Jamie McMurray

Flashback: When Max Chilton gave fiancee ‘terrifying’ ride in race car

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Somehow, we missed this one the first time it came around — but even a few months later, it still bears sharing. And thanks to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for re-posting on its Facebook page not long after the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale in Sonoma, which is where it caught our eye.

Back in late March, Verizon IndyCar Series driver Max Chilton wanted to give new fiancee Chloe Roberts an up close and personal insight into how a race car driver does his thing behind the wheel.

Chilton confirmed today during a Facebook Live video that they’ll get married during the August 2017 break in IndyCar’s schedule, likely between the Mid-Ohio and Pocono race weekends.

Alas, Chilton was at the 74th members meeting of the Goodwood Festival of Speed when he was given the opportunity to hop into an old car of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jamie McMurray’s.

“It’s very different from what I’m used to,” Chilton said in a video posted on the Festival’s official Facebook page. “It’s very big, heavy, it’s got similar paths to what I’m used to but it’s like a tank of a race car.

“But it’s perfect for what I’m doing today and hopefully it puts on a good show for everyone.”

That’s when Max got the bright idea to take Chloe for a spin.

“Chloe has never been in a racing car, and so she’s never seen what I get out to,” he said. “This isn’t really what I get out to, but it’ll give her the sensation of noise and smoke and the acceleration and adrenaline of having fun in these cars.”

Roberts approached the chance for a ride along with hesitation and trepidation – even requesting to don a helmet when Max informed her he’d be doing some doughnuts with the car.

Still, Roberts was a good sport and went through with it, even though there was a slight blip in plans early on.

“It’s always reassuring when you don’t know how to start a car,” she chided her boyfriend, who struggled to get the Chevrolet SS going.

The best part of the video was when Chilton decided to do a few burnouts. Let’s just say Roberts’ mouth went agape and her facial expressions were priceless.

When the ride ended, Chloe summed things up in just one word: “Terrifying.”

It’s a good thing Max asked Chloe to marry him a week earlier. If he would have waited until after the ride along, who knows what may have happened, right?

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At racing season’s roughly halfway point, here’s some of the bigger crashes to date (VIDEO)

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The bad news through the first half, roughly, of the 2015 international racing season is that there have been several major and severe looking accidents.

The good news is that in all of the above accidents, the drivers involved emerged almost completely unscathed and would race another day. Of the accidents, Busch was sidelined nearly half the year but returned to the track in May.

Here’s a rundown of the biggest thrills and spills thus far, from the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series, FIA Formula 1 and the Verizon IndyCar Series:

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup: Jamie McMurray’s spin triggers a large crash at Daytona
  • F1: Sauber’s Felipe Nasr has front-end impact in Canada
  • IndyCar: Ryan Briscoe survives horrific end-over-end accident in Fontana
  • NASCAR Xfinity Series: Erik Jones spun in second “big one” of Xfinity opener, while Kyle Busch slid into the unprotected inside retaining wall at Daytona
  • F1: Max Verstappen collects Romain Grosjean in the biggest wreck of the F1 season thus far, at Monaco
  • Xfinity: Daniel Suarez and Regan Smith are caught up in the first “big one” at the Xfinity opener
  • IndyCar: Ed Carpenter goes in backwards and catches air on Sunday morning of Indy 500 qualifying
  • F1: Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have a scary coming together in Austria
  • Sprint Cup: Trevor Bayne hits the backstraight wall at Talladega in another “big one”
  • IndyCar: Helio Castroneves’ aerial flight in Indy 500 practice kicks off a concerning week of accidents
  • Sprint Cup: Austin Dillon’s crash in Daytona was the scariest one of the year by far

Montoya’s Indianapolis 500 win adds another storied chapter to the Roger Penske-Chip Ganassi rivalry

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INDIANAPOLIS – The day before he and Roger Penske turned the Indianapolis 500 into a two-man chess match with nine 230-mph pawns, Chip Ganassi was asked about his primary rival’s depth.

How concerned was Ganassi now that Penske had four full-time championship-contending Chevrolets?

Standing on the yard of bricks where he’d won two Indianapolis 500s and a Brickyard 400 since Penske’s most recent Indy triumph, Ganassi flashed his Cheshire cat grin.

“You know,” he said. “If he wins the Indy 500, he’ll be the second guy in the club who wins Daytona and Indy in the same year.”

End of answer.

There was no need to leaf through a tome on racing history to know that Ganassi’s response was self-referential. In 2010, Ganassi won the Daytona 500 with Jamie McMurray and the Indy 500 with Dario Franchitti.

