Fast Facts: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Leave a comment

Courtesy of INDYCAR PR, here’s all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ fourth round of the 2016 season:

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Fast Facts

Track: Barber Motorsports Park, a 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course (clockwise)

Race distance: 90 laps / 207 miles

Entry List:  Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (PDF)

Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 20 seconds each

Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary, three sets alternate

Twitter: @BarberMotorPark @IndyCar, #HIGPA, #IndyCar

Event website: www.barbermotorsports.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2015 race winner: Josef Newgarden (No. 67 Hartman Oil/CFH Racing Chevrolet)

2015 Verizon P1 Award winner: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet),1:07.1925, 123.228 mph

Qualifying lap record: Scott Dixon, 1:06.7750, 123.999 mph, April 2013

NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 24 (3 p.m. ET, live)

NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 23 (4 p.m. ET, live)

NBCSN practice broadcast: Friday, April 22 (Noon ET, live)

Rick Allen will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s broadcast of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network is led by chief announcer Mark Jaynes, with analyst Davey Hamilton. Turn reporters are Jake Query and Nick Yeoman, with Dave Furst, Rob Howden and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209,IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app. Qualifying broadcasts are available on Sirius 212, XM 209, I IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app. Practice sessions are on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video Streaming: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama track activity not covered live on television (Practice 2 on April 22, Practice 3 on April 23 and race day warmup on April 24) will be available on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar) andRaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR Mobile App: Verizon Wireless puts fans around the world in the driver’s seat with its INDYCAR Mobile app. The app has been enhanced with new features to keep fans in the know of the latest race-day action. Exclusive features of the INDYCAR Mobile app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and includes enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; the ability to follow the race in real time with the interactive 3D track; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, April 22
11 a.m. -12:15 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, NBCSN (Live)
3-4:15 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com(Live)

Saturday, April 23
11-11:45 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, streaming onRaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)
3 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series knockout qualifications), NBCSN (live)

Sunday, April 24
10:30-11 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com(Live)
2 p.m. – NBCSN on air
2:45 p.m. – Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (90 laps/207 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Race Notes:

* Simon Pagenaud continued his hot start to 2016 claiming his first win of the season – and first as a member of Team Penske – at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17. The Frenchman, who made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in 2011, leads four-time series champion Scott Dixon by 14 points heading into this weekend’s race.

* The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be the seventh Indy car event conducted at Barber Motorsports Park.

* Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden are the only drivers to have won at Barber Motorsports Park. Castroneves won the inaugural race in 2010, Power won the race in 2011 and 2012, Hunter-Reay won in 2013 and 2014 and Newgarden won the race in 2015.

* Castroneves, Hunter-Reay and Power are the only drivers to have won the pole position at Barber Motorsports Park. Power claimed the pole position in 2010, 2011 and 2014; Castroneves won the pole in 2012 and 2015 and Hunter-Reay in 2013

* Two drivers have won the race from the pole – Power in 2011 and Hunter-Reay in 2013.

* Dixon has finished on the podium in each of his six previous starts at Barber Motorsports Park – including four runner-up finishes – but he has yet to finish on the top step of the podium at the picturesque road circuit. Dixon won at Phoenix earlier this season and is tied for fourth with Al Unser on the all-time Indy car victory list with 39.

* Eight drivers have competed in every Indy car race at Barber – Marco Andretti, Castroneves, Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato. All are entered this year.

* Team Penske has three wins at Barber Motorsports Park (2010, 2011 and 2012). Andretti Autosport and Ed Carpenter Racing are the only other teams to win at the track. Andretti Autosport won in 2013 and 2014 with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Ed Carpenter Racing won with Josef Newgarden in 2015.

* Rookies Max Chilton, Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi will compete in their first Verizon IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park. Chilton, who leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by six points over Daly and 11 points over Rossi, earned his first podium in Indy Lights in 2015. Daly competed on the circuit in Indy Lights in 2011.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 253rd consecutive race, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon has made 194 consecutive starts, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.

* The 2016 season is the second in which aerodynamic bodywork component kits are used. The aero kits, produced by engine manufacturers Chevrolet and Honda for their respective supplied teams, are the latest technical innovation to enhance on-track performance through competitive aerodynamic development. Each manufacturer produces two kits for teams – one for short ovals/road courses/street courses and another for superspeedway ovals – but within each kit, teams have multiple component options available.

