Phoenix International Raceway

Everything you need to know about NASCAR’S The Profit on CNBC 500 Sunday at Phoenix

Leave a comment
If you’re a die-hard NASCAR fan, you can never get enough statistics.
Thanks to NASCAR’s crack stats crew, here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race begins at 3 pm ET:
 
PHOENIX-SPECIFIC STATISTICS
                                                                               
Driver highlights:
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
·        Five top fives, seven top 10s
·        Average finish of 13.9
·        Average Running Position of 14.8, ninth-best
·        Driver Rating of 91.6, ninth-best
·        286 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
·        793 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.243 mph, 10th-fastest
·        3,242 Laps in the Top 15 (56.9%), 11th-most
·        392 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), ninth-most
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
·        One win, five top fives, 12 top 10s
·        Average finish of 13.5
·        Average Running Position of 10.6, fourth-best
·        Driver Rating of 98.0, seventh-best
·        287 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.351 mph, seventh-fastest
·        3,953 Laps in the Top 15 (73.4%), sixth-most
·        386 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Skittles Toyota)
·        One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s; two poles
·        Average finish of 13.5
·        Average Running Position of 12.0, seventh-best
·        Driver Rating of 97.4, eighth-best
·        248 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
·        794 Green Flag Passes, third-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.364 mph, sixth-fastest
·        4,505 Laps in the Top 15 (79.1%), third-most
·        Series-high 527 Quality Passes
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Subway Ford)
·        Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles
·        Average finish of 12.3
·        Average Running Position of 12.7, eighth-best
·        Driver Rating of 100.0, third-best
·        354 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.439 mph, fourth-fastest
·        3,865 Laps in the Top 15 (67.9%), eighth-most
·        399 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 PEPSI MAX Chevrolet)
·        Two wins, 10 top fives, 20 top 10s; three poles
·        Average finish of 11.5
·        Average Running Position of 10.5, third-best
·        Driver Rating of 99.4, fourth-best
·        222 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.337 mph, eighth-fastest
·        4,563 Laps in the Top 15 (80.1%), second-most
·        410 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota)
·        One win, eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
·        Average finish of 10.9
·        Average Running Position of 11.7, sixth-best
·        Driver Rating of 98.2, sixth-best
·        237 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.400 mph, fifth-fastest
·        3,894 Laps in the Top 15 (72.4%), seventh-most
·        382 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet)
·        Four wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s
·        Average finish of 12.3
·        Average Running Position of 10.7, fifth-best
·        Driver Rating of 101.3, second-best
·        308 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
·        743 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.482 mph, third-fastest
·        4,334 Laps in the Top 15 (76.1%), fourth-most
·        418 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
·        Four wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; two poles
·        Average finish of 6.3
·        Series-best Average Running Position of 6.9
·        Series-best Driver Rating of 116.7
·        Series-high 574 Fastest Laps Run
·        722 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
·        Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 125.835 mph
·        Series-high 5,009 Laps in the Top 15 (88.0%)
·        498 Quality Passes, second-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
·        One win, five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
·        Average finish of 17.4
·        Average Running Position of 16.1, 12th-best
·        Driver Rating of 86.1, 11th-best
·        172 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
·        789 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.166 mph, 11th-fastest
·        3,344 Laps in the Top 15 (58.7%), 10th-most
·        409 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford)
·        Two top fives, three top 10s
·        Average finish of 17.1
·        Driver Rating of 85.9, 12th-best
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.280 mph, ninth-fastest
Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet)
·        One win, eight top fives, nine top 10s; four poles
·        Average finish of 18.7
·        Average Running Position of 15.3, 10th-best
·        Driver Rating of 87.1, 10th-best
·        768 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
·        3,723 Laps in the Top 15 (65.4%), ninth-most
·        487 Quality Passes, third-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
·        One win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s
·        Average finish of 12.0
·        Average Running Position of 10.2, second-best
·        Driver Rating of 99.2, fifth-best
·        220 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
·        716 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.493 mph, second-fastest
·        4,146 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0%), fifth-most
·        440 Quality Passes, fourth-most
                                                                               
Chase Contenders
The Top 16
Following Race 1 of 36
                                                                               
Driver Points Wins Poles Week Rating
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 48 1 0 0 133.1
2. Denny Hamlin 43 0 0 0 113.8
3. Brad Keselowski 42 0 0 0 117.1
4. Jeff Gordon 40 0 0 0 102.7
5. Jimmie Johnson 40 0 0 0 101.2
6. Matt Kenseth 38 0 0 0 98.2
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 37 0 0 0 72.0
8. Greg Biffle 37 0 0 0 94.1
9. Austin Dillon 36 0 1 0 83.4
10. Casey Mears 34 0 0 0 80.8
11. Joey Logano 34 0 0 0 104.1
12. Kevin Harvick 31 0 0 0 85.1
13. Jamie McMurray 30 0 0 0 73.8
14. Bobby Labonte 29 0 0 0 46.2
15. Reed Sorenson 28 0 0 0 69.3
16. Carl Edwards 28 0 0 0 87.0

