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April 2017
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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

Quotes from IndyCar’s Friday practice at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama

“What They’re Saying” from Friday Practice at Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a good day for the Menards Chevrolet team. We were able to get a lot of laps in and collect some good data. The car felt good. I think we’re in a good place in terms of speed and balance. This track can be a little tricky and it’s really important to get that balance. Everyone tested here not that long ago, so the cars are pretty dialed in. This is just a fun track to drive.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet): “I really enjoy racing here at Barber. I feel pretty good at where the Fitzgerald Glider Kits Chevy is right now. On the speed side, we were a tick quicker in the first practice, but we were experimenting a little in the afternoon session. The warmer track this afternoon made it a little slick, but that’s not always a bad thing. It’s supposed to be warm again tomorrow and we’ll see what Sunday brings. But for qualifying tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain, should be pretty similar to today. Qualifying will be as important as it always is and we are in a good position to get a good starting spot for Sunday’s race.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet): “This track, it’s very challenging in the setup, obviously Firestone has been doing a very good job changing a little bit of the compound or the construction, and it seemed to suit our setup on the No. 3 AAA Chevy. We keep chasing all the areas, so it’s not only straight, brake and turn, you have a lot of technical corners here that are becoming very difficult, so it makes a big difference when you have a good setup.”

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Chevrolet): “Today was a good day for us overall. We’re continuing to make progress. We rolled off the truck pretty happy which is nice. We could have gotten a little more time out of our reds there but I had to try two different lines myself after looking at some data and so I didn’t take advantage of it as best I could but we’re close. We’re in the hunt for the top 12 so we’ll look at things overnight and hope to be in that top 12 group again tomorrow.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Pretty rough day for us to be honest. We just seemed to miss the balance, especially in the afternoon as the track got hotter. I don’t think we maximized our new tire runs, but the balance was never exactly where the Arrow Electronics crew wanted it. We certainly have our work cut out for us because the field is very close, as it always is, and being a couple tenths off is going to put you a few rows back. We’ll put our heads together and try and come up with a solution for tomorrow.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I think we had a decent day today as a team. We made some progress from Practice 1 to Practice 2. I think the team is headed in the right direction, so let’s hope for the best tomorrow; I’m sure we’re going to do well.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “Of course we wanted to be further up the scoring sheets than where we ended up today with the Gallagher car. I was confident coming in today based on the testing we did last month. We just looked for grip all day here at Barber and didn’t find any. It didn’t matter if it was the primary or the alternate tire, there was just no grip.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): “It wasn’t a terrible day overall for the No. 9 NTT Data car. We are working through some things and trying to get the balance of the car right where I want it. Honda and the team are working hard on it and we hope to move up the timing sheets for qualifying tomorrow here at Barber.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): “We really struggled out there today to find grip. It didn’t help that it was so much hotter today than it was when we tested here a month ago. I’m definitely not happy with where we were today, but I’m feeling good about the direction we need to go to get the car quick for qualifying.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’m pretty excited about qualifying tomorrow at Barber after today’s two practice sessions. We had podium finishes in both sessions and we’re feeling strong. The Verizon Chevy has performed really well today and we think we have the machine to help us make a strong showing in tomorrow’s qualifying session. This track is a great mix of speed and technical. The speed in the turns is amazing. It really makes it a lot of fun.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “We made a lot of progress compared to the test. We are much more competitive. I think we still have to work a little bit on the (Firestone alternate) red tires. Everyone is really close to each other in the lap times but I feel really competitive.