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Archive for May 3rd, 2020

Iowa presents Backyard Calls with Play by Play announcer Gary Dolphin

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa is teaming with Athletico to offer Backyard Calls with Gary Dolphin, giving fans the opportunity to submit video of backyard activities for the Voice of the Hawkeyes to call the action.

 

Backyard Calls with Gary Dolphin, presented by Athletico, will begin Friday, May 1. Fans can submit their funniest 10-15 second videos to social media for an opportunity for Dolphin to call their backyard plays.  The three most entertaining videos each week will be voiced and posted to Iowa’s official social media accounts.

Gary Dolphin (file photo)

 

Videos 10-15 seconds in length can be submitted to the Iowa Athletics Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds by replying to the Backyard Calls post Sunday and Monday.

 

Follow @TheIowaHawkeyes on Facebook and Twitter as the Backyard Calls of the Week are revealed each Friday. Whether Gary yells “Touchdown Iowa!” as little ones play football in the backyard or “I can’t believe what I just saw!” as the dog jumps over the cat to steal that hotdog, Backyard Calls of the Week will bring a smile to all.

 

Per NCAA rules, prospective student-athletes cannot be considered to have their plays called.  This allows for youth, sixth grade and under to be included.

 

Dolphin has served as the radio voice of Iowa football and men’s basketball since 1997. In addition to his play-by-play duties, Dolphin serves as the weekly host of football and men’s basketball radio shows throughout each season. He has been named Iowa Sportscaster of the Year on four occasions.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Steve Roe, Allan C. James; COURTESY IOWA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

 

IndyCar’s First Responders 175 ends with wild last lap finish as McLaughlin comes back from 5th place

 

INDIANAPOLIS (May 2, 2020) – Scott McLaughlin entered the final turn of the First Responder 175 presented by GMR in fifth place, but he took the checkered flag as the winner less than one-half mile later.

Yes, the finish of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge finale was that wild.

Two-time reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion McLaughlin edged Conor Daly by .2609 of a second to win the 70-lap, 175-mile race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. New Zealand native McLaughlin averaged 174.743 mph in the No. 40 PIRTEK Team Penske Dallara to earn his second win in the six-round virtual series featuring NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and special guests.

Oliver Askew and Santino Ferrucci collided on the front straightaway while dueling for the victory with the checkered flag and famous Yard of Bricks start-finish line in sight, letting McLaughlin sneak through for a surprising victory, with NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Daly’s No. 31 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet right behind.

Scott McLaughlin at the 2020 Supercars season launch By Kytabu - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

Click: ResultsTranscript |

“I saw a whole bunch of crashing,” McLaughlin said. “Unbelievable to get the PIRTEK car into Victory Lane. It was really cool. From that last caution, my front wing was damaged, so I was just literally just trying to hope there was a wreck at the end, and there were two.

“We were at the right place at the right time. I thought we were going to get third, and then the two wrecked in front of us, and we got the win. That was exhilarating. That was cool.”

2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge Rookie of the Year Ferrucci was credited with third place in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda despite heavy impact with Askew and the outside wall on the front straightaway. NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Askew was fourth in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Honda, while teammate Pato O’Ward rounded out the top five in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Honda.

Just .902 of a second separated the top five finishers after a wild final lap that capped an eventful race in which 12 drivers – more than a third of the 33-driver field – swapped the lead 19 times. Pole sitter McLaughlin was the only driver among the top 12 finishers to start from one the top 10 spots on the grid.

2019 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion Askew led teammate O’Ward under the white flag with one lap to go around the 2.5-mile oval. Marcus Ericsson was third in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

The three cars went three-wide entering Turn 3 on the final lap, with Ericsson diving under O’Ward for the lead and Askew on the outside.

O’Ward then tried to return the favor in Turn 4, attempting to slip under leader Ericsson. But the gap wasn’t there, and the two cars made contact, sending Ericsson heavily into the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4.

Askew slipped through that incident and charged for the checkered, with Ferrucci closely in tow. Ferrucci moved to Askew’s right in an attempt to use the aerodynamic draft to sling-shot past Askew at the line. But the two cars collided heavily, blunting their mad dash for the win.

