Rewind: 1911 Indianapolis 500

By: Spencer Neff
May 27, 2021

On Sunday, the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge will be held at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for 2021 will be held on its own anniversary. 110 years ago, the first running of what first was known as the “International 500-mile Race Sweepstakes” was held on May 30.

In the 11 decades since that first race, much has changed.

For this week’s Rewind, here’s a profile of the 1911 Indianapolis 500, the first running of the race.

Harroun dominates in swan song

Two years after its opening, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway found itself at a crossroads.

After being founded in 1909 with businessman Carl G. Fisher at the helm, the 2.5-mile brick oval had become the subject of an oversaturation of events between ballon, motorcycle and car races.

Automobile pioneer Henry Ford joins IMS founders Arthur Newby, Frank Wheeler, Carl Fisher and James Allison for a photo (IMS)

During the fall of 1910, Fisher and the speedway’s founders began to consolidate the race track’s schedule to a single yearly event on Indianapolis’ west side, approximately five miles from downtown.

After much deliberation, a 500-mile car race to be run around Memorial Day weekend was the final decision for the event.

In an effort to attract global intrigue and competition, a $27,500 purse was included for the race’s participants.

The entry list saw 42 drivers vying for their chance at the inaugural running. To “qualify” for the race, drivers would be required to reach a speed of 75 miles per hour from a “flying” (rolling) start. With the grid set by entry date, Lewis Strang would start first.

Before the race, Fisher would start alongside the 40 participants in a Stoddard-Dayton, the first known use of a “pace car” in an automobile race. The field was lined up in rows of 5, with 40th starter Billy Knipper on the ninth row by himself.

Race Recap

On the opening lap, Johnny Aitken used his far outside grid position on the front row to go from fourth to the lead on the opening lap.

After winning the most recent car race at IMS the previous September, the local racer looked to make even more history and would lead the opening four laps.

Aitken holds the distinction of being the first lap leader of the Indianapolis 500-mile race (IMS/INDYCAR)

By Lap 23, the lead had been swapped among five drivers. On Lap 24, David Bruce-Brown, who started the race in 25th, made his way back to the lead for the second time.

Bruce-Brown, making just his second career start, led for the next 49 laps, the longest stretch of anyone in the race.

Aitken and Bruce-Brown would combine to lead the next 30 laps before Ray Harroun re-emerged to take the lead.

After coming out of retirement, Harroun, an engineer for the Marmon Corporation, started 28th and with the help of the first rear-view mirror, Harroun ran the event without the aid of a riding mechanic.

During the latter half of the event, the race became a two-man battle between Harroun and Ralph Mulford in his Lozier. Harroun would lead 88 of the final 98 laps, with Mulford leading the other 10.

Ray Harroun takes the checkered flag (IMS/INDYCAR)

Harroun would cross the finish line 103 seconds ahead of Mulford. With the help of relief driver, Cyrus Patchke, he won the race with an average speed of 74.602 miles per hour, completing the race in six hours, 42 minutes and eight seconds. Following the race, Harroun would not compete again.

The victory did not come without controversy however, as there had been reports of Mulford contending that he had lapped Harroun earlier in the race. Ultimately, no formal protests were filed and Harroun’s victory stood.

Analysis

Following Harroun’s win, riding mechanics were mandated off and on until 1937.

Harroun following his monumental victory (IMS/INDYCAR)

By 1974, the Speedway’s long-standing policy would be rescinded and the race has been scheduled for the Sunday before the last Monday in May ever since. Sunday’s race will be the first one held on May 30 since 2010.

Since that inaugural running, Harroun’s record of being the furthest back on the grid an eventual winner has started from was tied just once, when Louis Meyer became the race’s first three-time winner in 1936.

Mulford would make nine more starts in the race but would not match or better his runner-up finish. At the time of his passing in 1973, he was the only living participant from the 1911 event.

Header Image By IMS/INDYCAR

Indianapolis 500: Qualifying Day 2 Notebook

By: Spencer Neff
May 23, 2021

Following an intense Day 1 that saw dramatic moments from start to finish, Day 2 for Indianapolis 500 Qualifying would fill the first three and the last row.

With three of the 33 spots in the field for the 105th running presented by Gainbridge up for grabs, here’s how things played out.

Fast Nine Shootout: Scott Dixon earns fourth Indianapolis 500 pole

Starting Lineup Live Grid with Lap Speeds

In a 1-2 start for Honda-powered entries, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon edged out Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta by .0197 of a second for the pole.

This is the fourth-closest margin 1st and 2nd on the grid in the race’s history.

Dixon earns the pole for the fourth time in his career. He also earned the top spot in 2008, 2015 and 2017. In 2008, he won the race from the pole, his only “500” victory to date.

Dixon celebrates with the NTT P1 Award (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

The points leader and six-time INDYCAR Champion earns his 26th career pole and ties Al Unser for tenth all-time.

