Tag: Sam Hornish Jr.

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 21: Dan Wheldon driving the #26 Andretti Green Racing Jim Beam/Klein Tools Dallara Honda  leads a pack down the front straight during  the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series Copper World Indy 200 on March 21, 2004 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images).

Report: Phoenix closing in on IndyCar return for 2016


Phoenix International Raceway is closer to returning to the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar than it has been at any point in the past ten years, according to a new report.

azcentral.com reports that a date and distance for a race in 2016 have already been agreed by the circuit and INDYCAR, but that a firm deal still remains unsigned.

PIR last hosted an IndyCar race back in 2005, won by Sam Hornish Jr., and although a return has been mooted for some time, plans have failed to come to fruition.

However, according to circuit president Bryan Sperber, a deal is closer now that it has been since the race fell off the calendar ten years ago.

“This is the closest we’ve been in ten years,” Sperber told azcentral sports.

“We working hard on it but it’s not a done deal. There have been things we’ve worked hard on in the past that didn’t [happen].”

Earlier this year, Hulman and Co. (INDYCAR’s parent company) CEO Mark Miles confirmed that Phoenix was being discussed when formulating the calendar, and suggested a date as early as February to give the circuit’s NASCAR events plenty of breathing room.

According to the report, a date of April 2 2016 has been agreed by PIR and INDYCAR, with the race running for 250 miles that evening. This would see it slot in two weeks before the Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 17).

Hulman and Co. chief revenue officer Jay Frye confirmed that there was a desire to return to PIR from both the circuit and INDYCAR, and that every effort would be made to take the series back for 2016.

“I think there’s genuine enthusiasm on both sides,” Frye said.

“Phoenix is very important to the league, our partners and fans. We’re making every attempt to explore every option to go back there.”

Road America redux: A look back, and a look ahead

Generac Grand Prix
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Do you remember the year 2007? Specifically August 12, 2007?

That date, eight years ago today, was when the last open-wheel race was held at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

The Champ Car World Series’ Generac Power Grand Prix was won by Sebastien Bourdais, driving the No. 1 McDonald’s Panoz / Cosworth for Newman Haas Lanigan Racing.

This is worth noting after the Verizon IndyCar Series and Road America announced last week open-wheel racing would return to the 4.048-mile road course next year the weekend of June 26.

I don’t remember that day. At the time I was preparing for my junior year at Springdale High School in Arkansas and had yet to write a journalistic word. But MotorSports Talk’s Tony DiZinno was there covering his first on-site race, weeks before starting school at Marquette.

DiZinno: I’ll make this brief. Road America was awesome.

Perhaps it was being a wide-eyed 18-year-old, the first race I could cover after 11 years of being a fan and writing for fun for the better part of eight or nine years.

Perhaps it was the ambiance of the place – practically a state park with a race track carved in-between the trees, with the best track food to boot.

Or perhaps it was the reality that this was the first time I could convert my fandom into work, meeting some of my heroes at the time and hearing the mix of cars from Champ Cars, ALMS and Atlantic over the weekend.

In short, even though it was work, I was hooked – and the memories gleaned from that year still last years later, and laid the groundwork for where I’ve been able to make it today. Some of the people I met that weekend have become instrumental in my career, as valuable friends, colleagues and sounding boards.

It cemented my love for the track so many have spoke so highly of.

Much has changed in the intervening years. Instead of Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” topping the charts, it’s “Cheerleader” by OMI.

In theaters, “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation” is the movie to see in the place of “Rush Hour 3.”

Oh, and there is just one major open-wheel series in North America. Seven months after Bourdais won at Road America – for his fifth of eight wins in 14 races that year – the Indy Racing League and Champ Car ended a 12-year war between the two series by merging back under the IndyCar banner.

Eight years later, how familiar is IndyCar, as a single series, compared to that weekend in Elkhart Lake?

