Indiana Oxygen- Passion, Performance, Efficiency

Garage N 15 sits at the back of Gasoline Alley, a small separate structure from supplier row which includes Firestone and Impact. Despite its solitary location, the company is one of the key suppliers to racing teams and has been since 1915. CEO Wally Brant is the third generation to head the family business, which has roots going back to the dawn of the Indianapolis 500. He has a great passion for the race, a trait passed down from his father and grandfather. Indiana Oxygen incorporated in 1915, but his grandfather had a stake in the inaugural race.

Wally’s grandfather and uncle had a Lozier dealership, and the car company entered the race.

“The Speedway was to showcase Indianapolis made automobiles. And so they had invited everybody to enter, and Lozier sent two cars down from Detroit,” Brant said. “They didn’t have any garages here (at the Speedway). So they kept the cars in my grandfather’s agency, which was at the corner of Fremont and Capitol downtown. Yeah, the northeast corner and they would actually drive the cars out Indiana Avenue to 16th Street, practice and then drive them back. In the first 500 in 1911 Ralph Mulford, one of Lozier’s drivers. finished second. My grandfather swore to the day he died that we won the first race.

“The way he explains it is the trip wires and everything had kept breaking, but they also some backup. One person was assigned to each car and there was a

Wally Brant

long bench at the end on a stand at the end of the pits. Each person was assigned a car and all he had to do is when that car went by was pick up a marble out of this tray and drop it in a calibrated tube to keep track of the laps. It’s even on film. An accident in the pits destroyed part of the scoring stand. Before that Mulford had a half a lap lead. Afterwards he was half a lap behind but nobody passed him.” Lozier went out of business in 1914.

“My grandfather got back to electrical engineering. A process had been invented in Sweden that came over here, where you bombard water molecules with electrons and separates them into oxygen and hydrogen. And those were the two gases.”

Indiana Oxygen incorporated April 28, 1915.

“A couple of days later the Speedway opened up for practice And so the speedway was one of our very first customers. What we did was brought out compressed air with a regulator. Up to that point they have these great big pumps. That was a big deal. So we started providing the first compressed air. “

Barney Oldfield fills a tire from an an Indiana Oxygen tank.

From compressed air for tires, the Brant brothers began experimenting with nitrogen. They found that nitrogen, because of its larger molecules, didn’t leak from tires like oxygen did. and it also helped with gas mileage.

The Brants tested their nitrogen theory with the help of the Prest-O -Lite team. at the Speedway. One car’s tires had nitrogen, and the other car’s tires were filled with oxygen. The tires with nitrogen had more air left in them.

Indian oxygen was the sole provider of compressed air for teams at IMS for the first 50 years of racing. In 1937 the company began helping teams improve pit stop time. Indiana Oxygen worked with Wilbur Shaw to have fuel delivered to the car during a pit stop via a compressed nitrogen pump. Shaw beat Ralph Hepburn by 2.16 seconds, and he credited his faster stops for the win.

“All the race teams after 1937 had this system until after the ’64 race,: Brant said. “The Sachs/-McDonald accident changed the way things were done.”

Wilbur Shaw gets tire service in the garage. he was the first driver to use pressurized fuel delivery during pit stops.

In 1958, the company worke3d with mechanic A. J. watson to improve pit time even more..

“In 1958 providing nitrogen he (Watson) comes up with this idea like how can we make pitstops faster? The idea of having the air on board the car. They couldn’t figure out how to safely operate it. If they run it off the engine it would stall. We couldn’t use electricity. So my dad and Watson knew each other. And so they should just use high pressure nitrogen So these are the air jacks. W also provide air for the pneumatic tools.”

Welding became part of the business in 1965 when the company that provide that service closed and aske Indiana Oxygen to take over.

“We shared the garage with them because we sold them the hydrogen out of that garage. So they said you guys want to take this over?” These days welding is mostly for team accessories rather than the cars.