“Coming to the line, I was trying to get really up close to him,” Ferrucci said. “I don’t know why, but I went through him trying to get close to him. Trying to steer closer to him and closer to him because I knew the drag race would be tight. I just didn’t expect the cars to go sideways. That’s my bad, and I’m sorry for doing that to Oliver because that was definitely his race there.”

The collision between Askew and Ferrucci opened a path to glory for the trailing McLaughlin and Daly, and they were more than happy to race through that opening.

“It was quite a day on the Internet today,” Daly said. “It was an electric factory of a race. I think our strategy was awesome and hilarious at the same time because I think we were involved in three different accidents. It was fun. What a day.”

McLaughlin became the second two-time winner in the series, joining Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, who won the previous oval races at Michigan and Twin Ring Motegi. McLaughlin was the only driver to win on a road course and an oval, as his first victory came in Round 2 on April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park.

“I don’t think I could have gotten the W with the car we had on outright pace,” McLaughlin said. “Before that, we had new tires and were on a really good strategy and could have been OK. Once I bent the wing, I was just trying to hold on. I was hoping I got lucky there with some wrecks, and we did.”

The last lap was a mirror of nine final laps of chaos during which unpredictability was the only predictable element.

Pagenaud led the field on the final restart, on Lap 61, looking to sweep all three oval races in the series. Graham Rahal, Felix Rosenqvist, Lando Norris and Max Chilton rounded out the top five on the restart, with Askew sixth and McLaughlin seventh.

Rahal drove his No. 15 United Rentals Honda under Pagenaud’s No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet for the lead in Turn 3 of Lap 62, the first full lap after the restart. But Rahal and Pagenaud collided at the exit of Turn 1 on Lap 63, and Askew wriggled through the mayhem to take the lead, with Norris second, O’Ward third, McLaughlin fourth and Ericsson fifth.

Formula One standout Norris then jumped Askew for the lead later on the same lap, apparently headed for his second straight win in as many starts in the No. 04 Arrow McLaren SP Dallara. But Norris’ dream ended while exiting Turn 4 on Lap 68, as he hit the rear of Pagenaud’s damaged car that was slowly heading toward pit road for service. Front-row starter Norris ended up 21st after the accident.

That incident elevated Askew to first, O’Ward to second and Ericsson to third, setting the stage for the wildest of the 390 laps of virtual racing contested over six events in this series.

2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power once again was cruelly denied in his bid to earn a victory despite dominating the series in his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. 2018 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Power led 21 laps, more than any other driver, but ended up 14th. It was his first finish outside of the top six for Power, who led 95 of the 268 laps contested on ovals in the series.

While the First Responder 175 presented by GMR was the final race in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, it kicked off a variety of virtual activities to connect fans to their beloved Month of May at IMS. The two traditional racing pillars of the month have been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the GMR Grand Prix scheduled for Saturday, July 4 on the IMS road course and the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge set for Sunday, Aug. 23.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge did not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The season, which runs from March to September, currently consists of 17 races in the United States and Canada and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge held annually in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

ABOUT iRacing.com:

The world leader in the online racing simulation and gaming market, iRacing was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including “Grand Prix Legends” and NASCAR 2003.” Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, as well as co-owner of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing. iRacing.com has developed dozens of formal partnerships in the motorsport industry to help create the most authentic racing simulation in the world including with NASCAR, IndyCar, International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, IMSA, World of Outlaws, Mazda Motorsports, McLaren Racing, Williams F1, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, the Skip Barber Racing School and General Motors.

 

RACE RECAP WRITTEN BY Kate Davis; COURTESY INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

IndyCar’s iRacing Challenge: First Responders 175 Fast Facts

When: 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, May 2

Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a four-turn, 2.5-mile oval. Turn banking: 9 degrees, 12 minutes. Straightaway width: 50 feet. Turn width: 60 feet.

Race distance: 70 laps/175 miles (281.6 km) (approximately 75 minutes)

Expected pit stops: One or two. Fuel window will be approximately 30-35 laps. Cars will be allowed one “Fast Repair” during the race.