Of the nine teams that made up the 17-car field that day, only two team owners’ names could be found in the most recent race at Mid-Ohio: Dale Coyne and Michael Lanigan. Coyne runs his two-car team and Lanigan, who was part of Newman-Haas in 2007, is now the third name of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Another team, PKV Racing, co-owned by Jimmy Vasser, has since become KVSH Racing and KV Racing Technology.

When it comes to drivers, Bourdais, Graham Rahal (finished third), Justin Wilson (eighth), Simon Pagenaud (11th) and Will Power (16th) are the only participants found in IndyCar, though Oriol Servia (fourth) and Alex Tagliani (fifth) can usually be seen in Indianapolis in May. Paul Tracy (finished 12th), is now an IndyCar analyst for NBCSN.

Meijer Indy 300
Meijer Indy 300Gavin Lawrence/Getty Images

That same weekend Champ Car was at Road America, the IRL was at Kentucky Speedway for the mouthful Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Coca-Cola and Edy’s.

Won by Tony Kanaan – competing for Andretti Green Racing – the race contained six current Indy Car drivers: Kanaan, Scott Dixon (second), Marco Andretti (fourth), Ed Carpenter (seventh), Helio Castroneves (ninth) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (15th).

Also in the field: Danica Patrick, the late Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti, Sam Hornish Jr. and Sarah Fisher. That weekend, Franchitti’s car went airborne – after the checkered flag – for the second race in a row.

For the Champ Car Series in 2007, Road America represented the 10th race of the season. Here’s a look at the drivers in the field, their finishing order on Aug. 12, 2007 and where they are in 2015.

  1. Sebastien Bourdais  (France): 2007 – Owner: Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing; 2015 – KVSH Racing. Two wins through 14 races in IndyCar. Left Champ Car for Formula One in 2008, returned to IndyCar in 2011.
  2. Dan Clarke (United Kingdom): 2007 –  Minardi Team USA, last of two seasons in Champ Car; 2015 – raced several times in the in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with LAP Motorsports in a MINI JCW.
  3. Graham Rahal (USA): 2007 – Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing; 2015 – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, second in the IndyCar points, a career high, with two races left after two wins, his first since 2008 at St. Petersburg.
  4. Oriol Servia (Spain): 2007 – Forsythe Championship Racing; 2015 – last raced in 99th Indianapolis 500 with RLL Racing, managing director for Dragon Racing in Formula E Championship.
  5. Alex Tagliani (Canada): 2007 – RSPORTS; 2015 – competed in 99th Indy 500 with A.J. Foyt Racing, will compete in NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio on Saturday for Team Penske.
  6. Jan Heylen (Belgium): 2007 – nine races with Conquest Racing, one podium; 2015 – four races in TUDOR United Sports Car Championship with Wright Motorsports.
  7. Tristan Gommendy (France): 2007 – 11 races with PKV Racing; 2015 – competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Thiriet by TDS Racing.
  8. Justin Wilson (United Kingdom): 2007 – RSPORTS, one win; 2015 – part time IndyCar schedule with Andretti Autosport, one podium in five races.
  9. Bruno Junqueira (Brazil): 2007 – Dale Coyne Racing, three podiums; 2015 – nine races and one win (Laguna Seca) in TUDOR with RSR Racing, what had been RSPORTS in a one-year partnership with RuSPORT.
  10. Neel Jani (Switzerland): 2007 -PKV Racing, three podiums; 2015 – Porsche factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, polesitter and finished fifth in 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  11. Simon Pagenaud (France): 2007 – Team Australia, eighth in points; 2015 – first season with Team Penske in IndyCar, four career wins.
  12. Paul Tracy (Canada): 2007 – 12 races with Forsythe Championship Racing, one win (Cleveland), last season of more than six races; 2015 – analyst for NBCSN.
  13. Alex Figge (USA): 2007 – 13 races with Pacific Coast Motorsports; 2015 – Off-road truck racing, and drove for K-PAX Racing in World Challenge GT in 2014.
  14. Robert Doornbos (Netherlands): 2007 – Minardi Team USA, two wins, rookie of the year; 2015 – Not racing actively.
  15. Katherine Legge (United Kingdom): 2007 – Dale Coyne Racing, 15th in points; 2015 – seven races in TUDOR with the DeltaWing team.
  16. Will Power (Australia): 2007 – Team Australia, two wins; 2015 – Team Penske, defending IndyCar champion, 25 career wins.
  17. Ryan Dalziel (Scotland): 2007 – 11 races for Pacific Coast Motorsports; 2015 – full-time in FIA World Endurance Championship with Tequila Patron ESM; two races in TUDOR with the same team; competing in Pirelli World Challenge with EFFORT Racing.