Brant explained, “You’re walking around race car, mostly it’s carbon fiber or the story and even a nose cone. When they crunch one they put a new one, not fix the old one. They autograph it and put it in an auction. But no on frames, right? But we’ll also be welded sunglasses, stools, umbrella stands, things for their scoring box and everything.”

There was one welding job they refused to do.

“So the only the only job that we refused to do I believe the year was 1979 when they had the pop off valve. Jerry Sneva could not get up to speed and he asked us if we would weld the popoff valve shut. We couldn’t do that. “

Each year different welding jobs come up. One year a weight was added to the floor of a car that didn’t meet the minimum weight. Another year radiators needed many repairs. The first IRL spec cars required reinforcement of the the suspension arms.

There is one thing that would make Brant happy. He wishes that a driver would thank Indiana Oxygen in their speech at the Victory Banquet.

“Johnny Rutherford was the last driver to mention us at the banquet in the 1980’s,” Brant said. Rutherford is a frequent guest in their garage during May.

A fourth generation is on the rise, as Brant’s son and daughter are part of Indiana Oxygen. Race teams will have their tire and pit tool needs covered as long as the Speedway exists. Indiana Oxygen isn’t going anywhere.

Pit Stop Competition Matchups Set; Ruoff Mortgage New Sponsor

From Indycar:

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, May 25, 2022) – Thirteen of INDYCAR’s top pit crews will compete for more than $100,000 in prizes as the Ruoff Mortgage Pit Stop Challenge returns to Miller Lite Carb Day on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The traditional Carb Day competition will be held for the first time since 2019, when the crew of Arrow McLaren SP’s Marcus Ericsson was victorious. Ruoff Mortgage, which serves as the primary partner of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ Fastest Seat in Sports, will extend its INDYCAR SERIES involvement by serving as the event’s sponsor.
“What better way to welcome back fans to Miller Lite Carb Day than to bring back the Ruoff Mortgage Pit Stop Challenge,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing is a team sport, and this contest showcases how important pit stops are to helping their team win the Indy 500 on Sunday.”
Participating pit crews – representing seven different teams – qualified for this year’s Ruoff Mortgage Pit Stop Challenge via pit stop performance in NTT INDYCAR SERIES races since the 2021 Indy 500, their ranking in the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES entrant standings or as a one-off Indianapolis 500 entrant.
Crews will compete head-to-head in single-round eliminations for the first three rounds of the competition in which they are required to change four tires and simulate refueling.
The top three ranked squads – top-seeded No. 2 Team Penske, second seed No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing and third seed No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – earned byes to the quarterfinals
In the championship round, the last two teams will meet in a best-of-three series, with teams alternating lanes in the first two races.
The winning crew and driver will share a $50,000 bonus, custom-designed rings from Jostens and a variety of other prizes.
First Round (Team listed first has lane choice)
#12 Team Penske (Will Power) vs. #10 Chip Ganassi Racing (Alex Palou)
#5 Arrow McLaren SP (Pato O’Ward) vs. #23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Santino Ferrucci)
#26 Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian (Colton Herta) vs. #45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Jack Harvey)
#24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Sage Karam) vs. #7 Arrow McLaren SP (Felix Rosenqvist)
#20 Ed Carpenter Racing (Conor Daly) vs. #28 Andretti Autosport (Romain Grosjean)
Quarterfinals (Team listed first has lane choice unless noted)
Q1: #2 Team Penske (Josef Newgarden) vs. Power/Palou winner
Q2: O’Ward/Ferrucci winner vs. Herta/Harvey winner (Fastest first-round time has lane choice)
Q3: #9 Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon) vs. Karam/Rosenqvist winner
Q4: #15 Rahal Letterman Racing (Graham Rahal) vs. Daly/Grosjean winner
Semifinals (Fastest quarterfinal time has lane choice)
S1: Q1 winner vs. Q2 winner
S2: Q3 winner vs. Q4 winners
Finals (Best-of-Three Series)S1 winner vs. S2 winner
Team Penske leads the Challenge with a combined 17 wins.
Helio Castroneves is the winningest driver in the competition with eight titles.
Coverage of the Ruoff Mortgage Pit Stop Challenge begins at 2:30 p.m. (ET) and will be available on Peacock Premium. 
 