With Juan Pablo Montoya’s second Indy 500 win Sunday, the list now includes Penske, whose Sprint Cup team captured Daytona with Joey Logano three months ago.

“(Ganassi) wouldn’t let me in the club,” joked Penske, who has a record 16 wins in the Indy 500. “I finally got in. He sent me a note earlier, he said, ‘Welcome to the club.’  I said, ‘Thanks for the invite.’ ”

source: Getty Images
Getty Images

The statistical nugget embodied the theme of the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Of the 200 laps around the 2.5-mile layout, 193 were led by either Penske or Ganassi drivers.

Ganassi led 124 laps between pole-sitter Scott Dixon (race-high 84), Tony Kanaan (30) and Charlie Kimball (10), and Penske paced 69 circuits between Simon Pagenaud (35), Will Power (23), Montoya (9) and Helio Castroneves (2).

Montoya is the common denominator between the powerhouse organizations, having won his first Indy 500 in 2000 with Ganassi. Underscoring the respect of the rivalry, Montoya was stopped before beginning the winner’s convertible victory lap for a hug and hearty congratulations from his former car owner (who also fielded a Sprint Cup car from 2007-13 before he joined Penske).

“We’re still good friends,” Montoya said of Ganassi. “He made a business decision. That’s what it was. He brought his ‘A’ game. We did, as well. I think the big difference is Roger has four bullets to win.  Honestly, he really does.  I think Chip has two, maybe, where we have four.”

Ganassi fields full-time Chevys for Dixon, Kanaan and Kimball but also entered Sebastian Saavedra and Sage Karam at Indy.

“I told Chip I knew if I ran four (cars), he’d run five,” Penske said with a laugh last week.

Ganassi and Penske, who have combined to win eight of the past nine championships, have the top four drivers (Montoya, Power, Dixon, Castroneves) in the points standings through six races.

Drivers let loose across USA on Indianapolis 500 media day

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IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 Media Day on Tuesday took part not just in Indianapolis, but nearly two dozen cities across the country.

From San Francisco to Milwaukee to New York City and points in-between, drivers who will compete in Sunday’s 99th edition of the 500 had a chance to have some fun and – for at least one day – not worry about the inherent pressure of race day.

Thanks to the Twitterverse, here’s some of the highlights:

— Simon Pagenaud got a bit cheesy before taking a big ride in Milwaukee:

 

— Pippa Mann was ready for a Royal time in Kansas City

 

 

— Tony Kanaan and NASCAR drivers Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray enjoy a cold drink – of milk – in Charlotte

 

 

— Speaking of milk, rookie driver Gabby Chaves had a taste for milk, so he went right to the source

 

— JR Hildebrand looks like he’ll leave his heart in San Francisco

 

 

— Simona De Silvestro has a pre-Indy 500 makeover in the Big Apple

 

 

— Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud try their hands at tennis. A bit of advice, guys: Don’t give up your day jobs!

 

— Graham Rahal returns to his dad’s old hometown, the Windy City, Chicago.

 

— Rahal shows decent form when he throws out the first pitch before the White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field.

 

— Carlos Munoz, Oriol Servia and Sebastian Saavedra say “Hola!” to Miami

 

 

— Ed Carpenter does a little high-speed motoring in Motown, at Detroit’s Belle Isle, where the IndyCar Series will race at May 30-31.

 

 

— Jack Hawksworth gets some kicks with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

 

 

— Justin Wilson learns that everything is bigger in Texas, including the media.

 

 

— There’s no generation gap here: School kids visiting Indianapolis Motor Speedway know who A.J. Foyt is.

 

 

— Charlie Kimball got some practice spraying champagne in Detroit. Could it be for real on Sunday?

 

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Scott Dixon set for Sebring drive with Ganassi’s Riley-Ford

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Scott Dixon will make his third appearance in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (2009, 2014) co-driving the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford, the team’s lone entry for this year’s race.

Dixon will share with Scott Pruett and Joey Hand, the team’s full-season co-drivers.

Ganassi won in its Sebring race debut last year, with Pruett, Memo Rojas and Marino Franchitti.

“Sebring is one of those iconic motor races in the world and I think we’ll have a good chance,” Dixon said in a team release.

“The team started strong with a win in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with the No. 02 car this season, and the No. 01 car won in its Sebring debut last year. I’m looking forward to working with Scott and Joey again, and the whole IMSA program.”

Dixon won the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona with his IndyCar teammate Tony Kanaan, and Ganassi NASCAR stars Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson.