Kaskade, Steve Aoki, A-Trak named for Indy 500 Snake Pit

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway month of May concert lineup has its latest announcement, joining the Back Home Again in IndianaCarb Day and Legends Day announcements. Here’s the Snake Pit lineup, with release below from IMS:

World-renowned electronic DJs and producers Kaskade, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak will perform in the Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite during the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 24, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We’ve seen a renewed popularity in the Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite in the past few years and our younger fans really enjoy the direction in which it’s been going,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “Kaskade, Steve Aoki, and A-Trak are among the world’s leading electronic music artists, and combining their talents with the other entertainment we have planned will make our Snake Pit the place to be for the most entertaining party in Indianapolis this year.”

In an effort to enhance the Snake Pit’s reputation of securing top talent and to further its growth, IMS partnered with React Presents, the leading electronic concert and festival promoter in the Midwest, to produce the event. React Presents is a full service club, concert and festival promotion company based in Chicago. React Presents produces Spring Awakening Music Festival, Summer Set Music & Camping Festival, North Coast Music Festival, and hundreds of events in the Midwest each year.

Crowned by the New York Times as “the new face of electronic dance music,” Kaskade formed the groundwork for a titanic musical and cultural shift creating a post-rock electronic music revolution that has captured the imagination of a new generation of fans across North America.

In 2011, Kaskade earned his first Grammy nomination for his double-album Fire & Ice, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic albums chart. He would later release his well-received eighth studio album Atmosphere in 2013, which scored 12 Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Chart, meriting Kaskade his second and third Grammy nominations for Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronica Album. The two-time “America’s Best DJ” title-holder has created chart-topping remixes for everyone from Lana Del Rey to Beyoncé.

Kaskade closed out the 2014 concert season having performed and headlined at more than 100 shows and festivals. He’s brought his deep-euphoric tunes to the masses averaging 17,000 fans per arena-sized show spanning six continents in more than 45 countries. Kaskade’s live shows are a jaw-dropping spectacle with him performing in front of massive LED screens broadcasting evocative images synced with the music in meaning and tone, while strobe lights scan the crowd.

Steve Aoki is a Grammy Award-nominated, gold-selling artist and producer, who incites quite a bit of movement with packed headlining shows and festival appearances.

Millions of fans responded to Aoki’s 2014 studio album Neon Future 1, featuring a wondrous and wild cross section of genres. The album catapulted to No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums Chart, No. 4 on the Independent Albums Chart and No. 13 on the Digital Albums Chart. The single “Delirious (Boneless)” with Chris Lake and Tujamo featuring Kid Ink, achieved gold status as certified by the RIAA and “Rage the Night Away” (Feat. Waka Flocka Flame) appeared in theatrical trailers for the dance film Step Up: All In as well as Unfinished Business.

Aoki’s latest album release, Neon Future II, fuels his latest revolution, bookending the journey he began with Neon Future 1, while opening up the skies for more progression. He first ignites this ride with “Time Capsule (Intro),” where swirling synths propel an engaging and entrancing opener bolstered by cinematic and spacey soundscapes. Aoki taps the talents of the legendary Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg) for an electrified reggae and rap banger “Youth Dem Turn Up,” emitting cosmic fumes worth huffing over and over again. Elsewhere, Matthew Koma lends his smooth and slick croon to the dance floor-ready bounce of “Hysteria.”

At a time when DJs sit firmly at the center of popular culture, A-Trak stands out as the MVP, and the key participant who holds together all facets of the craft. Very few share his mastery of turntablism while also sitting at the forefront of musical innovation, looking keenly to the future with history tucked in his back pocket.

After spending years as Kanye West’s tour DJ and confidant, A-Trak founded the celebrated record label Fool’s Gold Records in 2007 and developed the careers of numerous artists, including Danny Brown, Chromeo, RL Grime, Flosstradamus, and many more.

A Grammy-nominated producer from Montreal, Canada, A-Trak was a ’90s turntable prodigy. As a teenager, he won every DJ title known to man, starting with the 1997 DMC World Championships and holding a record-breaking five titles by the time he was 18.

A-Trak hops effortlessly from colossal festival stages to sold-out concert venues and sweaty underground clubs, building links between hip hop and electronic music while watching genre barriers crumble.

Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite tickets are available for purchase for all Indianapolis 500 ticket holders. General admission tickets to the Snake Pit are available beginning at $15 in addition to VIP tickets offering admission to the Serpent Lounge starting at $60. VIP amenities will include access to a raised viewing platform located side stage, a private cash bar, private restrooms, video boards with live race coverage and access to viewing mounds. Snake Pit tickets do not include gate admission.

For Snake Pit wristbands and more information, visit http://www.indy500snakepit.com.

The 2015 Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for noon (ET) on Sunday, May 24.