Twitter: @IndyCar@iRacing@IMS, #INDYCARChallenge, #INDYCAR

TV/Online: 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App. Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer, alongside the network’s INDYCAR analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy, and pit reporter Marty Snider. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by the Indianapolis Fire Department’s Voices of IFD singing the national anthem and New York City first responders giving the command to start engines. The podium finishers will be interviewed on the live NBCSN broadcast. Diffey also will host a post-race virtual press conference with the podium finishers for media members (call-in details will be distributed).

Spotter guide: Click here to see a detailed spotter guide for this Saturday’s race.

Starting lineup: Click here to see a starting lineup for this Saturday’s race.

Race notes:

• The First Responder 175 presented by GMR is the last of six rounds in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. It’s the third oval race in the virtual series. Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) won both previous oval rounds, the Chevrolet 275 on April 11 at Michigan International Speedway and the Firestone 175 on April 18 at Twin Ring Motegi.

• Experienced sim racers Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) and Lando Norris (Arrow McLaren SP) will comprise the front row of the starting grid for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR. Two-time and reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion McLaughlin won the pole Friday with a top lap of 39.432 seconds, 228.241 mph, with Formula One standout Norris second at 39.439, 228.201.

• Front-row starters Scott McLaughlin and Lando Norris are two of only three drivers in the 33-driver field with no career starts on the IMS oval in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, Freedom 100 or Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard. The other is NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Alex Palou (Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh), who qualified eighth with a best lap of 39.454 seconds, just .022 of a second off McLaughlin’s pole lap.

• Twenty-four of the 33 starters in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR have made at least one Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge start. And five of those without “500″ starts competed in the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race on the IMS oval - Oliver Askew (Arrow McLaren SP), RC Enerson (Top Gun Racing), Dalton Kellett (A.J. Foyt Enterprises), Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP) and Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing). Scott Speed (Andretti Autosport) has started in the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series race.

• Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) recorded the closest victory of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge at the last oval race, the Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi. He edged fellow NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) by .3429 of a second.

• All four previous race winners in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will compete in the finale at IMS: Sage Karam (Watkins Glen winner), Scott McLaughlin (Barber Motorsports Park winner), Simon Pagenaud (Michigan and Motegi winner) and Lando Norris (Circuit of The Americas winner).

• James Davison (Byrd/Petry/Hayward/Belardi), RC Enerson (Top Gun Racing), Scott Speed (Andretti Autosport) and Stefan Wilson (Juncos Racing) each earned a spot in the 33-car starting field by turning the four fastest laps during a special qualifying session Wednesday. Enerson and Wilson each will make their first starts in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge.

• There are eight Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winners in the starting lineup for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR: Helio Castroneves (Team Penske), Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport), Tony Kanaan (A.J. Foyt Enterprises), Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske), Will Power (Team Penske), Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) and Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing). The top qualifier for Saturday’s race among that group is Power, who will start seventh.

• An impressive streak ended at Round 5 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge on April 25 at Circuit of the Americas, as a Team Penske driver failed to score a podium finish for the first time in the virtual racing series. Scott McLaughlin was the team’s top finisher, in fourth.

• Will Power (Team Penske) has finished sixth or better in all five rounds of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, with a best finish of second April 4 on the road course at Barber Motorsports Park. Power also has led 74 of 198 laps contested in the two oval races so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, more than any other driver. Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) is second on that list with 54 laps led on ovals.

