Archive for the ‘Verizon Indycar Series’ Category

Busch up to speed at Indy, could threaten for ‘Fast Nine’ in qualifying

Friday, May 16th, 2014

5.15.2014 (via FOXSports.com) – As morning rains and a thick, dark gray sky hovered over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for what was supposed to be the fourth day of practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Wednesday, Kurt Busch cut out of town to head back to his "Day Job" as driver of the No. 41 Chevrolet at Stewart Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He flew back to North Carolina to get his Cup car up to speed for this week's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

But he is already up to speed as a rookie driver in the Indianapolis 500.
 
In Tuesday'€™s practice session, that was rained out after just 97 minutes of activity, Busch clocked off the second-fastest lap of the day at 224.159 miles per hour in a Dallara/Honda. Although that lap was aided by a "tow' (in NASCAR teams, the draft) Busch's lap is the third-fastest combined lap of all the practices so far.
 
Already a supremely confident driver, that early speed has exceeded Busch's greatest expectations.
 
"It definitely wasn't on my radar," Busch said. "€œBut what I've been able to do as a student is each day progress at a strong rate, and progressing is being able to digest the information and then being able to apply it the next day. Each day out, the Andretti Autosport team has helped me with a game plan on what's next, so it's nice when you can have a solid forecast of what to expect.
 
"As far as guys getting tows and posting those good laps, some of my drafting experience helps from what I've seen at Daytona and Talladega; Indianapolis has a little bit of Darlington characteristics into it. What I mean by that is you have to be single file and you have to know which corner you are approaching at all times, and it's a matter of give and take with the other drivers out on the track.
 
"I haven't been around many guys, mostly the Andretti guys but it's been thumbs up right now. It's been nice to continue to find speed and to feel more comfortable in the car in the traffic."
 
Craig Hampson is the man directing Busch's Indianapolis 500 effort at Andretti Autosport. The race engineer has been impressed with Busch's ability to give useful feedback to the team regarding his laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but also is not surprised because he knew Busch was a smart driver.
 
"Within the people I know in NASCAR, Kurt is well regarded for his driving talent," Hampson said. "He has fast hands. He has good car control. That has been evident from the start. The speed is not a problem for him at all. He has been very methodical in the way he has worked up to it. He has had a lot of very intelligent questions and good observations about the car. He is clearly a true professional – a top-class driver.
 
"It's a different vehicle for him but all the same things that you have to look for in terms of the handling of the car and what it does in traffic and what you need to do with the setup and how to get ready for the race and take care of tires he already knows those things are important so we are well up to speed for that type of thing."
Busch's feedback has been extremely useful to the Andretti Autosport crew although the vocabulary some things has a NASCAR quality to it.
 
 
 
 
 

RHR leads Andretti on second day of Indy 500 practice

Monday, May 12th, 2014

5.12.14 (via MotorSportsTalk.com) – The day felt like a Tuesday – even though to some, Tuesday has no feel – but the second day of Indianapolis 500 practice felt like a proper Indianapolis 500 practice day with plentiful running throughout the six hours and a boat-load of tows in the final hour to produce the day’s fastest speeds.

The two that emerged fastest on what was the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Monday practice session were a pair of Andretti Autosport teammates, with Ryan Hunter-Reay posting the month’s first 225-mph lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 225.025. Teammates Marco Andretti was over 224, at 224.037. Both had tows from others in the five-car Andretti brigade that also includes Carlos Munoz, Kurt Busch and EJ Viso.

Helio Castroneves, Justin Wilson and Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top five. Those three and Munoz had tow-aided laps north of 223. Busch and Viso cracked the tail end of the top 10 in ninth and 10th, so all five Andretti cars were in the top 10.

Thirty drivers took laps, with the only three that didn’t Sebastian Saavedra as the KV/AFS Racing crew continued repairs on the No. 17 Chevrolet after the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and Buddy Lazier and James Davison.

Only Davison of that trio is on a short program, although Lazier’s pit garage sign was just hung in Gasoline Alley for the first time today, even later than Davison’s had been. More on both of them will follow later this week to MotorSportsTalk.

The track was busy with Hunter-Reay, Montoya, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Josef Newgarden all completing north of 100 laps. Many others were in the 80-90 range. In total, nearly 2,300 laps were completed – 2,286 laps were turned on the day.

The third day of practice is set for Tuesday, but, with a 70 percent chance of rain there’s a possibility of a washout. Here’s your Monday times and speeds.

