Racing Mania Weekly # 2- SpeedWeeks Recap


Unlike last Sunday night this week’s Racing Mania Weekly will not be in podcast form. You may see this on occasion from us. Justin Carr was unable to make it so what I will be doing is giving my (Kent) race notes from the Budweiser Duels, Trucks, XFINITY and today’s Daytona 500 won by Joey Logano.

Budweiser Duels Race 1

  • Gordon/Kenseth front row
  • Jr, Bowyer, Harvick and Stewart come from back
  • 3 by 3 racing early on.
  • Casey Mears blows up on lap 23
  • Tony Stewart tops off at lap 23 of 60 on fuel
  • Kenseth has car to beat at this point
  • Lap 27- Johnny Sauter collides with Allmendinger and Almiora.
  • Lap 44- Dale Jr makes winning move past Kenseth
  • Lap 51- Larson and Bayne crash
  • Jr Wins Race 1

Budweiser Duels Race 2

  • Josh Wise has fuel pickup issue on pace laps and will miss the Daytona 500
  • Johnson and Kyle Busch on front row
  • Gibbs cars hook up early (Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch)
  • David Ragan goes around in turn 4 on lap 21; goes a lap down making repairs.
  • Lap 37 wreck between Austin Dillon, Sam Hornish Jr, Jeb Burton and Alex Bowman
  • Kurt Busch passing under the yellow line; pass through penalty.
  • Lap 58- Hamlin, Danica, Brian Scott and Bobby Labonte crash.
  • Jimmie Johnson wins race 2 followed by Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards.
  • Denny and Danica talk things out afterwards.

Friday/Saturday (Kurt Busch Suspension)

  • Kent County, (DEL) Family Court Commissioner released a 25 page report saying Kurt Busch allegedly domestically abused ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.
  • The commissioner also found that Driscoll provided false information on the stand.
  • Busch can’t be within 100 yards of her except at NASCAR races.
  • NASCAR suspends him for the following: Actions detrimental to NASCAR and behavior.
  • Chevrolet suspended their contract with Kurt Busch also
  • Kurt’s appeals have been upheld and he is indefinitely suspended.

Truck Race

  • Ty Dillon on pole.
  • Lap 16- Austin Hill spins, Joe Nemechek involved.
  • Justin Boston #54 Kyle Busch Motorsports truck making repairs
  • Timothy Peters, Matt Crafton and Daniel Suarez all hanging out in the back.
  • RESTART Lap 19: Suarez falls to the back.
  • Erik Jones for Kyle Busch Motorsports looks promising early.
  • James Buescher back in trucks.
  • Brad Keselowski Racing- Austin Theriault and Tyler Reddick look strong
  • Travis Kvapil has loose hood- lap 23.
  • Scott Lagassee look strong early in the #20 truck.
  • Justin Boston is off the pace and sparking- lap 24.
  • Matt Tifft- KBM driver hanging in the top 10 early on.
  • Reddick takes lead and brings him teammate with him past Ty Dillon’s #33 Rheem truck.
  • Boston in the fence on the backstretch on 25- CAUTION
  • RESTART Lap 30
  • Interview w/ Kyle Busch- he has good confidence in Erik Jones.
  • Dillon and Reddick side by side for the lead.
  • Bottom line is favored still side by side
  • Suarez and Crafton still in second pack; about 4.1 seconds back.
  • Matt Tifft is starting to catch the lead pack
  • Peters (32nd to 14th) lap 34.
  • Spencer Gallagher hanging in there in 4th.
  • Dillon leads the outside lane back.
  • Lagassee playing peek a boo with lane switching- Lap 36.
  • Dead even for the lead- Lap 37.
  • 39-100: Dillon to  the lead; single file now.
  • Johnny Sauter is side drafting on the outside by himself.
  • Crafton and Suarez still in the back- Lap 43.
  • John Wes Townley to sixth; Vince Welch is doing excellent job pit reporting.
  • Lap 48: Big one; Townely, Gallagher, Chris Fontaine, Johnny Sauter, Timothy Peters, Daniel Hemric, Jennifer Jo Cobb, and James Buescher involved.
  • Matt Tifft barely avoids.
  • Ty Dillon is out of gas, pitted when pits closed. Restart at the back.
  • Leaders pit on lap 52.
  • 17 trucks are now on the lead lap.
  • RESTART: BKR front row and get single file.
  • David Gilliland leading outside, Matt Crafton & Ty Dillon coming with him
  • Crafton falls back to get Suarez.
  • Tifft spins on lap 65 and stopped.
  • LEADERS PIT under CAUTION.
  • RESTART: Brad Keselowski Racing’s Fords still dominating.
  • Ryan Ellis loose off of 2, inches away from Crafton.
  • 23 to go- BKR still out front with Reddick leading.
  • Bryan Silas off the pace with 20 to go hood is up.
  • Dillon and Crafton building outside.
  • Back to single file.
  • CAUTION- 16 to go for Silas.
  • 12 to go RESTART. BKR restart
  • CAUTION 10 to go: DEBRIS
  • Reddick hangs on for win followed by Jones, Theriault and Lagassee.

XFINITY

PRERACE NUGGETS

  • Kevin Harvick debut in the Fox Sports 1 booth alongside Michael Waltrip and Adam Alexander.
  • Austin Dillon on pole
  • Jr, Kyle and Chase starting in back.
  • Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez debuts for new teams.
  • Fox first NXS race since 2006.

RACE

  • Austin Dillon starting on the outside
  • Gaughan and Dillon hookup early; Erik Jones is shuffled out.
  • Ty Dillon starting third line with Jones and Wallace.
  • Jr 40th to 18th in 2 laps.
  • 3 RCR cars hookups.
  • Kyle Busch in lead pack early
  • L4- Bubba, Kyle and Suarez leading the outside lane.
  • 2nd pack starts to take shape.
  • Harvick providing awesome analysis.
  • Chris Buescher has lead but ton of trash on grill.
  • Ty Dillon in the lead, Wallace behind him and drops to the inside.
  • Jr, Chase in 2nd pack, Wallace takes the lead.
  • Dillon (Ty) takes it back.
  • Elliott Sadler is leading the second group.
  • Coming up on slow car- Blake Koch.
  • 22- Wallace and Ty still going after it.
  • Side by side 9 rows deep.
  • 25- Wallace to the lead with help from Ky. Busch.
  • Jr and Chase are still hanging out.
  • 35-120: Ty Dillon in command; green flag stops approaching.
  • L37- Wallace leaves Busch.
  • Green flag stops begin on lap 38.
  • Here comes Jr and Kyle; Larson up to 4th.
  • 6 car breakaway after stops, then a 20 car pack
  • Keselowski wants the 2nd pack to chill out.
  • 52 of 120: COMMERCIAL
  • Chase took 2 tires last stop
  • A. Dillon leading outside lane at halfway mark.
  • Bubba Wallace is drifting back.
  • Busch out front L65
  • Suarez goes down another lap after pit problems on lap 68.
  • Regan Smith takes the point.
  • Jr makes unscheduled stop and has loose wheel and penalty afterwards.
  • Chase Elliott is leading 2nd pack.
  • 43 to go- Bubba Wallace coming back up in draft.
  • 40 to go- FIRST CAUTION (loose wheel in pits).
  • RESTART: Regan Smlith to lead
  • Chase Elliott is good on fuel for 2 green-white-checkered.
  • Larson can’t see out of his mirror.
  • Suarez is leading the 3rd lane even though he is laps down.
  • Big one 93-120! Suarez flips Smith, Gaughan, Lagassee, Chad Boat, John Wes Townley and Chase Elliott are involved
  • RED FLAG.
  • RESTART 21 to go.
  • CAUTION DEBRIS WITH 19 TO GO.
  • 9 to go. Big one. Kyle Busch nails inside wall, Erik Jones, JJ Yeley and Chase are amongst the ones involved.
  • Kyle is grimacing, have him on a gurney.
  •  Larson wrecks after restart on last lap.
  • Keselowski is gaping them down backstretch but Ryan Reed has caught him
  • Reed goes around him and wins.

Kyle Busch Update

  • At Halifax Medical Center- broken right leg (in surgery) and broken left foot. Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Matt Crafton will replace him in the Daytona 500.

Daytona 500

STORYLINES

  • Kurt out- Regan Smith in
  • Kyle out- Matt Crafton in
  • Gordon on pole for his last 500.
  • Tony get his 1st?
  • Dale Jr back to back?
  • Hamlin, Crafton and Kenseth all coming from the back.
  • Hamlin vs Danica.
  • Hendrick vs Gibbs.