IndyCar drivers say Thermal Club could host race after successful opening day to test

IndyCar Thermal race
Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY Sports Images
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THERMAL, Calif. – The “motorsports country club” passed the first test (figuratively and literally) with NTT IndyCar Series drivers pleased enough to proclaim The Thermal Club as race-eligible after its debut.

Though there were a few minor incidents on the 17-turn, 3.067-mile permanent road course east of Palm Springs in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, there was no significant damage for the 27 full-time cars that turned 1,119 laps Thursday.

Perhaps more importantly, drivers seemed to enjoy the ride around the track, which is unlike anything on the current circuit.

“I would love to race here,” said Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Marcus Armstrong, who posted the 10th-quickest time (1 minute, 39.9077 seconds) in the No. 11 Dallara-Honda that he will race on street and road courses after coming from the F2 Series. “I think it’s awesome. Would have to do a lot of neck training prior to the race because it’s much like a European circuit, quite demanding on the neck, towards the end of the lap anyway.

PRACTICE SPEEDS: First session l Second session l Combined

‘AN AMAZING PLACE’: IndyCar and its big plans for Thermal

“I think it’s cool. Very flowing, banked corners, banked high-speed corners. In terms of racing, it could be potentially not a lot of overtaking. You’d have to commit hard (in) maybe Turn 1. It wouldn’t be the easiest place to overtake. As a whole facility and circuit, it’s very enjoyable.”

Juncos Hollinger Racing No. 77 Chevrolet driver Callum Ilott, another F2 veteran who is entering his second year in IndyCar, was seventh fastest. Ilott said Thermal would “set a standard really of what we want to be doing with this series.

“It’s really, really high level, high tech,” said Ilott, whose rookie teammate Agustin Canapino went off course twice but incurred no major trouble. “As a circuit, yeah, it’s got a little bit different corners. I think the overtaking — we’ll find a way, we’re IndyCar — someone always sends it down the inside. I think if we can extend the straight and get some overtaking between Turn 6 and 7. It’s definitely a great circuit to drive and good fun and a bit different to the normal winter training we get in Florida. So I like the circuit.

“I think if we could, it would be good to race here once.”

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, who turned the fastest lap (1:39.3721) in his No. 26, also was optimistic despite the passing challenges.

“I think it really comes down to tire deg, what people are showing with that,” Herta said. “It will be tough to pass, right? A lot of the good braking zones, you’re coming off of high-speed corners, so it will be hard to follow.

“But you never know. I would say some of the tracks we go to would be terrible for racing, and IndyCar still puts on a great show. You never know until it’s tested and proven right or wrong.”

The possibility of adding an IndyCar race at The Thermal Club has been floated, but there would be some challenges. It likely would be a made-for-TV event given it’s a private club (and filled with multimillion-dollar homes filled with vintage cars). The test is closed to the public and open only to members and VIPs.

There also are some areas that would need to be improved, namely the galvanized steel Armco barriers that ring the track and generally are considered antiquated in motorsports.

“I think the Armco might propose a little bit of an issue,” Ilott said. “Again, it depends on what angle you’re hitting them obviously. It’s a pretty straightforward process to make it a bit safer and a bit more cushiony. I’m not in charge of that stuff. I just drive and try not to hit those things.

“I think it’s a straightforward process. To be fair, everyone has had a little moment today, spun and carried on. That’s a good start. Obviously there are anomalies, these things happen. So far, so good.”

Said Herta: For sure. It probably needs a little bit of work. They’ve already done a lot for us to come here already. It seems like if they do want to have a race here, they’re willing to put the work in and money in to upgrade the facility to make it a little bit safer for us.”

Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was second fastest (1:39.3767), followed by Alex Palou (1:39.3970) and Romain Grosjean (1:39.4826). Will Power was the top Chevrolet driver in fifth (1:39.5690).

Though Andretti had two of the top four times, Herta downplayed the significance other than getting reacclimated to his team.

“Just a lot of knocking the rust off,” he said. “It’s quite a long offseason without being in the car. I don’t know how much we’re really going to learn from running here. It’s really good to get the team back into it, get all the boys working again. Yeah, just get everybody back into the flow of it.

“It could be a huge shake-up when we go to St. Pete and who’s up front and who’s at the back. It is too early to tell. It’s nice just to be back in the car and get lap times down, get everybody working again.

“The track surface is very strange, very different to anything I’ve really felt in IndyCar. It’s seven first-gear corners. We don’t really have that many anywhere we go on a street course. It is quite a bit slower than our natural terrain courses. But I don’t want to be in here and dig it the whole time. It’s a fun track to drive, especially the back section. It keeps you on your toes. It doesn’t really replicate anything else that we go (race).”

The test will continue with another six-hour session Friday.