Fast Facts: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

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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.

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

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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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.”