INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski

Mario Andretti spins out during IndyCar two-seater ride at Texas

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Racing legend Mario Andretti takes pride in giving race fans and VIP’s a high-speed thrill ride in an IndyCar as driver of the Indy Racing Experience two-seater.

It’s a specially-prepared IndyCar that has a seat behind the driver and is able to replicate the thrill and sensation of the machines that compete in the NTT IndyCar Series.

“I like to make sure the rider feels like I’ve left nothing on the table,” Andretti told NBCSports.com.

But on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, the 79-year-old Andretti was giving a business associate a ride around the high-banked oval when the car broke loose coming out of Turn 2 and spun out.

Andretti, the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), the Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship (1978), was able to maintain control of the car and keep it from hitting the outside wall. The car drifted across the track and made light contact with the infield retaining wall.

Neither Andretti nor his passenger were injured.

“I wanted to make a change on the car, and I should have taken the time and I didn’t,” Andretti said later. “I thought I would ride it out and it caught me out coming out of Turn 2.

“The passenger loved the ride. He hopes we have a video of it. It’s actually the son of my business partner, M.J. Castello. I know the kid well.”

The “Two-Seater” has a longer center of gravity and thousands have paid for the experience of racing around various road courses, street courses and speedways on the NTT IndyCar Series.

“It’s serious business,” Andretti said. “That’s why you sign a release of liability. Look at the millions of miles we have run and have never hurt anybody. The protection in the car is amazing and everybody is fine.

“I thought I had the car saved, but I didn’t. It hit the inside wall a little bit, but no big deal. I’m safe, I don’t want to hurt myself or anybody … That’s just the way it is.”

According to one of the co-owners of the Indy Racing Experience, over 120,000 rides have been given to guests with no injuries — a rather impressive statistic. The rides are only available to guests and VIPs 18 and over.

 

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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