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Canadian Garett Grist dominates at LOR for first win

May 24th, 2014

5.25.2014 (via Pro Mazda Championship) – For the second time in two weeks in the Indianapolis area, a young Canadian scored his first victory in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. This time it was Garett Grist, driving for Andretti Autosport, who led from flag to flag in Saturday evening’s 90-lap Allied Building Products Oval Challenge at the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway oval as part of the 69th Annual Visit Hendricks County Night Before the 500.

Fellow countryman Scott Hargrove, who turned the trick for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing two weeks ago on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, finished second, ousting front row starter and championship leader Spencer Pigot (Juncos Racing) with six laps remaining in the fast-paced 90-lap race.

Both Grist, 19, from Grimsby, Ont., and Andretti Autosport teammate Shelby Blackstock had struggled during testing and official practice, but suddenly found the required turn of speed in qualifying as Grist took the pole with a two-lap average of 110.615 mph. Blackstock wasn’t too far behind in third, sandwiching practice pace-setter Pigot.

Grist took full advantage of his hard-won pole position by holding off Pigot and Blackstock at the start, with Nicolas Costa, making his first start for Pelfrey Racing, jumping into fourth ahead of Hargrove and Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Neil Alberico.

The race quickly settled into a pattern, with Grist and Pigot setting a torrid pace at the head of the pack and Blackstock gradually slipping behind in third place. On Lap 45, Grist’s #27 DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management car suddenly stepped out from underneath him in Turn Three. The youngster managed to regain control, but suddenly Pigot was alongside as the leaders sped past the grandstands and into Turn One. Grist, however, fought off the attack and soon began to edge clear to cement his victory in style.

Now it was Pigot’s turn to struggle. All of a sudden, the steering began to tighten up and the already stern physical challenge became even tougher. By Lap 75, Pigot had slipped back into the clutches of Costa and Hargrove, both of whom had found a way past Blackstock, who also was struggling with a handling imbalance.

Hargrove, who said his car mysteriously found some extra speed in the closing stages, swept past both Costa and Pigot on Laps 83 and 84 to take over second place and earn himself the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award. Hargrove also took home the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award after rising from sixth on the grid to second.

Pigot was virtually exhausted at the finish line after narrowly holding off the attentions of Costa. Afterward it was discovered that the right-front tire on Pigot’s car was almost completely flat after having picked up a piece of debris.

Veteran Anders Krohn, making his first start of the season, finished a strong fifth in the second Team Pelfrey car, followed by Alberico, the disappointed Blackstock, and Kyle Kaiser, who edged out Juncos Racing teammate Jose Gutierrez after a race-long battle.

Additional contingency awards included the PFC Award and customized Race Energy charger – the official battery of the ladder series – to the winning team, Andretti Autosport; and the Staubli Award to race winner Grist.

Pigot and Hargrove are now separated by only three points, 180-177, as the Pro Mazda Championship moves on to the streets of Houston, Texas, for Rounds Eight and Nine in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series on June 28/29.

Garett Grist, #27 DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management (Andretti Autosport): “Today’s race went really well. I was able to settle down into a rhythm after Spencer had put some pressure on me. Once I settled down into my rhythm we slowly pulled away and I think we managed traffic a lot better than the rest. I could definitely use all the lanes and not lose any time going down low which is a lot like I had last year in the USF2000 race. I am really happy the car was that good and we were able to do that.”

 

 

Andretti Autosport A Budding Auto Racing Empire

May 24th, 2014

5.24.14 (via the Associated Press) - In the far corner of Gasoline Alley, where the signs that say "Andretti Autosport" hang from the buildings, there is a flurry of activity that can best be described as organized chaos.

Engineers are poring over computer screens. Mechanics are peering into engine bays. Fans are milling about, snapping surreptitious pictures of their favorite drivers. And walking through the garage is what amounts to the sun, the man around whom everything seems to revolve.

Many have tried to segue from driver to car owner. A few have even thrived. Michael Andretti has done something else entirely: He has built an auto racing empire.

Read More…

What will Carlos Munoz do for an encore

May 24th, 2014

5.24.14 (via MotorSportsTalk) – If not for Dario Franchitti crashing just moments after the final restart of last year’s Indianapolis 500, perhaps it would have been Carlos Munoz – a driver competing in his very first IndyCar race – drinking the milk in Victory Lane.
 
