Fast Facts: Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

0 Comments

The INDYCAR PR staff has assembled the following details for this weekend’s Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. Here are the fast facts heading into this weekend’s race (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN):

INDY GRAND PRIX OF LOUISIANA FAST FACTS

Track: 2.74-mile, 13-turn road course (clockwise)
Race distance: 75 laps / 205.5 miles
Entry List:  Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana (PDF)
Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 20 seconds each
Firestone tire allotment: Eight sets primary, three sets alternate
Twitter: @GPofNOLA, @IndyCar, #GPofNOLA, #IndyCar
Event website: www.gpofnola.com 
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2014 race winner: New event
2014 Verizon P1 Award winner: New event
Qualifying lap record: New event

NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 12 (2:30 p.m. ET)
NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 11 (5 p.m. ET)

Brian Till will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s broadcast of the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kelly Stavast, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Video Streaming: All practice sessions for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season will be available on the INDYCAR YouTube channel www.youtube.com/indycar and RaceControl.IndyCar.com .

Radio broadcasts: Paul Page is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Qualifying and all Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network, Sirius 213, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR 15 app. Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions are on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app.

At-track schedule (all times local): 
Friday, April 10 
12:15-1:45 p.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)
4:15-5:35 p.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)

Saturday, April 11
12:30-1:15 p.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series practice)
4:15 p.m. (Three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series qualifications)

Sunday, April 12
11-11:30 a.m. (Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up)
1:30 p.m. NBCSN on air
2:37 p.m. Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana green flag

Race Notes:
* The Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana is the first Indy car race at NOLA Motorsports Park and first major auto race in the state of Louisiana since a 1995 IMSA GT race in downtown New Orleans.

* Juan Pablo Montoya started the Verizon IndyCar Series season by scoring the win in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Can he continue his strong start by adding another win at NOLA Motorsports Park?

* With a third-place finish at St. Petersburg, Tony Kanaan has finished on the podium in six of his last eight races. Now the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner looks to add a win at NOLA Motorsports Park. Can Kanaan keep up his podium streak?

* Kanaan seeks to start his 235th consecutive race, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in 2001 at Portland. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 176 consecutive starts.

* Team Penske, which earned its 175th Indy car win at St. Petersburg, will field a formidable four-car juggernaut in New Orleans hoping to sweep the podium after placing all four cars in the top five at St. Petersburg. St. Pete race winner Montoya is joined by reigning series champion Will Power, who finished second at St. Petersburg, Helio Castroneves, who finished fourth at St. Petersburg, and Simon Pagenaud, who finished fifth in his team debut.

* Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, is tied with Bobby Unser for fifth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 35.

* Simona de Silvestro, who made 65 starts over four Verizon IndyCar Series seasons, is the only female driver entered in the race. She made her return to the series at St. Petersburg after a one-year absence, finishing 18th.

* The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda. Cars are differentiated by their shape on the street course as the manufacturers have designed separate aero kit specifications for road and street course/short ovals and speedways for the Dallara IR-12 chassis. References to the cars will incorporate the name of the corresponding manufacturer.

* The No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Dallara crew of Tony Kanaan won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with a total pit lane time of 99.024 seconds. The NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana.

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
0 Comments

More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”