95th Indianapolis 500---The Centennial Edition

Matthew Little

Points Scorer
In most major forms of motor racing, there is one track, one venue, that can inspire greatness in those who compete, a place where legends are born and history is made...........
......in Formula 1 it is the grandest of all venues, Monte Carlo & the Monaco Grand Prix.........
........in NASCAR, it is the highbanks of Daytona and the Daytona 500.........
..........in endurance racing, it is La Sarthe and the 24 Hours of LeMans......
.........and in V8 Supercars, one only needs to look at Mt. Panorama and the Bathurst 1000............

In IndyCar racing, la place de magica, "the magic place", can only mean one location...........the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2.5 miles of central Indiana blacktop crowned with a "yard of bricks", ready to present its' laurels to whoever can master its' tricky nature over the course of 500 miles. Win here, and your name is forever enshrined on one of sports' most iconic trophies, the Borg-Warner Trophy. In addition, this year's running of "the Greatest Spectacle In Racing" comes on the 500's 100th anniversary, a Centennial Edition to one of the most storied' races in all of motorsports...............

95th Indianapolis 500 Event Schedule..........
--May 12th, 2011: Rookie Orientation Program
--May 14th, 2011: Indianapolis Star Opening Day, 9am-6pm
--May 15th, 2011: Indy 500 Practice Session #2, 9am-6pm
--May 16th, 2011: Indy 500 Practice Session #3, 9am-6pm
--May 17th, 2011: Indy 500 Practice Session #4, 9am-6pm
--May 18th, 2011: Indy 500 Practice Session #5, 9am-6pm
--May 19th, 2011: Indy 500 Practice Session #6, 9am-6pm
--May 20th, 2011: Indy 500 Fast Friday Practice, 9am-6pm
--May 21st, 2011: Indy 500 Saturday Practice, 9am-11am*
--May 21st, 2011: Indy 500 Pole Day Qualifying, 11am-4:30pm
--May 21st, 2011: Indy 500 Firestone Pole Shootout, 4:30-6pm
--May 22nd, 2011: IMS Armed Forces Day/Bump Day Qualifying, 9am-6pm**
--May 25th, 2011: American Family Insurance 500 Community Day, 9am-6pm
--May 26th, 2011: Firestone Indy Lights Practice & Qualifying, 9am-6pm
--May 27th, 2011: Miller Lite Carb Day Practice, 11am-Noon
--May 27th, 2011: FIL American Freedom 100, 12:30pm(40 laps)
--May 27th, 2011: IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, 1:30pm
--May 28th, 2011: 95th Indianapolis 500 Driver's Meeting, 10:40am
--May 28th, 2011: IPL Indianapolis 500 Parade, 5pm
--May 29th, 2011: The Centennial Edition of the Indianapolis 500, 12pm
*---practice can occur at any time during Pole Day qualifying
**---Bump Day Qualifying is 11am-6pm; practice can take place at any time during the session

Broadcast Information
Domestic TV: ABC Sports, 12pm
Domestic Radio: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network(IMS Radio)
Satellite Radio: Sirius XM Radio(check listings for exact times)
International Simulcast: ESPN International & the United States Armed Forces Network

Speed Channel: Updated Centennial 500 Entry List

A few weeks back the Indianapolis Motor Speedway released its' entry list for "the Greatest Spectacle in Racing"; here is an updated list............
~~Newman-Haas Racing(2): #2 Oriol Servia, #06 James Hinchcliffe(R)
~~Team Penske(3): #3 Helio Castroneves(W), #6 Ryan Briscoe, #12 Will Power
~~Andretti Autosport(4): #7 Danica Patrick, #26 Marco Andretti, #27 Mike Conway, #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay
~~Richard Petty Motorsports(1): #43 John Andretti
~~Target/Ganassi Racing(2): #9 Scott Dixon(W), #10 Dario Franchitti(W)
~~Ganassi-Snake Racing(2): #38 Graham Rahal, #83 Charlie Kimball(R)
~~Panther Racing(2): #4 J.R. Hildebrand(R), #44 Buddy Rice(W)
~~KV Racing Technology(3): #5 Takuma Sato, #59 E.J. Viso, #82 Tony Kanaan
~~A.J. Foyt Enterprises(2): #14 Vitor Meira, #41 Bruno Junquiera
~~AFS Racing(1): #17 Raphael Matos
~~Dale Coyne Racing(2): #18 James Jakes(R), #19 Alex Lloyd
~~Dreyer & Reinbold Racing(4): #11 Davey Hamilton, #22 Justin Wilson, #23 Paul Tracy, #24 Ana Beatriz
~~Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing(2): #30 Bertrand Baguette, #88 Jay Howard(R)
~~Conquest Racing(2): #34 Sebastien Saavedra, #36 Pippa Mann(R)
~~Sarah Fisher Racing(1): #67 Ed Carpenter
~~Sam Schmidt Motorsports(2): #77 Alex Tagliani, #99 Townsend Bell
~~HVM Racing(1): #78 Simona de Silvestro
~~Bryan Herta Autosport(1): #98 Dan Wheldon(W)
~~Dragon Racing(2): #8 Ho-Pin Tung(R). #20 Scott Speed(R)
~~SH Racing(1): #07 Tomas Scheckter

Unnamed Entries Remaining...............
~~#16 Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing
~~#19 Dale Coyne Racing
~~#57 Sarah Fisher Racing

(5)Indianapolis 500 Winners: Dan Wheldon, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Buddy Rice
(7)Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award Winners: Helio Castroneves, Tomas Scheckter, Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti, Alex Tagliani, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simona de Silvestro
(4)Indianapolis 500 Female Entrants: Danica Patrick, Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann
(4)IndyCar Series Champion Entrants: Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan
(8)95th Indianapolis 500 Rookie Entrants: J.R. Hildebrand, James Jakes, Jay Howard, James Hinchcliffe, Charlie Kimball, Pippa Mann, Ho Pin-Tung, Scott Speed
---Youngest Entrant: Sebastien Saavedra, 20yo
---Oldest Entrant: Davey Hamilton, 48yo
---Most Indy 500 Starts: John Andretti, 11 starts
I'm not even going to begin to try and understand all of those different sessions :o

I would like to try and watch it though if it's being shown over here.
The concentration levels required by the drivers over 500 miles at very high speed on a somewhat monotonous circuit must be incredibly high. One momentary lapse and you're in the wall - HARD!
~~Dragon Racing(2): #8 Ho-Pin Tung(R). #20 Scott Speed(R)

Interesting pair there.

Speed's never been in an Indy Car and Tung's only turned some test laps. Both have extensive open-wheel experience though, so it will be interesting to see how they get on with it.
Release the hounds..............Opening Day at the Brickyard has arrived!!!

Activities at the Brickyard began today with Rookie Orientation, required of all drivers who are scheduled to make their first start in the 500. Seven drivers took to the track today; six of them completed all four phases of ROP with one driver having finished three of the four phases in ROP........

1} J.R. Hildebrand, Panther Racing, 40.626 sec./221.533 mph(68 laps)
2} Ho-Pin Tung, Dragon Racing, 40.821 sec./220.477 mph(53 laps)
3} James Hinchcliffe, Newman-Haas Racing, 40.972 sec./219.664 mph(101 laps)
4} Charlie Kimball, Ganassi-Snake Racing, 40.983 sec./219.602 mph(73 laps)
5} Scott Speed, Dragon Racing, 41.053 sec./219.227 mph(37 laps)
6} Pippa Mann, Conquest Racing, 41.065 sec./219.166 mph(35 laps)
7} James Jakes, Dale Coyne Racing, 41.946 sec./214.563 mph(51 laps)
*--all of the above drives except for Jakes completed all 4 phases of ROP and are cleared to practice at speed; Jakes completed three of the four phases today but is cleared to complete Phase 4 on the first day of veteran practice on May 14

IndyCar.com: Indy 500 Is First Phase of Mann's Pursuits
IndyCar.com: Timing & Scoring, Rookie Orientation
Speed Channel: IndyCar--High Speeds On Opening Day At Indy

While most of the usual suspects were to be found at the top of the timing charts Saturday at the Brickyard, it was Sarah Fisher Racing's Ed Carpenter at the top of the scoring pylon w/the fastest speed of the day at 224.786 mph.

Other speeds of note on Saturday..............
--Scott Dixon, Target/Ganassi Racing 224.491 mph
--J.R. Hildebrand, Panther Racing 224.433 mph
--Dario Franchitti, Target/Ganassi Racing 224.107 mph
--Ryan Briscoe, Team Penske 223.927 mph
--Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport 223.811 mph
--Vitor Meira, A.J. Foyt Enterprises 223.192 mph
--Graham Rahal, Ganassi-Snake Racing 222.764 mph
--Helio Castroneves, Team Penske 222.755 mph
--Paul Tracy, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 222.176 mph
--Danica Patrick, Andretti Autosport 222.232 mph
--Will Power, Team Penske 221.837 mph
--Buddy Rice, Panther Racing 221.461 mph
--Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport 221.296 mph
--Takuma Sato, KV Racing Technology 220.883 mph
--Pippa Mann, Conquest Racing 220.741 mph
--Ana Beatriz, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 220.537 mph
--Bruno Junquiera, A.J. Foyt Enterprises 220.221 mph
--Simona de Silvestro, HVM Racing 219.522 mph

Opening Day Highlights
Speed Channel: IndyCar--Indy 500 Qualifying Preview
Speed's Marshall Pruett & Robin Miller discuss what to expect for qualifying this weekend

Speed Channel: IndyCar--Scott Speed To Step Away From Indy 500 Seat?
According to Speed's Marshall Pruett, Dragon Racing & Scott Speed may part ways, maybe as early as this weekend........

Speed Channel: IndyCar--Who Will Miss The Cut At Indy?
With 40 entries & only 33 spots for the Centennial running of "the Greatest Spectacle in Racing", Speed's Marshall Pruett takes a look at who might end up watching the 500 on Memorial Day Sunday rather than racing in it.....

IndyCar.com: De Silvestro's Goal--Get Back In The Car Quickly
IndyCar's Dave Lewandowski interviewed HVM Racing's Simona de Silvestro on Friday, who suffered burns to her right hand following a fiery crash in practice Thursday; the crash was a result of a rear suspension failure and it is not certain whether the Swiss Miss will be able to drive the car for qualifying[IndyCar rules allow for a substitute driver to qualify the car in de Silvestro's place but if she is cleared for the race, assuming the car qualifies, she would have to start 33rd on race day....
I'm not even going to begin to try and understand all of those different sessions :o

I would like to try and watch it though if it's being shown over here.

It will be shown on Sky 4 in the UK but if you've resisted the Murdoch empire then you should be able to watch it here http://www.indycar.com/ for free. You could last year anyway - you've have to sign up as a member but its pretty much spam free.
Pole Day Highlights From The Brickyard........
---Tags P1.........Currently, Sam Schmidt Motorsports's Alex Tagliani sits at the top of the scoring pylon, setting an early marker of 226.954 for his 4-lap run. At the moment, Tagliani & the Ganassi duo of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti are on the provisional front row
---Where is Penske? Good question........so far, only Will Power has broken into the top-9 w/a 4-lap average of 226.089. By contrast, Ryan Briscoe, who crashed during practice this morning in his primary car, set a 4-lapper of 223.644 and 3-time 500 winner Helio Castroneves wasn't much better, provisionally P16 w/a 4-lapper of 225.216 mph
---Where's Andretti Autosport? The way things are going, they may be putting the team's drivers portraits on milk cartons, asking "Have You Seen This Driver?" 'cause it has been a bad day so far for them. Currently none of them are in the top-24 for today's session & there were worries all across the collective AA braintrust........
---Small-team excellence! For all the attention that the Ganassi & Penske teams get at the Brickyard, shout-outs are in order for some of the smaller teams, for currently 5 of the top-9 positions belong to the smaller teams: 1st-Alex Tagliani(Sam Schmidt Mtrspts.), 4th--Dan Wheldon(Bryan Herta Autosport), 5th--Townsend Bell(Sam Schmidt Mtrspts.), 6th--Ed Carpenter(Sarah Fisher Racing) & 9th--Buddy Rice(Panther Racing)
Alex Tagliani was one of the first cars out to qualify on Pole Day. He was also the last. And did I mention the fastest?

Setting a good speed early placed him easily in the Top 9 shootout to be held later in the day. Having been fastest earlier, he was sent out last, and he just bested the pace of Scott Dixon's Ganassi ride in the final run of the day.

Dario Franchitti's run for Pole ended when he ran out of fuel on his final quali lap, placing him on the outside of Row 3.

Ho-Pin Tung's day ended in disaster when he crashed hard and received a concussion, knocking him out of the race.

Looking to Bump Day, there's gonna be a lot of good cars fighting for a spot in the race tomorrow evening.
Marco Andretti nearly got bumped out of the 500 in the final minutes of Qualifying. With about 4 minutes to go, Alex Lloyd bumped Andretti off the bubble. James Jakes was next out on the track and if he had been near the qualifying pace, Marco would have been left in the pits, next in line. Jakes was very slow though and they flagged him in, allowing Andretti onto the circuit with just over 40 seconds to spare. Marco posted 4 laps of 224 MPH+ and comfortably qualified for the race. His times meant that his teammate Ryan Hunter Reay had been bumped out of the 500 though.

Scott Speed's miserable experiment at Indy ended early Sunday morning before he even got to take to the track for Qualifying. Called in to help setup the car, Patrick Carpentier crashed heavily and without a backup ride, Speed and Dragon Racing were out of the Indianapolis 500.

It's anybody's guess who might win this thing.
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