FIRST RESPONDER 175 presented by GMR PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 4 ripKurrent Chevrolet): “The last event will be a big challenge at IMS. It is a very unforgiving place in real life, and it is similar on iRacing. I hope luck will be on our side to finish on a high.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Riley Children’s Foundation Chevrolet): “It’s always great to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am pumped that they chose this for our final iRacing INDYCAR Challenge event, and it just makes me wish that it were August. Plus, I will have a special Riley Children’s Foundation car raising awareness for the Riley Relief Fund. I can’t wait for Saturday.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 911 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s time to go back to Indy, baby – at least on the computer for now. It’s been so great to be involved with a couple of races, and it’s been so much fun racing against my INDYCAR competitors in the virtual world until we can race in the real one. The cherry on top is that all of the drivers selected Indianapolis for the final race. Everyone knows I love that place. There’s just something about it that has jelled so well with the way I race, and I’ve had some truly incredible success there. I don’t know if that translates on the computer, but I can tell you I will give it the same effort. It will also be a little weird to see the Yellow Submarine without the No. 3, but thanks to our friends at GMR/AMR, we are going to run the 911 this week to help honor all of our first responders. I know I can speak for everyone in the INDYCAR community when I say I am so thankful for all the first responders and everyone who is doing everything they can to keep all of us around the world safe. That’s why I’m so honored to have a special number for this race for my Pennzoil Chevy. It’s our way of saying thank you to all of those folks for everything they are doing during this crisis. I am going to do my best to give this race my all and hopefully come away with a win.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “I think ending the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a great way to round out the NTT INDYCAR SERIES adventure into the world of iRacing. We haven’t had the best results during the last few rounds, but it’s been a lot of fun learning the game and keeping fans engaged during these strange times. Hopefully we can come away from this INDYCAR iRacing Challenge with a solid result for the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet this weekend.”

CONOR DALY (No. 31 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet): “I definitely want to thank Carlin for giving me the opportunity to have a locked-in spot in this weekend’s virtual Indy 500. It’s a cool little piece of teamwork between the two teams to make sure we’re locked in and ready for the race on Saturday, which is awesome. I’ll still be in the U.S. Air Force Chevrolet; it’ll just have a 31 on it. I’m starting the real NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in Texas with Carlin, so it’ll be good to get a head start on working the Carlin guys and have some fun this weekend together. We’ll see what happens in the virtual racing world this weekend at IMS in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge finale.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Last race of the iRacing Challenge – I’m looking forward to it. I think we have been on a good run lately. The last couple of events have been pretty good, pretty solid. I’m getting more and more comfortable, so I want a top result to end this INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. I think we can run the No. 8 Huski Honda car right up the front and actually fight for the win this weekend, so that’s what we’re targeting. We’ve got the tools to do it, and I’m eager to try to get to Victory Lane. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s nice to finish off at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; I think it’s a perfect way to finish off this iRacing Challenge. Let’s see what we can do.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet): “Excited that we’re in Indianapolis this weekend. Even more excited that it’s the last one out of this series of virtual races, which means we are going back to reality races pretty soon. Really excited about that. I hope the fans enjoyed it. There’s not a better place to finish the series than Indy, but I want to go to the real one.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet): “I think a lot of the drivers are excited to race the IMS oval. I know that it will be very high intensity. That’s because it’s Indy and it’s the final INDYCAR Challenge event. With only 70 laps rather than 200, the drivers will want to qualify well and get to the front pretty quickly. We had a good oval car at MIS and Motegi, but things didn’t go our way. Hopefully, we’ll have another strong car this Saturday. It should be a great race.”

DALTON KELLETT (No. 41 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet): “I am very excited to be among the 33 drivers taking the green flag for the final race of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, and I can’t think of a better place to cap it off than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The oval races have been very exciting, and I know we can bring the fans a great show. With fixed setups, the field will be tight. It will be very important to get everything out of qualifying and make smart decisions in the pack during the race. I will be working with these goals in mind and going for a strong finish with the No. 41 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet eCar.”