 

Read more here…

 

 

 

E.J. Viso slots in nicely in pinch-hit role for Hinch Sunday at IMS

Monday, May 12th, 2014

5.11.14 (via MotorSportsTalk.com) – Welcome back, EJ Viso, even if it’s in admittedly less than ideal circumstances.

The Venezuelan was forced to withdraw on the eve of the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, with Carlos Munoz drafted in as a last-minute replacement at Andretti Autosport.

Now it’s Viso’s turn to deputize for one of the Andretti quartet, with James Hinchcliffe sidelined due to a concussion suffered during the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Hinchcliffe was checked and released Satruday evening from Indianapolis Methodist hospital with symptoms of a concussion. On Sunday, the Canadian made a brief appearance, but no medical evaluation was performed today and the three-time race winner returned to his Indianapolis home to rest and recuperate. Hinchcliffe could return to the speedway for re-evaluation as early as Tuesday, however a date for his next medical visit has not yet been set. In the meantime, the Canadian is not cleared to drive in Indy 500 practice sessions.

That leaves it to Viso to fill-in in the interim. On Sunday, he was immediately comfortable and back up to speed in his first running of any kind since driving Starworks Motorsport’s Riley Dinan Daytona Prototype at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and his first running in an IndyCar since the streets of Houston last October. He ended sixth at 222.105 mph after 28 laps, most of them in traffic.

“So far things have been pretty smooth,” Viso said. “I love working with these guys. Last year I had an amazing year, an amazing experience, and I only have positive things to talk about my teammates and my team. This opportunity just showed up overnight.

 

Read more here…

 

 

 

Franck Montagny enjoying return with Andretti

Monday, May 12th, 2014

5.10.14 (via MotorSportsTalk.com) –  Andretti Autosport’s fifth Verizon IndyCar – the No. 26 Suretone Honda – is getting a ton of press for the Indianapolis 500, with Kurt Busch in the seat and set for the double run between Indy and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend.

But the car is getting something of a test run this weekend in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, with Franck Montagny back in North American open-wheel racing for the first time in five years.

Montagny hasn’t raced since a one-off appearance in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans in OAK Racing’s P1 Oak Pescarolo Judd (with ex-open-wheeler Bertrand Baguette and Dominik Kraihamer), and his last start in North America came in a one-off in Level 5 Motorsports’ HPD P2 car at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May of that year. Prior to that, he’d been a factory Peugeot LMP1 driver before the program ended at the end of 2011.

Now he returns to an IndyCar for his first start since the 2009 race at Sonoma, in what was also a fifth Andretti Autosport entry. He also finished second in the Champ Car series finale at Long Beach 2008, driving for Gerry Forsythe.

“The thing is I haven’t driven in two years. I’ve been off working television in France, following the Formula One circus,” he told MotorSportsTalk. “It’s been since 2008 and 2009 over here… but when Andretti had the opportunity to put together the fifth car, they called me, and here I am. Easy as that.”

Montagny was seriously impressed with the depth of the field, and despite wanting to be fastest said it spoke better of the series that as a one-off entry, he isn’t able to come in and be immediately on the pace.

“Compared to anything else in the world, nowhere else there’d be seven tenths between the first guy and the last guy. Nowhere else,” he said. “I’m seven tenths off and it feels not too bad, then I look at the times and I’m almost last! But in F1 I’d be second!

“It’s very tough because one tiny mistake screws it up. The car is what is what is, but the level of the championship speaks for itself.”

 

 

Read more here…

 

 

 

Carlos Munoz primed for Indianapolis 500 success

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

5.10.14 (via theindychannel.com) – As a rookie in 2013, Carlos Munoz finished second in the Indianapolis 500.

At just age 22, Munoz is a young man on the move. He began his pro career at age 15, working his way up from Formula 3 through Indy Lights to a full-time ride this season with Andretti Autosport.

"I'm really happy, especially at 22 years old," Munoz said. "A top team usually doesn't like the young drivers. Ganassi or Penske, they prefer the experienced drivers."

Munoz, a Colombian native, now lives in Miami.

"It's nice to be here. Since I was a child, I came here with my family to Miami to have holidays," Munoz said.

Munoz was fast from the beginning of last year's Indy 500 and was firmly in the race on Pole Day, qualifying second, only the fourth rookie to start on the front row in the last 15 years.

Kanaan held Munoz off to claim his first Indy 500 win.

