Edited by Len Ashburn / Ron Felix
Teams, Drivers Happy With New Car Test At Indy
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - Nine teams jump-started their preparation for the 96th Indianapolis 500 by testing the new IZOD IndyCar Series car Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Participating teams and the INDYCAR engine group gathered data regarding handling characteristics and performance levels from their Chevrolet- and Honda-powered cars.
One car/driver combination from each team was invited to participate. Driving Chevrolet-powered 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines in their Dallara chassis were Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing), Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology), Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), JR Hildebrand (Panther Racing) and Helio Castroneves (Team Penske).
Driving Honda-powered cars were Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Mike Conway (A.J. Foyt Racing) and Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing).
The cars were run in the Speedway configuration, with the new rear-wheel guards that are taller, lighter and have a slightly different shape than the sets being used on the road/street circuits and the oval races at Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and The Milwaukee Mile.
The new IZOD IndyCar Series car will make its competitive oval debut Sunday, May 27 at the 96th Indianapolis 500.
New Speedway bodywork gets first on-track test
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, April 2, 2012 - After a few test days and two races -- all on road and street courses -- Ed Carpenter is eager to stretch out at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during an April 4 test session of new aerodynamic components to be used at the 2.5-mile oval for the Indianapolis 500 and at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 15.
Specifically, INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips and the INDYCAR engine group will gather data and feedback regarding handling characteristics and performance levels from the nine participants driving Chevrolet- and Honda-powered cars producing about 550-570 horsepower for the oval.
"I'd be disappointed if we didn't get to that 220-222 (mph) range, and that last little bit will come as teams dial the cars in to the track during the week of Indy and 225 is the target," said Phillips, who over the race weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, met with officials from the three engine manufacturers regarding the framework of 2013 aero kit regulations.
Indy 500 practice begins May 12. The four-lap average pole-winning speed in 2011 was 227.472 mph by Alex Tagliani.
One car/driver combination from each team was invited. Carpenter (owner/driver for Ed Carpenter Racing), Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology), Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport), JR Hildebrand (Panther Racing) and Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) will participate with Chevy's 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine.
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Mike Conway (A.J. Foyt Racing) and Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing) will run with Honda engines.
Spectators can watch the event (9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. ET) from the South Terrace grandstand and the Turn 2 viewing mounds near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
"It's the first opportunity for us as a team to get this car out on an oval and it's great that it's Indianapolis with it being the first oval race the most important race," said Carpenter, who's driving the No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka /Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. "It's hard to really go into a test like that with a huge plan because we really don't know what to expect, but I'm happy that the opportunity is there to test with other cars there and start to figure out what this car needs to win the Indy 500."
The cars will be run in Speedway configuration with the new rear-wheel guards that are taller, lighter and have a slightly different shape than the sets being used on the road/street circuits and the oval races at Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile.
The rear-wheel guards are the only mandatory component for the test day. Teams can experiment with a rear-wing mainplane angle of between 0 and -10 degrees, underwing strakes and sidewall extensions (to keep air from becoming turbulent under the car), wickers on the front- and rear-wing mainplanes and the beam wing, and radiator inlet shutters.
The rear-wheel guard/wings work in combination with the other bodywork to create less drag and more downforce. Minimum car weight will be 1,535 pounds (excluding driver and driver equivalency weight).
The Dallara-designed and -produced components were tested by INDYCAR over the winter in both scale model and full size in the wind tunnel in response to lap speeds and handling feedback in testing at the Speedway with the prototype chassis by Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan.
"I have not run on the oval with this car," IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader Helio Castroneves said. "I think certainly we're going to work together with other teams so we can see how the car runs in the pack. I'm glad we're able to do this test before the Indianapolis Month of May."
Will Power Holds Off Scott Dixon To Win Grand Prix of Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Sunday, April 1, 2012) - Will Power held off Scott Dixon on a restart with 16 laps left to win the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the second year in a row.
Dixon, who was 3.3709 seconds behind in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, has the distinction of being the race runner-up all three years (twice to Power and in the inaugural race to Helio Castroneves). He broke a tie with teammate Dario Franchitti with 27 second-place finishes on the all-time list and is one behind Castroneves.
Castroneves, the pole sitter, finished third to maintain the points lead in the young season and continue his resurgence after a disappointing 2011 season. He held off Graham Rahal in the No. 38 Service Chip Ganassi Racing car by 0.2245 of a second.