SCOTT McLAUGHLIN (No. 40 PIRTEK Team Penske Dallara): “It’s always been a dream of mine to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I hope to get the chance to do it one time. But I’m stoked to take a shot at the virtual IMS this weekend. I’ve been lucky enough to be at the track during the Month of May to root for my Team Penske teammates and its cool, so I’m ready to rip around there on the sim. I hope some of my oval experience from the series so far helps, but this will be a challenge and I am really looking forward to it. I’m also excited to have PIRTEK on my Dallara, which is also a big team sponsor for us in Australia. We’ve also changed our number this weekend to be No. 40, which honors their 40th anniversary. So pretty cool to say I’ll be in the No. 40 PIRTEK car for Indianapolis.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet): “I’m excited for the final race of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge to be at Indianapolis. All of us INDYCAR drivers love that place for so many reasons – the history, the pageantry, the chance to win at one of the hallowed places in all of sports. It’s just such a special place. I’m thankful to INDYCAR, iRacing and NBCSN to give us one more way to race that beautiful track now in the virtual world. The whole iRacing series of races has been such a great learning experience. I’ve been able to spend time with my team in a new way to prepare for whenever we can go back to racing in real life. I’ve been training a lot for this one and can’t wait to race.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “It really all comes down to this, and I just can’t wait. Indianapolis has always been special to me, but after the success the team had there in 2019 during the Month of May, it’s even more so. It all feels so full circle to be racing there again, at least virtually, back in my Menards Chevy that brought us so much luck last year. It was so great to bring home another couple of wins for Roger (Penske) and also really great to bring John Menard his first Indy 500 win. We won’t be able to have another go at winning the Indy 500 until August, and this is an excellent way to prepare for that. I know all the INDYCAR fans out there just can’t wait for us to go back to racing – especially at Indianapolis – as much as the rest of us drivers can’t wait. I’m really thankful to NBCSN for showing a number of our iRacing events to all the fans out there. I’ve been training extra hard for this weekend because I know myself and the rest of our team would love another win at Indy – especially a virtual one.”

ALEX PALOU (No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda): “It’s been two tough weekends for us, so I’m looking forward to this weekend’s race and hoping for a good result to end the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Last week, I was running well up until I spun. On the sim, it’s very easy to go a little bit over the limit without knowing. In the real car, you feel more what the car is doing. You can drive at 95 percent without spinning, and on the sim you think you’re 90 percent but you’re actually at 110 percent, which is why I spun. I was running in the top three, so it was a shame. This weekend we head to virtual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I didn’t think that the first time I’d race at Indianapolis would be on iRacing, but it should be an interesting race. I’ve been practicing this week with some of the other drivers, and it’s going to be close and exciting. It will probably come down to the last corner. I have a new computer and new pedals for this weekend, so hopefully that will help me be a little bit faster.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I guess I have one more shot to win one of these, man. We’ve been so, so close all year long. I don’t know if anyone else has run up front as much as the Verizon Chevrolet. I’m pumped that we’re going to end it at the virtual Indianapolis for the last race of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. I just love that place and am proud of our success there. We work our tails off every year to be our best, and a race at the virtual IMS is no exception. My team and I have been preparing for this one in a different way because it’s one we all want to win. We’re really planning on throwing we can at it and taking everything we have learned in the real world to apply to this race in the virtual one. I can’t wait to get back on track and be a part of this awesome iRacing event with all of the other INDYCAR guys one more time.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “The iRace at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be a blast. I expect there to be plenty of carnage, fun, laughs and good racing. There will be big drafts, and the leader will always be a sitting duck — good times! I think the fans will like this one the best. I feel the oval races have been great. Humorous, which we all needed, but also much better racing than the road courses. I think everyone has had fun with this and will continue to do it well past the end of the INDYCAR Challenge in a more fun and less-focused manner. Overall, it has been a great experience. Difficult for some – those who aren’t regulars at this stuff – but overall it has been a huge hit for all of us and more importantly our fans and partners. We want to keep this growing and help build into the start of our real INDYCAR calendar, which we all hope is coming soon. We have certainly enjoyed the laughter and communication between teammates and our engineering core during this time on iRacing. It has allowed us to get some of our usual on-track communication back to normal and give us a little leg up as we go into the season. The best part has been to raise some money for Turns for Troops thanks to United Rentals. I am just ready to go racing. Being in my home gym constantly, watching old race tapes, it’s time to go racing, and I hope it really is close for all of us.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It’s the final race of this new generation of racing for us this year. There will probably be a lot more races after this I bet, but it feels good to get a closure to iRacing Challenge with ending at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s been quite a lot of hours for a lot of us on this, and it’s been great fun. But I think everyone is now ready to start focusing on the real deal. Hopefully we can get going here soon in a couple of weeks. Indy is always going to be the big one, even in iRacing. So, we better get prepared for it. We’re hoping to get the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda car up to the front for this last one.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Panasonic/Mi-Jack Honda): “Each race is a new experience for me, and I am enjoying both the oval and road course. The close racing never stops on the oval way, which is great fun. The road course is much more challenging in terms of driving at the moment for me, but I guess once you are totally comfortable, it’s going to be a lot of fun just like real racing. You just need to have a really good amount of practice and experience for this. A lot of the feelings are missing, just some force feedback though the steering wheel and visual from the display. You miss the sensation of G-forces and pitching, rolling and particularly the yaw moment – all the senses you use for driving. But I am starting to understand more and more, and it feels like I’m actually driving, so that is a very interesting phase now. Having great drivers from all over the world over different series is just fantastic. It’s great for us to be able to race against them, and it’s fantastic entertainment for fans. Certainly the relationship with the engineers and keeping us sharp for non-racing time by the sim world is beneficial since it’s very competitive here, too. And, of course, connecting with fans for the sport and entertainment is a great thing, especially in times like today. We hope we will get over this challenging time together, and we will be all very happy to go back a real racing. It’s going to be very unpredictable in an exciting way. It will be close racing through all the way to the finish, and that gives fun and great entertainment.”