Chip Ganassi Racing earns their sixth pole in 28 appearances, second to Team Penske. In addition to Dixon’s four pole, the team also earned pole with Arie Luyendyk in 1993 and Bruno Junqueira in 2002. It is their 89th pole as a team and first INDYCAR pole since 2019’s IndyCar Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor SPeedway’s Road Course with Felix Rosenqvist.

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay was the fastest Chevrolet-powered car of the session and starts on the outside of the front row in third. He is the youngest front row starter in “500” history at 20 years, 254 days old).

VeeKay’s Car owner Ed Carpenter starts fourth, with Dixon’s CGR teammates Tony Kanaan and Alex Palou completing Row 2.

Herta’s Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson round out Row 3.

(from left to right) Dixon is embraced by teammates Marcus Ericsson, Tony Kanaan and Alex Palou after winning the pole (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Ericsson, Palou, VeeKay and Herta earn their best career “500” starts, as does Castroneves’ MSR team.

Ericsson took to the track first and ran a four-lap average of 230.318.

After him, Hunter-Reay (230.499) and Palou (230.616) took turns at the top of the scoring pylon. Running between those drivers, Castroneves barely edged out Ericsson at 230.355 for third-best at the time.

VeeKay then improved the pole speed to 231.511. After a faster opening two laps, Car Owner Ed Carpenter fell to 231.504, just shy of his teammate’s best run.

Herta ran at 231.655 mph to guarantee he and VeeKay earned their first career front row starts:

Last to run was Dixon. After starting with a 232.757 mph lap, Dixon edged out Herta to match A.J. Foyt, Rex Mays and Castroneves for second all-time in “500” poles (Rick Mears has six).

Prior to the Fast Nine running, the 11th row was filled. With five drivers running for three spots, two drivers would go home.

Last Row Shootout: Karam, Power and de Silvestro fill Row 11- Kimball and Enerson miss the field

Making the first run of the day, Dreyer and Reinbold Racing’s Sage Karam ran a four-lap average of 229.156 mph, fastest of the session.

Simona de Silvestro is congratulated by her Paretta Autosport crew after qualifying for their first race as as a team (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

This is the fourth time since his 2014 debut Karam will start 31st and the third consecutive year he does so.

Next, Team Penske’s Will Power turned a 228.876 mph average over four laps despite brushing the wall on his last lap.

Power (32nd) starts from behind 21st for the second straight year (22nd last year) and third in his career (23rd in 2008 debut).

Third out in line Paretta Autosport’s Simona de Silvestro averaged 228.353, putting her on the bump spot. She will start on the last row for the first time since 2012, when she qualified 32nd.

Despite withdrawing their original attempts, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Charlie Kimball and Top Gun Racing’s RC Enerson did not find the speed to qualify the second time around either.

Kimball is embraced by a crew member after not qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Kimball’s attempt at an 11th “500” ended after a 227.584 mph average.

Enerson’s bid for an Indianapolis 500 debut and Top Gun’s first race fell short after his 226.813 mph average was not fast enough as well.

By the end of both qualifying sessions, the field average speed was set at 230.294 mph, the fastest in history and the first field to average faster than 230 miles per hour.

Palou leads Sunday Practice

Practice 8 Results Combined Practice Results

After qualifying was completed and the grid was set, the Field of 33 took to the track for a two-hour practice session.

With turbocharger boost levels turned back down and teams no longer working in qualifying trim, speeds were expected to be where they’d been during the first three days of practice.

Image By Matt Fraver/INDYCAR

Capping off a weekend full of ups and downs, Alex Palou led the Sunday Eve practice.

The sophomore driver posted a best lap of 225.649 (39.885 seconds), one of four drivers with a lap above 225 mph. Just .003 of a second back was teammate Marcus Ericsson.

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly, who qualified 19th yesterday, was fastest among the Chevrolets in the field in third. Kanaan and Dixon bookended the Top Five to make it a 1-2-4-5 finish of the day for CGR.

The session did not come without issues unfortunately. Less than a quarter of the way into practice, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud lost an engine in Turn 1.

The 2019 pole sitter and race winner evaded any further trouble for he or the field as he dove onto the road course surface off the oval Turn 2. Fortunately, his status for Sunday’s race is unchanged. The 2016 INDYCAR Champion will roll off the grid 26th, the middle of Row 9.

The Field of 33 for next Sunday’s 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge (Walt Kuhn/INDYCAR)

Up Next

For the 33 drivers and teams, Friday will be the last day of on-track activity.

The two-hour “Carb Day” Practice session will begin at 11:00 a.m. on May 28.

Stay with IndyCar1909.com for all the latest regarding the Indianapolis 500 and check out our social media accounts for photos and videos from IMS this week. 

