Indy 500 Sunday morning update: We finally have official updates from IMS, INDYCAR

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UPDATE: INDYCAR senior officials Mark Miles (Hulman & Co. CEO) and Derrick Walker (INDYCAR president of competition and operations) have made an appearance in the media center.

The pair have confirmed the aerodynamic downforce levels that teams qualify with will be the ones they race with.

The series has also confirmed no points will be awarded for qualifying, when it starts.

Here is Miles’ statement:

“This morning we saw a third car get into the wall, turn backward and lift into the air. We’ve said all along we want to go faster, but we want to do so safely.

“As a precautionary measure, INDYCAR will require that the cars qualify today in the same aero setup that they will run in the Indianapolis 500 next weekend. Also, for today, boost levels will return to race conditions. Given these changes, we have elected to not award points for today’s qualifications.

“Safety for drivers and fans is the top priority for INDYCAR and we will continue to be proactive in our research and development to improve all safety aspects of our sport.”

Today’s revised schedule:
1:30 – 2 p.m. – Group 1 practice
2 – 2:30 p.m. – Group 2 practice
*Note: No guaranteed green flag time
2:45 p.m. – Group 1 in tech line
3:15 p.m. – Group 2 in tech line
3:15 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 qualifications (all cars, one time through)
30 minutes following conclusion of qualifying – Group 2 qualifying (Pos. 31-33 and unqualified cars)
*Note: There will be no Fast Nine Shootout


Here’s a statement from Art St.Cyr, president, Honda Performance Development, regarding the changes instituted today for Indianapolis 500 qualifying:

“Even though we have every confidence in our design, we support INDYCAR in their efforts to improve safety.”

Here’s a statement from Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports:

“Chevrolet met with IndyCar this morning and the decision was made to run race-level aerodynamics and engine boost during qualifying in an effort to reduce speeds and increase downforce. We continue to review all available data from the crashes. Safety is our priority.”

11:45 a.m. ET: It’s been a chaotic morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since Ed Carpenter’s crash, and we have some level of update, although not a fully official one.

First, here is the latest updated schedule, per IMS.

The updated schedule comes after a frantic morning where a series of meetings have occurred via the INDYCAR trailer between both Chevrolet and Honda officials, with INDYCAR officials, as all parties are trying to figure out the course of action from here regarding safety with the new aero kits and changes to the cars.

Per Indianapolis ABC affiliate reporter Dave Furst, also a member of the IMS Radio Network, INDYCAR has made the decision to drop the extra qualifying boost (130 kPa back instead of the 140 kPa, which increases horsepower), and also for the Chevrolet teams to take the sidepod wheel ramps off.

The wheel ramps were the new aero kit part tested by Chevrolet during the week.

Additionally, it appears teams will have to race in the aerodynamic trim they will qualify with. More here from’s Marshall Pruett and Robin Miller.

Meanwhile, as media gathered outside the INDYCAR trailer at IMS, reporters on the ground indicated that they were told to move away from the trailer. See a tweet from Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin below:

Here is the scene outside the trailer:

As both Honda and Chevrolet teams met with INDYCAR, there were some driver tweets that began to emerge. See tweets below from Honda drivers Graham Rahal, Gabby Chaves and Conor Daly:

We have also had two key interviews of note. First was IMS President J. Douglas Boles issuing an update to the PA system:

“Had this been a one off we wouldn’t be as worried as we are right now. We have had 3 of them.

“The cars have come in, hit the wall.

“What we are trying to do right now, the best we can and INDYCAR can ensure this is not going to continue to happen.

“We are letting the INDYCAR folks and engineers know how to do that.

“I’m hoping in the next 10-15 minutes we will know what we’re going to do to go forward.

“I’m staying in touch with INDYCAR guys. Fans want to see racing action. I will stay in touch. But apologize for the delay in voice.

“If we can make it safer, that is what we are trying to do.”

Here was Carpenter then, speaking to NBCSN IndyCar pit reporter Kevin Lee, this weekend working with the IMS Radio Network.

“Really immediately I’m thinking what does this mean for my chances to get in the Indianapolis 500? It didn’t feel like a hard hit. It looks bad. I was just thinking am I able to get in the race? The whole CFH team – unfortunately twice in a week – has to put together a new car. They put another new car together in 2 and a half hours. Waiting to see the schedule. At this point I’m optimistic we’ll make the next practice.

“We had a meeting. I’m not going to comment until they make a statement. All the Chevy owners. We thought what we thought would be a direction. Honda has been 2 or 3 times longer. We’re waiting to see the decision after that meeting.

“The delays aren’t hurting us at the moment.

“I’m not sure who came to who. I’m not sure who asked for a meeting. I got asked to go over there.”

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.