RINUS VEEKAY (No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet): “I’ve always looked forward to the first time driving an Indy car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Even though it’s going to be virtual, I’m very excited to get going and I’m looking forward to all great battles coming during Saturday’s race.”

 

RACE NOTES WRITTEN BY Kate Davis; COURTESY INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

IndyCar’s First Responders 175: Top 5 topics

 

INDIANAPOLIS (May 1, 2020) – The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a virtual racing event featuring a full field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and special guests, concludes Saturday, May 2 with the First Responder 175 presented by GMR beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

The 70-lap event, which will last approximately 70 minutes, will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The NBC broadcasting team of Leigh DiffeyTownsend BellPaul Tracy and Marty Snider will call the action. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by the Indianapolis Fire Department’s Voices of IFD singing the national anthem and New York City first responders giving the command to start engines.

Click: Entry ListSpotter Guide

The entry list of 33 drivers includes series champions Scott DixonJosef NewgardenRyan Hunter-ReaySimon PagenaudWill PowerSebastien Bourdais and Tony Kanaan, eight Indianapolis 500 winners and collectively has registered 244 series victories.

2019 Formula One rookie standout Lando Norris is making his second INDYCAR iRacing Challenge start this week after winning his debut April 25 at Circuit of The Americas.

Here are “5 Things To Look For…” heading into Saturday’s First Responder 175 presented by GMR:

‘Carpenter’s Helping Hand’

Ed Carpenter Racing owner-driver Ed Carpenter will compete Saturday in his No. 20 Chevrolet with a special paint scheme featuring the Riley Children’s Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pole sitter Carpenter’s livery will help raise awareness for the Riley Relief Fund, which directly supports patient families financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carpenter and his family are longtime supporters of Indiana’s only comprehensive children’s hospital. He also will continue his support virtually Tuesday, May 5 through Giving Tuesday Now, a worldwide day of giving to bring awareness to nonprofits raising funds during the COVID-19 crisis.

‘Mixed Emotions for TK’

Tony Kanaan was supposed to make the first start of his TK Last Lap tour in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – a five-race partial season, all on ovals, with A.J. Foyt Racing – in the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24 before that race was postponed until Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, 2013 “500″ winner Kanaan perhaps has one of the tougher mental adjustments to make to not racing on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval during May for the first time since he made his Indy debut in 2002. But he is taking some solace in competing in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR on Saturday at the virtual IMS.

“Obviously, I’m excited,” Kanaan said. “I think it’s a mixed feeling because I woke up today, today is May 1st, I looked at my calendar. Somebody just texted me today, ‘What was the worst investment you made in 2020?’ I said I think it was my calendar planner. I looked, we have it in the office, in two days I was going to be doing the Indy half-marathon.

“I’m ready to go do the real thing. It will be exciting. It will be something for us to do at least to represent a little bit the month of May this weekend.”

‘True Rookies’

Only three of the 33 drivers in the field for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR have no career starts on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval – Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin, Formula One standout Lando Norris and NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Alex Palou.

The other 30 drivers in the field have at least one career start in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race or the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series race on the IMS oval.

