Seconds from SECOND

A few moe photos from the IMS Museum’s new exhibit, SECOND

Bill Vukovich II was chasing Gordon Johncock in 1973 when rain halted the race. Could he have caught Johncock?
Dan Gurney finished second in 1968 and 1969. His Eagle chassis would win the 500.
Jimmy Jackson drove to second place in 1946. Had he won, Jackson would have been the last Indian born driver to win the 500. Wilbur Shaw still holds that honor.
Ted Horn ran second in 1936, starting a string of nine straight top 4 finishes. It was his only second place finish.
The story about second place finishers is complete without Harry Hartz. Hartz has the most second place finishes without ever winning the 500. He did get to Victory lane as a car owner.

SECOND- Drivers Who Almost Drank the Milk

Photo-Sam Hornish edges Marco Andretti for the win in 2006

“No one remembers who finished second except the guy who finished second.” Bobby Unser

Twists of fate kept several drivers from winning the Indianapolis 500. Some went on to win later on, but for many, second place was their best finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Some had many more chances, while some never returned to the race.

Second place at Indianapolis mostly goes unnoticed Unlike other races on the schedule, there is no podium; only the winner receives recognition.

The IMS Museum gives the spotlight to these drivers, many of whom I believe are remembered for finishing second. While the display focuses on runners-up who never won, tribute is paid to those who eventually drank the milk or owned the winning car.

Here are some of the stories on display.

Whether due to controversial scoring, rain, car damage, or a late yellow, fans and drivers have to wonder what might have been. Controversy reigned in the first 500 in 1911. Ray Harroun was awarded the victory, and Ralph Mulford finished second. Or is that really how the race ended. Mulford maintained for a long time that he won he first 500.

Is this the actual winner of the first 500? Car on display is a replica

Perhaps the most controversial finish since 1911 occurred in 2002. Paul Tracy pulled ahead of leader Helio Castroneves on lap 198 just as the yellow flag came out. Did Tracy pass Castroneves before or after the flag was thrown? Officials ruled that the yellow was out when the pass was made. Castroneves got first place back and won his second straight 500,

Oh, So Close!

While most races ended with the winner easily ahead, there have been some very close finishes since 1982. When Gordon Johncock beat Ric Mears to the line that year, the two drivers broke a record that had stood since 1937. Wilbur Shaw beat Ralph Hepburn by 2.16 seconds in winning his first of three 500s.

Scott Goodyear nearly went from last to first in1 992

Al Unser, Jr. nipped Scott Goodyear in 1992 by 0.43 seconds. Sam Hornish edged Marco Andretti in 2006 by 0.635 seconds.

Late Trouble

Roberto Guerrero looked to have the 1987 race in habd when he tangled with tony bettenhausen between turns 3 and 4. A tire from bettenhausen’s car flew into the stands, fatally injuring a spectator. Guerrero continued, but there was internal damage. On his last pit stop, the car stalled with a clutch problem, and Al Unser, Sr. took the lead and held on for his fourth win.

Eddies Sachs had the 1961 race in his grasp.

In 1961 Eddie Sachs appeared to have the upper after a spirited duel with A. J. Foyt, who had to make an extra stop for fuel. But with just three laps left, Sachs suddenly pulled into the pits, concerned that his right front tire wouldn’t last. Foyt took the lead and his first of four checkered flags at the speedway.

J. R. Hildebrand couldn’t complete the 800th turn in 2011

In 2011 J. R. Hildebrand ended up leading after a furious flurry of late fuel stops. He went wide to avoid a lapped car at the exit to turn 4 on the final lap and hit the wall. Dan Wheldon went past for his second Indianapolis 500.

Andretti Heartbreak

Rick Mears passed Michael Andretti on a late restart in 1991 to join the four-time winners club. Andretti had dominated the race, but once Mears took the lead, Andretti could not catch him. It was Andretti’s only second place finish among his five top five finishes.

Winners as Owners

Harry Hartz finished second three times, in 1922, 1923, and 1926, but won twice as a car owner in 1930 and 1932. Hartz holds the dubious honor of having the most second place finishes without winning the race.

The 1941 winning car owned by Lou Moore

Lou Moore, second place finisher in 1928, owned five winning cars- 1938, 1941, and 1947-49. His five wins as a car owner stood as the record until Roger Penske began fielding winning cars in 1972.

Michael Andretti’s team has also had success, with 500 wins in 2005,2007, 2016, and 2017.

There are fascinating stories in this display- heartbreaking, poignant tales of lost opportunities, sometimes with no second chances. I hope you can get out to see this exhibit. It is one of the best the IMS Musuem has offered.

I will have some more photos up tomorrow.

Cusick, Wilson Return to Indy, Teamed with Dreyer & Reinbold

Photo from team press release

In an announcement that is going to be popular with many fans, Stefan Wilson will attempt to make his fifth Indianapolis 500 mile race next May, driving for Cusick Motorsports in association with Dreyer& Reinbold. Wilson takes over car 24, which was driven by Sage Karam in 2022. The car will have Chevrolet power.