Header Image By Karl Zemlin/INDYCAR

In Memoriam: Andre Ribeiro

By: Spencer Neff
May 23, 2021

On Sunday morning, former INDYCAR driver Andre Ribeiro passed away at age 55 following a battle with colorectal cancer.

Like many drivers over the past few decades, Ribeiro got his racing started in karting, winning the Brazilian national title each year from 1986 to 1988.

After stints in Formula Opel and Formula Ford, the São Paulo native moved to Indy Lights with Tasman Motorsports for 1994. With an Indy 500- and championship- winning pedigree from Car Owner Steve Horne, the team saw great success.

In 12 races, he earned four victories and four pole positions, finishing nine points behind champion Steve Robertson in second.

Ribeiro during his first win (INDYCAR)

For 1995, Ribeiro and the Tasman Motorsports team moved to IndyCar. At the Indianapolis 500, he qualified 12th and finished 18th, his lone appearance in the race.

In the season’s 15th race, Ribeiro won the pole position and led 96 laps to win the race. It would be the first win for the team and engine supplier Honda and Firestone’s second win in their return as a tire supplier.

For 1996, Ribeiro and Tasman’s success continued. At the second race of the season, CART made their debut in his native Brazil at Jacarepaguá Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet.

Ribeiro started third and led 19 laps, including the final 18 en route to a popular victory in front of his home crowd.

Ribeiro celebrates in front of his home fans at Rio after winning the inaugural Rio 400 (Twitter)

Later that year, he returned to the site of his first IndyCar laps led, Michigan International Speedway. In his prior two starts, he had led 101 laps but finished no better than fourth in May 1996’s U.S. 500.

In July, the No. 31 Lola-Honda dominated the Marlboro 500, leading a race-high 114 of 250 to win for the second time in 1996 and his third career victory. Two weeks earlier, he won his second and final career pole on the Toronto street circuit.

Ribeiro and Tasman earned a best finish of third place at Toronto in 1997 before the driver moved on to Penske Racing.

Despite qualifying second in his team debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the pairing were unable to find the podium during their lone season together. Their best finish was seventh at the Vancouver street circuit.

Andre Ribeiro following his third and final win, which came in the 1996 Marlboro 500 at Michigan International Speedway (Getty Images)

Following the season, Ribeiro moved back to Brazil and worked with Penske for United Auto, owning car dealerships in São Paulo.

IndyCar1909 thanks Andre Ribeiro for his contributions to the series and we offer condolences to his family and friends.

Header Image By INDYCAR/IMS

Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Day 1 Notebook

By: Spencer Neff
May 22, 2021

The anticipation and intensity that coincides each year with Indianapolis 500 qualifying returned in spades for Day 1 of setting the field for the 105th running of the race.

On Saturday, positions 10-30 would be locked in.

The five hours and 50 minutes of allotted time would also determine the nine drivers with the quickest four-lap averages who would fight for the pole on Sunday afternoon.

The slowest five drivers would be forced to run in the “Last Row Shootout” before then.

Here is a recap of how the day played out.

Dixon fastest in the field, Power to be among “Last Row Shootout” contenders

Saturday Qualifying Results

After posting the quickest lap on Friday and drawing first to qualify for Saturday, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was among the early favorites for the pole.

Dixon had the best one- and four-lap speeds on Saturday (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

The points leader delivered, posting a four-lap average speed of 231.828 miles per hour. The 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner stayed atop the speed chart all day and looks for his fourth “500” pole tomorrow.

Honda-powered engines will have seven of the nine pole contenders tomorrow. Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta and Dixon’s teammate Tony Kanaan completed the provisional front row sweep.

Kanaan won the pole for the 2005 race while Herta’s best start was fifth in 2019, his rookie season.

Representing Chevrolet tomorrow, the Ed Carpenter Racing duo of Ed Carpenter and Rinus VeeKay turned the fourth and fifth-best times of the day. Carpenter will look for his fourth pole in this race.

VeeKay, who was the only driver to make his way into the Top 9 on his second attempt, started fourth in his 2020 debut.

Owner/Driver Ed Carpenter is currently the fastest Chevrolet entry in the field (James Black/INDYCAR)

Making his first start with Meyer Shank Racing, 3-time “500” winner Helio Castroneves ran sixth and will look for his fifth pole in the race.

The provisional Row 3 starters include Alex Palou and Marcus Ericsson, putting all four Ganassi entries into pole contention.

Last year, Palou qualified seventh as a rookie for Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh. Ericsson made his best qualifying effort in last year’s race as well, starting 11th.

Splitting the CGR duo will be 2014 race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, who previously qualified third for this race in 2012 and 2016.

Just missing out on the Fast 9 was Hunter-Reay’s teammate and 2016 race winner Alexander Rossi, who will start 10th next Sunday,

After initially qualifying 19th, Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan’s Ed Jones will start 11th, the same spot he started in when he finished third during his 2017 debut.