Munoz followed Tony Kanaan past Ryan Hunter-Reay to take second place off the restart and may have been able to draft past the Brazilian veteran had the race stayed green.
 
But it was not to be for Munoz, who was still impressive and fearless in his Indy debut for Andretti Autosport.
 
One year later, he has returned to the Brickyard as a full-time member of the Andretti stable and will start seventh in Sunday’s race.
 
After his stellar performance in 2013, does he think he can follow that up with a victorious one?
 
“It’s going to be really hard for sure,” he said Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I think it’s going to be harder than last year because it’s just more competitive.
 
“Last year was really competitive, but this year, everyone’s really close to each other…It’s hard to have a plan because things can change so quickly from one lap to another lap.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hinchcliffe returns to earn front row seat for Indy 500

May 21st, 2014

5.20.2014 (via The Hamilton Spectator) – For the second time in his career, James Hinchcliffe will have a front-row view to the start of the Indy 500.

The Oakville driver finished second in qualifying for the famed race, turning in a four-lap average speed of 230.839 mph. He’ll start in the front row, next to Ed Carpenter, who earned the pole position for the second year in a row with an average speed of 231.067.

It capped an incredible comeback for the Oakville driver, who wasn’t cleared to drive until three days before the final qualifying runs.

“To think about the fact a week ago I wasn't allowed to operate a cell phone,” Hinchcliffe said. “Today I'm whipping an IndyCar around IMS (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) at 230-something miles an hour is pretty incredible.  It's only because of so many people, everything from the doctors, my family taking care of me at home, all my teammates who did such a good job getting these cars ready.”

The 27-year-old suffered a concussion in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis May 10 after being struck in the head by a piece of the front wing that broke off Justin Wilson’s car during a restart. Hinchcliffe could only wait for clearance as E.J. Viso drove his No. 27 United Fibre & Data car in practice early in the week.

“Driving into the Speedway on Thursday was just awful because I'm driving in, seeing cars drive around, thinking I should be out there, knowing I'm going to a dark room that is going to determine my fate. It wasn't the most comforting feeling certainly,” he said. “It was more nerves, I think, than any lasting effect from the accident. Needless to say when those results came in, it was a huge relief.  They determined I'm just as brain-dead as I was before.”

 

 

Read more here… 

 

 

 

Andretti Formula E and Wirth Research combine for the charge on the FIA Formula E Championship

May 21st, 2014

5.21.2014 – Andretti Autosport has reunited with Digital engineering specialists Wirth Research as it prepares to compete in the world's first international all-electric race car series.

Andretti Autosport and Wirth Research, two great names in international motorsport, have worked successfully together before – most notably in two of Andretti Autosport's four IndyCar Series title-winning seasons (2004 with Tony Kanaan and in 2005 with Dan Wheldon) and with victory in the 2005 Indy 500 with Wheldon (all wins achieved with an Andretti Dallara-Honda).
 
Wirth Research will now provide Andretti Formula E with vital engineering services for its assault on the new FIA Formula E Championship, which begins in Beijing in September.
 
Based in Indianapolis, Ind. and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Formula E is one of only 10 teams accepted by the FIA for the inaugural Formula E Championship, with car build and all pre-season testing taking place during May and June at the Donington Park Racing Circuit in England.
 
With its previously successful association, Oxfordshire-based Wirth Research -in the heart of motorsport valley and only a short drive from Donington – is perfectly placed to assist Andretti Autosport in this exciting new technology-racing venture. Wirth's virtual engineering technology includes flow simulation and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) services and an advanced driver-in-the-loop simulator.
 
Testing and full race simulations for Formula E take place on track in July and August, prior to the cars being transported from the UK to China for the eagerly anticipated opening round.
 
Michael Andretti CEO of Andretti Formula E, said: "We couldn't be more excited about the upcoming FIA Formula E season and partnering with Wirth Research for all of our Formula E engineering services. We are building a strong team of management and drivers that will complement Wirth's expertise, and look forward to a success inaugural season."
 