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Winners List:
Winner                                                     Track_________ ________________     
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.                 Daytona International Speedway
                                                                               
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Top 10 at Phoenix International Raceway

Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 23 0 2 6 10 3 17 84
2 Denny Hamlin 17 1 1 8 9 0 10.9 98.2
3 Brad Keselowski 9 0 0 2 3 1 17.1 85.9
4 Jeff Gordon 30 3 2 10 20 3 11.5 99.4
5 Jimmie Johnson 21 2 4 14 17 0 6.3 116.7
6 Matt Kenseth 23 1 1 5 9 3 17.4 86.1
7 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 0 0 0 0 0 14 72.9
8 Greg Biffle 20 0 0 5 7 1 13.9 91.6
9 Austin Dillon 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Casey Mears 19 0 0 0 0 4 26.2 61.1
* – Based on last 18 races at Phoenix International Raceway (2005 – 2013).
                                                                               
Phoenix International Raceway:
History
·        Construction was completed in January 1964. The facility consisted of a one-mile oval and a 2.5-mile road course.
·        Alan Kulwicki won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 1988.
·        The first spring race was held on April 23, 2005 and also the first night race, which was won by Kurt Busch.
·        The track underwent its first repave in 2011. The construction began in March and concluded in September of that year.
·        The following changes were made during the construction period (March – Sept. 2011):
o   Widened the frontstretch from 52 to 62 feet
o   Reconfigured pit road with the installation of concrete pit stalls
o   Pushed the dog-leg curve between Turn 2 and Turn 3 out 95 feet
o   Tightened the turn radius of the dog-leg from 800 to 500 feet
o   Implemented variable banking to ensure the immediate use of two racing grooves, including 10-11 degree banking between Turn 1 and Turn 2; 10-11 degree banking in the apex of the dog-leg; and 8-9 degree banking in Turn 4
                                                                               
Notebook
·        There have been 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, one per season from 1988-2004 and two each season since.
·        186 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix; 138 in more than one.
·        Mark Martin leads series in starts at Phoenix with 34; followed by Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte with 30 each.
·        Geoffrey Bodine won the first pole in 1988 at a speed of 123.203 mph (29.220 sec.).
·        There have been 19 different Coors Light pole winners, led by Ryan Newman with four.
·        Youngest Phoenix pole winner: Kyle Busch (4/22/06 – 20 years, 11 months, 20 days).
·        Oldest Phoenix pole winner: Mark Martin (03/03/13 – 54 years, 1 month, 22 days).
·        Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to win consecutive poles. Newman won three straight (2002-04), while Gordon won the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007. Edwards won the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011.
·        Denny Hamlin (November, 2005) and AJ Allmendinger (April, 2010) won their first career Coors Light poles at Phoenix International Raceway.
·        There have been 23 different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at Phoenix, eight have won more than once, led by Jimmie Johnson, with four – (’07 Chase race, ’08 spring race and Chase race, ’09 Chase race).
·        The eight drivers who have won more than once at Phoenix: Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead the series in wins(four each), Davey Allison (two), Jeff Burton (two), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two), Jeff Gordon (two)Carl Edwards (two) and Mark Martin (two).
·        Of the eight drivers with multiple wins at Phoenix International Raceway, Mark Martin is the only driver to win in two different manufacturers: Ford (1993) and Chevrolet (2009).
·        Four of the 35 (11.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from the Coors Light pole:Jeff Gordon (spring 2007), Jimmie Johnson (fall 2008), Mark Martin (spring 2009) and Carl Edwards (fall 2010).
·        Seven of the 35 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from the front row: four from the pole and three from second-place.
·        17 of the 35 (48.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position inside the top 10.
·        Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finishes at Phoenix with a 6.3; he is the only active driver with an average finish inside the top 10.
·        Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the 29th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.
·        Matt Kenseth won the 2002 race from the 28th-place starting position, the furthest back an active race winner has started.
·        18 of the 35 (51.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.
·        3 of the 35 (8.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
·        Five drivers have won consecutive races at Phoenix: Davey Allison (1991,1992); Jeff Burton (2000, 2001); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003, 2004); Kevin Harvick (swept 2006); Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the five to win three consecutive races (fall 2007, swept 2008).
·        Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Phoenix with nine, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven.
·        Two perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 have been recorded at Phoenix, Kurt Busch in April of 2005 and Kevin Harvick in November of 2006.
·        Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix International Raceway winner: Kyle Busch (11/13/2005 – 20 years, 6 months, 11 days).
·        Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix International Raceway winner: Mark Martin (4/18/2009 – 50 years, 3months, 9 days).
·        Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Phoenix with five; followed by Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart with three each.
·        Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at Phoenix with 14.
·        Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Bobby Hamilton (10/27/1996) are the only two drivers to post their first NASCAR Sprint Cup career win at Phoenix International Raceway.
·        21 of the 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers who have won at Phoenix participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Tony Stewart (11/7/1999) are the only two drivers to win at Phoenix in their first appearance.
·        Jeff Gordon competed at Phoenix International Raceway 16 times before winning (4/21/2007); the longest span of any the 23 winners.
·        Six drivers have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Phoenix: Jeff Gordon (16), Ryan Newman(15), Kasey Kahne (14), Denny Hamlin (13), Carl Edwards (12) and Rusty Wallace (11).
·        Bobby Labonte leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix without visiting Victory Lane with 30.
·        Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix was the April 10, 2010 race won by Ryan Newman with a MOV of 0.13 seconds.
·        Two drivers have won at Phoenix and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season:Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep and 2009); Dale Earnhardt (1990).
·        Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has made a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Phoenix International Raceway.
Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Danica Patrick
37
17
11/11/2012
Danica Patrick
40
39
3/3/2013
Danica Patrick
32
33
11/10/2013
·        Car numbers that have produced three or more Phoenix wins:

Car Number – Drivers – (Years)
o   No. 48  – Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep and 2009)
o   No. 99 – Carl Edwards (2010 and 2013) and Jeff Burton (2000, 2001)
o   No. 29 – Kevin Harvick (2006 sweep, 2012 and 2013)
o   No. 5 – Mark Martin (2009), Kyle Busch (2005) and Terry Labonte (1994)

Phoenix International Raceway Data
Season Race #: 2 of 36 (3-2-14)
Track Size: 1-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 10-11 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 8-9 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 3 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 8-9 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,179 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,551 feet
Race Length: 312 laps / 500 Kilometers

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Phoenix
Jimmie Johnson………………….. 116.7
Kevin Harvick……………………… 101.3
Carl Edwards……………………… 100.0
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 99.4
Tony Stewart………………………… 99.2
Denny Hamlin………………………. 98.2
Kurt Busch…………………………… 98.0
Kyle Busch………………………….. 97.4
Greg Biffle…………………………… 91.6
Ryan Newman…………………….. 87.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Phoenix International Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner: Mark Martin, Toyota, 138.074 mph, 26.073 secs. 3-1-13
2013 race winner: Carl Edwards, Ford, 105.187 mph, (03:00:15), 3-3-13
Track qualifying record: Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 139.222 mph, 25.858 secs. 11-8-13
Track race record: Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 118.132 mph, (2:38:28), 11-7-99

NASCAR in Arizona
·        There have been 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup races among three tracks in Arizona.
Track Name
City
NSCS
Phoenix International Raceway
Avondale
35
Arizona State Fairgrounds
Phoenix
4
Tucson Rodeo Grounds
Tucson
1
·        32 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Arizona.
·        None of the drivers from Arizona have won a race in NASCAR’s three national series.
                                                                               
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
                                                                               

Firestone: the tire that Indianapolis 500 and Verizon IndyCar Series ride upon

firestone indy 500 tires 2016
1 Comment

More Indianapolis 500 winners have driven to Victory Lane on Firestone tires than all other tires combined.

The synergy and history between Firestone, parent company Bridgestone and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is nothing short of legendary.

MotorSportsTalk has compiled some very interesting facts about the relationship between Firestone, IMS and the Indy 500:

* Firestone has issued tires to all teams in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 that will carry names of all the drivers who have won the 500 on Firestone rubber inscribed on the sidewalls of the tires.

* Other names included in the sidewall inscriptions include Louis Meyer (the first driver to drink milk in Victory Lane), and Mario Andretti (Voted Driver of the Century).

firestone indy 500 tires 2016

* Firestone produced over 5,000 tires with the commemorative Indy 500 sidewalls to be used during the month of may for practice, qualifying and the historic race itself on Sunday.

* Firestone has accounted for exactly two-thirds of the wins at the Indy 500 – 66 of 99 races contested to date.

