Steve’s don’t miss guide – the Honda Indy Toronto edition

Steve’s don’t miss at the Honda Indy Toronto

I moved from Ontario to Indiana in 1995, but I still consider the Honda Indy Toronto my *home* race.   Below, I share with you some general hints, some can’t miss at the track activities, and a few of my favorite restaurants and off the beaten path things to do in Toronto.

General notes: 

What not to miss at the track:

Scott Dixon, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay work their way through the tricky Turn 9 and 10 during the 2013 Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

Scott Dixon, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay work their way through the tricky Turn 9 and 10 during the 2013 Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

  • Put your nose up to the fence of Thunder Alley and realize in person the power of an Indy Car traveling down Lake Shore Boulevard at over 190mph.
  • Get an appreciation for how hard these drivers work inside the cockpit and go for a stroll down by Turn 9 & 10 to watch the drivers hands and heads move around violently as they fight through this high speed, multi-surfaced section of the 11 turn, 1.755 mile Exhibition Place circuit.
  • Visit the outside of Turn 1, which is a good place to fully witness the braking power of an Indy Car, as they woah down for the tight right handed Turn 1.
  • Make at least one trip though the Direct Energy Center.  The giant air conditioned exhibition center is home to the support series paddocks.  A stroll through the Pirelli World Challenge paddock will see you up close and personal with Cadillacs, McLarens, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Ferraris, Audis, Mercedes, Vipers, Camaros, Mustangs and more.
  • An official tweet-up.  Make sure you are following @IndyFansTweetUp for latest updates on times and locations.  A race weekend tweet-up has become a can’t miss event.  You never know who might show up; I’ve also met some of my best friends at IndyCar tweet-ups.
  • The future stars of IndyCar on display during the Mazda Road To Indy (MRTI) races. If you are a fan of close racing, you’ll not want to miss a race in Indy Lights, Pro and USF2000. The Honda Indy Toronto is also the only Verizon IndyCar Series stop that features the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship.  This entry level formula car series features close racing, and produced many of Canada’s great open wheel stars like Paul Tracy and James Hinchcliffe.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed when watching these future Verizon IndyCar Series stars.
  • A MRTI podium celebration. Watching “kids” and their families celebrate is one of my favorite parts of race weekends.
  • A chance to brush elbows with the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers during the popular full-field autograph session. The autograph session takes place on Sunday, April 20th between noon and 1:00pm.
  • The foundation of the Honda Indy Toronto is certainly the non-stop on track actions, but if you want to take a break from roar of race cars you can check out:
  1. The TASTEFEST featuring: food trucks, gourmet food vendors and free samples
  2. The CRAFT BEERFEST is set up along the fence line of Lake Shore Boulevard (the back straight), so you can enjoy a cold Amersterdam or Muskoka brewery cold-one while still watching the racing
  3. Keep you juices pumping while participating in ADRENALINEFEST, where you can catch the: Stihl Timbersports Series, the Honda Pit Stop Challenge, the FIREFIT championships and the Honda Junior Red Riders.

What not to miss away from the track:

  • All good days at a race track begin with a big breakfast.  Or at least, that’s what I keep telling my-self.  I love the traditional “greasy spoon” breakfast places and my absolute favorite just happens to be in Toronto.  Since the joint only seats about 8 people, I shouldn’t really be sharing this, but we’re all friends here.  All I ask is that you save me a seat.   You won’t get anything fancy at the Avenue Open Kitchen (7 Camden - just west of Spadina), but if you are looking for a traditional Canadian breakfast of eggs, hash browns, pea meal bacon and toast you can’t go wrong.  You also won’t have to spend an arm and a leg here, but do make sure you bring cash as they don’t take plastic.
  • From one end of the financial dining spectrum to the other.  The only thing these two places have in common is my adulation for them..  If you are craving a steak after a long day at the track, Barbarians is the only place to go.  This old school steak house (think in the vein of St. Elmo’s for those of you from Indy) opened in 1959 and has been serving Toronto’s elite ever since (celebrity sightings are not uncommon).  Whether you go for the meat, the staggering 30,000 bottle wine list, the impressive collection of Canadiana, the Group of Seven artwork, or a combination you’ll remember your dining experience at 7 Elm St. for a very long time.
Barberians Steakhouse from the outside.  (Photo courtesy of Barberians)

Barberians Steakhouse from the outside. (Photo courtesy of Barberians)

  • If you are looking for a unique, historic and memorable night on the town, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Distillery District.  Home to the largest (still standing) collection of Victorian era Industrial Architecture in North America.  The former Gooderham & Worts booze factory is now  a large collection of independent restaurants, shops, breweries and theaters.  It’s very easy to spend an evening exploring the brick walkways and all they hold.  
  • Toronto is home to some very talented street artists.  You can find out where to find the choice graffiti at this page on the Toronto Tourism website.
  • For the ladies in the group (yes, I’m fully aware that I’m stereotyping, but am I that wrong – insert winky, smiley face) there is the one-of-a-kind Bata Shoe Museum where you can trace the history of footwear through a 13,000 pair collection.  The shoebox shaped museum is located at 327 Bloor Street West.
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Posted in Events, IndyCar, Tips & Tricks

Three memorable Honda Indy Toronto moments

The Verizon IndyCar Series will be racing on the streets around exhibition place in Toronto for the 29th and 30th time this weekend.  There have been a lot memorable moments, both good and bad.  This short post will highlight three moments that stand-out for me.

1. I still remember what a big deal it was in 1986 when Molson announced they were bringing “the men, the atmosphere, the machines of Indianapolis to Toronto.  This was a promo that featured heavily on local TV

Bonus footage of the start of that first race in 1986, which was won by Bobby Rahal in his Budeweiser March/Cosworth

2.  Quite simply put, this moment on July 18, 1993 is far and away the my favorite Molson/Honda Indy (and overall IndyCar) memory.  The thought of the cheers that loudly echoed through Exhibition Park that day continues to be my most enduring IndyCar reminiscence.

3.  Wankers, princesses, whinging and doing Will dirty, oh my.  The 2011 Honda Indy will always be remembered for the on and off track fireworks that resulted in many hurt feelings and bruised egos.  A bonus is the Dan Wheldon commentary.

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Posted in Feature Stories, IndyCar

Verizon IndyCar Series 2014 Stats – Average Starting & Finishing Position and Total Positions Gained & Lost

  • includes all drivers who have made at least two Verizon IndyCar Series starts in 2014.
  • information is through the Pocono IndyCar 500 Fueled By Sunoco.

Average Start & Best Start

Driver Average Starting Position Best Starting Position
Helio Castroneves 6.1 Pole
James Hinchcliffe 6.1 2nd
Ed Carpenter 6.3 Pole
Simon Pagenaud 7.6 Pole
Luca Filippi 8 4th
Will Power 8.2 Pole
Scott Dixon 9.3 3rd
Juan Montoya 10.1 Pole
Carlos Munoz 10.3 3rd
Sebastien Bourdais 10.9 3rd
Takuma Sato 11 Pole
Ryan Hunter-Reay 11 Pole
Tony Kanaan 11.7 2nd
Marco Andretti 12 5th
Josef Newgarden 12.2 2nd
Justin Wilson 13 6th
Ryan Briscoe 14 5th
Jack Hawksworth 14.4 2nd
Mikhail Aleshin 14.5 2nd
Mike Conway 14.5 4th
Graham Rahal 15.5 4th
Sebastian Saavedra 16.7 Pole
Carlos Huertas 17.3 12th
Oriol Servia> 17.8 12th
Charlie Kimball 19 13th
Martin Plowman> 24.5 20th


Average Finish & Best Finish

Driver Average Finishing Position Best Finishing Position
Will Power 5.8 Win
Simon Pagenaud 7.5 Win
Helio Castroneves 7.6 Win
Juan Montoya 9 Win
Ryan Hunter-Reay 10.1 Win
Ryan Briscoe 19.9 4th
Tony Kanaan 11 3rd
Marco Andretti 11.2 2nd
Scott Dixon 11.4 3rd
Carlos Munoz 11.5 3rd
Sebastien Bourdais 11.6 4th
Justin Wilson 12.4 Pole
Oriol Servia 12.5 7th
Mikhail Aleshin 13.5 2nd
Charlie Kimball 13.6 3rd
James Hinchcliffe 13.7 5th
Ed Carpenter 14 Win
Jack Hawksworth 14 3rd
Mike Conway 14 Win
Carlos Huertas 14.2 Win
Sebastian Saavedra 15.5 9th
Graham Rahal 16.3 2nd
Josef Newgarden 16.3 8th
Takuma Sato 16.9 7th
Luca Filippi 18 15th
Martin Plowman 20.5 18th


