After a successful debut last Saturday at virtual Watkins Glen International, the NTT IndyCar Series' online circus heads to Barber Motorsports Park for its second of a planned six events as the world awaits clearance on the current Covid-19 pandemic. The first race, which drew a sizable viewing audience on YouTube, moves to mainstream on NBC Sports Network with a scheduled 2:30 p.m. eastern start time.
While several unknown scenarios were on the minds of most entering action in the Empire State, the focus at the Birmingham, Alabama facility will be centered on who can compete with the IRacing Challenge's current rabbit, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Sage Karam. The Pennsylvania-native controlled the proceedings in the opening stanza, winning the pole position and taking the fight to the remainder of the grid from the word go, leading 43 of the event's 45 laps. Only an honest chase from Chip Ganassi Racing's Felix Rosenqvist and a near-miss of a spinning Kyle Kirkwood kept the final outcome in doubt.
The Swedish second-year wheelman however, is not alone in the pursuit of the No. 24 WIX Filters Chevrolet. Third-place finisher at the Glen Will Power and his Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin, who placed fourth last Saturday should also influence the action upfront this weekend, while the event could signal redemption for both Andretti Autosport's Scott Speed and Dale Coyne Racing's Santino Ferrucci. Speed, the former Formula One ace with Scuderia Toro Rosso was among the top-five for most of the first 25 laps last weekend, only to drop from contention after a spin into the barriers exiting The Boot. Ferrucci, the reigning IndyCar Rookie of the Year, failed to post a qualifying time and had to fight through traffic and carnage from start to finish, eventually settling for an eighth-place result.
While each of the 24 runners at Watkins Glen are all expected to return at Barber, the apple cart could also be influenced by five newcomers. Meyer-Shank Racing's Jack Harvey and a recuperating Robert Wickens should be ready to go to battle this weekend, after a lack of equipment kept both pilots out of action for round one. Internet connection trouble also prevented Andretti Autosport's James Hinchcliffe from taking the green flag in New York, but the popular veteran will be ready to pounce likewise at Barber. Two late additions to the lineup are five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and three-time Indy 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter. Dixon impressed in Thursday testing and could be right upfront with Ganassi teammate Rosenqvist. Carpenter joins ECR teammate Conor Daly in the field, but will need to shake off the rust of not having competed on a road course in seven years.
Although the online debut act in New York was a limited challenge for most, the difficulty is expected to ramp up in Alabama. Despite having several quick sections like Watkins Glen, Barber Motorsports Park also throws several technical sections into play that allow little to zero margin of error. Expect a large chunk of the drama in terms of overtaking to occur at the end of the pit straight and on the run into the Charlotte's Web hairpin. Getting off the final corner flat-out or close to it is key to setting up a chance to gain ground entering turn one. The downhill, banked left-hander provides extra road to bail out those who overcook the entry, but will definitely encourage aggression from the drop of the green flag. As for the hairpin, named for the large spider statue beyond the outer barriers of the complex, a solid exit out of the right turn at number two will allow for a shot to move up in the standings and perhaps offer the last realistic chance to pass over the course of a full lap. The rest of the venue provides the aforementioned technical savvy of the course, where passing may only be possible if the lead driver makes a major mistake.
With passing at a premium in Alabama, earning a high starting position on the grid is essential to creating the path to a good result. However, even the front row starters are not out of the woods in principle. While having a fast car is a plus, being able to handle lapped traffic in a safe and patient manner could ultimately determine the outright winner on Saturday.
Speedway, Indiana - May 27, 2019
Congratulations to Simon Pagenaud for winning the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. A great race to the end with Alexander Rossi!
I want to talk to you about what it's like to be a fan at the Indianapolis 500. I started the day at around 6am in one of the lots. I met some really great folks from NJ. It was their first race and it was a check off on the bucket list of the man in the pair. They were both really excited about what the day would hold for them.
I saw a fan I have talked to for many years from Victory Lane. He has been coming to the track since 1954. He has only missed 1 Indianapolis 500 and that was because he was in the service. I saw a mom pushing her baby around with a t-shirt that said "My First Indianapolis 500". As the month progressed I saw various events; Will Power kissing a girl with Downs Syndrome, the fan access is incredible.