"I don't think about it much," Munoz said. "It's in the past. I have another shot this year. I didn't cross the finish line first. You just have to stop thinking what would have happened."

Getting ready for this year's race has meant a lot of work away from the track.

"I work out five times a week, biking and running, swimming, gym sessions," Munoz said. "I also do one day of go-cart."

As an active triathlete, Miami gives Munoz plenty of places to train on land and water.

"It's not nice to be all the time in the gym. Here, I can run outside. I can do swimming in the ocean," he said.

The south Florida setting is also good for rest and relaxation.

 

 

Read more here…

 

 

Don’t Miss Out: Appearances for week of May 5, 2014

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

5.7.14 - Don't miss out on your opportunity to visit with our INDYCAR drivers from Pro Mazda to Indy Lights and the Verizon IndyCar Series! Check out the list of appearances for our weekend at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis!

 
 
 
 
 
 
Thursday, May 8
 
James Hinchcliffe
Pit Pass LIVE
Gasoline Alley at IMS or AndrettiTV.com
9:30 a.m.
 
 
Marco Andretti
Walgreens signing
1424 S. Rangeline Rd, Carmel, IN 46032
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
 
 
 
Friday, May 9
 
James Hinchcliffe
Pit Pass LIVE
Gasoline Alley at IMS or AndrettiTV.com
9:30 a.m.
 
 
Zach Veach & Matthew Brabham
Indy Lights autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
 
 
Marco Andretti, Franck Montagny, James Hinchcliffe,
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz
REV Indy
North & East Chalets – IMS
6:45 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
 
 
 
Saturday, May 10
 
Shelby Blackstock & Garett Grist
Pro Mazda autographs
INDYCAR Fan Village
2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
 
 
 
 

Kurt Busch Indy 500 livery unveiled

Monday, April 28th, 2014

4.28.14 – Andretti Autosport unveiled today the Indy car in which, in just a few short weeks, Kurt Busch will make his first career Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempt. Busch will pilot the No. 26 Suretone Honda as he endeavors to become only the fourth driver in history to contest the "Double" – competing in IndyCar's historic Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's 600-mile race in the same day.

“It’s an exciting day,” Busch said. “Reality is setting in that this is real and it’s go time. For me, it’s a dream come true, but the kid in a candy store moment is all behind me. Now it’s the focus of practice time and settling in with Andretti Autosport. Just to have Andretti Autosport and to have Michael (Andretti) himself involved, this is the right way to do things. Their team experience will help lead my inexperience.”

Suretone was founded in 2006 by Jordan Schur as Suretone Records after his successful tenure of almost a decade as President of Geffen Records at Universal Music Group where he merged the original Geffen Records with MCA Records and Dreamworks Records while working with some of the world's most successful artists ranging from Nirvana, Guns and Roses, Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige and Blink 182 to name a few and generating over 2B in sales. Schur started his career in music with his original company Flip Records where he sold over 70M records launching artists such as Limp Bizkit and Staind. Suretone Entertainment has since expanded into a broader company over the last 8 years that includes film development, financing and production, as well as music artist management, along with its original record company history where artists such as The Cure, Weezer, Chris Cornell, Angels and Airwaves, and Shwayze all found great success.

Suretone management roster clients currently include Fleetwood Mac, Lonestar, Indie.Arie, and ZZ Top, as the roster is overseen by Carl Stubner who joined the company with Schur as Co-Chairman after departing from his previous position as Sanctuary Music Group Worldwide in partnership with Universal Music Group where Stubner spearheaded great success for his roster of artists that included many of the world's most successful acts. Suretone Pictures, founded in 2012, has released several films including last summer's Pawn Shop Chronicles which starred Paul Walker in one of his last films before his unfortunate passing, as well as Elijah Wood, Brendan Fraser, Matt Dillon and others. Suretone Pictures has a slate of films in development and production including the upcoming Five Against A Bullet in partnership with Sony/Columbia Pictures, as well as Revenge Wedding in association with Lionsgate, and with whom Schur previously made films such as the much heralded Warrior which garnered an Academy Award nomination and Rapturepalooza. Suretone recently partnered with Cinsay – the world’s largest video ecommerce company – to create Suretone Live. Suretone Live endeavors to stream music concerts and various music related content on Cinsay's patented global platform in every country worldwide, transacting in all currencies and languages. 