Positions Gained/Lost

Driver Positions Gained/Lost
Charlie Kimball +61
Ryan Briscoe +44
Carlos Huertas +31
Will Power +26
Oriol Servia +21
Sebastian Saavedra +15
Juan Montoya +12
Tony Kanaan +12
Mikhail Aleshin +11
Ryan Hunter-Reay +10
Marco Andretti +9
Martin Plowman +8
Justin Wilson +7
Jack Hawksworth +4
Mike Conway +4
Simon Pagenaud +2
Sebastien Bourdais -8
Graham Rahal -9
Carlos Munoz -11
Helio Castroneves -17
Luca Filippi -20
Ed Carpenter -22
Scott Dixon -23
Josef Newgarden -45
Takuma Sato -67
James Hinchcliffe -84


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Posted in IndyCar, Numbers

2014 Verizon IndyCar Series DNF’s & Penalties

 Verizon IndyCar Series 2014 DNF’s 

Driver Mechanical Contact Total
Josef Newgarden 2 3 5
Takuma Sato 1 3 4
Graham Rahal 1 3 4
Mikhail Aleshin 0 3 3
James Hinchcliffe 0 3 3
Carlos Munoz 1 2 3
Charlie Kimball 1 2 3
Mike Conway 2 1 3
Scott Dixon 0 2 2
Sebastian Saavedra 0 2 2
Carlos Huertas 2 0 2
Ryan Hunter-Reay 1 1 2
Helio Castroneves 0 1 1
Tony Kanaan 0 1 1
Sebastien Bourdais 0 1 1
Justin Wilson 0 1 1
Marco Andretti 0 1 1
Simon Pagenaud 0 1 1
Jack Hawksworth 0 1 1
Ed Carpenter 0 1 1
Luca Filippi 0 1 1
Franck Montagny 0 1 1
Townsend Bell 0 1 1
Buddy Lazier 1 0 1
Juan Montoya 0 0 0
Ryan Briscoe 0 0 0
Will Power 0 0 0
Oriol Servia 0 0 0
Martin Plowman 0 0 0
Kurt Busch 0 0 0
Sage Karam 0 0 0
J.R. Hildebrand 0 0 0
Alex Tagliani 0 0 0
Jacques Villeneuve 0 0 0
James Davison 0 0 0
Pippa Mann 0 0 0
Totals 12 36 48

All information is gleaned from official Verizon IndyCar Series box scores and is up-to-date through the Pocono IndyCar 500.

James Hinchcliffe & Ed Carpenter rack up DNF's after contact at the Indianapolis 500 (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

James Hinchcliffe & Ed Carpenter rack up DNF’s after contact at the Indianapolis 500 (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)


Verizon IndyCar Series 2014 Penalties

Driver # of Penalties
Will Power 5
Carlos Huertas 4
Ryan Briscoe 3
Sebastian Saavedra 3
Marco Andretti 3
Juan Montoya 2
Helio Castroneves 2
Sebastien Bourdais 2
Graham Rahal 2
Martin Plowman 2
Mikhail Aleshin 1
James Hinchcliffe 1
Carlos Munoz 1
Josef Newgarden 1
Charlie Kimball 1
Jack Hawksworth 1
Mike Conway 1
Franck Montagny 1
Alex Tagliani 1
Jacques Villeneuve 1
Buddy Lazier 1
Scott Dixon 0
Tony Kanaan 0
Takuma Sato 0
Justin Wilson 0
Ryan Hunter-Reay 0
Simon Pagenaud 0
Ed Carpenter 0
Oriol Servia 0
Luca Filippi 0
Sage Karam 0
J.R. Hildebrand 0
James Davison 0
Pippa Mann 0
Townsend Bell 0

All information is gleaned from official Verizon IndyCar Series box scores and is up-to-date through the Pocono IndyCar 500.