On his first attempt, Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey dealt with a bad vibration resulting from a malfunctioning right-rear tire. Later in the day, he would qualify 20th, matching his previous best from 2020 as well.

Dale Coyne Racing with RWR’s Pietro Fittipaldi qualified 13th, beating out Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin by four spots to be the highest-qualified rookie (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

The only other driver to improve their qualifying position during a second attempt was Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist, who moved up to 14th from 18th, tying his previous best Indianapolis 500 start from last year.

Late in the session, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Dalton Kellett withdrew his previous attempt, which had him placed 30th.

Although he completed his four laps at a lower speed than his prior run, Kellett became the 30th driver qualified. With Paretta Autosport’s Simona de Silvestro unable to run a quicker speed as the gun sounded at 5:50 p.m. local time, Kellett locked himself in 30th.

In addition to de Silvestro, 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power of Team Penske did not make the Top 30 along with A.J. Foyt Racing’s Charlie Kimball, Dreyer and Reinbold’s Sage Karam and RC Enerson.

Enerson and Top Gun Racing are looking to make their first race and have Enerson as the third rookie in the field. Those five drivers will run to fill out the 11th row on Sunday, with the slowest two drivers going home.

Also of note, the current field average speed is 230.565 mph, which would beat the record set in 2014 (229.382).

Palou crashes during second attempt

After qualifying seventh in his first attempt, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou decided to make a second four-lap run.

Palou’s race car is returned to the paddock following his qualifying crash (Matt Fravor/INDYCAR)

During the run, the driver of the No. 10 broke loose and made heavy contact with the SAFER barrier in Turn 2. Luckily, the Barber Motorsports Park winner climbed from his car unassisted.

The frustrated Palou was checked, released and cleared to drive after his mandatory visit to the infield care center. Luckily, Palou’s spot in the Fast 9 held up and he will run his repaired Dallara-Honda for the pole on Sunday.

Up Next

Qualifying Format

Live Grid

Tomorrow will set the first three rows and the 11th row for the “500”. At 11:00 a.m., the five drivers in the “Last Row Shootout” will be given 30 minutes for practice. Afterward, the Fast 9 will be given 30 minutes of practice as well.

The 75-minute “Last Row Shootout” will begin at 1:15. Each driver is guaranteed one attempt and the session will be open for unlimited attempts once that is done.

At 3:00, the 45-minute “Fast 9” session will begin. Each driver in that session will have one attempt for the NTT P1 Award.

Once both qualifying sessions have been completed, teams will revert to race-day level of boosts. At 5:00, the Field of 33 will have a two-hour practice session, the last before “Carb Day” on Friday.

Stay with IndyCar1909.com for all the latest regarding the Indianapolis 500 and check out our social media accounts for photos and videos from IMS this week. 

Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR

Indianapolis 500: Day 4 Notebook

By: Spencer Neff
May 21, 2021

Today, the 35 entrants vying for a spot in the Field of 33 for next Sunday’s 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge began preparations for this weekend’s Qualifying in earnest.

After being given 90 extra horsepower through a turbocharger adjustment, speeds climbed to their highest all week.

Here’s a look at how the last full day of practice before qualifying played out.

Dixon leads the way

Using a tow with other cars on track, points leader and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon ran a best lap of 233.302 mph (38.5766 seconds) on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.

Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR

As he looks for his fourth “500” pole, Dixon will be the first to make a qualifying attempt on Saturday.

Finishing just .0858 of a second back of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader was Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta.

Dixon’s CGR teammates Tony Kanaan, Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou rounded out the Top Five sweep for Honda.

Arrow McLaren SP was the best among the Chevrolet’s with 2020 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Pato O’Ward in sixth. O’Ward also topped the non-tow speed charts for Chevrolet in 3rd.

Overall, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi had the best no-tow lap. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner ran a best lap of 231.597 mph (38.8606).

After a hard practice crash and a trip to Methodist Hospital, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Santino Ferrucci was cleared this morning and finished the day 14th overall (9th on the non-tow chart).

The session was stopped just twice and there were no incidents. With practice wrapped, the focus turns to qualifying.

Up Next

Spotter Guide

Qualifying Format

Qualifying Draw

Day 1 of Qualifying begins tomorrow with an hour of practice time split between two groups at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

At 12:00, four-lap qualification attempts will begin and last until 5:50 p.m. When Saturday’s attempts are finished, the Top 30 cars will be locked into the Field of 33.

The nine fastest drivers will advance to Sunday’s “Fast 9 Shootout” to determine the NTT P1 Award winner and first 3 rows for next Sunday’s race.

Cars that qualify 10-30 will not run additional qualifying attempts on Sunday. Prior to the run for the pole, the slowest five drivers in the field will compete to fill out the 11th row of 3 on Sunday afternoon in the “Last Row Shootout”.

Stay with IndyCar1909.com for all the latest regarding the Indianapolis 500 and check out our social media accounts for photos and videos from IMS this week. 