Palou could be a dark horse for a surprise victory Saturday. He won a practice race Thursday in the No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda, continuing a strong performance for the entire INDYCAR iRacing Challenge for the Spaniard. Palou finished fourth on April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park, led four laps and finished 10th on April 11 at Michigan and led a lap and finished ninth last Saturday at Circuit of The Americas.

‘Kimball Hosting Trivia Contest for Charity’

Veteran NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Charlie Kimball is co-hosting an INDYCAR-themed virtual trivia challenge Saturday evening, May 2 to raise funds for the IU Health Foundation.

A.J. Foyt Racing driver Kimball and Indianapolis-area trivia company owner Matt “Hambone” Hammond will co-host “Hambone’s Virtual Trivia,” which starts at 8:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday. All questions and answers have been vetted for accuracy by IMS Historian Donald Davidson, and celebrity guests A.J. FoytMario Andretti and Dario Franchitti will read some of the questions.

The event is open to the public but limited to 500 teams of any size. The cost per team is $33, with a portion of proceeds being donated to the IU Health Foundation, which works through philanthropy to improve Indiana residents’ health.

Teams can sign up at hambonestrivia.com/weeklytrivia. Registered teams will be sent a private YouTube link where they can see and participate in the virtual contest.

‘More Virtual Racing for Road to Indy’

The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, the ladder series of INDYCAR, will begin a second virtual series – the TireRack.com Road to Indy iRacing eSeries Presented by Cooper Tires – on Wednesday, May 6, beginning with World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. The five-round series will feature three ovals and two road courses, and all registration fees will be donated to the UN’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

The races will continue to be streamed live on Road to Indy website and app, ApexRacingTV’s YouTube and Facebook, the iRacing eSports Network, the series’ respective Facebook platforms and Cooper Tires’ Facebook page.

Indy Pro 2000 driver Phillippe Denes scored the championship victory in the first five-race series, with Eduardo Barrichello second and 2018 USF2000 champion Braden Eves third.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The season, which runs from March to September, currently consists of 17 races in the United States and Canada and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge held annually in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

ABOUT iRacing.com:

The world leader in the online racing simulation and gaming market, iRacing was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including “Grand Prix Legends” and NASCAR 2003.” Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, as well as co-owner of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing. iRacing.com has developed dozens of formal partnerships in the motorsport industry to help create the most authentic racing simulation in the world including with NASCAR, IndyCar, International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, IMSA, World of Outlaws, Mazda Motorsports, McLaren Racing, Williams F1, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, the Skip Barber Racing School and General Motors.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Kate Davis; COURTESY INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Month of May opens with IndyCar iRacing Challenge at IMS

 

INDYCAR iRacing Challenge finale on IMS oval

INDIANAPOLIS (April 30, 2020) – The Month of May will begin and the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will end on the most famous start-finish line in global motorsports – the Yard of Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The last of six rounds of the virtual racing series, the First Responder 175 presented by GMR, will start at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, May 2 and be televised live on NBCSN. The 70-lap, 175-mile race will take place on the world-renowned 2.5-mile oval at IMS, home of the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. That race was scheduled for Sunday, May 24 but postponed to Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A 33-driver field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers and competitors from other global racing series – just as in the Indianapolis 500 – will take the green flag in the virtual race using the iRacing platform.

Click here: Entry List

In an example of the virtual world mirroring the real world, Simon Pagenaud may be the driver to beat this Saturday at the Racing Capital of the World.

Pagenaud won the biggest race in the world in 2019 – the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – and also has won the two previous oval races in the virtual series that started March 28 after the start of the actual NTT INDYCAR SERIES was delayed by the global health crisis.

2016 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Pagenaud proved in his two INDYCAR iRacing Challenge victories that he can win in almost any scenario.

Pagenaud triumphed with strategy and fuel mileage in the Chevrolet 275 on April 11 at Michigan International Speedway, winning by 13.4059 seconds in the No. 22 DXC Team Penske Chevrolet. One week later, he held off five-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon by .3429 of a second after a spellbinding duel to win the Firestone 175 at Twin Ring Motegi.

2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power also should be a main contender to finally enter Victory Lane in the final round of the series. Power has finished in the top six in all five rounds so far in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, including a best of second April 4 on the road course at Barber Motorsports Park.