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Posted in IndyCar, Numbers

Verizon IndyCar Series 2014 winnings & earnings

2014 Verizon IndyCar Series driver earnings (outside of Indianapolis)


Rank Driver Winnings
1 Will Power $151,000
2 Helio Castroneves $113,000
3 Simon Pagenaud $104,000
4 Ryan Hunter-Reay $95,000
5 Juan Montoya $92,000
6 Scott Dixon $68,000
7 Carlos Munoz $57,000
8 Mikhail Aleshin $49,000
9 Tony Kanaan $43,000
10 Charlie Kimball $42,000
11 Marco Andretti $40,000
12 Carlos Huertas $37,000
13 James Hinchcliffe $33,000
14 Ryan Briscoe $31,000
15 Takuma Sato $31,000
16 Ed Carpenter $30,000
17 Mike Conway $30,000
18 Jack Hawksworth $30,000
19 Sebastien Bourdais $29,000
20 Graham Rahal $25,000
21 Justin Wilson $25,000
22 Josef Newgarden $14,000
23 Sebastian Saavedra $14,000
24 Oriol Servia $7,000
Team Penske's Will Power leads all drivers in money earned at Verizon IndyCar Series events outside of the Indianapolis 500.

Team Penske’s Will Power leads all drivers in money earned at Verizon IndyCar Series events outside of the Indianapolis 500.

2014 Indianapolis 500 driver earnings

  • includes all winnings from the purse, qualifying and contingency awards
Rank Driver Winnings
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay $2,491,194
2 Helio Castroneves $785,194
3 Marco Andretti $585,194
4 Ed Carpenter $463,694
5 Carlos Munoz $449,194
6 Will Power $442,194
7 Juan Montoya $441,944
8 Kurt Busch $423,889
9 Scott Dixon $390,694
10 Sebastien Bourdais $384,194
11 James Hinchcliffe $376,194
12 Simon Pagenaud $374,444
13 Alex Tagliani $368,694
14 J.R. Hildebrand $366,194
15 Jacques Villeneuve $354,194
16 Sebastian Saavedra $349,194
17 Jack Hawksworth $346,194
18 Ryan Briscoe $344,444
19 Josef Newgarden $344,194
20 Tony Kanaan $343,194
21 Takuma Sato $342,444
22 Charlie Kimball $341,194
23 Graham Rahal $341,194
24 James Davison $341,194
25 Mikhail Aleshin $340,194
26 Carlos Huertas $339,694
27 Justin Wilson $339,194
28 Sage Karam $270,305
29 Oriol Servia $247,305
30 Pippa Mann $226,805
31 Townsend Bell $226,805
32 Martin Plowman $225,805
33 Graham Rahal $225,305


2014 Verizon IndyCar Series non-leaders circle entry earnings

Rank Car Winnings
1 No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing/Briscoe $185,000
2 No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing/Servia $50,000
3 No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing/Filippi $30,000


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Sato vs. Andretti vs. Hinchcliffe Lap Times at Shell & Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston

Presented without comment… these are the lap times from Takuma Sato, Marco Andretti, and James Hinchcliffe from lap 9 through lap 23 of the first race of the Shell & Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

For reference…  Sato led Hinchcliffe by 4.08 seconds on lap 15, by 1.62 seconds on lap 20, and by 0.72 seconds on lap 24.

Lap # Sato time Andretti time Hinchcliffe time
9 75.8588 85.5636 75.8783
10 76.1030 74.9645 75.4244
11 75.5040 75.3093 75.3134
12 75.3705 75.7474 75.5025
13 75.2037 75.5149 76.3825
14 75.9939 74.9239 75.5571
15 74.8062 74.2537 75.2265
16 74.3356 74.3213 73.7998
17 73.6743 74.2197 73.7139
18 74.4307 73.9261 73.6511
19 74.2444 74.0182 73.7401
20 73.7360 73.3218 73.0586
21 73.5942 76.0791 72.7171
22 73.2559 74.4242 73.3392
23 72.7971 79.2952 72.8804
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Verizon IndyCar Series daily news brief – the May 11th edition