Header Image By /INDYCAR

Indianapolis 500: Day 3 Notebook

By: Spencer Neff
May 20, 2021

With qualifying weekend looming and a Bump Day that will see two entrants sent home, getting things dialed in was of the utmost importance during Thursday’s six-hour practice.

Before adjustments take shape for tomorrow’s Fast Friday practice, here’s how things looked in Practice Day 3 for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Kanaan leads Thursday Practice

Practice 4 Results Combined Practice Results

As was the case in Wednesday’s practice, a former “500” winner driving for Chip Ganassi Racing led the field.

This time, Tony Kanaan and the No. 48 car would top the speed chart. The 2013 race winner clocked a best lap at 225.341 miles per hour (39.9395 seconds), giving CGR and Honda engines the fastest lap in two of the first three practice days.

Finishing .017 of a second back of Kanaan’s best time, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly led the way for the Chevrolet portion of the field.

Kanaan during today’s practice (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Santino Ferrucci and Team Penale’s Josef Newgarden finished third and fourth on the day respectively.

Bookending the Top Five for Chip Ganassi Racing, points leader Scott Dixon ended the six-hour session in fifth.

On the no-tow chart, Honda was once again on top. This time, Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey posted a best lap of 222.090 (40.5241 seconds). 2019 Race Winner and pole sitter Simon Pagenaud was the fastest Chevrolet , .788 of a second behind Harvey.

The day’s running started off with a minor incident as ensuing controversy. As practice opened, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing took all three cars out on track in an attempt for a photo on track.

Unbeknownst to the field, drivers were forced to check up, including Paretta Autosport’s Simona de Silverado and Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin.

Approaching too quickly, Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta did not slow in time and made contact with McLaughlin. Both drivers went to the garage for repairs but returned soon after.

Following the incident, INDYCAR announced all three RLLR entries will be parked for the first 30 minutes of tomorrow’s session.

Ferrucci’s day ends following crash

Following two full days without a major accident, that stat changed for the worse more than halfway through Thursday’s on-track time.

With less than two hours remaining, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Santino Ferrucci spun and made contact with the outside wall in Turn 2. Luckily, the No. 45 did not make contact with anyone else on track.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is hoping to have The No. 45 entry and Santino Ferrucci ready for qualifying after today’s practice crash (James Black/INDYCAR)

The 2019 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year climbed from his car but was grabbing the back of his left leg and unable to put weight on it as he was helped into the ambulance and taken to the infield care center.

Following the accident, Ferrucci was sent to Methodist Hospital in downtown Indianapolis for continued evaluation of a “minor left leg injury” INDYCAR’s Medical Services Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows relayed.

Billows added that he does expect Ferrucci to get back into the car but could not confirm anything regarding his driving status for tomorrow’s practice.

Prior to the accident, he had been second on the speed chart. After a delay of around 15 minutes to clear the track, practice resumed.

INDYCAR, NTT announce extension of sponsorship agreement

This morning, NTT and INDYCAR announced they would continue their sponsorship agreement. In 2019, the global technology and data solutions provider became the series’ title sponsor.

Since 2013, the Tokyo, Japan-based company has been involved with the series.

NTT has partnered with Chip Ganassi during that time, currently serving as primary sponsor of Alex Palou’s No. 10 entry.

Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

“With world-class technology and innovation, NTT has helped take the INDYCAR SERIES to the next level,” said Roger Penske, Founder and Chairman, Penske Corporation.

Penske bought IMS and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in November 2019, shortly after the conclusion of NTT’s first year as entitlement sponsor.

“Over the first two years as entitlement sponsor of the series, the dedicated team at NTT has helped INDYCAR become more efficient and effective through smart technologies,” he continued in today’s press release.

“As our sport continues to grow by connecting with a new generation of fans, NTT helps take us down new roads by creating more engaging experiences through our shared digital platforms. We thank NTT for the long-term commitment to the INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and we look forward to driving the future of our sport forward, together.”

“Enhancing the viewing experience and creating the next generation of INDYCAR followers – wherever they are – is a critical objective for INDYCAR and NTT, and we look forward to continuing our work with INDYCAR and the broader Penske Corporation and serving as a trusted partner to help the organization continue their digital transformation and achieve their ambitions,” explained Simon Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, NTT Ltd. Americas.

“The past year has significantly changed the way people engage with sports. NTT is helping INDYCAR adapt by creating new ways for fans to engage and connect through digital,” addedBob Pryor, Chief Executive Officer, NTT DATA Services.

“We’re excited to enhance the enjoyment and experience of motorsports for more fans. As the digital partner of choice for our clients, NTT DATA is proud to grow with INDYCAR and help fans enjoy their racing experiences—on and off the track.”

Up Next

On Friday, the boost levels for the 2.2-liter V6 Chevrolet and Honda engines will be turned up to 1.4, giving drivers an extra 80 to 90 horsepower to work with during Time Trials for the weekend. This is expected to translate to at least and additional 8-9 miles per hour.

