“Turbo” star Michael Pena to wave green flag at Indy 500

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Over Indianapolis qualifying weekend, Michael Pena, star of DreamWorks Animation’s new film “Turbo,” was named as honorary starter of this Sunday’s 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.

In “Turbo,” Pena portrays Tito, an entrepreneur who enters a super-fast snail in the Indy 500. The film races into theaters everywhere July 17. From DreamWorks Animation, and released by 20th Century Fox, the film’s titular hero is an ordinary garden snail whose dream to race in the Indianapolis 500 comes true (Photo credit right: DreamWorks Animation LLC).

There’s a connection between the movie and two of the drivers competing on Sunday. Townsend Bell will carry the “Turbo” colors on his No. 60 Sunoco/ “Turbo” Chevrolet for Panther Racing.

Meanwhile, DreamWorks hired three-time and defending Indy 500 champ Dario Franchitti as a creative consultant. Franchitti’s work on the film included imagining the track layouts to simulating what it feels like to be behind the wheel (or in the shell, in this case).

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles offered some brief thoughts on “Turbo” on MotorSportsTalk ahead of the IndyCar season opener in St. Petersburg.

The trailer for the film is below:

Hartley says debut F1 point would be ‘a dream’ from last on grid

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Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.

Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.

“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.

“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”

The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.

“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.

“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.