Grand Prix of Indianapolis by the numbers

  • 0 –> laps completed by pole sitter Sebastian Saavedra
  • 1 –> Verizon IndyCar Series driver (Graham Rahal) who has not scored a top-10 in 2014
  • 2–> drivers (Franck Montagny & Juan Montoya) who were penalized for jumping a restart
  • 4 –> different drivers and teams have won the first four races of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season
  • 6 –> consecutive top 10′s (dating back to last year) for current points leader Will Power
  • 7 –> cars did not finish the 82-lap, 200 mile inaugural race
  • 9–> laps on primary Firestone Firehawk racing tires by Tony Kanaan, the fewest of any driver
  • 13–> lead changes, the most of any race this season
  • 18 –> positions gained by Charlie Kimball, the most of any driver in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis field
  • 19 –> laps completed under caution
  • 31 –> laps on one stint by Dale Coyne Racing driver’s Carlos Huertas and Justin Wilson
  • 31 –> laps led by rookie Jack Hawksworth
  • 70.4062 –> seconds was the time of the quickest lap turned by Scott Dixon
  • 113 –> top fives for Helio Castroneves, which moved him into seventh all-time

Indianapolis 500 opening day

Top 10 speeds:

  1. Will Power – 223.057mph
  2. Juan Montoya – 222.502
  3. Helio Castroneves – 222.373
  4. J.R. Hildebrand – 222.200
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay – 222.134
  6. E.J. Viso – 222.105
  7. Charlie Kimball – 221.845
  8. Ed Carpenter – 221.772
  9. Townsend Bell – 220.840
  10. Tony Kanaan – 220.755
Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet led opening day practice for the Indianapolis 500 (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

Will Power and the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet led opening day practice for the Indianapolis 500 (Photo Courtesy of IndyCar)

Practice Notes:

  • Most teams were working late into the night switching the engines from their road course cars to their oval cars, that meant that many teams didn’t get on track or turn many laps.  24 of the 33 entries made it on track and turned a total of 731 laps.
  • Helio Castroneves and his retro liveried No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Premium Team Penske Chevrolet was the first car on the track.  It was the fourth time in five years that Castroneves was the first car on track for Indianapolis 500 practice and the fifth straight year that a Team Penske Indy car was the first to take to the historic 2.5 mile oval
  • Fittingly, expectant mother Sarah Fisher wove the green flag to start practice on Mother’s Day
  • Sage Karam and the No. 22 Dreyer and Reinbold – Kingdom Racing Chevrolet was one of the first cars on track and quickly completed the 13 laps remaining in his Rookie Orientation Program.  He ended up completing 77 circuits of the 2.5 mile oval.
  • Helio Castroneves and Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet ran 83 and 82 laps respectively.  Power said that they were working on race set-up and ran so many laps because they are concerned about the weather forecast for the rest of the week.
  • The Chip Ganassi Racing foursome of Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe all shook down their back-up (T) cars and plan on getting on the track in their primary cars on Monday.
  • There was one yellow flag condition for lightning in the vicinity and two yellow flags for debris.  The total time of the yellow flags was 40 minutes

I spent the last 45 minutes of “happy hour” in my favorite spot to watch practice (standing at the southernmost corner of the Gasoline Alley Suites).  You can follow the Indy cars as they turn into Turn 1 all the way through the middle of Turn 2.  The perch generally gives me a good perspective on the different lines that the drivers will utilize to make it safely through the vaunted Turn 1.  Some observations:

  • The “Munoz Line” (both left side wheels below the white line) is much more prevalent this year.  Especially among the rookies.  Jacques Villeneuve, Sage Karam and especially Kurt Busch we’re all diving well below the white line at corner apex.
  • The quickest non-tow lap (lap without a significant draft) that I caught was just a tick over 220 mph by Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 28 DHL Honda.
  • Kurt Busch in the No. 26 Suretone Honda spent the last 15 minutes of the day getting a feel for dirty air by following his teammates Hunter-Reay, E.J. Viso and Carlos Munoz at speeds just over 220 mph.  Busch explained that the draft you feel in Verizon IndyCar Series car was “times ten” compared to his NASCAR.

Entry list redux

The entry list for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 was released this morning.  Some notes:

  • Broken down by country –> United States (11), Columbia (4), England (4), Australia (3), Canada (3), Brazil (2), France (2), Japan (1), New Zealand (1), Russia (1), Spain (1)
  • Former Indianapolis 500 champions –> Helio Castroneves (3), Scott Dixon (2), Tony Kanaan (1),  Buddy Lazier (1), Juan Montoya (1), Jacques Villeneuve (1)
  • Former Indy car (CART, IRL, CCWS) champions –> Sebastien Bourdais (4), Scott Dixon (3), Tony Kanaan (1), Buddy Lazier (1), Juan Montoya (1), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1), Jacques Villeneuve (1)
  • Other significant championships –> Mikhail Aleshin (Formula Renault 3.5), Townsend Bell, (Indy Lights), Ryan Briscoe ( Formula 3 Euro Series), Sebastien Bourdais (Formula 3000), Kurt Busch (NASCAR Nextel Cup), Scott Dixon (Indy Lights, Formula Holden), J.R. Hildebrand (USF2000, Indy Lights), Tony Kanaan (Indy Lights), Sage Karam (USF2000, Indy Lights), Jack Hawksworth (Pro Mazda), Buddy Lazier (American IndyCar Series), Juan Montoya (Formula 3000), Josef Newgarden (Indy Lights), Simon Pagenaud (Formula Atlantic Championship, American Le Mans Series – LMP), Martin Plowman (FIA World Endurance Championship – LMP2), Will Power (Formula Holden), Takuma Sato (F3 UK), Oriol Servia (Indy Lights) Jacques Villeneuve (Formula 1), Justin Wilson (Formula 3000)
  • Total Indy car (CART, IRL, CCWS) wins –> 195

The Mayor sits out

James Hinchcliffe, the pilot of the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today visiting with his team, but did not take part in opening day practice.  The 27 year-old Canadian DID NOT undergo a medical evaluation on Monday but the team did say that three time Verizon IndyCar Series race winner could undergo a medical evaluation with Dr. Micahel Olinger as early as Tuesday.

E.J. fills in

E. J. Viso gets ready to shake down the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda of James Hinchcliffe

E. J. Viso gets ready to shake down the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda of James Hinchcliffe

Andretti Autosport drafted Verizon IndyCar Series veteran E.J. Viso to shake down the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda of James Hinchcliffe, who was ruled out of practice after suffering a concussion during the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Viso, from Caracas, Venezuela, who drove for Andretti in 2013, is a veteran of seven Indianapolis 500s.  

“So far things have been pretty smooth,” said Viso, “I love working with these (Andretti Autosport) 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. Of course we all know what happened to (James) Hinch(cliffe) – at the same time, he is a great friend of mine, he was my teammate last year. Right now I’m helping him out, putting miles on his car and hoping he comes back soon and jumps back in. It’s all credit to the team; we have a very strong car, and I think with the little things we’re tuning up, they’ll become very important later on in the week when we start trimming the car. As of now we have a good database from last year to start the month off.”

If you dig numbers and stats

I know I’m not alone when I say that I totally geek out on random numbers, facts and stats.  ‘500 Records & Milestones At Risk‘ is a great read/resource for all of us Indianapolis 500 geeks.

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Posted in Daily News Brief, IndyCar

Grand Prix of Indianapolis by the numbers

Likely not the most telling stat since the circuit has changed so much, but almost half of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis field has competed on one of the previous iterations of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

  • Juan Montoya – Formula 1 (6), Grand-Am (1)
  • Takuma Sato – Formula 1 (4)
  • Sebastian Saavedra – Grand-Am (1), Formula BMW (2)
  • Graham Rahal – Indy Lights (1), Formula BMW (1)
  • Sebastien Bourdais – Grand-Am (2)
  • Frank Montagny – Formula 1 (1)
  • Justin Wilson – Formula 1 (1)
  • Marco Andretti – Indy Lights (1)
  • Scott Dixon – Grand-Am (1)
  • Tony Kanaan – Grand-Am (1)
  • James Hinchcliffe – Formula BMW (1)

Again, likely not the most telling stat but still somewhat interesting.  Current Verizon IndyCar Series drivers average starting and finishing position for brand new street and road course circuits since 2005.  The races include:

  • St. Pete (2005)
  • Sonoma (2005)
  • Watkins Glen (2005)
  • Edmonton (2005)
  • San Jose (2005)
  • Mid-Ohio (2007)
  • Detroit (2007)
  • Las Vegas (2007)
  • Mont Tremblant (2007)
  • Zolder (2007)
  • Assen (2007)
  • Sao Paulo (2010)
  • Barber (2010)
  • Edmonton – new layout (2011)
  • Baltimore (2011)
  • Motegi Road Course (2011)
  • Houston (2013)