Practice will continue at its 12-6 scheduled time. Following the session, each of the 35 entrants will draw for their qualifying position. The draw will include their primary car and any backup cars each team may have.

Stay with IndyCar1909.com for all the latest regarding the Indianapolis 500 and check out our social media accounts for photos and videos from IMS this week.

Header Image By Doug Mathews/INDYCAR

Indianapolis 500: Day 2 Notebook

By: Spencer Neff
May 19, 2021

Following an eventful opening day of practice on Tuesday, the 35 entrants for this year’s 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge again took to the track for a second day of practice.

As teams continued to dial in their race setups, here’s a look at some of the headlines from Wednesday at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Scott Dixon tops Practice 3

Practice 3 Results Combined Results

When the six hours of allotted on-track time concluded, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon sat atop the speed charts.

The 2008 Indianapolis 500 race winner and three-time pole sitter (08,15 and 17) notched a fastest lap of 226.829 miles per hour (39.6774), .0801 of a second ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly, the . Daly’s teammate and Car Owner Ed Carpenter was the only other driver to eclipse 226 mph.

Dixon’s CGR teammates Marcus Ericsson and Tony Kansan bookended the Top 5 for Honda-powered entries.

Dixon on track during Practice (Image By Doug Mathews/INDYCAR)

On the no-tow speed charts, 2016 race winner Alexander turned a best lap of 221.114 mph, with 2019 pole and race winner Simon Pagenaud best among the Chevrolet entrants in that category. No-tow times will be worth watching as the week closes and qualifying preparations near.

Although there were brief stoppages for a track inspection and light rain in the area, no drivers suffered any mechanical failures and there were no incidents for a second consecutive day.

RC Enerson completes Rookie Orientation Program

Enerson on track Wednesday morning (Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

This morning, an extra hour was added on as New entrant Top Gun Racing and their rookie driver, RC Enerson needed to complete his Rookie Orientation Program.

After completing nine of 15 laps in the 210-215 mph range needed for Phase 2, the No. 75 Chevrolet entry ran into mechanical issue and was unable to complete his required on-track time.

Today, Enerson was able to do so, just after noon local time, the New Port Richey, Florida native finished Phase 3 of the ROP (15 laps at 215+ mph).

During the session, he ran a best lap of 216.056 mph (41.6559 seconds).

Following the session, Top Gun Racing went to work on adjustments for their car and did not return to the track for the remainder of the day. TGR did tweet out later they will return to the track for Thursday’s session.

Danica Patrick named Pace Car Driver

Image By IMS

On Wednesday afternoon, IndyCar race winner and current NBC Sports analyst Danica Patrick was announced as the driver of the pace car for next Sunday’s 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Patrick will be at the track as a television analyst with NBC for the third consecutive year. In 2018, she retired following the Indianapolis 500, where she started seventh but finished 30th after a Lap 68 crash.

“I am very honored to drive the Corvette Stingray Pace Car this year at the Indy 500,” Patrick said.

“It is even more special because of the past year we have all endured, and it will be so nice to see fans back in the stands. I’m also excited to again be a part of the NBC broadcast team for the race.”

The 2021 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car (Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

During her 2005 debut, Patrick made history with Rahal Letterman Racing as she qualified fourth and led 18 laps before finishing fourth.

In becoming the highest-qualifying and highest-finishing female in the race’s history, she joined Lyn St. James as Rookie of the Year winners, 13 years after St. James did so.

By 2008, she became the first female winner of an IndyCar race, doing so at Twin Ring Motegi. The next year, Patrick and Andretti Green Racing finished third at the “500”, her career-best finish in eight starts.

“We’re happy to welcome back Danica to the place where she made motorsports history as the first female driver to lead ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” IMS President J. Douglas Boles added.

Danica Patrick prepares to qualify for her final Indianapolis 500 in 2018 (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

“She will provide a unique perspective for NBC viewers while behind the wheel of the powerful Corvette Stingray convertible.”

This year, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will be the first convertible to pace the field since 2008. Patrick also joins Elaine Irwin Mellencamp (2001) and Robin Roberts (2010) as female pace car drivers.

For Chevrolet, it is their 32nd time since 1948 that one of their vehicles has paved the field. Since 1978, 18 Corvettes have done so. The General Motors brand history at the race dates back to the inaugural running in 1911.

Arthur Chevrolet started 14th and finished 36th. His brother Gaston won the 1920 race, while brother Louis made starts in 1915 and 1916 after starting the car company with Arthur in November of 1911.

Up Next

Thursday will be the last session with race-level boost prior to the increase set for “Fast Friday”. Tomorrow’s session will last from 12-6.

Stay with IndyCar1909 for all the latest Indianapolis 500 news and more.

