full-time pace car driver).
Here’s a summation of the weekend:
I was most impressed by the race fans who came out for this race. They came with their motorcoaches and weekend sporting set-ups. And if we could get everyone to paint their car like a super spirited cheer parent, we’d have the largest and cheapest mobile marketing campaign EVER. Get on it, people!
[ADMIN NOTE: Indy Lights drivers Martin Plowman and James Hinchcliffe were in Kansas this past weekend, performing their duties as Pace Car drivers. Check out what they got into, or their blog first post, here.]
Kansas marked the first weekend that James and I travelled to a non-Firestone Indy Lights race weekend together as part of the Pace Car Team, and it didn’t disappoint. “Hinch and Plowey” sounds like a circus sideshow; we are more like a circus freak show! But less talk about Hinch and more talk about our weekend.
First off, we flew out to sunny Kansas (ironic comment), bright and early Friday morning. We were flying out in style on the IRL’s private jet out of Indianapolis International Airport. We rocked into the INDYCAR aviation hanger, walked inside, no check in lines, no security lines, nothing. “This is the life,” I thought. That was until we boarded the plane, sat down in the second row behind IRL CEO Randy Bernard, and prepared to taxi to the runway.
The Team Moore Racing driver in Firestone Indy Lights, though, has “stop” and “go” printed on his left and right driving shoes, respectively. What if he switched them? “It definitely would scare people,” he said.