* Firestone has won the Indy 500 in 1911, 1913, 1920 through 1941, 1946-1966, 1969-1971, 1996 and 1997, and 2000-2015.

* Firestone has carried more drivers to Indy 500 wins than all other tire manufacturers combined. Goodyear has won 29 races, BFGoodrich won two, Michelin won one and Palmer Cord Tires won one.

* The first winner on Firestone rubber was also the first winner of the Indy 500 – Ray Harroun in 1911.

* Tires will also carry red and white Firestone “F shield” logos that are unique to the Indy 500 and indicate which tires will go on which side of each race car: red for right side and white for left side tires.

firestone racing logo* Firestone Racing joined the IndyCar Series in 1996 and has been at every race since. It competed vs. Goodyear for four years (1996-99) until becoming the exclusive tire provider for the 500 in 2000, a position it has held ever since.

* Firestone became the Official Tire of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 in 2002. The current contract for both of those roles runs through the 2018 season (originally extended in Dec. 2012).

* Firestone also sponsors the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. It is also the Official Tire of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Simon Pagenaud has tunnel vision about Indy 500 — but that’s a good thing

41BK4578
(Photos: IndyCar)
Leave a comment

To say Simon Pagenaud is a thinking man’s driver is an understatement.

The French driver has one of the most analytical minds in the Verizon IndyCar Series. It seems like he’s always thinking, always figuring out different scenarios, trying to outthink his fellow competitors.

He’s certainly had a lot to think of recently. He’s riding a three-race winning streak. He’s part of Team Penske’s 50th anniversary celebration.

But right here, right now, Pagenaud has just one race on his mind. As far as he’s concerned, Belle Isle next week is 10 years away, while Texas the week after that is 20 years away.

And don’t even ask Pagenaud if he’s thinking about winning the IndyCar championship.

16C_4992-1-1
To say Simon Pagenaud is pumped up for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 is an understatement.

The only thing on Pagenaud’s mind is winning Sunday’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Not only would it be the biggest win in the Frenchman’s career, it would also extend team owner Roger Penske’s record to 17 Indy 500 victories.

“I’m thinking about the race itself, statistics are after the race,” Pagenaud told NBC Sports. “It’s hard on the last lap if you think about it! I’m always focused on the task itself. Prepare the best we can and try to win.

“When you step into the car, you have to think about how to do the best job you can with your machine. It’s you and your machine, you and your team, let’s get the best strategy possible, make the best pit stops and make no mistakes.

“So you have to be clear-minded and focused on the task. It’s a tunnel vision thing. I’m not thinking of anything else. I’m not thinking about the 50th anniversary of Team Penske, or it being the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

“If I was, I tell you what, they wouldn’t work really well. It’s about being in the moment and not thinking about anything else.”

Even with his three-race winning streak (Long Beach, Birmingham Grand Prix of Indianapolis), preparations for the 500 have not gone as well as Pagenaud would like.

“It’s not as good as I wanted to be honest,” said Pagenaud, who will start in eighth position, the middle of Row 3 on the starting grid. “We’re not as dominant as we were last year. It’s been tough. It’s not been easy to get speed out of the car. We’ve done a good job of trying, but we haven’t found the speed of the Hondas.”

But as concerned as Pagenaud may seem, Penske is more confident than concerned.

“Obviously he’s a hot hand right now and he’s shown how good he is,” Penske said of Pagenaud. “That’s the reason we hired him a year ago.

“I think he wasn’t as happy with his performance in 2015. This is a different race. This race is wide open. It’s a long-distance race. It’s four different corners, lots of strategy.

“Certainly executing in the pits, you saw how good he was last year and bumped into a back marker when he was trying to make a pass there. So I think he’s going to have a great chance. He’s certainly excited.

“John Menard (Pagenaud’s primary sponsor of Menard’s Home Improvement Stores) coming on board is probably one of the great things of the month for us because John has spent a lot of time and a lot of money here over the years.

“(It was) great to see his car in the Winner Circle at the Angie’s road race here a couple of weeks ago. I think (Pagenaud’s) on his way to a championship. We’ve just got to continue to stay focused.”

Winning the biggest race in the world would also help Pagenaud’s countrymen.

“It’s great news that there’s a lot of interest (in France) in IndyCar,” Pagenaud said. “They’re showing races there. It’s big. There’s also half a large plane coming to the race from my hometown (Poitiers, France).

“I know it’s an American sport, but it’s a worldwide event. The last time a Frenchman won in Indy was 1920. It was Gaston Chevrolet, and I’m driving a Chevrolet! Hopefully, it’s my year.