RACE

  • Gordon leads first lap form pole
  • Hamlin goes 3 wide early; Danica is behind Denny.
  • Kenseth is moving up early.
  • Smoke (Tony Stewart) holding station in top 10.
  • CAUTION: L21- Cassill engine
  • LEADERS PIT: Jr gets 2 tires and Gordon wins race off of pit road.
  • Brad Keselowski stays in pits for repairs.
  • Lap 25 RESTART: Gordon and Logano front row
  • Gordon, Jr and Edwards are leading bottom lane
  • Edwards shoots to the top
  • Lap 41- Stewart and Kenseth in wall; Stewart done, Kenseth multiple laps down.
  • Leaders PIT.
  • L46&47- Logano out front
  • Gordon to the front L53
  • Johnson is falling back on Lap 55.
  • Kahne is hanging around top 8.
  • Ty Dillon up to 7th on lap 57.
  • Lap 60- Michael Waltrip looses the draft.
  • Lap 63- Truex up to 3rd.
  • Penske drivers leading inside. First 7 guys single file.
  • Ty Dillon feels like it blowing up- L66
  • Newman, Crafton and Bowyer hanging in the back.
  • L70- Gordon still out front; Hendrick 1-2-3
  • L81- Gordon in command of lead.
  • Green Flag Stops begin on lap 87.
  • Receiving penalties were: Edwards, Johnson, Truex and larson.
  • Gordon leader at halfway.
  • L107: CAUTION Debris; Leaders pit.
  • LAP 110: RESTART.
  • Matt Crafton moving up
  • Logano to the point then Jr; Gordon is falling back; Harvick to 2nd
  • Austin Dillon is making moves
  • Hornish in the top 10 on lap 118.
  • Edwards dropping back a lap later.
  • Johnson and Kahne are making middle lane
  • LAP 125: Jr still out front
  • 5 car breakaway
  • Crafton moving up nicely.
  • Logano joins breakaway.
  • Logano goes to lead before Green Flag stops on lap 151.
  • Jimmie to the lead on lap 158.
  • Keselowski blows up two laps later. CAUTION.
  • RESTART LAP 164:
  • Ryan Blaney blows up with 23 to go.
  • Leaders stay out.
  • 3 wide for 20 laps until Allagaier spins out.
  • RED FLAG
  • Logano leader gets shot from Bowyer. Jr from 8th to 3rd with Harvick in 2nd
  • LAST LAP.
  • Austin Dillon spins Jeff Gordon; caution is out! They all pile up and Joey Logano is going to win his first Daytona 500.

If you guys enjoyed this style of Racing Mania Weekly please let us know. Podcast will return next week.

-Kent Mueller

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IndyCar Media Day Recap Part 6: Mark Miles and Derrick Walker


In our final recap piece for IndyCar Media Day we share the Q&A session between the President and CEO of Hulman and Company Mark Miles and IndyCar Competition Director Derrick Walker.

IndyCar

Q. Derrick, talk about the new rules that are going to be in effect. Are there any? Who is going to rule on them?

DERRICK WALKER: That’s a good question. Very thoughtful. Big, long answer.

Obviously the rules are going to change drastically with the aero kit. We’re opening up the formula, so there are going to be a lot of rules associated with that which we’ve not had to deal with in the past.

When you look at our Competition Committee, we have a series of stewards that judge the on track activity and the technical group that are going to look at the aero kit regulations and everybody staying onboard with the rules as they’re written. Quite a number of things new.

MARK MILES: I thought we were going to have a chance to open up, so I’m going to make a few comments if you will indulge me.

As we sit here looking forward to the Verizon IndyCar Series of 2015, I want to just say a word about how we felt about 2014, then a few comments about 2015. Not a speech, but just some highlights.

For ’14, we thought it was a fantastic year, nothing short of a fantastic year. I see some of our friends from ABC, ESPN in the back of the room, so they remind me that a couple years ago when we started, people were very concerned about the television audience in this sport- perhaps for good reason.

While we’re not where we want to be yet, there’s a lot of room for growth, the facts are there was a 25% increase in both the average viewership and average rating for IndyCar over the course of the year.

You can study other sports, other motorsports, and that is not something we take for granted. That is not something that is an Act of God or natural law. A 25% lift is a quality, meaningful increase for us. Took our average audience over a million people for the first time in a while. So that’s important.

The metrics on social media were actually a little higher. Again, we started from a pretty low base. But I think we showed we could move the needle, and fan engagement through digital and social media was much, much improved.

We signed a number of sponsors, principal among them obviously was Verizon. That wasn’t so long ago. They made a terrific impact for the Verizon IndyCar Series, for all our stakeholders, our fans, and will continue to invest. I think they’re a perfect fit. But there were others as well, including TAG Heuer. Angie’s List is how the title of the Grand Prix.

In Indy, here, it was a good May, a great May for us. We took a total paid attendance, not including suites, from 285,000 tickets sold up by 75,000. So from 285,000, plus 75,000, to 360,000. That’s a really meaningful difference here.

I hope many of you would have seen we care about this place and this great race. From our point of view, what happens here is a great opportunity to present IndyCar racing to fans. The platform for the series, for our drivers,our cars, our teams, our sponsors, for the whole series, is really important. We’re doing our best to leverage all the eyeballs that are focused on Indianapolis in May for the benefit of the IndyCar Series.

There’s a 55% increase in the total television audience in May. ABC made the decision to cover three consecutive weekends. They could put their best foot forward, promote from week-to-week to the 500, and it paid off. All that accrues to the benefit of IndyCar.
I want to say a word to save somebody the trouble of asking our strategy about the schedule.

It is misunderstood. That’s on me. It’s my opportunity today to talk a little bit about what we are trying to do.

We’re not trying to shorten the season. We are actually planning to lengthen the season. What we’re trying to do is slide the season earlier.

We’ve shared with the drivers, with the team owners, with the promoters, the vision, the plan, which we’ll get closer to in 2016, where we hope we begin the weekend after the Super Bowl, early February, and go through Labor Day for the championship. That gets us into eight months, a little over seven months of racing.

Our objective is about 20 races.

So, yes, we started by ending earlier. You haven’t yet seen us start earlier. But I want you to understand that’s where we’re going. We want to race in a very full schedule, about 20 races, from the weekend after the Super Bowl in early February through Labor Day. That will feel very different than it did last year and this year. You will see the expansion.

Related to that, there’s the question of international races. We said we think there’s an important market opportunity for us on a limited basis at the very beginning of the championship. The strategy about when weschedule ourselves beginning of February through Labor Day is not dependent upon international races.

We could fill that early part of the series, February, with additional North American races. But, one, there aren’t too many places where we can race climate-wise. Two, we’re determined to find really vibrant new race opportunities. So we’re going to be discerning about that.

We still continue to believe that we’re not going to become Formula 1. We’re not going to be chasing ourselves around the globe week after week after. That is not the strategy. But we can imagine a limited number of international races at the beginning of the calendar in February, then stay in North America.

I would emphasis this is not about shortening the season, and we’re not shunning North American opportunities for international ones. This is about lengthening the season, racing a full seven-month schedule, and perhaps having international races on a limited basis at the beginning of that schedule.

In that regard, because it will be asked, we continue to believe there’s a real opportunity there. There are important international capitals that value IndyCar racing, that provide a great value proposition for IndyCar, not only economically, but also in terms of beginning to expose us to race fans around the world in a way we’re not fully exposed to today that I think over time can pay benefits to our series, our teams, our sponsors.

Just a few thoughts about what’s happening going forward in terms of this year. More of the same in terms of what you’ve seen on the schedule. We’re excited about getting to New Orleans, a new venue for us, which has hosted a number of our teams with their tests. We’re ready to go racing.

Q. Derrick, in the Grand Prix race here (at IMS), are they going to change the starting situation from a standing start to a running start?

DERRICK WALKER: It will be a conventional start for IndyCar. It won’t be a standing start.

Q. Mark, on social media you always read fans bringing up the same things. They want to go to this track, that track. Here is your opportunity to explain why Road America isn’t on the schedule because we don’t want to pay the sanctioning fees, proximity to Milwaukee, et cetera. Detail a lot of the reasons why a lot of these tracks that people advocate are not on the schedule.

MARK MILES: Happy to do that. Maybe generically, generally the scheduling considerations, maybe a little bit of the specifics on Road America.

First of all, we’ve got 16 races. What are the opportunities for growth if we want to get to 20, if that’s the goal over a couple years?

First of all, we are actively engaged in looking for the best place we can be to finish the championship on the Labor Day weekend. For us, the best place we can be ideally would be a major urban market in a time zone that helps us deliver the biggest possible television audience, in a place where we believe we can have a vibrant, successful race.

If you run a count with me. There’s 17, when we find that. That’s probably not the right fit for Road America.

I believe there are some February opportunities. I’ve talked about that already. We think our growth is to add two or three races in February, the beginning of March. I came from snowmobiling last weekend in northern Wisconsin. I’m not sure we want to race at Road America in February.

So basically from a calendar perspective, we add those races at the beginning of the championship, you’re at 20. So the ability to add additional, to us, currently new tracks, really depends on replacing existing races. We want to be very, very careful about that.
That’s not to say it won’t happen, but we’ve got a lot of great partners, the promoters of our races, a lot of them have a lot of history with us. We won’t be cavalier about changing out existing promoters to chase the next opportunity.

There are other considerations we’ve talked about in the past. In a perfect world where you were starting from a blank sheet of paper, we’d have better geographic distribution. We’ve got a lot of midwestern races today. That’s not absolute. That doesn’t mean we might not add one, but it’s a consideration. It’s not just the distribution of races by region of the country, but also in smaller regions. We don’t want races to cannibalize each other.

We’re going to add one to finish the championship Labor Day. We don’t have a race and a promoter today for whom Labor Day is ideal, but we know there are cities out there for whom that will be the case. We’ve got the opportunity to start earlier. You do those things, you’re at about 20 races. I think the consensus with Derrick and the paddock is 20 races, a full season for us.

Q. Any news about Baltimore?

MARK MILES: Baltimore is not on the schedule. We enjoyed the event, they did a great job. East Coast. Labor Day. Everybody says this. It isn’t something you can do overnight. We want to build date equity. We want them to know where we are.

In dealing with Baltimore, again I want to emphasize, they invested, did a great job, as many of you know they were racing around a Major League Baseball park, NFL. They weren’t sure they wouldn’t have to move their date for IndyCar on those years when Major League Baseball or NFL football had to be played in one of those stadia. We needed a partner for the Labor Day weekend that could give us date equity. We want that continuity from year to year.

Q. Specifics on where the schedule should go from here?

MARK MILES: We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. If we’re thinking about February or early March, we’re thinking about climates, February would certainly be a place you wouldn’t rule out like, say, Wisconsin. There’s a lot going on in Phoenix in February. The Super Bowl from time to time, important golf tournament every year. They’ve got other racing. I think for many of us, that’s not a thought that’s lost on us, that possibility.