On May 7th, the Friday before the GP, I talked to a teacher who had brought her students (about 30 in total) who were on a field trip to IMS. This is a group of kids from a low socioeconomic area of the city and it was their first visit to the track. She talked about how excited her students were to be able to experience the track and hear the sound of the engines. As I watched them, I could see their excitement coming off them like waves. They were trying to be cool, because they were high school students, but it was one of the best things I had seen that day and they could not hide their excitement. That is the spirit of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Race day was spent in the infield of the 4th turn. I set my stuff down and then headed to the red carpet. There, I hung out and watched the crowd wait patiently, for about 2.5 hours, for the incredible list of celebrities to make their way down the carpet. Matt Damon and Christian Bale did not talk to media, but made themselves extremely available to the fans. Matt Damon went so far as to take selfies with anyone who handed him a camera. There was a 19 year old girl there from Belgium and when she mentioned to Damon that she was a fan and from Belgium, he took the time to interact with her personally.
Another highlight of the red carpet was seeing Michael Goulian, 2018 winner of the Red Bull Air Race, in Indianapolis. It was great to see past champions of other types of racing at IMS celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend. All the celebrities on the red carpet were incredibly generous with their time with the fans. Jackson Robert Scott and Chevel Shepherd were incredibly open to interacting with their fans.
My race was spent in the infield of turn 4. I had a view of turn 4, and the straightaway toward turn 1. My favorite moment was after the 3rd parade lap and I could hear the engines rev up to running speed. If you haven't heard Indy Cars in full throttle, you haven't lived. It runs straight through your body and lets you know you are alive in no other way. I eagerly watched as we hit lap 100, knowing that if we could not get a full race in due to rain, things were going to get VERY exciting. As it turns out, God really does love Indy car because we were able to get the full race in, even with the threat of rain. There was a wreck at 177 that included Graham Rahal and Sebastian Bourdais that stopped the race. The last few laps were extremely exciting! There were several lead changes between Pagenaud and Rossi. The fact that it came down to the very last minute made it a race that will go down in the history book of Indy. Thanks to Simon Pagenoud and Alexander Rossi for a GREAT race!!
Speedway Indiana- May 24, 2019
In celebration of his 50 years... IMS announces start of the “Robin Miller Award” for those dedicated to the service of racing. R is the first recipient.
He was an Indy Car pit crew member and drove in the USAC series in the 1970s.
Miller is best known for being a writer at The Indianapolis Star from 1968–2001. He has also written for Autoweek, Car and Driver, ESPN and Speed He currently is a correspondent and senior writer for Racer magazine and website, while also reporting on IndyCar broadcasts for the NBC sports Network
Speedway Indiana- Friday May 24,2019
Next to the Indy 500 Carb Day is the biggest event at IMS in the month of May!
Carb Day: The final practice session before the race, currently held on the Friday before race day, is called "Carburetion Day" (shortened to "Carb Day" since 2000). ... In 1969–1972, Carb Day was held the Wednesday before the race. From 1973 to 2004, Carb Day was held the Thursday before the race,
The name originally came from the fact that it was the final session where teams could tune their carburetors in conditions similar to those that might be encountered on race day. The name has remained despite the fact that no qualified car has used a carburetor since 1963.
However it is now known as the party before the race!
Racing and rock and roll are partners in the perfect party during the Miller Lite Carb Day on Friday, May 24 at IMS! Nothing turbo-charges the start of the greatest weekend in racing like the final practice for the 103rd Indianapolis 500, the Freedom 100, the Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition and the Miller Lite Carb Day Concert featuring one of the most legendary rock bands of all time, Foreigner, all for one great price.
Speedway Indiana May 20,2019
After spending the entire day in the rain Sunday! A small window opened late in the afternoon for qualifications.
For the second year in a row 2 highly known drivers were bumped from the Indy 500. In 2018 it was James Hinchcliff, and now this year 2 time Formula One Champion Fernando Alonso was the latest to get bumped from running the Indy 500!
Frankly it could have been avoided! McLaren did not give Fernando car he could compete with, and that fact was proven Sunday! The buzz around the media center was McLaren was going to buy a spot. Well that was quickly squashed. Fernando said if didn’t earn a spot then he didn’t want to be in race. Television cameras focused on Alonso during Kaiser's run as he sat on the brink of elimination. The Juncos driver ran four neat and composed laps, eventually crossing the line and knocking Alonso and McLaren—both synonymous with success but, more recently, catastrophe—out by just two-hundredths of a mile per hour.
Then we had the fast nine and it appears we are playing game of “Simon Says”. Simon Pagenaud wins the GP last weekend and this week he wins the pole. Today Simon leads in practice 1 for the Indy 500 this weekend!
This is the tightest grid in 500 history! With just a little over a second between 1st and 33rd positions.
Todays practice results
Pagenaud, Simon 228.441
Newgarden, Josef 228.273
Hinchcliffe, James 227.994
Dixon, Scott 227.951
Rossi, Alexander 227.660
Kimball, Charlie 227.645
Castroneves, Helio 227.614
Power, Will 227.480
Rosenqvist, Felix (R) 227.414
Davison, James 227.393
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