Sam Hornish Jr. reflects on 2006 Indy 500 win (VIDEO)


As Sam Hornish Jr. looks ahead to this weekend’s Brickyard 400, he looks back on his memorable, and remarkable, 2006 Indianapolis 500 win in Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR AMERICA.

He made a last lap pass of Marco Andretti exiting Turn 4 to score his first and only win in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Hunter-Reay makes it a six-pack for Andretti in Iowa with first 2015 win (VIDEO)


After what’s been a tough season so far, Michael Andretti probably needed a six-pack.

Ryan Hunter-Reay gave his team owner one Saturday night.

WATCH: Full replay of Iowa Corn 300

Hunter-Reay took an overdue first win of the Verizon IndyCar Series season, with his third overall and second straight win at the Iowa Speedway. It’s the team’s sixth straight win at the 0.894-mile oval dating to 2010.

He also becomes the ninth different race winner of 2015.

Hunter-Reay got ahead of erstwhile dominant driver Josef Newgarden with an earlier pit stop on the final sequence, and held off the two-time 2015 winner by 0.5046 of a second.

“It felt like we had something there. This No. 28 DHL Honda was on rails,” Hunter-Reay told NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis. “I was driving the snot out of it. I kept my foot to the floor. A lot of work in the cockpit. This one we really hard to work for after such a tough season.

“We got in victory lane in one of the most competitive seasons.”

Hunter-Reay’s win and Newgarden’s runner-up finish were somewhat overshadowed by some mid-July fireworks on IndyCar’s shortest track, involving IndyCar’s youngest driver.

Sage Karam, 20 years old, scored his first career IndyCar podium in third, as Chip Ganassi Racing’s lone driver to make the checkered flag. He passed Carlos Munoz for the final podium position, to complete the first all-American podium since Sam Hornish Jr., Marco and Michael Andretti in the 2006 Indianapolis 500.

But he only did so after drawing the ire of Ed Carpenter in the race’s final 20 laps. The two ran side-by-side for a period after the final restart from the sixth and final full course caution period.

An animated Carpenter was screaming on the radio – as Karam had earlier in the race – and would later hunt down the 20-year old on pit lane. The pair exchanged words and had a distinct difference of opinion about the racing style.

Graham Rahal survived a roller-coaster day en route to fourth ahead of Munoz, with Carpenter and Marco Andretti making it six Americans in the top seven.

Rahal’s day was mired by a flat tire, then persistent shifting issues that left him stuck in sixth gear for the majority of the final 250 laps. Two well-timed yellows helped keep Rahal from going a lap down after he’d got back on the lead lap, and saved his day as he moved into second in the championship.

It was a tough day for the title contenders. Juan Pablo Montoya entered with a 54-point lead and crashed out just 10 laps in, which opened the door for others to move ahead.

But mechanical issues sidelined Scott Dixon on Lap 234; his crew performed a minor miracle to get him back out, although he was resigned to an eventual 18th place finish, and thus gained only six points on Montoya.

Helio Castroneves was also well-positioned but faded to 11th in the final stint of the race after qualifying on pole.

Tony Kanaan was also unfortunate to retire with a mechanical issue, after he had been in the top three for most of the first 200 laps.

Today’s result promotes Rahal into second, now 42 back of Montoya with just three races remaining, and the second-to-last road course race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 2.