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “It was a frustrating day. So far this season, we have struggled on the first day of practice and we need to find a way to be stronger out of the box. We will look at the data and work hard to rebound overnight and get to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying like we did at the last race. We have a lot of work to do but I’m confident my guys can make it happen.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda): “t was a tough day. There’s something I’m not putting my finger on and I’m struggling to understand and explain what the car is doing. Just a challenging day. Regardless of the result and the lap time, I just seem to have a tough time to make sense of everything, so I’m going to sit down to try and understand what I’m not getting. It’s been a weird day.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “It was a difficult first day at Barber Motorsports Park aboard the Boy Scouts of America Honda car. We started off not too badly and then we made a few changes for the afternoon session and they didn’t really work out. We’ll work overnight to try and make the car better for tomorrow. We went through the same stuff in Long Beach so I’m confident that we can work through it and be back running well tomorrow.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “We obviously need to improve in some areas. There are a couple of corners in particular that we can really make some gains in. When we figure that out, we’ll definitely jump up a lot. Our focus overnight will be to pinpoint things that aren’t going exactly how we would like and hopefully we’ll take a big step forward tomorrow.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “It is definitely a baptism by fire. I’m so thankful to Ed Carpenter Racing and Fuzzy’s Vodka for allowing me to be here this weekend. With the very limited amount of time I’ve had in the car before this, and after two 45 minute practice sessions, we’re still trying to work up to it. It’s extremely difficult, but everyone is doing the best that they can to get me up to speed. We want to take it bit by bit. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew right now. We’re working up to it nice and slowly; if anything, this whole weekend is a big test session for me, learning how it is to be in an Indy car.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “I think it was a difficult day for us. We tried a few things and it seems like the condition of the car was going the opposite way that we wanted – which is OK because we’re still learning. The sister cars are recording very fast times so I am looking forward to going into debrief and sharing all our data. We didn’t have a strong day today, but hopefully we’ll be in the front tomorrow.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda): “I think as a team on the No. 27 Honda side we’re just really trying to focus on us and trying to make the best educated guess at what the (Firestone alternate) red (tires) would do, and I think we did a good job of that today. We did a good job of that at Long Beach, too. We just need to do it when it counts tomorrow (in qualifying). You know, it’s very important to qualify well here, so I’m pleased that we have the pace to hopefully be able to do that. So far, so good. We just need to replicate it tomorrow.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Overall, we ended both sessions in the top 10 and I think it’s a day where we learned a lot. We learned some things to keep and what not to do as well. That last session I was way too loose with the settings on the car so we know what we need to do tomorrow and hopefully we can be right there at the front. I think Marco (Andretti) showed good pace, so I think as a team we can all be up top.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): “The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team made some good changes between sessions today. I could tell within the first lap or two that the car was a lot better this afternoon. It was really night and day from the first session. This morning we were working from data picked up from the test last month, but the grip level changed a lot. We made a damper change and found a good amount of speed. I’m confident the No. 83 team will come back tomorrow for another strong qualifying.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Andretti/Curb Honda): “This morning was pretty good, but we started to develop some brake issues this afternoon which definitely compromised our performance on the time sheets. We’ll have to understand why that is. Otherwise, I think the car is pretty good and Marco (Andretti) was P1 so we can compare data and make our car even better. We’ll just have to make sure we resolve those issues tonight and come back strong tomorrow.”