Car #
Driver New Races Started New Races Start New Races Finish
2 Juan Pablo Montoya none none none
3 Helio Castroneves 11 7.55 12.45
7 Mikhail Aleshin rookie rookie rookie
8 Ryan Briscoe 7 5.86 14
9 Scott Dixon 11 6.1 5.2
10 Tony Kanaan 11 9.4 7.1
11 Sebastein Bourdais 10 7.7 7.3
12 Will Power 10 2.5 4.2
14 Takuma Sato 6 9 19
15 Graham Rahal 9 10.6 11.9
16 Oriol Servia 9 10.9 8.4
17 Sebastian Saavedra 3 23 14.3
18 Carlos Huertas rookie rookie rookie
19 Justin Wilson 8 6.75 6.25
20 Mike Conway 6 13.2 12.2
25 Marco Andretti 8 11.9 14.75
25 Franck Montagny none none none
27 James Hinchcliffe 4 9 19.5
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 10 10.7 12.8
34 Carlos Munoz rookie rookie rookie
41 Martin Plowman 1 18 11
67 Josef Newgarden 1 18 5
77 Simon Pagenaud 5 5.8 7.6
83 Charlie Kimball 4 15 18.5
98 Jack Hawksworth rookie rookie rookie
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Peter Portante – Gaining Traction At Barber

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Verizon IndyCar Series daily news brief – the May 6th edition

Little Al is back!

The drivers at KV Racing Technology have gained an experienced shoulder to lean on for the Month of May.  The team announced that two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr will be joining the defending “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” champions as a driver coach for the month.

“I think everyone knows how I feel about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to be able to come back with the defending champions and try and help them repeat means a lot to me,” said Unser, a 19-time Indianapolis 500 starter,  “I am just very thankful for this chance to work with the team’s drivers and hopefully I can contribute in a meaningful way.” 

KV Racing Technology won the 2013 Indianapolis 500 and will be entering the Month of May with drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Sebastian Saavedra, and Townsend Bell.

“I am very pleased to announce that Al Jr. will be working with the team during the month of May as a driver coach,” said KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser. “Obviously, Al brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the team and will be a huge asset. You don’t win the Indianapolis 500 twice and come from a family that has won it nine times without figuring out a few things that the other guys haven’t.”

Cripsee is back!

Experienced Verizon IndyCar Series engineer, David Cripps has been tapped by Lazier Partners Racing to be the lead engineer for the No. 91 Univiersity Of Iowa Stephen A. Wynn Institute For Vision Research Chevrolet that will be driven by 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier.

A native of Oxford, England, Cripps has been a fixture in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock since 1990 and last worked for Panther Racing in 2013.  Cripps, who has five runner-up finishes in the Indianapolis 500 helped the United States bobsled teams win four medals while serving as that team’s technical director the during Sochi Olympics.

In other Lazier Partner Racing news, small engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton will join Herman Miller and Phillips Energy Partners as associate sponsors.

Firestone Pit Performance Award

For the second time this season the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet crew took home the Firestone Pit Performance Award, spending only 56.52 seconds in the pits at the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.

Don’t forget part 1

If you work downtown Indianapolis that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Verizon IndyCar Series will be holding a pep rally on May 7th (Wednesday) from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Monument Circle.  Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Pippa Mann, Ed Carpenter and Mike Conway will be attending.

Don’t forget part 2

Martin Plowman’s Celebrity Kart Race will be taking place tomorrow (May 7th) evening at Fasttimes Indoor Karting.  You can watch IndyCar pilots Plowman, Jack Hawksworth and Jack Harvey battle Indianapolis Colts in the charity karting event.  Admission is $20, and all proceeds go to Snowball Express.

Seat fitting 

Two recent Verizon IndyCar Series drivers announced new rides:

  1. 2013 Indianapolis 500 rookie and American Formula 1 hopeful Conor Daly will be contesting the entire 2014 GP2 season with Venezuela GP Lazarus.   The 22 year-old from Noblesville, Indiana started the first two GP2 races of the season in Bahrain for the same team.
  2. Verizon IndyCar Series veteran Alex Tagliani continues to add to his busy season.  Team Penske announced that the 40 year-old from Quebec will be contesting the NASCAR Nationwide series races at Road America and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  “Tag” has already appeared in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship in 2014 and is also scheduled to compete in the Verizon IndyCar Series, and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
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Posted in Daily News Brief, IndyCar