* The second season of aero kit competition complements the fifth year of engine manufacturer competition between Chevrolet and Honda with their 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines. It will be another season testing speed and durability to determine the manufacturer champion.

Oliver Askew: ‘I was starting to lose confidence’ after ‘hardest hit I’ve had’

Leave a comment

Oliver Askew knew something was medically wrong in the days after concussion-like symptoms began from “the hardest hit I’ve ever had” in the Indianapolis 500. He’d been evaluated and cleared to race after the Aug. 23 crash, but he just didn’t feel right.

The IndyCar rookie told The Associated Press on Thursday he has been experiencing dizziness, sleeping difficulties, irritability, headaches and confusion since he crashed in the Aug. 23 race. He continued to race in four more events as he tried to “play through it” until friends and family encouraged him to seek medical treatment.

He since has been diagnosed with a concussion and is working on a recovery plan with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s sports medicine concussion program, the same place NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. received care after concussions in 2012 and ’16. Askew will not compete in next weekend’s doubleheader on the road course at Indianapolis, and Arrow McLaren SP will put three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Chevrolet.

“This is all I’ve worked for,” the 23-year-old told AP. “I don’t come from money, and I’ve worked my way up and have finally gotten my shot in a good car. And then all of a sudden, the results just weren’t there in a car I knew should be performing. And I just didn’t feel like myself, you know?

“So initially I felt like I needed to stay in the car and continue to improve. And then I didn’t feel like I could do that with my condition and what was going on. I was starting to lose confidence in myself.”

Earnhardt praised Askew for going to Pittsburgh to see Dr. Micky Collins.

“Oliver is in the best hands when it comes to taking care of this problem and getting back on the racetrack. It was very smart of him to get in front of Micky so that he could understand the seriousness of the situation and begin the process of getting well,” Earnhardt said. “You can absolutely heal from this but not without taking the step of getting help. Often that’s the most difficult step.”

Athletes often hide injuries to continue competing, and even Earnhardt admittedly masked concussions during his driving career. Askew didn’t know what was wrong with him but was frightened to get out of the car.

He is a paid driver who brings no sponsorship money to the team (but did bring a $1 million scholarship for winning last year’s Indy Lights championship), and owner Sam Schmidt holds the option on his contract.

As he tried to race on, his performance suffered. Askew had finished third and sixth at Iowa — the previous two races before Indianapolis. After the crash, he was part of a multicar accident the next week at Gateway and has not finished higher than 14th in the four races since Indy.

A year after winning seven Indy Lights races, Askew has fallen from 12th to 18th in the standings and slipped considerably off the pace. He said he struggled in team debriefs, had difficulty giving feedback and has gone through a personality change that was noticeable to those close to Askew.

Spire Sports + Entertainment, which represents Askew and was among those who pushed the driver to see a doctor, noted Arrow McLaren SP did not reveal that Askew was suffering from a concussion in its Thursday announcement he would miss next week’s race.

“Oliver clearly demonstrated his talent until Lap 91 of the Indianapolis 500, and I hope this does not become another case study of why athletes do not tell their teams they are injured,” said agent Jeff Dickerson. “The reason they do that is because more often times than not they are replaced. In motorsports, there is always somebody to replace you, and whether it was Dale Jr. or Oliver Askew, there is always another driver available.

“I hope this is not a barrier to progress for other drivers — especially young drivers afraid of losing their job — to notify their teams they are hurt. I hope the team proves me wrong because the good news is, the kid has had a head injury for the past month and has still run 14th in IndyCar.”

After finally seeking medical treatment, Askew said he was relieved to learn there was something wrong. He said doctors told him the injury has a “100% recovery rate” and he believes he will be able to race in the IndyCar season finale next month at St. Petersburg. He’s been rehabilitating with exercises and tasks that strain the brain such as deliberately going to grocery stores and the airport.

“Honestly, you know, if I had not gone to see medical professionals I would probably stay in the car,” Askew said. “But now after hearing what’s wrong and that it could get worse, God forbid I have another hit, I know I did the right thing. I think I can be an example for young drivers now in stepping up and saying something is wrong, I need to have this checked out.”