2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Power led 74 of 198 laps contested on ovals so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, more than any other driver. Power’s best oval finish was third April 18 at Twin Ring Motegi, an event in which he appeared to be headed for his first victory until the nearly lapped car driven by Oliver Askew collided with him with nine laps remaining. Power led a race-high 61 laps at Motegi.

Another Team Penske driver, Scott McLaughlin, is a fellow hard-luck case on ovals. Two-time reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion McLaughlin dueled with Power for the lead at Motegi when he was collected and eliminated in the incident between Power and Askew.

McLaughlin’s best finish so far on an oval was second, behind Pagenaud, at Michigan in the No. 2 Snap-on Team Penske entry.

Sage Karam is another driver who should contend for victory Saturday in the First Responder 175 presented by GMR despite tough luck on ovals. NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran Karam led a race-high 49 laps at Michigan but finished 14th in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet. Experienced sim racer Karam led five laps at Motegi and finished seventh.

It also will be interesting to how the differing learning curves of Dixon and rising Formula One star Lando Norris convert to results Saturday at IMS.

2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Dixon has vast experience at the real IMS, with 17 career starts in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” But he had almost no sim racing experience before the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge yet nearly beat experienced sim racer Pagenaud for victory on the last oval event, at Motegi, in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Dixon still led 13 laps at Motegi despite his inexperience in virtual racing. So, he must be considered a contender for victory at Indy, where he has led 452 laps, tops among active competitors and ninth all-time.

Norris, 20, has been sim racing for more than a decade and competes regularly in the virtual world as a member of the elite Team Redline when he’s not racing around the world in F1 for McLaren.

He showed that skill and speed by blitzing the field in his INDYCAR iRacing Challenge debut April 25 on the road course at COTA, winning by 1.445 seconds over Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward despite a spin early in the race. But Norris lacks the real and virtual oval racing experience of most of his rivals, so can he carry the speed he showed on the right and left turns of COTA to left turns only at Indy?

Indianapolis 500 winners Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves haven’t enjoyed much success so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, but they will be among the favorites to enter Victory Circle at IMS if real-world results translate to the virtual world.

2013 Indy winner Kanaan has a best finish of 18th at Michigan in the two oval races in the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet, while three-time Indy winner Castroneves finished 29th in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet at Motegi in his only start so far in the series. But Kanaan has led 346 laps on the IMS oval in his 18 Indy 500 starts, while Castroneves has been out front for 305 laps in his 19 “500″ starts.

The fuel window for this 70-lap race is approximately 30 to 35 laps, so strategy could play a big role. Brave drivers and strategists could gamble on enough fuel savings and extended caution laps to reach the checkered flag in one stop, while others may play it safe and benefit from the fresher tires gained from a second stop.

A 15-minute qualifying session Friday will set the starting lineup for the First Responder 175 presented by GMR.

The INDYCAR iRacing Challenge will not crown an overall champion but will add a special element where INDYCAR will make a donation to one of its partner charities.

ABOUT INDYCAR:

INDYCAR is the Indianapolis-based governing body for North America’s premier open-wheel auto racing series known as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The series features an international field of the world’s most versatile drivers – including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, reigning series champion Josef Newgarden and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud – who compete on superspeedways, short ovals, street circuits and permanent road courses. The season, which runs from March to September, currently consists of 17 races in the United States and Canada and is highlighted by the historic Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge held annually in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IMS Productions are owned by Penske Corporation, a global transportation, automotive and motorsports leader. For more information on INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, please visit www.indycar.com.

ABOUT iRacing.com:

The world leader in the online racing simulation and gaming market, iRacing was founded in 2004 by Dave Kaemmer and John Henry. Kaemmer was co-founder of Papyrus Design Group, developers of award-winning racing simulations including “Grand Prix Legends” and NASCAR 2003.” Henry is principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club, as well as co-owner of NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing. iRacing.com has developed dozens of formal partnerships in the motorsport industry to help create the most authentic racing simulation in the world including with NASCAR, IndyCar, International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports, IMSA, World of Outlaws, Mazda Motorsports, McLaren Racing, Williams F1, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, the Skip Barber Racing School and General Motors.

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

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