Header Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Indianapolis 500: Day 1 Practice Notebook

By: Spencer Neff
May 18, 2021

During the nearly six hours of combined on-track time at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, all 35 entrants were able to run.

With the first practices in the lead up to the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in the books, here’s a look at some of the day’s major dealings.

Rahal tops opening practice

Practice 1 Results

After a stout two days last month at IMS, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal led the first practice of the day. During the first two-hour session, Rahal posted a best lap of 223.449 miles per hour (40.2776).

The 2020 third-place finisher (matching his career-best 2011 result) and 2008 race winner Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing were the only drivers to eclipse 223 mph, as the points leader finished .0053 of a second off the best time.

Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin was the fastest among the Chevrolet entires, as the rookie slotted in third behind the Honda pair.

Of the 32 eligible rivers to partake in the session, only Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey did not turn a lap. Harvey’s No. 60 replaced an engine during the session and returned later in the day.

Hildebrand leads ROP/Refresher

Refresher/ROP Results

Following the opening practice, sprinkles of rain throughout the track delayed the second session of the day. After a delay of nearly two hours, the three drivers needing to complete their Rookie Orientation or Veteran Refresher programs were able to do so.

Top Gun Racing made their first on-track appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as RC Enerson looks to qualify for his first Indianapolis 500.

Enerson finished Phase 1 (10 laps at 205-210 mph) and completed 9 of 15 laps in Phase 2 (15 laps at 210-215 mph) before a half shaft issue began to cause a grease leak, sidelining him for the day. Prior to the issue, he posted a best lap of 212.982 mph (42.257 seconds).

Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

Tomorrow, IndyCar will open the track an hour early (weather permittting) for Enerson to complete his ROP. Enerson needs to run 15 laps at 215 mph or faster to complete Phase 3 and be fully eligible for on-track time.

As for the two drivers making their returns to IMS, JR Hildebrand was fastest in the refresher session. In his first IndyCar appearance since the 2020 “500”, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and runner-up turned a best lap of 218.298 mph (41.228 seconds). Hildebrand completed his refresher program (Phase 2 and 3) and is eligible to run at any speed.

Making his first attempt at running an IndyCar race since 2018’s Indianapolis 500, where he took the lead on Lap 193 before pitting three laps later, Stefan Wilson returned to Andretti Autosport. Following some early issues, Wilson was able to complete his refresher course and clocked a best lap of 215.282 (41.6894).

Power leads full-field session

Combined Practice Results Practice 2 Results

Following the orientation/refresher practice, a brief pause was taken before all eligible cars were permitted to run on-track until the 6:00 end time.

Image By James Black/INDYCAR

In a session that ran just under two hours, Team Penske’s Will Power earned the fastest lap of the day, as the 2018 “500” winner logged a best lap of 226.470 mph (39.7403), .0175 of a second clear of Andretti Autosport and 2014 race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, giving Chevrolet and Honda a split between the two opening practices.

Although he was 18th on the overall speed chart, three-time “500” pole winner and Owner/Driver Ed Carpenter was quickest on the non-tow speed chart with a best lap of 219.162 mph (41.0655). The no-tow speeds will be most important on Friday, when teams receive the extra turbocharger boost in preparation for qualifying.

No-tow speeds will be an early gauge potential contenders for the pole and Fast 9, as well as the drivers who will have to earn a spot in Sunday’s Last Row Shootout.

Up Next

Aside from the conclusion of Enerson’s ROP (either before or after), teams will be allowed to partake in six hours of on-track time beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, as they will do Thursday and Friday.

Stay with IndyCar1909 for all the latest Indianapolis 500 news and more.

Header Image By Doug Mathews/INDYCAR

GMR Grand Prix: Saturday Recap

By: Spencer Neff
May 15, 2021

On Saturday, the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES event of the month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway took place.

The 2021 GMR Grand Prix took place, marking the fifth race of the season. Here’s a recap of the day’s events.

Rinus VeeKay scores first win

Race Results

After a whirlwind 12 months, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay earned his first career victory during Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix. In his 19th career start, the sophomore driver held off Dale Coyne Racing with RWR’s Romain Grosjean by 4.951 seconds to win.

In doing so, he became the first driver to win at all three levels of the Road to Indy (Lights, Indy Pro and USF2000).

Rinus VeeKay celebrates his first IndyCar victory (Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

The Hoofddorp, Netherlands native joins Arie Luyendyk and Robert Doornbos as Dutch IndyCar winners. VeeKay also becomes the third first-time winner in 2021 (Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward). This is the first time a race on the IMS Road Course has produced a first-time winner in ten events, dating back to 2014.

His team, Ed Carpenter Racing earns their eighth win as a team and first since Iowa Speedway in 2016 (Josef Newgarden). They become the fourth team to win at the IMS Road Course, joining Ganassi, Penske and Arrow McLaren SP (Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports at the time).