Q. You mentioned the TV number increases which were sizable. What goes into reaching your next benchmark? Is there a certain demographic you think you need to go after or another series or sport you have to compete against to increase that share?

MARK MILES: Really good question.

As I said, we’re delighted with the progress made last year but not satisfied with the television audience. So what’s next?

Our agreements with our two broadcast partners are in place for a number of additional years. But we’re having conversations with them about things that might happen within the existing agreements in the near term, as early as 2016, which I think could make meaningful additional increases in the audience.

So more continuity like I think we achieved with ABC in May would be a good thing. It isn’t helpful to a national following of fans to be on one broadcaster one week, two weeks later, another. It’s very hard for our television partners to promote the next race if the next race isn’t theirs. So working towards additional continuity would be important. I think we can make some improvements in that regard.

Harder, but something that is worth discussing from our perspective is whether or not it’s possible to change the current exclusivities, where ABC has broadcast exclusivity, and NBC Sports Network was cable exclusivity. If each could have both, you could imagine ESPN, for example, possibly being a player for us, and you can imagine NBC as opposed to just NBC Sports Network taking some races.

That is harder. That is not consistent with our current agreements. There are ideas like that that at some level are being discussed for a next set of improvements.

Q. Mark, regarding date equity, can you address bouncing Milwaukee around? I think the green flag is going to be at 4:35 on a Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee. A lot of our readers are looking at what seems to be a disappearance of ovals, the heritage of IndyCar. Could you address that?

MARK MILES: I’ll take the last one first.

There’s an oval heritage to IndyCar – we’re sitting in this place (IMS). I think the distinctiveness of our racing is the mix, what it says about our drivers, the variety of fan experiences when our guys race on ovals and street courses and road courses. I think we have a balance between those three.

We don’t have a quota. We’ve never sat down in a scheduling committee and said there must be X, Y and Z of those. We continue to have a mix, and I think that’s what our brand’s all about.

The reality is that there are probably more opportunities out there for the other formats than there are on ovals where we can have what we think will be outstanding races.

So we’re not going to abandon our heritage with ovals. Kind of hard to do that sitting in this place, nor do we have any ambition to do it. But we’re happy. It’s almost a third, a third and a third of what I think of of the three formats.

For Milwaukee, I won’t recite all the various things that led to their date changing. There’s sort of a domino series of event when one event has a real issue, and in order to accommodate that event it requires flexibility on the part of others. Milwaukee, as far as I know, was happy to work with us and accommodate us on this occasion.

What I meant to say and I hope I said is the goal is the greatest degree of date equity. If a place like Toronto has a thing like the PanAm games, and the venue simply isn’t available, we don’t think it’s inappropriate to call on our partners to see if we can collectively address a major issue like that.

Q. Moving forward with the possibility of international races after what happened with China in 2010 and Brazil this year, are you going to make sure the introductory year of that race isn’t after an election year where an administration comes in and doesn’t have to abide by agreements made by previous administrations?

MARK MILES: We have a longer checklist than just administrations. As disappointed and angry as we were about the cancellation of the event in Brasilia, we learned a lot about the prior institution of IndyCar. We protected ourselves financially. We scheduled the international race that wasn’t in the middle of the rest of the calendar, although there is an early hole, it starts later than we wanted.

Just a comment on the Brasilia situation. You’re right, it had to do with the changing of elections, politics between a national and regional federal district of Brasilia governments. It wasn’t lost on us they were on schedule and invested an enormous amount of money already in the improvement of that track.

To be clear, I don’t like it happening. I think we kind of protected ourselves.

One of the big takeaways for me, it’s complicated, but it was an endorsement of IndyCar racing in a strange way in Brazil insofar as the sponsorships were at or above where they wanted them to be with a title and a major presenter. All the hospitality was sold. You couldn’t buy another box or suite. Ticket sales were very strong.

All I’m trying to say is I think the uptake among fans in Brazil was very meaningful. It was going to be at lease a 30,000 person, in terms of attendance, and it might have been 45,000 or 50,000, and economically it was going to be a success.

So the politics is unfortunate. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not having second thoughts about all that right now.

Q. Two weeks ago there were two words on the minds of every IndyCar fan I talked to. Brian Barnhart. Shall I just leave it at that and open up the conversation?

DERRICK WALKER: Well, yeah, there was a fair amount of fan interest in that decision. In reality it was a very simple decision to make.

Having been in race control for about the last year and a half or so, I’ve had a chance to stand there as an observer and be part of the process.

When I looked at the team that we have there, I would see there’s a strong group there. Brian was part of that whole group that ran since 2013 onwards to this day.

When Beaux Barfield, who decided to go to the TUDOR Series, he was part of that process as well. What I think is probably missed sometimes is people don’t maybe always understand, maybe we need to explain it more, is the system we’ve adopted at the end of 2013 where we have a race director who basically is your team manager, crew chief of your team of people in race control, and you have a group of three guys that are stewards. They’re looking at the incidents that happen on track. Their job is to know the rules and deliberate on whether they think that’s an incident or not.

When people refer to Brian in the past tense of what he did, I think there’s a complete misunderstanding of how the system was back then and what it is now. When you look at what Brian does really well, race director is probably one of the best things he does. So it wasn’t a decision I had to think twice about. We made that decision way back when Beaux left.
We wanted to get the drivers, promoters together and announce it in a proper way, our clients, supporters and our teams. So that’s what we did.

I don’t think anything that I’ve read or heard has changed my view on that. I think he’s going to do just fine.

Q. I think you said earlier with the new aero kits, you’re going to be developing the rules for them. I’m not sure what rules exist right now. I know there’s a box, they design a certain part, it’s been frozen, put them on the cars, test them soon. Once the teams get them, the engineers start tweaking whatever they can tweak. If the rules aren’t in place now, a team can go down a certain path of engineering and spend their resources, then have the rug pulled out from under them because the rules suddenly say, “No, you can’t do that.”

Maybe you could elaborate on what kind of rules you think might be coming into play so it’s sort of fair. The whole point of being a team is you find that little extra something that no one else has.

DERRICK WALKER: You covered a couple of points there, and good questions.

Let me assure you the rules are in place. The manufacturers, I want to acknowledge their role in all of this. Our two manufacturers in Chevrolet and Honda have really embraced this aero kit concept. They’ve worked as hard as they can in the aero kit area as they do with their engines. There’s a strong competition going on.

Certainly Dallara has been a part of that process as well. Let me get the thanks out of the way. But they really have helped us a lot. When you talk about the rules, what I mean is there’s different dimensions. The wings and the body parts are a little bit different dimensions so there’s rules that capture what those differences are.

It’s not fundamentally a lot of new rules that are different; it’s just we have different shapes. I think what you’re going to see, and again you’re going to see the first probably of anybody the first public release, Chevrolet is going to talk to you, you’ll get a chance to see some of the ideas they have. You’re going to see the team is going to have a lot more parts to play with, variables, more options to adjust their car.

Of course, the car is going to look a little different than it did last year, quite a lot in some cases. The performance is going to go with it. You can expect to see an increase in performance.

I think it’s going to add a lot more interest. It’s part of where we’re moving with the future of IndyCar, and that is to come out of a very strict standard rule that limits some of the creative sides that the teams want to express and I think the fans want to see, as well.

Q. About the aero kits, there’s not a lot of practice time here at the Speedway where it gets tested. How do you juggle the safety of the program and the engineering of all of that at the same time still trying to improve the entertainment value of doing this? In the same process, as you get through the rest of the season, is there an adjustment that you can make if Chevrolet has trumped Honda in terms of aero performance?

DERRICK WALKER: When you look at the last part of your question first, we have three areas on the car that have been designated as upgrades. They are predominantly there for 2016. But if a manufacturer finds in 2015 that they come out of the gate and they’re obviously behind, then these manufacturers can come, any one of them, to IndyCar and say, Look, here is where we think we are out to lunch, here is what we want to do. We want to exercise one of those areas of the car we can change.

We’ll take a look at it. If it’s a legitimate claim, they will get the opportunity to bring out a modification, put them back in the game.

I think I would caution everybody, we’ve got a lot of different types of racetracks happening. You’ll see a lot of different searching this year for finding out how it’s really going to work, what is the best option. I wouldn’t jump to an immediate conclusion after the first couple races who is ahead and who is behind.

Remember, there’s two kits, a road course and an oval. They are quite different animals. It’s going to be interesting to see how they do that.

But we have a mechanism to allow updates.

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IndyCar Media Recap Part 5: Previewing Team Penske


team penske

A New Chapter For Team Penske

An interview with:

WILL POWER
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
HELIO CASTRONEVES
SIMON PAGENAUD


THE MODERATOR:  Juan, good to have you back in an IndyCar.  Had a pretty good 2014.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  Yeah, it was okay.  At the beginning we sucked, I knew we were going to suck, so that was okay.  At the end of the year I felt I was doing a really good job.  Still felt like we were miles off in qualifying.  I have to really work at that.

I thought our race pace was good.  Just need to put it all together.

THE MODERATOR:  You got the championship.  Had a white-knuckler a couple years in a row.  Had to be a great relief and you claimed the top spot in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

WILL POWER:  Look, I like to make it interesting for people.  The previous three times I just kind of had to keep them interested.  I thought, I better finish it off this time.  You have to keep people guessing, keep it interesting.  You can’t go straight out there and win it.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I did that.

WILL POWER:  Yeah, and it was boring, nobody liked it.  Then you just left the series (laughter).

Getting back to real life, yeah, super satisfying, something I worked really hard for for the last 15 years.  To finally get it, get the monkey off the back, yeah, it’s given me more motivation this year.  I don’t have to worry about that.  I know I can do it.

Man, just really cool.  Really good feeling.  Hope to back it up this year.

THE MODERATOR:  Helio, is this your 15th 500?

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Is it?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  Can’t be.  You started in 2001.  Oh, yeah, it will be.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Last year was exciting, really cool.  Hear so many people saying about what a great race.  Yes, the end was terrible, but the race was really cool.  To be in that challenge, fighting for the win, have that opportunity, it was just awesome.

Hopefully we don’t need to be 6/100ths behind.  But I think with the aero kit, it’s going to differentiate a lot for the fans trying to see.  I think it’s going to be fast.  It’s going to be cool.  I can’t wait to start 2015, to be honest.

THE MODERATOR:  Let’s open it up to questions.

Q.    Talk a little bit about what it’s like to have a four-driver dynamic.  Has it changed anything?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I think it’s been exciting.  I think the timing of the body kit and the fourth car is really good.  I think all four of us understand number one is Team Penske, the team winning, working together to get that.  It’s all about developing the car.

It’s just an extra tool, extra information.  At the beginning, I’ll tell you it’s a little bit hard because you have that much more data to look at.  There’s more reference points.  It’s pretty exciting.

Personally, I think it’s a great addition to the team.

WILL POWER:  Yeah, I mean, Simon is very good technically.  He brought some really good stuff with him.  I think the combination of all four of us, we have very different driving styles, so we all learn off each other.  Like Juan said, when the body kit comes in, it just makes it that much easier on a short weekend when you have hour-long practices to try a lot of different stuff.

Yeah, it’s great.  I think it’s going to be a tight inner team battle honestly.  I think the team is going to be the strongest it’s been for a number of years this year.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Pretty much the same what they said.  I hope the French side of him doesn’t get in front of us (laughter).  The Pepé Le Pew.  I guess he knows what trouble he’s getting into, the rookie on the team, so now we can play tricks.  I’m excited about that.  I’m really looking forward to play some tricks with this guy.  It will be really fun.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  It’s a good dynamic on the team.

WILL POWER:  What I love is when you hear one of us giving one of these two grief.  Juan’s ears just really perk up.  He really loves it.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  That’s his goal.

WILL POWER:  He just loves it.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  He’s like, I want you to hate me.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  Exactly.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  When he does more of this stuff, we kind of like him more.  That’s why it’s back firing on him.

No, we’re having a great time right now.  I think his engineer, as well, coming to the team, it’s another addition.  It’s another information, more data.  I do feel for 2015 we going to have another great chance here.  Hopefully we’ll be 1-2-3-4.

WILL POWER:  Not you, Juan.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  You heard him.  Not you, Juan (laughter).

WILL POWER:  That’s what I’m trying to say.

I think we’re all fired basically.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I think we’re really excited.

Q.    Simon, coming into a team that’s so successful and well-established, what do you think you can bring or add to the team for this year?

SIMON PAGENAUD:  That’s a really good question.  I mean, what do I bring?  Fresh blood, I guess.  I’m very motivated.  Like Will said, I’ve personally been working hard to get to this in my career.  I’m here now and the pressure is off.  I want to enjoy it.

Technically, I would say that’s my strength.  If I can bring something there, I would be really happy to help that way.

But, yeah, like Will said also, we have very different driving styles all of us.  It’s very interesting actually to see how much you can see on driving between all four of us.  If you had to pick the perfect driver, the lap time would be a lot quicker, so there’s a lot into us.  That’s very interesting.

Q.    Juan, regarding the aero kits, do you think you enjoy an advantage over your teammates with planes, building and flying them?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  No.  But from Formula One it does.  Formula One, every year you had a new aero kit, new suspension, you had to adapt to that.  I’m really good at adapting.

I think we’re going to have enough testing before the first race that we’ll be all on the same page.

One of the things that’s cool with all four drivers, each one goes its own little way.  Somebody gets it wrong, somebody gets it right.  You can learn a lot from somebody that gets it right.  I think we can develop the car a lot quicker than most people.

Q.    The red flag last year, how do you feel about that?  Do you think it should be used on serious accidents in the future here?

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  We all agree the right thing to do, especially here at Indianapolis.  I don’t think we should agree it has to be all the time.  Depends of the circumstances.  Also last year everything play so nice, the way it supposed to be.  It worked out.

But right now, not only as a driver, but as a series as well, we all agree that it depends of the circumstances.  But if we start putting it as a rule, it probably is not going to work out the way it worked out here last year.

SIMON PAGENAUD:  Personally I’d like to just focus on driving.  There are people in place so they can decide these things.  I just drive the car.  Whatever it is.

Q.    Will, you think of the competition level that you had to battle for the championship.  All you have to do is look to your left and right.  Do you feel you’re surrounded by the guys you’re going to have to battle with for the title this year?

WILL POWER:  Absolutely, I think you’re right.  I mean, the whole series is so competitive.  You just see that in the last two years, how many different race winners there were, how many different polesitters there were.

There’s nothing worse in a series where the same people win over and over and over, there’s no competition.  That’s what is cool about IndyCar.  You can be 22nd one week, then you can be winning a race a next week.  I think that keeps the fans interested.  That’s how a series should be.

Q.    As a team, I’m not sure if all four of you tested the Chevy aero kits, but they change the parts on you when they go to the next track, do you think that’s given you any advantage of trying to work with the new business and pieces?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I think the aero kit we tested is different than what we’re going to have now.  They changed.  We have an idea of how it might be, but no.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  We helped develop where they are today.  We kind of gave some output, some areas we felt would be good.  But I don’t think it’s going to create any advantage to us.

Q.    Juan, you have two other Colombians in the series.  Have they come to you for advice?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  Depends what the advice is.

Q.    About racing.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I mean, I tell people, one of the harder things is, we run these springs, those shocks.  They’re on a different team.  I’m racing with Team Penske.  If it’s something I can help with them, like race lines, I’ll help them.  I’m pretty open about it.

At the end of the day, number one, it’s making sure that we win.  Muñoz, he’s at Andretti.  They’re the number one Honda team.  If you ask Chevy, I don’t think they’d be too happy if we were helping him.  So, no, I can’t.  Helio said no (laughter).

Q.    Simon, you said earlier that you bring fresh blood to the team.  Are you saying these other three guys up here are stale?

WILL POWER:  Are you saying we’re stale because you’re bringing fresh blood?  He’s trying to stir the pot, mate.

SIMON PAGENAUD:  I mean, look at our hair, look at his hair.  I don’t paint mine (laughter).

No, I mean, I don’t know.  I said that because I feel fresh.  I’m happy.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I think we all feel fresh.  I’m like wine:  it gets better with years.

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Good, I’m older, so I’m better.

WILL POWER:  That’s true, Helio.  You’ve gotten a lot better.

Q.    This is obviously the most senior team in terms of experience, Champ Car, Formula One, NASCAR.  You can tell there’s a different feel and a different dynamic in this group of guys.  With all due respect to the other guys racing with other teams this season, do you think you’re sitting next to the guys you’re going to be racing for the championship at the end of the year?

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I think so.  I think we have a very good potential here to do something very nice.  Very strong.  Obviously in racing there is a lot of variables.  At this point Team Penske is prepared as much as they can to do what we did last year.

I do feel we have a strong team here so we can battle each other for the championship.

THE MODERATOR:  We’ll let these guys take that party somewhere else.  Thank you, gentlemen.

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IndyCar Media Day Recap Part 4- Next Generation


The Next Generation

An interview with:

JOSEF NEWGARDEN
GABBY CHAVES
SAGE KARAM

THE MODERATOR:  We have what are billed as The Next Generation, drivers who had successes in a variety of our ladder series.
Sage.

(C) IndyCar Media

(C) IndyCar Media

SAGE KARAM:  I’m going to start this off by saying I have an announcement that I’m going to be at St. Pete in the Chip Ganassi No. 8 car, GE LED sponsorship.  Really looking forward to that.  Looking forward to getting in the series again.  Yeah, let’s get the series going.

THE MODERATOR:  Going back to Florida with more good news.

SAGE KARAM:  I’m always in Florida, which is cool.  But to be going there to be racing is a cool thing.

We’re looking forward to it.  The whole team is working really hard.  We’re still trying to get the deal 100% confirmed for the whole season.  To know we’ll be on the grid for the first race is a positive.

THE MODERATOR:  Gabby, exciting 2014 for you.

GABBY CHAVES:  First of all, hello to everyone.  My first day as for the IndyCar Series.  I’m very happy to be here.

2014 is that dream season that somehow got put together the very last minute.  It just happened.  We started winning races, won the championship, got the scholarship to jump up to IndyCar.

I ran a test with Bryan Herta mid December.  Went very well.  Everyone was very pleased.  After that everything took off.  We worked very hard to secure this deal.  I’m just very happy to be here.  Can’t thank anyone in the team enough, everyone involved in making this happen.  I’m just very grateful for this opportunity.

THE MODERATOR:  Josef, a new racing team, configuration.  Many are wondering about your 2015 plans.  Talk about the off-season and everything moving forward.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN:  Hello, everyone.  Great to see you here at IMS.  This is cool we’re doing it here this year for Media Day.

First off, I think it’s awesome that I can still pass for the young generation.  I’m going on my fourth year, which I can’t believe.  But these are the young guns now.  Sage and Gabby are such bright stars for the future.  We have many more in the pipeline.  The Mazda Road to Indy has done a good job at cultivating young talent.  Have to keep getting young guys like Gabby and Sage into the system.

It’s two great teams, Ed Carpenter Racing, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.  Both have very local, home grown groups, prideful for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  It’s great putting them together, getting everyone on the same page.

My first year as a two-car team, so that’s the biggest thing for me.  We have Luca Filippi, he is going to be in the car with Ed Carpenter splitting the time.  He’ll be my teammate on street courses.

Couple days together now of testing, which has been awesome, fantastic getting to learn about him, to learn how a two-car team works.

For us, that’s the challenge.  You have Penske, Ganassi, Andretti, who are so successful with multi-car groups.  For us, it’s about learning how to make that work.  That’s the big headline for us.

THE MODERATOR:  Some of the great short tracks are the Chili Bowl Nationals.  We saw Sarah Fisher get back in a midget in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Can we confirm your participation for 2016?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN:  Everyone keeps asking me.  She said she had a blast first off.  I watched.  She obviously won a heat race, was kicking butt.

That’s not an easy thing to jump into.  They run so many races in that series, those type of series, that it’s difficult to try and wrestle those guys and come out on top.

It’s like coming here to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Kurt Busch had a great go at it, help from Andretti Motorsports.  It’s difficult to go up against the best of the best whatever series you’re entering in.

One day I’d like to be part of the Chili Bowl.  Amazing event.  I hear it’s a blast to be part of that event.  Maybe one day you’ll see me there.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for this group.

Q.    Josef and Gabby, you got out of Indy Lights when new cars are about to be introduced.  Tell us about your experience moving to the big cars.

GABBY CHAVES:  I really think that a developmental series like Indy Lights is really preparing the young drivers to make that next step into IndyCar.  I think you can see that with the success that Josef had after he won his Indy Lights championship.  You can take a look at what Sage did in the Indy 500 after he won the 2013 Indy Lights championship, and hopefully what I’ll be able to do this year.

I think it’s the right series.  You’re preparing yourself by racing with the most competitive guys there is at that level.  You’re racing at all the tracks you’re going to be racing if you get to IndyCar.

It’s definitely where you want to be to take that next step.

Q.    Sage, it was a tremendous race for you last year.  You must think about that often.

SAGE KARAM:  Yeah, you know, I don’t think you’ll ever forget your first Indy 500.  I definitely do think about it.

Things went right that month.  I was with partnership with teams Dreyer & Reinbold and Chip Ganassi Racing.  It was a really busy month for me.  We had some issues in qualifying, and I had to start farther back than what I would have liked to.  We definitely weren’t showing the pace in qualifying that we actually had.  It just made the race more fun for me.  We had to go back there and you can really only go forward from there.

If you could win it from all the way back there, it would make it more impressive.  But we did our best.  I think I was up to like sixth or seventh, then a yellow flag came out, lap 149, I got stuck in the pits, had to go back to 20 something —

(Audio interruption).

— it’s all new to us.  I did a few pit stops the month of May.  I was back testing, just getting back into doing the rhythm of pit stops is a big thing.  The team knows mistakes will be made and stuff, but we’re not looking to set the world on fire, but we’re also not looking to destroy some cars.

Q.    Gabby, you were involved in a tight Indy Lights championship race.  Jack Harvey stated they had more second-place finishes than us.  I think it underscores your consistency.  How important is consistency, scoring points when you don’t have the fastest car?  How will that serve you in the Verizon IndyCar Series?

GABBY CHAVES:  It earned me 750 grand last year.  So I think it’s important (laughter).

You got to look at everything.  You have to look at raw speed.  You have to look at consistency.  You have to look at your technical feedback.  There’s a lot of things that make a driver as a whole.  You can’t just look at one thing.

Definitely consistency is up there on the important chart.  It just really separates the great from the greatest, the good from the best.  When a driver has all these attributes, these qualities, it makes them a better driver overall.

Q.    What would you tell a 17-year-old kid trying to get into the Mazda Road to Indy?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN:  Well, you know, it’s not an easy question.  It’s really not.  There’s no real easy answer to it.  You couldn’t tell someone exactly what they should do.

That’s the tricky thing about racing.  I think what’s most important is you’ve got to have an amazing drive if you want to be a racecar driver.  Tenacity, I’ve heard this word thrown around a lot when this question comes up.  You have to go out there, pound the doors off of everyone, figure out what you have to do.  It’s not easy.

You have to have money, help, resources.  There’s so many different ingredients you have to have to get involved in motorsports, it’s not one easy thing.  It’s not about you got to go to this team.  It’s not like baseball or basketball.  It’s so different than any other sport.  It’s up to you.  You have to research it, go online, talk to guys that have been in the series, find people you have to talk to.  You have to have an incredible drive for loving motorsports, wanting to be involved in it.  Like I said, you have to have tenacity, you just cannot give up.

Q.    Gabby, you’re now with Bryan Herta.  You’re a rookie coming in.  It’s hard to know maybe what the car is supposed to feel like.  Even if you had a teammate, might be different with the new aero kits coming in.  To go through a learning curve as a rookie, how are you going to be able to figure out what you want out of the car?

GABBY CHAVES:  I think it’s just going to come down to how I work with my team.  I think that’s going to be the most important factor in my success for 2015 is how well can I connect with my engineers, how well can I connect with my mechanics, with everyone around me.

If I have a high level of chemistry with them, if we have a good atmosphere in the team, if there’s good energy flowing through our tent.  I’m not saying we’re going to go out and win the first race by any means.  We want to go out there and race as hard as we can, compete with the fastest cars.  I believe we can do it.

I believe with the right work ethic, you can make it happen, even in a one-car team, being a rookie.  Josef showed that the previous three seasons.  He was there with a one-car team, essentially a new team his first year.  He showed his speed and if you’re working at it, you can make it happen, doesn’t matter what car you’re in.

Q.    Josef, now that you are in a two-car team, Luca is kind of an unknown commodity, have you talked about shared driving style?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN:  Yeah.  It’s more than Luca, too.  It’s Ed on the ovals, which I’m excited about.  But Luca, the greatest attribute he’ll bring to the group is his raw speed and talent.  He is one of the most talented drivers I have ever seen.

When you’re teammates with someone, that is the greatest opportunity to see what that driver is truly like.  You can examine from the outside, everyone can.  You can observe what you think someone is good at, what they’re not good at.  When you’re someone’s teammate, you see what their strengths and weaknesses are.  He is very skilled.  He’s a very fast driver.

That alone, that trait alone, is going to be very helpful next year because he’s going to do things at certain tracks that I’m going to be able to see.  I’ve never had an opportunity to watch anybody else do it.  I can watch somebody else do it, feed off that, one corner here, one corner there.  That helps you push forward as a driver.  I’m excited about that.

Driving style-wise, still more to be learned.  We went to Sebring.  There are some similar traits between us, but that evolves over a season.  You learn what one person likes in a car, what the other driver likes in a car.

For sure, if we can get as on the same page as we can, that’s only going to help the team.  When you’re on the same page, wanting the same things, you can try the same things in the car, and it speeds up the process.  That’s why you see successful groups like Penske and Chip Ganassi, it just pushing them forward so much faster.

Great question.  That’s one of the biggest things we’re trying to capitalize on this season.

Q.    As young drivers, when you come in and you’re finally into the 500, you have guys that won it three times, two times, so forth, and you’re part of it, what is the feeling the first time you’re out there knowing you’re going against these guys that have been doing it for 10, 15 years or more?

SAGE KARAM:  Yeah, man, I don’t really know even where to start with just this place in general.  But I thought it was pretty cool.  I was out there driving.  I remember the first pass I made in practice was Villeneuve.  He won the year I was born (laughter).  That was pretty cool to be out there racing with guys like that.

Then I’m out there in the race driving with like Montoya and stuff, running inches away from people like that.  It was amazing.

I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be for my first Indy 500.  I went to bed and slept straight through the night the night before.  It was good.  I came to the track.  I was happy I actually got a police escort instead of having to wait outside for three or four hours to get in.  It’s got its perks.

I think when I was the most nervous is Dario was telling me, because the whole time you’re practicing here, it’s gray, all gray around the track.  Whatever you do, when you get in the car, don’t look at the bleachers because they’re going to have color, it’s going to freak you out.  Be focused, just look ahead, you’re going to be fine.

When I get in the car, first thing I do is look in the bleachers.  I look around.  It’s crazy.  It almost looks like the bleachers are moving.  All different colors.  You don’t see that throughout the whole month.  Definitely changes a lot of things.

I still wasn’t nervous when I was in the car.  Then I started getting nervous when Jim Neighbors started singing.  That was always my favorite part growing up, when he was singing, the balloons.  I pretty much watched this race every place you could watch this race but the driver’s seat.  Knowing now you’re going to be doing it, you could be — I came here when I was six years old, seeing all the cars come down, how that changed my life, I could be changing some six-year-old’s life.

Things started coming in slow motion.  You’re taking it in.  Once the engine started firing, the nerves went away.  I got going into turn one right when I left the grid.  Going through the gears, second, third, fourth.  When I went to go to fourth gear, it made a clunk noise, there was nothing there.  The car was rolling free.  I was like, Oh, gosh.  I just got started.  My heart fell through the bottom of the floor of the car.

They were like, You need to do an emergency shutdown, restart.  I’m flipping all the switching, turning them on, bump starting the car.  Finally got the car going again.  Things that don’t happen.  Kind of scary.

Q.    Do you know what got it going again?

SAGE KARAM:  The ECU needed to be restarted basically.  Sometimes that just happens.  It happened at the worst possible time it could possibly happen.

The team, we all stayed calm.  I tried to stay calm, but it was hard to.  I may have come off calm, but I wasn’t calm.  I was flipping a bunch of stuff and it restarted.

Q.    Gabby, dominating the series last year, pretty much the entire year, you have the field chasing you, did you feel pressure during that period?  Is it nice to be starting out as a rookie without the burden of the entire field trying to gun for you?

GABBY CHAVES:  I think there’s two sides to that.  I think as a rookie you don’t know what to expect.  Obviously no one is expecting you to go out there and win three races in a row.

But definitely I think, as racing drivers, successful racing drivers as we all are up here, the mentality is always to go out there and drive as hard as you can.  If you get to the race weekend and you don’t believe within yourself that you can win this race, that moment your professional career is over.

That’s my mentality.  I have to go out every weekend and I have to think I have a chance, a shot at winning this one.  Once we get going, we’ll see where we’re at.  We’ll just keep working away.  Hopefully at some point or another we’ll be able to show our potential.

THE MODERATOR:  Good luck this year, guys.  We’ll see you down the road.

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IndyCar Media Day Recap Part 3: Andretti Autosport


The Stars of Andretti Autosport

An interview with:

RYAN HUNTER-REAY
MARCO ANDRETTI
CARLOS MUNOZ


THE MODERATOR:  These are three gentlemen who had tremendous success here.  We saw Ryan at the museum.  Carlos has been Rookie of the Year.  Marco has done exceedingly well here with some great finishes.

Ryan, we’ll start with you.  You come back to this place.  A whole new perspective, I would think, as the defending champion of the event, and also as a gentleman who has won the Verizon IndyCar Series.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  It’s a tremendous accomplishment for the team and for myself personally to be an Indy 500 winner.  We feel like we’re hopefully getting started now.  We’ve got a lot of work to do.  We’ve been busy in the whole off-season preparing for this race.

It’s going to be a big hill to climb with the new car, with the aero kit and everything else.  It’s going to be new problems.  We’re going to effectively come at it from a different angle.  The drivers are going to have to be open-minded about it.

Certainly it’s great to be coming back as the defending winner.  But we have a lot of work to do as a team.  I see in many ways my teammates as some of the best and hardest guys to beat when racing at the Indy 500.

Hopefully we can use that together as we have in years past, working together towards race day, working together during the race, going at it for those last 20 laps again.

THE MODERATOR:  Carlos, we’re talking about the unveiling of a new year in the Verizon IndyCar Series.  You have a great team behind you.  We’re also talking about what happens here.  With a break here or there, you could also be a winner here.

CARLOS MUÑOZ:  Yeah, that’s the goal for me for sure, also for both of my teammates, is to win the 500.  It would be great.  It will be my third year after doing it, after two good performances, second and fourth place.

We have to go race by race, do the best we can.  It’s going to be a completely new year with the new aero kit.  Going to be an interesting year for sure.  I don’t have any more the rookie.  Again, maybe I will have a little bit more of a good pressure on that, but looking forward to start the season.

THE MODERATOR:  Marco, your thoughts going into the year.  You have a really good squad, an opportunity to be quick right out of the box.  Talk about your thoughts coming into 2015.

MARCO ANDRETTI:  Yeah, we’re very excited.  The elephant in the room as they touched on is the aero kit.  Whichever one rolls out on top I think is going to enjoy a good amount of success.

In an ideal world, we’re racing our teammates and a couple other guys.  But you never know.  We’ve been doing a ton of off-season testing, more so than sort of ever in my career.

But I’m ready to go racing.  It’s been a long off-season.  We’re really excited to, as Dixon said, start to see the pace on different circuits, whoever comes out on top.

THE MODERATOR:  One of the things you’re saying is you’re anxious to see where other people are at as well?

MARCO ANDRETTI:  We know where we’re at, we just need to see where the competition rolls out.

THE MODERATOR:  We’ll open it up to questions for Andretti Autosport.

Q.    Carlos, there are going to be three Colombian drivers in the racing.  We don’t hear much about Colombia racing.  Is there ever a chance that Colombia would get a street race or something?

CARLOS MUÑOZ:  Yes, a lot of Colombian.  There’s a lot of racing there.  Marco could feel it when he was in Colombia go-kart.  Also Juan Pablo have something to do about.

Right now the fact of the TV coverage, we’re focused on that, having it in the public TV.

It would be great to have a race in Colombia.  Right now how the situation is, I don’t think it’s the main priority.  Maybe in the future, why not?  It would be great to race in Colombia.  Right now the focus is in the TV, where is going to be the races.

Q.    Marco, you have always performed well here.  The ultimate goal has not been achieved, but you seem to be a factor in nearly every event here.  What about Indianapolis suits you well?

MARCO ANDRETTI:  Yeah, I never really have that answer.  Obviously it starts with having a good car, good teammates to push me year in and year out.

Honestly, to get the job done, we just have to keep doing what we’re doing.  We’re putting ourselves in a decent position every year.  We just need our number picked one of the years.  The only way that’s going to happen is if you’re in the shootout.

Q.    Graham Rahal mentioned you in terms of the fact that there are periods in a driver’s career where they have to scuffle, they’re trying to get a full-time ride, confidence can wane.  It’s been an amazing journey to land in a secure situation and be able to claim a championship and Indy 500 win.  I think people forget there are lean days in the career of a driver.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  Yeah, I remember for a good period there, it was hopping from team to team, then times I was switching to two teams in one year, not knowing what I was doing at the test at Sebring the week before St. Pete.  That’s when you lie awake at night staring at the ceiling wondering if this is what the rest of your life is going to be like, your racing career, before it had a chance to begin.

As I’ve said in the past, I think those moments make you hungrier, it makes you push that much harder.  In the long run, I’d rather never have it any other way.  I think that just makes it a part of who I am.

Q.    You’ve done some testing with the previous aero kit.  We thought there was going to be one race with that.  Now that we know that’s not happening, what do you learn when you’re testing that previous aero kit?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  I think we’re always developing the car mechanically.  We have that side we’re going to have to work on mechanically.  When you get the new aero kit, it’s like having a new toy.  You’re immersed in that.

If you can get the mechanical bits sorted out, have a toolbox of various options you can pick from, that’s the point there.

Then obviously going to New Orleans, we’re working on a new racetrack completely.

It’s been okay having the two tests without the aero kit.

CARLOS MUÑOZ:  Get up to speed with all the mechanics.  Even though we had a little chance to test the aero kit, no other teams have.  Just get the muscles strong.

MARCO ANDRETTI:  These guys nailed it.

Q.    Have all three of you guys been in the new aero kit?

CARLOS MUÑOZ:  Yeah, kind of (laughter).  We tested different stuff, going to try.  One day in one configuration, then the next few weeks another, then Marco was in another.  It was pretty interesting.  We were discussing the differences in between.  It’s going to be excited, for sure.

Q.    Marco, have you done anything specifically in the off-season that you feel might be a game changer for you this year?

MARCO ANDRETTI:  To be honest, there’s been some personnel changes that I’m really excited about.  Nothing against anybody in my previous.  I’m really excited about my new engineer.  Things have been going great in off-season testing.

Really it’s taken the load off of me that I can come in and say exactly what the car is doing.  I had a problem with over-engineering the car itself.  My hit rate is not good as an engineer.

It’s been really great, seamless so far.  Hopefully that continues.  Like I say, I can just really focus on myself and look at the differences between myself and my teammates, if there’s a deficit, trying to fix that.

Q.    Do you want a fourth car?  Are you close to a fourth car?  Do you just want the three of you to be focused on?

MARCO ANDRETTI:  I think financially it would be nice to have a fourth.  It’s just really tough right now.  I’m sounding like a team owner, it’s not good (laughter).

But the truth is is that it is.  I think it would be good to have a fourth.  Look at Penske, they’re stacked.  No question about it.  They’re going to be pushing each other.  If we can get a fourth to push us, there’s no negatives to that.

We have the personnel to do it in-house, for sure, pretty comfortably.

Q.    Each of you has a different driving style.  When you take this kit, do each of you develop your own way you want it placed on the car?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  I think it really depends track to track.  The thing is we really don’t know yet.  By the time you go to a new test, new bits, new components.  The next test, it’s not what we’re testing any more.  It’s moved on.

We haven’t had a chance to settle in and start testing the aero kit.  You would think I know what it looks like, they know what it looks like, we all kind of know what we want in it.  That’s really not the case.  It’s been evolving so fast.

I really can’t answer that question.

Q.    Someone said, My engineer keeps telling me what his telemetry says.  But his butt is not in the seat.  There are different things that different drivers like.  How do you sort all of that out?

MARCO ANDRETTI:  I mean, I think when we’re testing such a wide variety of things, the three of us hone in on the good stuff right away.  When we’re fine tuning, like Ryan said, we haven’t been able to do that, we’ll be doing that through the year for sure.  That’s when the little differences sort of show their head.

Right now we’re all talking the same language.

Q.    You don’t get a lot of time testing the superspeedway aero kit for Indianapolis prior to getting into the Grand Prix, then back onto the oval.  Is that going to make that first week of practice here exciting, white knuckle exciting, fun exciting?

MARCO ANDRETTI:  Carlos will go out first and let us know how it is (laughter).

CARLOS MUÑOZ:  The good thing, we try the Indianapolis configuration for sure.  It’s going to be excited.  We’re going to turn out a lot of laps in the beginning.  I don’t know why these guys put me all the work all the time (laughter).

But, yes, for sure last year I remember just waiting to try to get perfect condition.  I think this year it will be green flag.  So many things to try on the car.  The engineer doesn’t know, ourselves doesn’t know.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  We’ll be holding our breath big-time.  Those first couple days on track here on the proper IMS, it’s going to be the first time in a very long time that everyone is actually glued to the timing screens.

Years of work has gone into that point.  Everybody will be kind of, like I said, holding their breath.  Whoever has the first leap forward there is probably going to have a pretty good month.

THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming in.

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IndyCar Media Recap- February 17 2015- Chip Ganassi Racing Teams


THE STARS OF CHIP GANASSI RACING

SCOTT DIXON
TONY KANAAN
CHARLIE KIMBALL

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by ‘The Veterans,’ Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan. We have the stars of Ganassi Racing. We also have Charlie Kimball joining us.

Tony and Scott, been busy already this year.

SCOTT DIXON: Yes. Obviously excited to be talking about IndyCar and kicking it off and getting ready for the season. Testing for us, we’ve had a few weeks off, looking forward to the new aero kits, Chevy showing a little bit of theirs today. Hopefully we get to see Honda’s sometime soon.

Yeah, obviously starting off the year in a winning way, which is always exciting. The combination, how we won the race this year at the Daytona 24 Hour was exciting for the team and a lot of fun. Hopefully a sign of things to come, some momentum we can carry from the first part of the IndyCar season.

THE MODERATOR: Great to put that kind of victory along with Indianapolis.

TONY KANAAN: Sure. I remember watching some of my competitors racing the 24, Charlie in the day, Scott. I was always anxious about doing it. Finally last year I got a chance to do it with Chip. We obviously struggled a little bit. Sure enough, the year I come, all of a sudden they struggle (laughter).

This year we had a great time. I think it was a great team effort. I got the watch.

THE MODERATOR: Charlie, I always make this comment. We announced your opportunity to come to Indianapolis on a day much like today, cold. You have won in the series, a veteran driver at Indianapolis. Talk about your opportunities racing with this squad.

CHARLIE KIMBALL: It’s always great to be on a team like Chip Ganassi Racing, have great partners. It’s always a great opportunity to come in and learn. You know you have the tools to be able to succeed. There’s pressure, because you know you have to go out and win racing. Having won in 2013, last year not having won a race, something that’s high on our priority list for this year.

It’s always fun driving into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, even when it’s covered with snow, it’s only 10 degrees outside. It’s great to be at the racetrack talking about IndyCar. A lot of fun to spend time with these guys, all of the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers at the Rolex 24, having both cars running on the lead lap until a mechanical failure on the lead lap.

At the Christmas party, a couple of the drivers talked about wanting a watch. Tony said, You can keep the watch, I want a ring in May.

TONY KANAAN: I get a ring in May, I’ll give you the watch (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.

Q. Tony, when you were testing the aero kit, what were some of the biggest differences you noticed?

TONY KANAAN: It looks quite a bit different, that’s for sure. It’s hard for us to tell because we went to Phoenix. The last time I was there was a different track layout. They did actually change the track. We went much quicker this time.

But it felt good. Obviously, like I said, it’s hard to give a comparison because it was on a track that I hadn’t driven the new DW12 currently. But it felt good.

We had a pretty good day there. We did maybe like 500 miles in one day. It was very reliable and it felt good.

Q. Each of you is a teammate. What is it like when you’re on the pavement out there racing and only one of you is going to win? How do you look at each other during the race?

SCOTT DIXON: We obviously work very hard as a team. At Chip Ganassi Racing, it’s open book, and we try to push the envelope to advance all the cars.

Some days you have to understand maybe it’s not your day. But when it comes down to the wire, you’re going to fight your teammates as hard as anybody else. The last thing we get told is to make sure you don’t crash each other out of the race by Chip. That’s something we focus on. In the past we’ve done a pretty good job of that and hopefully that continues.

Yeah, you’re out there to win. We’re all very competitive. We’re going to do whatever it takes to try to get there, but maybe give our teammates a little bit more room.

TONY KANAAN: I think the way to look at it, if I can’t win, I’d rather have one of my teammates win because it’s a whole organization. We call it one team. Obviously I’m not going to say if I don’t win I’m going to be satisfied. If there is a good way of losing, it’s actually having your teammate win the race for the team.

CHARLIE KIMBALL: To follow on Tony’s comments, that one-team mentality has permeated through the team, the IndyCar team. To have all the IndyCars under one roof, really working well together as a group and organization translates well. When you finish 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, I don’t think the boss cares who wins the race as long as one of his cars wins and one of his cars wins second.

I don’t think I’ve seen a bigger smile when Scott, Dario and I finished 1-2-3 on the podium at Pocono a couple years ago, so we’d like to replicate that again coming up.

Q. Is the new aero package harder to drive? Things that are hard about it?

SCOTT DIXON: It’s been split up between the teams. Phoenix test is all we could go off. The loads were higher, speeds faster. It’s a track we never ran at before. The track has gone through a change, different corner radius, banking, all that kind of stuff. Kind of hard for a reference.

I think we understand the car is going to be more efficient on both sides of the fence with both manufacturers. Physically the cars are going to become more demanding.

It’s kind of all we know at this point until we get to tracks and see comparative times, the loads in competitive environments rather than just fact checking.

Q. Tony, how did you feel after they canceled the Brazil race?

TONY KANAAN: Awesome. Couldn’t come at a better time.

It’s disappointing. I mean, I’ve lived there my entire life and I knew it was a possibility. My biggest concern was how this was going to affect the series. I guess Mark Miles and his team did a great job protecting that, which at least on that matter I think he explained here couple minutes ago.

It’s a big disappointment. I think everybody got caught by surprise. I worry about the fans that got disappointed. I worry about the TV station. They got a lot of stake in the race, got caught by surprise as well. We sold a bunch of tickets. A lot of sponsorship went away with it as well on my end.

So disappointing. Nothing I can do about it. Nothing the series can do about it. Nothing even the TV, that was the promoter, could do about it. It was a lot higher than that.

I don’t know. It’s hard to swallow, hard to understand, and extremely disappointing. I don’t know. I don’t know what else to say. A big disappointment in my country of what they’ve done for us.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you.

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IndyCar Media Day Recap of Transcripts- February 17th, 2015 Part 1: Chevrolet


Today was the Verizon IndyCar Series annual preseason media day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Media Center. This article will be a recap of transcripts from today’s event. All information is from the IndyCar Media website.

(C) IndyCar Media

(C) IndyCar Media

CHEVROLET PRESS CONFERENCE

THE MODERATOR: It’s an honor to have everybody here today. I must say that the Speedway looks much different than what we’re traditionally used to seeing during the month of May. One word I continuously heard this morning in some of our conversations was how special this facility is. We all know that it’s hosted so many special moments of automotive history.

We are honored to have a number of our key partners with us, distinguished guests from Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, CFH Racing, and KV Racing Technology.

A number of key colleagues that have joined us today. We will also distribute on a flash drive some of the press materials from today’s activity.

In the back of the room we’re joined by Michael Stouffer, one of our new team members that joined us in January. He’s working on the markets side for IndyCar racing.

Also in the back of the room is Judy Dominick. I think many people have worked with her over the years as they supported our trackside communications.

Also in the back of the room is Jimmie Brumfield, he’s our senior manager of communications.

Then up front, Chris Berube, our program manager for IndyCar.

Chris is joined by Mark Kent, our director of motorsports competition.

Then finally it’s an honor to introduce Jim Campbell, our vice president of motorsports.

JIM CAMPBELL: It’s great to be with you all. It’s special to be at the speedway every time we’re here.

Our group, Chevrolet Performance, focuses on high performance vehicles, parts and racing. Today we’re pleased to give you an update on our updates in IndyCar.

We have some great teams. We’re proud to be partners with Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, CHF Racing, and KV Racing Technology. All the drivers, thank you for being here. It’s so good to see you. It will be even more fun to see you on the track.

2014 for Chevrolet was quite a special year. In fact, we had six drivers championships including Will Power’s championship here in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Chase Elliott in the Nationwide. Christian Fittipaldi in the Tudor prototype class. It was a special year.

Of course, for IndyCar and Chevrolet, our teams, what a special season it was. 12 wins, three from Will Power, one from Juan Pablo Montoya, two from Scott Dixon, one from Ed Carpenter, two from Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan delivered a big win for us, Sebastien Bourdais a win, and Helio Castroneves as well. It was a terrific season. A manufacturer’s championship for a third year in a row. We’re appreciative of all their efforts, what they did.

In addition Chevrolet won five manufacturers championships last year through all these various series. So it was really a special year for Chevy in our history.

Speaking of history, this place for Chevrolet means a lot. I always refer to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as our home track because the co-founders of the company Louis Chevrolet. Him and his brother used this place as their proving ground. His brother Arthur raced in the first Indianapolis race, and Gaston won it in 1920.

Special place for us. Even at the museum, there’s a bust of a guy named Louis Chevrolet. Very Special to be here.

For the IndyCar Series 2015, when we decided to come back into the series leading into 2012, we really worked with IndyCar on a few things, a few priorities. We love the engine formula in this series, smaller displacement engines, direct injection, boosting, turbo charging, use of smaller V6 powerful engines, then use of a biofuel.

We came with a 2.2 liter twin turbo direct injector V6. That was one of the key reasons we came back in the series and why we still love the series. It relates to what we sell in the showrooms that delivers that great combination of power, fuel economy and durability.

Secondly, we were looking to bring world class racing to the city of Detroit with Belle Isle. We appreciate the support of IndyCar to make that happen. We’ll be kicking off our fourth season.

We extended the track a bit. It’s 2.4 miles, 13 turns. We’re continuing to invest with Charles Burns and Bud Bud Denker, the chairman of the Grand Prix, in the infrastructure. New pavement went down in the fall. The improvements continue. It’s going to be a great race.

Finally, we wanted to come back in IndyCar because we had the opportunity to develop aero kits. It was our opportunity to differentiate our look, drive innovation, look for ways to improve performance and speed, lap times. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing. We’ve been working with Mark Miles, Derrick Walker to bring this package to life. Obviously our competitors are doing the same thing. Today we want to talk about that.

I’ll turn it over to our director of racing for Chevrolet, he also supports our Cadillac effort Mark Kent.

MARK KENT: It’s a pleasure to be with you to highlight some of the key steps of where this aero kit is today. It’s been a long journey. We’re glad to be where we are.

The first step that we took along the process was doing some baselining of today’s car to fully understand what the DW12 does on road courses and short ovals to ensure our kit performed to a level that exceeded today’s car.

Once we understood where we were starting, we developed numerous design concepts. This is probably the biggest challenge, to balance the requirements for the kit. It’s not all about downforce, it’s not all about drag, it’s not all about engine power. It’s developing that optimal combination between those three to ensure at the end of the day we are providing our Chevrolet teams an aero kit and engine combination that can let them win week in and week out.

Once we established these goals, we had some design concepts, some renderings that we had on what we thought the car could look like. We had a very focused, dedicated team that worked on this aero kit program that then took these renderings and put them into the computer through computer-aided design, which we then took one step further and did structural analysis of the components.

The new Chevrolet aero kit has more downforce capability. So in addition to ensuring that parts are light, we need to ensure they can withstand the higher loading. The FEA analysis with key that our parts would perform in that environment.

We then took those parts to the next step, which was to use the computer to simulate the aerodynamic properties. A lot of our up front work was done on the computer. It’s a very efficient and effective way in order to run through numerous designs before you even start to produce parts.

So once we ran through this process, and I’m going through these in linear steps, but this is obviously a cycle. We go back a lot and start over based on learning along the way.

Once we got to this point, the next step was then to create rapid prototype parts. Today’s technology is amazing. You can take a 3-D printer and produce parts like this that is carbon-filled parts that are strong enough to actually go on a racecar and be tested on speedways and ovals and road courses. It’s an amazing technology that allows us to rapidly learn what our parts do and rapidly allows us to go back and make enhancements as required.

Once we had the parts, our next step was to go to a scale model wind tunnel, 50% scale model of the car. 50% testing offers us a great opportunity to learn quickly and more efficiently, producing parts that are half the size of the real parts represent a cost savings and allows us to test numerous iterations more rapidly.

Once we were satisfied with those results, the next step was to go to a full scale wind tunnel test. We produced rapid prototype parts, took them to a full scale rolling wind tunnel, conducted numerous tests to confirm what we learned in the scale model tunnel and the computer.

From that point we moved on to testing a prototype aero kit on various circuits. We tested the kit on various tracks.

Chris, can you tell us where it was tested and who test dollars it?

CHRIS BERUBE: The validation phase of this whole thing was the track testing phase. Our goals there were really about making sure we had correlation all the way back to the CFD, the beginning of the process that Mark talked about. It’s very iterative. We went through it here in a single pass. But this is a very iterative process.

So once we got to the point where we produced full-sized prototype parts, we tested this road course and short oval components on real cars on Homestead, at CoTA and Phoenix for a short oval.

We were glad to have Helio and Juan Pablo help us at Homestead. At CoTa we had Will and Simon in the car. Then at Phoenix we had Scott and Tony running for us. Got a number of team Chevy drivers through this that helped us keep making progress in the validation phase, which is what the track testing is all about.

Let me take you through some details of the kit. I’ll give you some close-up shots and help you out with the terminology.

We have a brand-new endplate, unique technology design there. The front flap adjustor will be very visibly different than the DW12.

The front upper very prominent feature in the new front wing design. Inboard fence again, another new part, that ties it together. Seven parts in our new front wing assembly compared to four on the Dallara side.

Moving on, we look at the center of the car, towards the rear we have a wheel wedge in front of the rear wheel, compared to the Dallara where the side pod carried all the way over to the front of the rear tire. We have a new side floor kick that you’ll see behind the pod wing. A new part on the side pod that we call the upper flick. Our side pod and side pod inlet are also new.

Moving over to the engine cover now, we did maintain the overhead intake as is in the DW12, but you’ll see a much more shrink-wrapped tight engine cover without that vent in the back. It is quite a bit of a tighter package in there.

To the back of the car, we have new bumper pods. We’ll use this as all events. There’s another part on top of it we call the top flick, which will not be there at all events. It will be an optional part.

New end plates with louvered features in them. Our upper rear wing development is a dual flap design as opposed to the single flap that the DW12 has.

Without further ado, let me hand it back to Jim Campbell for the actual reveal.

JIM CAMPBELL: Chris is an engineer that worked on the vehicle side of our business. We’re thrilled to have Chris onboard. When he goes back to the production side, he’ll be better from his experience with IndyCar.

We reviewed the aero kit for the road course and the short ovals. We will come back at some point in the next month, month and a half, and do the speedway kit.

Let’s run the video that summarizes the things the guys talked about. We’ll show you the full view.

(Video Shown.)

JIM CAMPBELL: Jim Brumfield, over to you.

JIM BRUMFIELD: We’ll go ahead and take some questions.

Q. How many parts involved in this aero kit?

CHEVROLET: There’s 123 new parts.

Q. That’s a lot of fitting, isn’t it?

CHEVROLET: Yes, sir.

Q. Are any of them adjustable as they’re driving or is this a fixed thing?

CHEVROLET: No. By regulation, none of them are adjustable while driving.

Q. How many years ago could you not have designed all this the way you have with computers and everything? How has that evolved?

CHEVROLET: Aerodynamics is an extremely technical field. It’s accelerated quite a bit over the last decades, not only driven by racing, but certainly by fuel economy goals in the production car world.

The test methods evolved continuously. The computer technologies behind the analyses are also progressing. Just makes everything faster and faster. Sounds like you could get more work done, but it also generates more work because you can ask more questions and generate more answers to those questions.

We definitely used the leading edge technology from the standpoint of wind tunnels, CFD. As Mark alluded to, it’s the combination of those tools and the achievement of this optimal balance of drag, downforce and engine performance that really focused our efforts.

CHEVROLET: Those are the same rules, same processes that we’ll use to develop a car, crossover truck anywhere around the world. It’s faster and more efficient on the resources. The tools translate one to the other, racing to the showroom.

Q. (No microphone.)

CHEVROLET: Very quickly. With the prototype thing, you can prototype it, go testing. We do a lot of that testing in the computer, wind tunnel.

CHEVROLET: Now that we have a validated cycle all the way from the track back to our models, we can be even quicker than in the past.

Q. I’m going to give you a chance to respond to how I know the Facebook crowd is going to talk about this. Please don’t shoot me. A lot of the fans love a beautiful car. Some of the uppers and flicks and the rest are not exactly aesthetically pleasing as some they like. How would you respond to those comments about the appearance of the car?

CHEVROLET: It’s always a combination of form and function. We have to deliver both. I personally think the car is beautiful, so I think there are going to be debates on both sides of it for every racecar that comes into the series.

I think it looks beautiful, but it’s form and function. If you’re all form and no function, you’re not going to win on the track. If it’s all function and no form, you don’t get the balance of the visual along with the functional.

It’s function and form together for us. So I think it will be interesting to see the debate. One of the reasons we like of having the ability to do an aero kit is there’s another storyline for this series. Engines and now the aero kit for Chevrolet working with our teams. That’s going to be in comparison to the competition, what we do on the engine and aero package.

I think it’s exciting. It’s about innovation. It’s about speed. It’s about faster lap times. That was what we looked for as we looked about coming back into the series. We looked at the engine package. Then the ability to do an aero kit was something we were very interested in doing.

Q. As for the future, both for the engine and aerodynamics, what additional areas would you like to see opened up for individual manufacturer development?

CHEVROLET: Those were the two areas that were most important, how the engine technologies relate to what we do in the showroom. A lot of the portfolio on the power train side is going to smaller displacement, use of direct injections and the boosting. Not every power train is going that way, but a lot of them. That’s why we love this direction.

We’re already boosting, and that helps us on the production side. Chris came from the vehicle side. We also have power train engineers that are working on the IndyCar side with our partners at Ilmor.

The same tools we use for our production we use over here in racing. The learning cycles apply to both sides. Those are the two areas that were most important to us. We’ll continue to look at areas that make sense, working with the sanctioning body, at what could be next.

Q. In looking at the new design, have the new changes been crash tested? How does the compressibility affect the new design?

CHEVROLET: Within the regulations, we have certain test parameters, test conditions that we have to prove. We have passed those.

As far as traditional crash testing in the sense of a production car, that’s not necessarily done here. But we do meet all the requirements that IndyCar has set in front of us.

Q. You mentioned 3D printing. We’re seeing 3D printers involved significantly into a lot of different areas. How significant was that with regard to your design process?

CHEVROLET: Well, the ability to take a part from the machine to the wind tunnel or the track is huge. Several years back you couldn’t do that. You could produce a part to verify fit, but you couldn’t take a part you could take from the machine to the track.

That technology has been a great enabler for us to speed up our learning processes as we developed this kit.

Q. Is there an approximate percentage increase in downforce that this configuration makes over last year’s car that you would give us?

CHEVROLET: The car, it’s definitely more efficient aerodynamically. The details of that, we haven’t revealed all that. It’s a competitive advantage to have that.

Just know that these cars will have faster lap times on the road courses. Because of dialing in that combination of downforce, drag and engine performance, you’re really trying to optimize those three. You get too much of one or the other, the car will not be as quick on the track.

The details of how much more downforce, it has more downforce. The drivers will tell you that have done the testing as well.

Q. Of all the parts we have, what is the cost to the team?

CHEVROLET: The cost of the aero kit to the team is set by IndyCar in the regulations. It’s a fixed cost that we designed to. I think that’s public knowledge. $75,000 for the first two kits, and $90,000 for every subsequent kit.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

 

 

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