"We are honored to have Suretone Entertainment stand with Andretti Autosport and Kurt Busch in this historic event as Kurt enters his first Indianapolis 500 qualifying run, as well as attempts to become only the fourth driver in motorsport history to contest the 'Double',” said Suretone Entertainment Chairman Jordan Shur. “As Kurt moves towards his goal to drive in the Indy 500 and NASCAR's 600-mile race on the same day, Suretone takes great pride to partner with Andretti Autosport as we support Kurt in his incredible endeavor."

What lies in front of Busch is a grueling challenge, not only on the race day itself – scheduled for Sunday, May 25th when Busch will race 1,100 miles in two races, in two cities, in two totally different cars – but in practicing and qualifying his Andretti Autosport Indy car in addition to competing in three (3) NASCAR race weekends around Indianapolis 500 activities. The 35-year old American will start the two-week Indy 500 stretch in Indianapolis on May 11th, fresh from the NASCAR race in Kansas. After spending the week testing the Honda-powered Indy car, Busch will log some serious air miles traveling between Indianapolis and Charlotte so he can qualify for the 500-mile race and practice and qualify for the NASCAR All-Star race and that Series' 600-mile race. In total, Busch will likely make more than ten (10) trips between the cities – the most important and time sensitive being race day. Race day will place Busch in Indianapolis in the morning for the noon ET start time of the Indianapolis 500 before he makes the trip to Charlotte for the 6 p.m. ET green flag.

 

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay wins another IndyCar race in Alabama

Monday, April 28th, 2014

4.27.14 (via LATimes.com) - Ryan Hunter-Reay coasted to his second straight victory at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., when the rain-shortened IndyCar race finished under caution.

A full-course caution came out for the final seven minutes of the timed race after rookie Mikhail Aleshin lost control and went off the track. That left Hunter-Reay unchallenged, with Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti finishing second.

Scott Dixon was third, followed by Simon Pagenaud and pole-sitter Will Power, a two-time winner at Barber who was among the drivers dealing with a slippery track in spots.

 

“He was out there cutting the grass,” Hunter-Reay said. “I had to take advantage of that. It was so easy to do that today. I almost lost this race three times.”

 

There was some slipping and sliding after the field switched from the wet tires with several drivers leaving the track.

“That was horrible for everybody,” Hunter-Reay said. “It was like an ice-skating rink.”

Read more…

Andretti Autosport adds entry to Grand Prix of Indianapolis

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

4.23.14  – French-native Franck Montagny will return to the Verizon IndyCar Series in May to pilot the No. 26 Honda at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. With a diverse and extensive racing resume, Montagny will become the fifth driver in Michael Andretti’s stable for the road-course event.
 
"I am very happy to be back with Andretti Autosport; I have already felt 'at home' during my visits," Montagny commented. "Participating in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in the temple of motorsport that is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a true moment of happiness."
 
The relationship between Andretti and Montagny dates back to 2008 when Montagny competed in the ALMS series with Andretti Autosport, he then returned to the team in 2009 for his IndyCar Series debut at Sonoma Raceway.
 
In addition to his resume with Andretti Autosport, Montagny boasts 12 starts at the historic 24 Hours de Le Mans with four-podium finishes, in addition to five years of Formula One experience with seven grand prix competitions.
 
Away from the driver’s seat, Montagny has spent a great deal of time working in front of the camera with the French TV Group TF1 as a Formula One consultant and pit reporter for “Canal+”.
 
Following the Grand Prix, recent stock car race winner Kurt Busch will take the seat for the Indianapolis 500 and his attempt at a place in history with 1,100 miles of racing on Memorial Day weekend.
 
 
 

Don’t Miss Out: Appearances for week of April 21, 2014

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

4.22.14 - Don't miss out on your opportunity to visit with our INDYCAR drivers from Pro Mazda to Indy Lights and the Verizon IndyCar Series! Check out the list of appearances for our weekend at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Friday, April 25
 
Marco Andretti & Ryan Hunter-Reay
ShopAndretti.com Merch Signing
INDYCAR Fan Village
4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 
 
Saturday, April 26
 
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Muñoz 
Verizon IndyCar Autograph Session
INDYCAR Fan Village
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
 
 
Sunday, April 27
 
Zach Veach & Matthew Brabham
Indy Lights Autograph Session
INDYCAR Fan Village
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
 
Shelby Blackstock & Garett Grist
Pro Mazda Autograph Session
INDYCAR Fan Village
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.