 

Gainbridge Extends Partnership with the Indianapolis 500

From IMS:

Gainbridge Extends Presenting Sponsorship
of Indianapolis 500 in Multiyear Agreement
  
2023 Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge Logo Unveiled
INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, May 25, 2022) – Gainbridge, an online digital platform offering trusted financial products simplified for the modern age, has reached a multiyear agreement to extend its presenting sponsorship of the Indianapolis 500, the world’s largest single-day sporting event.
“We have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with IMS and Penske Entertainment and are thrilled to extend our sponsorship of the Indianapolis 500,” said Dan Towriss, CEO and president of Group 1001, parent company of Gainbridge.
“This event is so iconic in the world of motorsport and a hallmark to Indianapolis. The parallels between racing and our business, a commitment to success and making every second count, make this the perfect partnership.”
The presenting sponsorship, which began in 2019, provides Gainbridge a key platform for brand recognition and customer acquisition.
“Gainbridge is fully invested in racing as a vehicle for brand growth and understands the unique and global platform the Indianapolis 500 provides,” said Penske Entertainment President & CEO Mark Miles. “We’re excited to continue this mutually productive relationship between two innovative and trusted partners in their space.”
As part of the extended sponsorship announcement, the logo for the 2023 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge also was unveiled. The logo is a forward-moving representation of the famed oval. The inside of the logo is a black shield, which embodies class and prestige, as well as the track surface, with the words “Indy 500” in the iconic slanted font. Surrounded by the familiar gold of the Wing & Wheel, the logo is the latest iteration of a series that began in 2019 with Gainbridge’s inaugural sponsorship.
The logos celebrate the iconography of the 500-Mile Race. Since 2019, the logo has featured the bricks, the checkered flag, the Pagoda and the winner’s wreath. With the extended Gainbridge sponsorship, there are more icons to come.
Gainbridge invests in strategic partnerships to further its mission, and this extension further cements Gainbridge’s commitment to racing. Gainbridge also is the primary sponsor of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES No. 26 Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Gainbridge Honda driven by Colton Herta and will continue to be the official annuity and life insurance partner of INDYCAR, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500.
NBC’s live coverage of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge starts at 11 a.m. (ET) Sunday, May 29. Visit ims.com to purchase tickets for the race.
About Gainbridge
Gainbridge is a digital platform that allows you to invest in trusted financial products wherever you are, whenever you want, that are simple, intuitive and backed by smart technology. Gainbridge is part of Group 1001 Insurance Holdings, LLC (“Group 1001”), an insurance holding company in the United States with current combined assets under management of $58 billion as of March 31, 2022. For more information, visit gainbridge.life
 

Palou Leads Ganassi Sweep of Top Three; Kellett Okay after Crash

Alex Palou didn’t get on track until about 40 minutes remained in today’s post-qualifying practice, but he shot immediately to the top of the pylon with a 229.441 lap. he led teammates Scott Dixon and Jimmie Johnson as Chip Ganassi Racing sent a strong message for the rest of the grid prior to Race Day.

Takuma Sato broke up the CGR parade in fourth, followed Marcus Ericsson in a fourth Ganassi car. Ericsson turned the most laps of any of the Ganassi drivers, 38. Palou and Kanaan each made 31 circuits, the team low.

The rest of the top 10:

Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Marco Andretti, Sage Karam, and Simon Pagenaud.

The action had a race day intensity, with cars running in packs, sometimes three wide.

The month’s first incident occurred with about 30 minutes left. Dalton Kellett went high in turn 1, spun and hit the wall hard facing the wrong way. The right side of the car lifted but returned to the ground quickly. Kellett was uninjured.

