Via multiple reports, including Dave Furst of Indianapolis ABC affiliate WRTV and Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin among others, Australian James Davison is set to be the 33rd entry for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
The reports have Davison in a fourth KV Racing Technology entry, joining full season entrants Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Saavedra, and previously announced third driver Townsend Bell, who is also an NBCSN IndyCar analyst.
Davison made a pair of Verizon IndyCar Series starts in 2013 in Dale Coyne Racing’s second car, at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. He impressed in both given limited testing time.
There’s more than meets the eye to this in terms of Bell, Davison, their 2014 full season commitments and a shared partner.
Bell will have support from Royal Purple on his No. 6 Robert Graham – Royal Purple – Beneteau USA Chevrolet, as he seeks to make his eighth Indianapolis 500 start. The synthetic motor oil also supports Bell’s No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in the GT Daytona class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Per Cavin, the proposed No. 33 Chevrolet will be on a short-week program, and the team is yet officially confirm this will happen.
But when you look at who’s already associated with the various entities, it makes more sense.
The 32nd car, incidentally, is the aforementioned Coyne second car which has been driven in the first three races of 2014 by Colombian rookie Carlos Huertas. Huertas completed his Rookie Orientation Program today and is likely to be confirmed to the team’s No. 18 Honda for the Indianapolis 500.
9:30 a.m. ET: Here is the day’s full schedule, via IMS.
7 a.m.: Parking Lots Open
7 a.m.-6 p.m.: Administrative Office Open, Credential Office Open, IMS Ticket Office Open
8 a.m.-5 p.m.: Ticket Trackside Office Open, Ticket Remotes Open (Gates 3, 6, 9, 10)
8 a.m.-6 p.m.: Credential Trackside Office Open
8 a.m.-6 p.m.: Public Gates Open
8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.: IMS Midway Open
8-9 a.m.: Historic Race Car Exhibition
9-10 a.m.: Firestone Pin Distribution – Pagoda Plaza
10-10:30 a.m.: Indy Lights Autograph Session – IMS Midway
10:30-10:45 a.m.: Sam Schmidt Arrow Car Laps
10:45 a.m.: Clint Brawner Award Ceremony – Victory Podium
11 a.m.-noon: Verizon IndyCar Series Practice
12:05 p.m.: Indy Lights Driver Introductions
12:15 p.m.: Invocation delivered by Rev. Mike Welch
12:16 p.m.: National anthem performed by Reba McEntire
12:25 p.m.: “Drivers Start Your Engines”
12:30 p.m.: Indy Lights Freedom 100 race – 40 Laps
1:45-3 p.m.: TAG Heuer Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge
2 p.m.: Miller Lite Carb Day Concert Venue Opens
3:30-4:30 p.m.: Barenaked Ladies Concert – Turn 4 Miller Lite Carb Day Stage
4-5:30 p.m.: Hinch “The Mayor on Air” Live Podcast – Garages 35 & 36
5-6:30 p.m.: Steve Miller Band Concert – Turn 4 Miller Lite Carb Day Stage
More updates will follow in this post throughout the day.
WATCH LIVE: Indy Carb Day, then NASCAR AMERICA from 11a ET, NBCSN
Indianapolis 500 Carb Day coverage will run from 11 a.m. through to 3:30 p.m. ET, in several chunks:
IndyCar final practice for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil runs from 11 a.m. to noon ET. Kevin Lee, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy will be in the booth with Marty Snider, Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller on pit lane.
From there, at noon, it’s the marquee race of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season – the Freedom 100. With finishes of 0.0024 (2016, Dean Stoneman over Ed Jones), 0.0026 (2013, Peter Dempsey over three others) and 0.005 (2014, Gabby Chaves over Matthew Brabham), the Freedom 100 is known for fantastic and close finishes. Lee and Anders Krohn will be in the booth with Hargitt and Beekhuis reporting from the pits. The starting grid for that is linked here.
At 2 p.m. ET, it’s the Indy Pit Stop Competition, with the IndyCar crew back in for that. While some of the bigger teams are usually the ones that wins this, others such as Mikhail Aleshin for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Sage Karam for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing have stolen the show in this competition in recent years.
The coverage from Indianapolis runs for those four and a half hours, and leads straight into the now-annual NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special, which features live coverage from NBC crews in all of Indianapolis, Monaco and Charlotte and runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. A standard NASCAR AMERICA show runs from 5 to 6 p.m. ET.
Among the items to look forward to from Indy and Monaco in that show:
An update on Fernando Alonso’s crazy month of May, ahead of his first Indianapolis 500
Robin Miller tours the A.J. Foyt Exhibit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
A look at Will Power, the dad, and the change that’s come to his life
From Monaco, a look at this season’s stellar battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel
A look at the magic of Monaco and a simulation of the track
INDIANAPOLIS – Sebastian Saavedra served as the perfect foil for the attention generated by Fernando Alonso on media day ahead of this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
The Colombian driver was never going to be the driver to generate the most attention on this day. He starts 31st and hasn’t started an IndyCar race since the Sonoma season finale in 2015.