NEWTON, Iowa – Results Saturday of the Iowa Corn 300 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 0.894 mile Iowa Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (9) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 300, Running
2. (7) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 300, Running
3. (10) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 300, Running
4. (17) Graham Rahal, Honda, 300, Running
5. (12) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 300, Running
6. (11) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 300, Running
7. (8) Marco Andretti, Honda, 300, Running
8. (19) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 300, Running
9. (24) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 300, Running
10. (6) Will Power, Chevrolet, 300, Running
11. (1) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 300, Running
12. (20) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 299, Running
13. (21) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 299, Running
14. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 299, Running
15. (14) James Jakes, Honda, 299, Running
16. (23) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 299, Running
17. (18) Justin Wilson, Honda, 297, Running
18. (4) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 263, Running
19. (15) Takuma Sato, Honda, 260, Contact
20. (13) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 191, Contact
21. (2) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 189, Mechanical
22. (16) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 170, Contact
23. (22) Pippa Mann, Honda, 136, Handling
24. (3) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 9, Contact

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 129.943
Time of Race: 02:03:50.3315
Margin of victory: 0.5046 of a second
Cautions: 6 for 73 laps
Lead changes: 14 among 10 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Castroneves 1
Kanaan 2 – 68
Castroneves 69 – 77
Kanaan 78 – 80
Power 81 – 82
Jakes 83 – 85
Bourdais 86 -91
Kimball 92 – 98
Castroneves 99 – 105
Newgarden 106 – 125
Castroneves 126 – 158
Newgarden 159 – 249
Hawksworth 250 – 256
Rahal 257 – 263
Hunter-Reay 264 – 300

Verizon IndyCar Series Point Standings: Montoya 445, Rahal 403, Dixon 397, Castroneves 391, Power 390, Bourdais 366, Andretti 358, Newgarden 352, Kanaan 324, Pagenaud 294.


Fast Facts: MAVTV 500

MAVTV 500 Ð Day 1
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Courtesy of INDYCAR PR, here’s all the download and what you need to know ahead of this weekend’s MAVTV 500 for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ 11th round of 16 races this season:

Date: Saturday, June 27, 2015
Track: Auto Club Speedway, a 2-mile, D-shaped oval in Fontana, Calif.
Entry List: MAVTV 500 (PDF)
Race distance: 250 laps / 500 miles
Firestone tire allotment: Fifteen sets for use through the weekend
Twitter: @ACSupdates @IndyCar, #MAVTV500, #IndyCar
Event website: www.AutoClubSpeedway.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com 
2014 race winner: Tony Kanaan
2014 Verizon P1 Award winner: Helio Castroneves, 1:05.8918, 218.540 mph (two laps)
One-lap qualifying record: Gil de Ferran, 30.255 seconds, 241.428 mph, Oct. 28, 2000
Two-lap qualifying record: Will Power, 1:05.2247, 220.775 mph, Oct. 18, 2013

NBCSN television broadcasts: Qualifying, midnight ET Saturday, June 27 (tape delay); Race, 4 p.m. ET Saturday, June 27 (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer, alongside analysts Steve Matchett and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Kelli Stavast and Robin Miller.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Paul Page is chief announcer with analyst Jaques Lazier. Pit reporters are Dan Rusanowsky, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young, with Mark Jaynes and Jake Query in the turns. Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying and races air live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.comindycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app. Practice sessions are available on IndyCar.comindycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app.

Video streaming: All practice sessions for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season and this weekend’s qualifying session are available live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR 15 app: The Verizon INDYCAR 15 app has exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers, including interactive 3D Live View with real-time leaderboard and car telemetry to see where drivers are positioned, a leaderboard with enhanced 2D “marching ants” and car telemetry, in-car camera video streams from cameras that move 360 degrees and driver-pit crew chatter during the race.