Race Recap

Early on, Grosjean pulled away from the field after earning his first career pole position. The start did feature action behind him, however. As multiple drivers went off-course, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly stalled in Turn 2, forcing the caution flag to come before a single lap had been completed.

After falling back as they made repairs in the garage for what was described as an electrical issue, Daly’s team returned to the track for a brief period. Ultimately, the No. 20 fell out of the race after 50 laps, finishing 25th.

Grosjean followed up his first IndyCar pole with his first podium finish (James Black/INDYCAR)

During the yellow, tire strategy began to unfold, as teams looked to gain an advantage by switching to the alternate Firestone tire.

Chief among those drivers was points leader Scott Dixon, as the Chip Ganassi Racing driver pitted after starting 16th. Dixon was one of 17 drivers in the 25-car field to start on the primary tires.

Following the Lap 4 restart, Grosjean’s lead continued to balloon to nearly 10 seconds. As the race continued unabated by another caution, Grosjean’s advantage diminished with the switch to primary tires after leading 44 laps.

VeeKay took the lead for the first time on Lap 48, the first time another driver had led outside of the pit stop cycles.

By Lap 65, he grabbed the lead back and pulled away, securing the victory. Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing rounded out the podium. By finishing 10th,, Dixon maintains a lead of 13 in the points standings, with Palou making it a CGR 1-2.

VeeKay leads morning warmup

VeeKay during Saturday’s prerace warmup (Matt Faver/INDYCAR)

Warmup Results Combined Practice Results

On Friday afternoon, Rinus VeeKay just missed out on the Fast Six, qualifying seventh, .0348 of a second short of advancing.

In Saturday’s morning warmup, the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing team showed their pace for the 85-lap event (1m10.5598-124.439 mph), .0326 of a second ahead of Alex Palou.

Up Next

With the Grand Prix weekend completed, the focus turns to the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Grosjean, VeeKay and Palou celebrate on the podium (Chris Jones/INDYCAR)

Opening Practice begins on Tuesday, with oval veterans taking to the 2.5-mile oval at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Keep tabs on this weekend’s action with IndyCar1909.com and our social media platforms, listed at the bottom of our webpage.

Header Image By Doug Mathews/INDYCAR

GMR Grand Prix: Friday Recap

By: Spencer Neff
May 14, 2021

Friday marked the beginning of the month of May on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As has become the norm since 2014, the Grand Prix kicked things off on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Speedway, Indiana. Here’s a look at some of the headlines from the day.

Grosjean takes first INDYCAR pole

Qualifying Results

During his first day on track at the famed speedway, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR’s Romain Grosjean turned in a best lap of 1m09.4396 (126.447 mph) seconds to win his first IndyCar pole.

Grosjean and the No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with RWR team celebrate the NTT P1 Award (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

In the Fast Six, the Geneva, Switzerland-native topped Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden by .1269 of a second. At the April 18 season opener, Grosjean started seventh, his previous best qualifying effort.

While this is Grosjean’s first pole, DCR earns their first since Sebastien Bourdais started up front at Phoenix in 2018. The only other pole for the organization came in 2013, when Mike Conway did so at Belle Isle Race 2.

Jack Harvey, Alex Palou, Scott McLaughlin and Conor Daly also made the Fast Six. In a session full of surprises, points leader and defending race winner Scott Dixon starts 16th.

Newgarden leads second practice

Practice 2 Results Combined Practice Results

With a best lap of 1m09.3323 (126.642 mph), Josef Newgarden led the final pre-qualifying session, as he looks to build upon his win in Race 1 of the Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader in October on the IMS Road Course.

Image By Joe Skibinski./INDYCAR

Rossi tops first practice

Practice 1 Results

After crashing out before the start of the second race at the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader, Alexander Rossi and the Andretti looked to put their recent issues behind them.

During first practice, he led the way after posting a best lap of 1m09.8784 (125.653 mph). For a few drivers in the field, the first day on track did not offer a pleasant introduction.

Barber winner Alex Palou was unable to make it out on track after mechanical issues plagued the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing entry. A.J. Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais was limited to just three laps with mechanical issues.

Ahead of opening practice, Carlin Racing announced they would not compete in this weekend’s event’s as driver Max Chilton is working through travel issues. The team now turns their focus to preparations for the Indianapolis 500, as practice begins on May 18.

Image By James Black/INDYCAR

Up Next

Here is the remaining schedule for this weekend’s on-track activity. Keep tabs on this weekend’s action with IndyCar1909.com and our social media platforms, listed at the bottom of our webpage. All times listed are track local (Eastern). 

Saturday, May 15

10:45-11:15 a.m. NTT INDYCAR SERIES warmup, Peacock Premium

2 p.m.  NBC on air

2:39 p.m. “Drivers, start your engines”

2:45 p.m. GMR Grand Prix (85 laps/207.3 miles), NBC (Live)

Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR

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