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2017 Indy 500 Carb Day Rolling Notebook

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INDIANAPOLIS – Miller Lite Carb Day is underway from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This inevitably brings a number of nuggets, notes and updates from the track besides the on-track activity.

We’ll keep this post updated as things arise.

First off, here is a link ahead of coverage on NBCSN to come from Indianapolis today.

8:45 a.m. ET: In case you missed any posts from yesterday and earlier this morning, here’s a quick roundup:

9:00 a.m. ET: We have a date, and a logo, for the 102nd Indy 500, which like the last two years continues with PennGrade Motor Oil presenting sponsorship.

Next year’s race will again fall on the fourth and final Sunday of May, May 27, 2018.

That logo and signage is below.

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

2:30 p.m. ET: A lot has happened in the last few hours, so we’re going to attempt to chronicle it below:

  • Adam Rovazzini, crew chief and right front tire changer for Jack Harvey’s No. 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda, has won the annual Clint Brawner Award for chief mechanics. Rovazzini was selected by the Clint Brawner Foundation which recognizes an Indy 500 chief mechanic who “exemplifies the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, dedication, enthusiasm and expertise” of its legendary namesake. Clint Brawner was chief mechanic on winning cars in 51 AAA- and USAC-sanctioned national championship races, and six season champions. He is also the crew chief on the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
  • On Friday morning, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated the official donation of The Stinger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame. The Stinger is the culmination of years of careful planning and effort to raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and to commemorate the first century of the Indianapolis 500, and is a modern-day interpretation of the historic Marmon Wasp.
  • In the final practice session for the Indianapolis 500, Helio Castroneves led while James Hinchcliffe sustained an engine issue in the back of his car.
  • Sebastien Bourdais and Dale Coyne both checked in during the broadcast to update Bourdais’ status.
  • Speaking of Bourdais, his old team co-owners, James “Sulli” Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser are both on site. GEICO and Mouser, past KVSH Racing sponsors, are present on what had been Bourdais’ No. 18 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing, now being driven by James Davison this race. Sullivan told NBC Sports he plans to be back in the ownership world at some point.
  • New sponsors are rolling out for the Indianapolis 500. Scott Dixon’s No. 9 car now has Camping World signage. ForexTime Ltd (FXTM) and its yellow and black accents have been added to Ed Jones’ No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing. Takuma Sato’s No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda also premiered its Ruoff Home Mortgage signage.
  • Prior to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race, 2016 Freedom 100 winner Dean Stoneman addressed his status as he’s back in Europe. The Englishman is visiting the race this weekend. Stoneman told NBCSN’s Katie Hargitt, “Unfortunately the budget wasn’t there. But my goal is the Indy 500, and IndyCar is absolute goal. I’m in a McLaren GT3 but looking forward. We’re always working on something but we’re working really hard to get the budget for next year.”
  • Matheus Leist and Carlin dominated the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Freedom 100. Spoke briefly to both Leist and Aaron Telitz earlier today; both drivers acknowledged Leist ran way less downforce and that was the primary reason why Leist was so fast. Had another car got around him, Leist might have struggled in traffic. Instead, he pulled away for a surprise, but deserved, victory.
  • Speaking of Dixon, a new feature-length documentary was announced earlier on Friday, ‘as yet untitled.’ A full report here is via Chip Ganassi Racing’s website.
  • Holly Cain of NASCAR.com has won the Bob Russo Founders Award for dedication to auto racing, and Andy Hall of ESPN won the annual Jim Chapman Award for excellence in motorsports public relations.

3:00 p.m. ET: Team Penske has won its 17th overall TAG Heuer Pit Stop Competition.

The difference as Will Power’s No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet beat James Hinchcliffe’s No. 77 Lucas Oil/Team One Cure Honda (Hinchcliffe moved into Jay Howard’s primary car with the No. 5 rear wing assembly after engine issue earlier today) was that this came in a best-of-three format in the finals. Power’s crew won twice while Hinchcliffe won once. Power’s final stop of 11.619 seconds was the fastest of the competition.

Power, Roger Penske and Team Penske president Tim Cindric all spoke to NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis afterwards.

Said Power, “I have to thank the crew. They work the hardest. It shows there. All the guys that do pit stops for us are phenomenal. It’s been a great month. We’re really happy to get in the top nine. Full credit to the Verizon guys all around.

Cindric said, “It’s a team effort. It’s the culture. It doesn’t have to do with me. It does come down to our athletic department, our trainers, these guys, and it’s so cool when it pays off.”

Penske concluded, “It’s part of the month of May, where we work on this back at the shop, and we ask who’s going to be on these cars. When you win anything at Indianapolis, it’s about momentum. I think you saw we have good speed. We’re not sure where the Hondas are. To me, it will be a real race. We’ll see who has the best setup. It’s anybody’s race on Memorial Day.

4:00 p.m. ET: The Carb Night Burger Bash is tonight, co-hosted by NBCSN’s Kevin Lee and INDYCAR communications head Curt Cavin. See some details below on that.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”