At-track schedule (all times local): 

Friday, June 26
8:30-9:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series rookie practice
9:30-10:15 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice
12:45-2 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice
4:45-6 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying (single-car format, two laps each)

Saturday, June 27
9:30-9:35 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series systems check (one time around track)
1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
1:36 p.m. – MAVTV 500 (250 laps/500 miles), NBCSN (live)

Race notes:    

* There have been seven different winners in 10 Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2015: Juan Pablo Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg and Indianapolis 500), James Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Scott Dixon (Streets of Long Beach and Texas Motor Speedway), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Streets of Toronto), Will Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Carlos Munoz (Raceway at Belle Isle-1) and Sebastien Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-2). In 2014, there were a record-tying 11 different race winners.

* The MAVTV 500 will be the 14th Indy car race at Auto Club Speedway. Tony Kanaan won the race in 2014 when it was the season finale. Mark Blundell won the first Indy car race at the track in 1997.

* This is the third of six oval races on the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, while Dixon won the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6.

* Jimmy Vasser, Adrian Fernandez and Sam Hornish Jr. are the only drivers to win at Auto Club Speedway more than once. Vasser won in 1998 and 2002 (CART), Fernandez in 1999 and 2004, and Hornish won back-to-back races under INDYCAR sanction in 2002 and 2003. Ed Carpenter (2012), Power (2013) and Kanaan (2014) are past winners entered in this year’s race.

* Drivers who have won poles at Auto Club Speedway entered in this year’s race are: Kanaan (2002, CART), Helio Castroneves (2003, 2004 and 2014), Marco Andretti (2012) and Power (2013). Dario Franchitti (2005) and Power (2013) are the only drivers to win at Auto Club Speedway from the pole position.

* Twenty drivers entered in this year’s event have competed in past Indy car races at Auto Club Speedway. Castroneves and Kanaan (11) have the most starts among the entered drivers. Fourteen of those drivers have led laps at the track (Castroneves 310, Kanaan 180, Montoya 130, Power 111, Ryan Hunter-Reay 71, Carpenter 66, Dixon 48, Sebastien Bourdais 35, Charlie Kimball 22, James Jakes 11, Andretti 7, Takuma Sato 6, Ryan Briscoe 2 and Newgarden 1).

* After winning the Indianapolis 500 in May, Montoya chases the second leg of the Triple Crown for Verizon IndyCar Series 500-mile races this weekend. The last Indy car driver to capture the Triple Crown was Al Unser in 1978 (with wins at Indianapolis, Pocono Raceway and Ontario Motor Speedway). Because he also won the 2014 Pocono 500-mile race, Montoya would hold the “virtual” Triple Crown if he wins this weekend at Auto Club Speedway since he would be the reigning champion at all three tracks.

* Kanaan has finished on the podium in five of his last six races at Auto Club Speedway, including his win in 2014. Carpenter has finished on the podium in his last three Auto Club Speedway races (first in 2012, second in 2013 and third in 2014). Dixon has finished in the top 10 in seven of his eight previous races at Auto Club Speedway.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 244th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon looks to make his 186th consecutive start this weekend.

* Chip Ganassi Racing, with wins by Vasser (1998) and Kanaan (2014), is the only current Verizon IndyCar Series team with more than one victory at Auto Club Speedway.

* Team Penske has one win at the track (Power in 2013), which was built and previously operated by team owner Roger Penske. Team Penske has five pole positions at the track: Gil de Ferran (2000), Castroneves (2003, 2004 and 2014) and Power (2013).

* The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda that attach to the Dallara IR-12 chassis used by all entrants. Cars are differentiated by their shape as the manufacturers have designed a separate aero kit specification for road and street course/short ovals and another for superspeedways. References to the cars incorporate the name of the corresponding kit manufacturer. The superspeedway aero kit versions made their competition debut at the Indianapolis 500 and will be used again this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

* The No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske crew of Castroneves claimed the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Honda Indy Toronto on June 14 with a total pit-lane time of 1 minute, 26.278 seconds. This is the crew’s second Pit Stop Performance win in the last four races (Chevrolet Dual in Detroit, Race 1). The crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.