Marco Andretti tops speed chart at practice session for Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama


Marco Andretti in 2015 Carb Day Indy 500 By Sarah Stierch - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Friday, April 21, 2017) – Marco Andretti got off to a fast start today, recording the best practice lap in preparation for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by America’s First.

Andretti, in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda, toured Barber Motorsports Park’s 2.3-mile, 17-turn permanent road course in 1 minute, 7.7134 seconds (122.280 mph) to top the combined speed chart from a pair of Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions. Two-time Barber race winner Will Power was second at 1:07.7454 (122.222 mph).

HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA: Practice 1Practice 2Combined practice results

Andretti’s last win and second of his career came 95 races ago at Iowa Speedway in June 2011. The 30-year-old third-generation Indy car driver knows today’s results mean little, but likes where he stands heading into Verizon P1 Award knockout qualifying Saturday.

“It’s very important to qualify well here, so I’m pleased that we have the pace to hopefully be able to do that,” Andretti said. “But yeah, so far, so good. We just need to replicate it tomorrow.”

Andretti has collected four pole positions to date, but the most recent was 60 starts ago at Pocono Raceway in July 2013. He said attaining the best car balance through both the high- and low-speed turns around Barber will be key.

“I think it’s just going to be about maximizing when it counts, you know?” Andretti said. “It’s going to be doing it on that lap and putting all my sectors together, and (I’ve) got to do it three times, three rounds (in qualifying). That’s going to be the plan. It just seems we have a pretty good car. It’s just going to come down to whether I can put it together.”

Power, in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, led a trio of Team Penske drivers who finished the day second through fourth fastest. The 2011 and ’12 Barber winner was followed by reigning race and series champion Simon Pagenaud in the No. 1 Menards Chevrolet (1:07.8305) and 2010 Barber winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Chevrolet (1:07.9044).

“It’s just a track that I like,” said Power, who also won the pole position at the track in 2010, ’11 and ’14. “You want to be competitive everywhere; I think with Penske we are. You have a chance to win everywhere, but yeah, I enjoy this place.”

A third 45-minute practice awaits at noon ET Saturday, ahead of knockout qualifying starting at 4:15 p.m. (NBCSN coverage starts at 4:30). Live coverage of the 90-lap race begins at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. Sunday’s race will be the eighth Verizon IndyCar Series event conducted at Barber Motorsports Park and the third of 17 races on this year’s schedule.

Alonso to turn first laps on Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on May 3

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will begin on-track preparation for his Indianapolis 500 debut with a test session May 3 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The test will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET on the 2.5-mile oval. This will be the first career laps on an oval for the 2005 and 2006 world champion, who drives in Formula One for McLaren Honda. Fans can watch the test from the track’s Turn 2 infield mound, the IMS Museum parking lot and the South Terrace Grandstands.

Alonso, 35, from Spain, is skipping the Monaco Grand Prix this year to compete in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28. He will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in a Honda car entered by McLaren and prepared by reigning race champion Andretti Autosport.

Alonso is aiming to win the second leg of auto racing’s career triple crown of victories in the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Alonso triumphed in 2006 and 2007 at Monaco.

Hunter-Reay goes fishing with Sasquatch

Ryan Hunter-Reay has enjoyed success at Barber Motorsports Park, with two race wins and a pole position. But that’s not the only reason the Andretti Autosport driver enjoys coming to the picturesque and quirky road course.

“There is always something new and surprising to see on and off the track, thanks to the imagination and inspiration of George Barber,” Hunter-Reay said Wednesday as he stood next to one of the track’s latest unusual statues – this one of Sasquatch, the folklore ape-man creature also known as Bigfoot. Sasquatch stands beside a secret fishing hole within a few feet of the track, complete with fishing pole cast into the water in the hopes of catching his next meal.

Track owner George Barber invited Hunter-Reay, an avid fisherman who enjoys deep-sea fishing off the coast of his Florida home, to meet and do some fishing with one of the park’s more elusive residents.

“(Sasquatch) moved to the area some years ago and we found him wandering aimlessly in the woods,” Barber explained. “We felt a little sorry for him, so we gave him some cover, a pond to fish and bathe in, and he’s been with us since.”

Hunter-Reay grabbed a rod and spent time fishing for bass with his new “friend” in a small pond atop an impressive new waterfall feature that sits between the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and Turn 9 of the 2.3-mile racetrack that has hosted Verizon IndyCar Series races since 2010. They discussed the 13-acre lake on Barber’s property that is home to 1,700 largemouth bass and 17,000 bream and redear sunfish, smaller fish upon which the bass feed.

While waiting for a bite on his line, Hunter-Reay recounted another surprise he encountered on track at last month’s open test.

“As I came around the turn and under the bridge by the museum, I was surprised to see a woman in a skirt with her shoes still on, hanging from the rafters of the bridge,” said Hunter-Reay, who won the Barber race from the pole in 2013 and repeated as race winner the following year. “I was about to radio it in, when I remembered where I was. I took another lap just to be sure and there she was. It was a bit distracting at first but all in good fun.”

“That’s Georgina,” George Barber said matter-of-factly of the mannequin hanging over the track from the bridge. “She is a big INDYCAR fan. We have quite a few crazy fans, but there’s always one that does something a little looney and that’s Georgina.

“She likes the view from bridge and she’s decided that she’s going to stay there until one of these drivers slows down enough for her to drop right down into the cockpit with him. She’s a real attractive southern lady.”