Simon Pagenaud finished fifth and James Hinchcliffe was sixth after starting on the front row for the first time in his IZOD IndyCar Series career. Mike Conway, who provided A.J. Foyt Racing its best non-oval starting position (fourth) since 2007, finished seventh.
Also on April 1, Sebastian Saavedra outpaced the 15-car field in efficient manner in the 40-lap Grand Prix of Alabama. It was the fourth victory in the series for Saavedra, driving the No. 27 Team AFS car, and first this season.Tri stan Vautier, driving the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car and the race winner at St. Pete, retained the series championship points lead by finishing second. Saavedra is eight points behind heading to the street course race at Long Beach on April 15.
Esteban Guerrieri, who started fourth in the No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, advanced to claim a podium finish.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr was the grand marshal of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and waved the green flag to start the race.
"It was quite a thrill to be in that flagstand," the Alabama native said. "It was unique." Before the pre-race festivities, Starr met with four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and IZOD IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt. Starr won the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1967 and Foyt won the Indy 500 three months later.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Takuma Sato is conducting a "With you Japan" Charity Design Contest.
The winner's design will be featured on his Indianapolis 500 helmet. The winner will be chosen April 6. For more information, head to http://www.withyoujapan.org/en/activity/
Team co-owner Bryan Herta said Round 1 of qualifications was an opportunity for another 15-minute practice session for the No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA car driven by Alex Tagliani.
The team was assessed a 10 grid spot penalty because of an unapproved change of the Lotus engine following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 25.
"We knew we had a 10 grid-place penalty, so we just concentrated on continuing to do some race work with the car,"
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Finishing Order
BIRMINGHAM, Ala - Results Sunday of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.3 mile Barber Motorsports Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, (Status) laps completed and reason out (if any):
Pos Start Driver Chassis-Make Laps Status
1. 9 Will Power Dallara-Chevrolet 90 Running
2. 3 Scott Dixon Dallara-Honda 90 Running
3. 1 Helio Castroneves Dallara-Chevrolet 90 Running
4. 8 Graham Rahal Dallara-Honda 90 Running
5. 10 Simon Pagenaud Dallara-Honda 90 Running
6. 2 James Hinchcliffe Dallara-Chevrolet 90 Running
7. 4 Mike Conway Dallara-Honda 90 Running
8. 14 Rubens Barrichello Dallara-Chevrolet 90 Running
9. 17 Sebastien Bourdais Dallara-Lotus 90 Running
10. 18 Dario Franchitti Dallara-Honda 90 Running
11. 13 Marco Andretti Dallara-Chevrolet 90 Running
12. 11 Ryan Hunter-Reay Dallara-Chevrolet 90 Running
13. 26 Oriol Servia Dallara-Lotus 90 Running
14. 12 Ryan Briscoe Dallara-Chevrolet 90 Running
15. 5 JR Hildebrand Dallara-Chevrolet 90 Running
16. 20 James Jakes Dallara-Honda 90 Running
17. 15 Josef Newgarden Dallara-Honda 90 Running
18. 7 EJ Viso Dallara-Chevrolet 89 Running
19. 19 Justin Wilson Dallara-Honda 89 Running
20. 21 Simona de Silvestro Dallara-Lotus 89 Running
21. 6 Tony Kanaan Dallara-Chevrolet 89 Running
22. 23 Ed Carpenter Dallara-Chevrolet 88 Running
23. 24 Katherine Legge Dallara-Lotus 85 Running
24. 16 Takuma Sato Dallara-Honda 52 Mechanical
25. 22 Charlie Kimball Dallara-Honda 45 Mechanical
26. 25 Alex Tagliani Dallara-Lotus 0 Mechanical
Winners average speed: 102.081
Time of Race: 02:01:40.1127
Margin of victory: 3.3709 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 10 laps
Lead changes: 9
Castroneves 1 - 24 / Hinchcliffe 25 / Rahal 26 / Dixon 27 - 47 / Castroneves 48 - 49 / Dixon 50 - 65 / Castroneves 66 -67 / Power 68 - 73 / Dixon 74 / Power 75 - 90
Point Standings: Castroneves 86, Dixon 84, Power 77, Hinchcliffe 60, Pagenaud 58, Hunter-Reay 53, Rahal 50, Briscoe 46, Conway38, Barrichello 37.
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