“What would it mean (if he won)? I don’t know, to be honest. It wouldn’t be a bad time. We’re having a tough time in France right now, so a little bit of joy from the sport would be good.

“It’d be awesome to go back to France with that trophy and that ring on my finger.”

Tony DiZinno contributed to this report

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Honda bullish ahead of pivotal Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 27:  James Hinchcliffe of Canada, driver of the #5 ARROW Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Chevrolet,  drives  on Carb Day ahead of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
Leave a comment

Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr feels bullish about the manufacturer’s chances in the 100th Indianapolis 500, believing all of its cars stand a serious chance of winning Sunday’s race.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe ended a long drought for Honda in qualifying last weekend, claiming its first pole position since Simon Pagenaud won the Verizon P1 Award at Houston in 2014.

Sunday’s ‘500 is a pivotal one for Honda given the occasion and its standing among its numerous motorsport programmes, and is made all the more crucial given its winless start to the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

“We weren’t expecting the outcome of the first few races that we got this year,” St. Cyr conceded.

“We thought we were going to be OK. But obviously when we first came out at St. Pete, especially Phoenix, we had to focus on those, as well.

“I wouldn’t say the beginning part of the season went according to plan. But we kind of know what we have right now and where we’re going with this one.

“We’re working and the other side is working as well to try to improve as much as you can.”

The Honda-powered cars impressed throughout practice and qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, appearing to make a significant step up in performance from the Angie’s List GP of Indianapolis two weeks ago.

Besides Hinchcliffe getting pole, the Andretti Autosport cars regularly ran quickest through the speed trap with Ryan Hunter-Reay qualifying third, while Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal has looked strong in race trim.

“The Indy 500 is a major focus for Honda. We really worked hard for 12 months on this particular race,” St. Cyr said.

“We used two of our three allocated boxes from an aerodynamic standpoint on this race. We have a pretty major upgrade of our engine specification for this race.

“As you’ve seen, it’s fairly competitive at this point. Really our whole goal is to get all of our teams with a package that is capable of winning this race.”

And providing such a package is something that St. Cyr believes Honda has achieved.

“It’s pretty great,” he said. “The Andretti guys, the whole Andretti team, all five of their cars, have been fast. They unloaded fast. They typically do really well here. We expect good things out of them.

“The Schmidt Peterson Racing group, all three of them have just had stellar months. You want to give some shouts out to Dale Coyne and those guys who have shown pretty good speed, with people that don’t have a lot of experience running around this track.

“A.J. Foyt and Takuma Sato showed something at the end of qualifying. They qualified third in the last group, right? Graham, we expect him to have a real good race, as well.

“All of our teams have legitimate contenders to win this race, so we’re actually really thrilled about that.”

PWC: Bentley confirms Andrew Palmer sustains head injury

PalmerBentley
Photo: Bentley Team Absolute
4 Comments

Following an accident in practice ahead of today’s Pirelli World Challenge race at Lime Rock Park, Bentley Team Absolute driver Andrew Palmer has sustained a head injury following contact with another car, an Aston Martin driven by Jorge de la Torre.

Just after 6:30 p.m. ET, Bentley released the following statement:

“Bentley Motorsport can confirm that Bentley Team Absolute driver Andrew Palmer will remain in hospital following an incident at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut earlier today. He has sustained a head injury and is being closely monitored after treatment by specialists.

“Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, comments: “Everyone at Bentley Motorsport is thinking of Andrew and we all send him our best wishes. We are a close-knit community and we have team members at the hospital with him and his family. We will continue to offer our support to them at this difficult time. Our thanks go to the trackside team at Lime Rock Park and the medical professionals who have helped Andrew so far.”

“No further update is expected today. Bentley Motorsport will release another statement in due course.”

An additional statement came from WC Vision just before 10 p.m. ET:

“As an update to the earlier released news on Andrew Palmer and Jorge De La Torre:

“Both drivers remain under treatment at Hartford Hospital. Bentley has provided the statement below regarding Andrew Palmer. WC Vision will release further information on the condition of both drivers when Hartford Hospital provides any updates.

That came after the first update issued by World Challenge officials which read as follows, and was released after 1 p.m. ET:

“Both Andrew Palmer and Jorge De La Torre were transported to Sharon Hospital where they were stabilized for transportation to Hartford Hospital.  That is all we know at this time.”

K-PAX Racing driver Alvaro Parente won his second race of the weekend in his No. 9 McLaren 650S GT3 in the afternoon, although the results of which matter little in the face of Palmer’s accident and injuries.

Our thoughts and best wishes go out to the drivers and their families affected at this time.