But being sat next to Alonso? It gave the impression poor Seb – himself about to start his sixth Indy 500 and a first with Juncos Racing as it makes its debut – was a lost soul in the wrong room, instead of one of his fellow competitors.
Saavedra could well have been speaking for “the other 32” – the drivers not named Alonso racing in 2017 – when he talked about what it meant to be back in this race after missing it for one year, and the preparation that will already begin for the 2018 ‘500, starting Monday.
“We don’t run just to run,” Saavedra, driver of Juncos’ No. 17 AFS Chevrolet, told NBC Sports. “Something needs to make sense. Coming into this year we came in with a different mentality; to build something for the future.
“When you’re not here, you miss this place. On Monday, we want everything to start up again for next year.”
Media day inevitably serves up a series of quotes, banter and other topics from the field that we’ll flesh out over the next 48 hours on Friday and Saturday on MotorSportsTalk. As you can see below, here’s some of the facial expressions from the rest of the runners.
Team Penske continues to honor its legends. At its now annual Shell media lunch on Thursday, Penske has inducted legendary mechanic Karl Kainhofer and four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears into Penske’s Hall of Fame. Both icons of Penske’s legacy were awarded plaques of honor to join Penske himself and the late Mark Donohue, inducted upon the Penske Hall of Fame’s 2016 debut.
This event saw all five of Penske’s drivers speak, and was the second Penske sponsor event in as many days. The first, held at an event at a house in Speedway on Wednesday, saw Verizon debut its 5G LTE technology in-home, done in partnership with Ericsson. Will Power was on hand to witness the public debut of the 5G Smart House; the house is outfitted with wireless technology and ridiculous speed, which also included a Virtual Reality component.
We have a pace car driver. Chevrolet announced Thursday that actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who has played major roles in hit television series such as “The Walking Dead” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” will drive the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car to lead the starting field of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil to the green flag Sunday, May 28.
The Indy Lights race has a bevy of potential surprise winners. The front row features Matheus Leist, set to run his first ever oval race, Colton Herta, who is set for his first big oval race, and two more Andretti teammates in Dalton Kellett and Ryan Norman who looked great in traffic on Monday. Leist’s Carlin teammate Zachary Claman De Melo is another wild card; the Canadian has a “Jekyll & Hyde” nature to him. Then Aaron Telitz had to deal with a bit of mist and rain on his qualifying run and will start sixth. With the top two drivers in points starting 11th and 13th (Kyle Kaiser and Nico Jamin), it’s a fascinating day on tap.
Watch all of Indianapolis Carb Day coverage and the Freedom 100 starting at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN.
It’s open-wheel racing’s biggest weekend of the year this weekend, with the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix on tap.
It also gives a chance to check in with Stefan Johansson for the latest blog as he chats with Jan Tegler, previewing both marquee events on the Verizon IndyCar Series and Formula 1 calendars. Johansson raced at Monaco five times and Indy four times.
First off, Johansson describes how impressive the qualifying run was by Scott Dixon, as he’s on the pole for the race.
“Getting the pole at Indy again is great obviously, and it was a mighty run from Scott for sure. Indy qualifying is not easy under any circumstance. But to go out cold without even one lap in practice all day – he went straight from qualifying on Saturday to qualifying on Sunday – in a car that you have no idea about in terms of how it will perform, that’s impressive.
“Everybody is trying to trim their cars to the absolute limit and I think Scott and his engineer Chris Simmons went all out this time. Scott said he had a small breather in turn 2 every lap just keep the front tight and he was still doing 232 laps so the car must have been extremely light on downforce. Typically, if you have to lift anywhere on the four lap run the time won’t hold up.”
After Fernando Alonso’s taken to the Speedway, here’s Johansson’s thoughts on how he’s gone so far:
“With Alonso being there this year as well, I think a lot more people that normally would not tune in are going to realize again how incredibly exciting it is and how great IndyCar racing and the Indy 500, in particular, are. It’s an outstanding event and qualifying is really an event in itself, apart from the race.
“Alonso also mentioned that he wants to be a “complete driver” which I think is fantastic coming from him. I think his involvement this year could start a trend. I’m sure he’s loved every minute of this experience so far.”
Here’s what Johansson thinks of the magic of race day morning, which is something Alonso is set to experience for the first time on Sunday.
“I remember the first time I raced there, walking out onto the grid for the first time after having been there all month and it’s amazing. Qualifying has a pretty good crowd but when you walk out onto the grid on Sunday morning before the start you suddenly see this mountain of people in front of you. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. It’s an incredible experience.”
And after a dramatic Spanish Grand Prix, here was Johansson’s take on the Ferrari vs. Mercedes battle and his take on how Ferrari managed to muck up strategy for Sebastian Vettel in Barcelona.
“It boggles my mind why Ferrari didn’t stop when there was a VSC. That’s race strategy-101. If you have a virtual safety period and you’re in a pit stop window, you have to stop.
“I am not 100 percent clear if the pits were closed during the safety car period or not, in which case maybe Vettel passed the pits as the track went green and Hamilton being 8 seconds behind was able to duck in just as Vettel passed the green flag.
“It’s fantastic that the championship is so close and we now have two teams fighting for the title.”