Photo: IndyCar

Sato leads early at Barber test; Rossi visor cam debuts (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Two Andretti Autosport nuggets of note have emerged from the opening three hours of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ open test at Barber Motorsports Park (race occurs April 23 on NBCSN).

Takuma Sato, who banked a top-five finish in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg last weekend, was on top as Hondas were in five of the top six positions in the first three hours of testing.

The second three-hour run occurs from 2 to 5 p.m. Teams have four sets of Firestone tires for the day with the exception of rookie Ed Jones, who has one extra set available.

Meanwhile, to get a sense of just how much of a roller coaster the Birmingham, Ala. road course is, INDYCAR has released another of its stunningly cool “Visor Cam” videos, this time with Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi in the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts Honda for Andretti-Herta Autosport.

The other news nugget of note is Juan Pablo Montoya making his first IndyCar test run this season, in Team Penske’s No. 22 Chevrolet, as preparation for his two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. Montoya, the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, will run a fifth Team Penske entry at the IndyCar Grand Prix and 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Times from this morning are below.

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

Getty Images
1 Comment

It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

and on Facebook