Askew makes it two in a row with Barber USF2000 win

Oliver Askew led from flag to flag today to claim his second straight Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda win of the season, this one in the first of two weekend races at Barber Motorsports Park.

The 20-year-old from Jupiter, Florida, driving the No. 3 Mazda Motorsports/MC RacingTatuus USF-17 for Cape Motorsports, built a safe lead on 14-year-old Kaylen Frederick (No. 81 Team Pelfrey Pilot ONE Racing USF-17) after starting from the pole position. A late full-course caution allowed Frederick to pressure Askew on the restart, but Askew held strong and crossed the line 0.2273 of a second ahead at the checkered flag.




IndyCar invades Alabama this weekend for Honda Grand Prix


Tune-In to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama - Sunday at 3:00 p.m ET on NBCSN


Event Details Race Preview
Entry List Weekend Schedule
Spotter Guide Pit Assignments
Past Driver Performance Track Map
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Get in the game - Play Fantasy Challenge Driven By Firestone at
Verizon IndyCar Series Partners


Fernando Alonso, Formula One champion, will test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway May 3

Fernando Alonso in 2016 By Box Repsol, CC BY 2.0, https

Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso will begin on-track preparation for his Indianapolis 500 debut with a test session Wednesday, May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The test will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) on the 2.5-mile oval. This will be the first career laps on an oval for 2005 and 2006 World Champion Alonso, who drives in Formula One for McLaren Honda.

Alonso, 35, from Spain, is skipping the Monaco Grand Prix this year to compete in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28 at IMS. He will make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in a Dallara-Honda car entered by McLaren and prepared by reigning race champions Andretti Autosport.

He is aiming to win the second leg of auto racing’s triple crown of victories in the Indianapolis 500, Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Alonso triumphed in 2006 and 2007 at Monaco.

Fans can watch testing for free from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. from the Turn 2 viewing mounds, Museum parking lot and South Terrace Grandstands.




Former “Lucky Spencer” from General Hospital, Jonathan Jackson & Enation to perform at Indy 500 Pre-race activities


Indianapolis Motor Speedway Press Release

Jonathan Jackson + Enation Add Excitement to Indianapolis 500 Pre-Race

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, April 17, 2017 – Alternative rock band Jonathan Jackson + Enation will bring its singular style and energy to the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil pre-race festivities Sunday, May 28, performing on a specially designed rolling stage that debuted during last year’s race.

The band just released its new single, “Revolution of the Heart,” ahead of its upcoming full-length album, “Anthems for the Apocalypse.” The stage will stop in Turns 1, 2 and 4 for performances from the group.

“Jonathan Jackson + Enation add a dynamic presence to our Indy 500 pre-race lineup,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles. “We’re excited to bring the rolling stage back alongside a popular band making waves in Nashville and beyond.”

Jonathan Jackson + Enation have released four studio albums. The band’s previous release, “Radio Cinematic,” earned them numerous radio and TV appearances, including live performances on “The View” and VH1′s “Big Morning Buzz Live.” The single “Everything Is Possible” climbed the Hot AC charts to # 45 and helped propel the band’s Radio Cinematic US Summer Tour, by playing to sold out audiences and earning high praises from critics and fans.

Formed by brothers Jonathan and Richard Lee Jackson, the band is originally from the Northwest but calls Nashville, Tennessee, home – and for good reason. You may recognize Jonathan Jackson from CMT’s drama “Nashville,” in which he plays “Avery,” an up-and-coming musician trying to make it in Music City. Jonathan is a five-time Emmy Award-winning actor and a recent Critics’ Choice Award nominee who has starred in numerous TV shows and films, including “Tuck Everlasting,” “General Hospital” and “Insomnia.”

Jonathan Jackson + Enation believes music can be a force for good in the world. The band partners with charities such as IOCC, an international humanitarian organization helping to bring aid to those in need, and the anti-human trafficking organization NOT FOR SALE, which helps bring awareness to combat the growing global atrocity of modern-day slavery.

To learn more about the band, please visit: or follow on Twitter and Instagram.




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