Nick Wirth, President of Wirth Research, said: "I am delighted that we have been chosen by Andretti to support them in the new Global Electric Race Series with our engineering services. Technology, sport and environmental issues combined with safety are of great importance to both our companies. The engineering challenges for this championship will be unique, and getting the most out of the cars' features, such as the driver-controlled energy recovery and 'Push to Pass' power boost with its interactive vote, will be an interesting challenge. We are looking forward to being part of this new and exciting form of racing."

Andretti Autosport joins with SOL REPUBLIC

May 21st, 2014

5.21.2014 — Andretti Autosport today announced its partnership with headphone brand and music lifestyle company SOL REPUBLIC and, in doing so, jointly celebrate Kurt Busch's historic attempt at the "Double". On May 25th, Busch  will attempt to become the fourth driver to contest the "Double"  – competing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway driving the No. 26 Suretone Honda in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" and at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a stock car race later that same day. SOL REPUBLIC, which is committed to changing the world one listener at a time, brings the power of music to Andretti Autosport with limited-edition headphones created exclusively for Kurt and the team as they race into the record books.

"Music and racing go hand in hand," said Seth Combs, SOL REPUBLIC co-founder and CMO. "We are thrilled to bring the power of music to celebrate Kurt's incredible 1,100-mile feat and the entire Andretti Autosport team with our race inspired limited-edition headphones."
 
"I'm happy to welcome SOL REPUBLIC to the Andretti Autosport family," said Andretti Autosport team-owner and open-wheel racing legend Michael Andretti. "The SOL REPUBLIC family is as dedicated and passionate about music as we are about racing, and our shared passion is in perfect harmony as we support Kurt's 1,100-mile effort."
 
To celebrate SOL REPUBLIC's participation with Kurt Busch's historic 1,100 mile effort, SOL REPUBLIC has created one-of-a-kind headphones for Kurt's Andretti Autosport crew to use.  Fans can get their hands on 1 of 10 headphones like the crew's and autographed by Kurt Busch by simply heading over to the SOL REPUBLIC Facebook (www.facebook.com/solrepublic) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/solrepublic ) pages today. Look out for information on how you could win one of the 10 autographed Kurt Busch Andretti Autosport special edition SOL REPUBLIC headphones.
 

SOL REPUBLIC offers sound, durability and style that every music and racing fan will love. With a wide range of options, from $39.99 in-ear headphones up to high-end studio-tuned headphones and wireless speakers, SOL REPUBLIC makes it possible for every music lover to own an amazing headphone that delivers an amazing sound experience. To learn more about SOL REPUBLIC headphones and speakers, go to www.SOLREPUBLIC.com.

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

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.
 
 
 
 
 

United Fiber & Data Joins Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Program

May 13th, 2014

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS (May 13, 2014) – United Fiber & Data (UFD) announced today that they have joined Andretti Autosport’s expanding sponsor portfolio in signing as an associate sponsor with the 7UP Volkswagen Polo driven by Scott Speed. The sponsorship unveils this weekend at the Top Gear Festival in Barbados, round one of the 2014 Global Rallycross season.

“United Fiber & Data is thrilled to announce our entry into Global Rallycross with our sponsorship of the No. 77 7UP Volkswagen,” said United Fiber & Data director and founder Bill Hynes. “We saw Global Rallycross as a natural fit for our company and our culture. It's a revolutionary racing platform where challenge, high performance, speed and talent converge to bring you something you haven't seen before.”

Founded by three members of the multi-platinum rock band LIVE and their Think Loud Development company, UFD offers a complete suite of all-fiber networking and broadband solutions. Based in York, Penn., UFD will feature a 400-mile fiber optic line running between New York and Virginia and will operate out of our different data centers across Pennsylvania (Allentown, Lancaster, Reading and York).

“This partnership further solidified UFD's presence in the motorsport community, and we are proud to expand our relationship with Andretti Autosport,” commented Hynes. “Our interaction with their team and hospitality program has been world-class. From our clients, to our employees, to our potential clients and guests – Michael Andretti and his team all lend to an experience that is unparalleled."

The 2014 Global Rallycross season kicks-off on the Caribbean island of Barbados at the newly renovated Bushy Park Circuit on May 17-18 at the Top Gear Festival. As a part of its Americas debut, the Top Gear Festival will feature an impressive line-up of cars and driving talent. NBC will air the season opener race on Saturday, May 24 at 1 p.m. EST.

RHR leads Andretti on second day of Indy 500 practice

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

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…

 

 

 



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