Sato ran the most laps today, 106. Four other drivers, Scott McLaughlin, Christian Lundgaard, and Colton Herta also turned at least 100 laps.

One More Practice, Then We Wait

Monday at IMS:

SCHEDULE (All times local):

11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Public gates open

1-3 p.m.: Open practice

TICKETS: General Admission tickets are $15 for Indy 500 practice days. Children 15 and under are admitted free with paying adult.

PUBLIC GATES OPEN (11 a.m.-3 p.m.): Gate 2, Gate 4, Gate 6S, Gate 7, Gate 7S, Gate 10 and Gate 10A.

PARKING: Free parking for Indianapolis 500 practice is located in N Lot, in the South Carousel Lot for motorcycle parking and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Lot for ADA parking. Bicycle parking is located outside Gate 1, Gate 6 and Gate 9.

CASHLESS OPERATIONS: All IMS concession stands and merchandise locations are cashless this year. Tap-to-pay phone payments will be accepted, as will credit and debit transactions. Cash-to-Card machines, which convert paper money onto a temporary debit card, will be located throughout the facility. These funds can be spent inside the venue, outside the venue, online or anywhere in the world where Mastercard/Visa debit cards are accepted. Gate locations will accept cash.

This is the last day on track until Carb Day. The two hours should be busy. I will be posting stories each day this week. One will be about the strangest 500 I have ever been to. What is the strangest 500 you have ever attended?

I will have a practice wrap-up this afternoon. Then I get to be a regular human for a few days.

Dixon’s Pole More Than Just a Speed Record

Photo by Kyle McInnes

Scott Dixon won the pole for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 with a record pole four lap average of 234.046 mph. It is Dixon’s fifth pole at IMS and second consecutive start at the head of the grid. Those are the facts of this story, but this pole elevates Dixon onto an even higher plane of the Indycar record book than he already occupied.

Dixon now is in second place in three categories, just one away from tying three different legends of the sport. His six championships are one short of A. J. Foyt’s seven titles. He has won 51 races, one less than Mario Andretti, who is in second place on the all- time career list. As of 5:30 pm today Dixon is one Indianapolis 500 pole behind Rick Mears.

We witness greatness every time Dixon takes to the track. I feel privileged to have watched Foyt, Andretti, Mears, and now Dixon.

Quick Thoughts on the Day

The two round format was okay, but i thought the round of twelve took some of the starch out of the Fast Six. I would prefer a return to the Fast Nine.

A better format if the Fast twelve is retained and television windows are available would be an earlier practice, round one around midday, and the final six at 4 pm. Spacing out the sessions would give the engines the needed cooling time.

Going last in the Fast Six continues to be an advantage. The driver knows exactly what he needs to be on the pole.

I was happy to see speed records return. It has been a while. Now Indycar needs to go after the one lap track record.

Has Honda caught up with Chevrolet? The Fast Six had four Hondas and two Chevys.

What a great weekend for Chip Ganassi Racing. The team had all five of their cars in the top twelve, and four of them advanced to the Fast Six. Ed Carpenter Racing had the other two spots in the final round.

Rinus VeeKay starts on the front row for the second straight year. He is going to win this race one day, maybe a week from today.

The record pole average is the second fastest average in Speedway history. The record has stood since 1996.

The provisional grid, which should become official soon.

Dixon’s 234 Lap Tops Final Practice

Scott Dixon turned an unaided lap of 234.042 mph in this afternoon’s last tune-up for Pole qualifying. Ed Carpenter ran the next best time with a 233.624 mph lap.

The 12 drivers took turns running simulated qualifying runs. There were never more than two cars on track at once.

The top six laps were run by Dixon, Carpenter, Rinus VeeKay, Takuma Sato, Jimmie Johnson, and Marcus Ericsson. The twelve cars were separated by 0.28 seconds.

Results:

Qualifying Format

The format for today’s qualifying is two rounds. The break between rounds is to allow the engines to cool down before the final round.