“As soon as the checkered flag fell on the Indy 500 this year, we set out to find the best possible partner for the future,” said Don Cusick, Founder and CEO of Cusick Motorsports. “We have immense respect for what Dreyer & Reinbold Racing have done both on and off track over the years and quickly identified them as our ideal partner for this endeavor. We couldn’t be happier to partner with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, along with several long-standing and new partners in CareKeepers, Sierra Pacific Windows, Jay Paul Company’s 181 Fremont, Gnarly Jerky, LOHLA SPORT, Romak Iron Works, Mosaic Animal Care, The Thermal Club and Mr. and Mrs. James Lowes. We’ve created a special relationship with our partners and Stefan Wilson over the last two years – joining forces with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing will have a significant impact as we move forward.”

Stefan Wilson is excited to drive for a team his late brother, Justin, also drove for.

“I’ve been very impressed with how hard Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has worked at and focused on the Indy 500,” said Wilson. “It’s such an honor for me to join them in partnership with Cusick Motorsports and work on our collective goal of trying to win the Indy 500. There’s a great opportunity here for us to all grow together. I hope this leads to more 500’s, and maybe even more races together. There’s history here with this team. Justin [Wilson, Stefan’s late older brother] spent two years with DRR back in 2010-2011 and secured podiums. I got to know Dennis (Reinbold), Brett De Bord and Chase Selman really well back then, so it just feels great to be rejoining them in a sense. I also have to say a big thank you to Don Cusick, who has put more faith in me than anybody else in my career. I’m honored to represent Cusick Motorsports and all our partners and will do my utmost to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.”

This announcement accounts for one of two Dreyer & Reinbold cars I assume will enter the 500. No word on the second car as of now.

Iowa Race Weekend Concerts Set

From Hy-Vee and Iowa Speedway:

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (November 16, 2022) —Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend returns to Iowa Speedway, July 21-23, 2023, and today, Hy-Vee, Inc. announced the impressive lineup of musical acts that will be featured before and after each NTT INDYCAR SERIES race on Saturday and Sunday of event weekend. 

Building off the momentum of a highly successful Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend in 2022 that brought capacity crowds to Iowa Speedway for a turbocharged blend of world-class live music and thrilling racing, Hy-Vee will shift into high gear in 2023 with another powerful concert lineup accompanying the only doubleheader weekend on next year’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule.  

Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney will perform on Saturday of race weekend while Zac Brown Band and Ed Sheeran will rock the Hy-Vee Stage on Sunday. Ticket renewals for the 2023 Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend will begin on Monday, November 21 and fans can register now for an exclusive pre-sale opportunity at https://www.hyveeindycarweekend.com/ before tickets go on sale to everyone on Monday, December 5. 

“When we first agreed to hold the event in Newton (Iowa), we knew we wanted to make it the best and biggest event on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s Chairman of the Board and Executive Director. “We made the weekend quite the spectacle in 2022; however, we knew we could top our efforts when planning for 2023, and I think our lineup of concerts shows just that. This is an event you won’t want to miss.” 

With four nationally acclaimed acts over two days, the 2023 Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend concert lineup features some of the biggest names in country and pop music.  

Concert Prior to the Saturday, July 22 INDYCAR Race: 

Carrie Underwood is a multi-media superstar, with achievements in music, television, film, and as a New York Times bestselling author and successful entrepreneur. She has sold more than 66 million records worldwide, recorded 28 No. 1 singles (14 of which she co-wrote), has seven albums that are certified Multi-Platinum or Platinum by the RIAA, and is the most-awarded female country artist for digital singles in RIAA history.  Underwood has won over 100 major awards including 8 GRAMMY® Awards, 16 ACM Awards including three for Entertainer of the Year, 25 CMT Music Awards where she continues to hold the record for the most award wins ever by any artist, 7 CMA Awards, and 17 American Music Awards.  She was the first artist to perform at the new Resorts World Theatre, where her ongoingREFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency, began with sold-out runs in December 2021 and throughout Spring 2022, and will continue in 2023.  Her new album, Denim & Rhinestones, which she co-produced, is out now, and her 43-city U.S. arena tour, THE DENIM & RHINESTONES TOUR, kicked off October 15 with dates throughout Fall 2022 and Spring 2023.  

Concert Following the Saturday, July 22 INDYCAR Race: 

Kenny Chesney has recorded more than 20 albums and has produced more than 40 Top 10 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, 32 of which have reached No. 1. Many of these hits have also charted within the Top 40 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, making him one of the most successful crossover country artists ever. He has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Chesney has received 12 Country Music Association Awards (including winning the Entertainer of the Year honor four times) and 11 Academy of Country Music Awards (including four consecutive Entertainer of the Year awards from 2005 to 2008) as well as six GRAMMY® Award nominations. He is one of the most popular touring acts in country music history, regularly selling out the venues in which he performs. 

Concert Prior to the Sunday, July 23 INDYCAR Race:

Zac Brown Band has won 3 GRAMMY® Awards, sold more than 30 million singles and 9 million albums, had over 10 billion catalog streams, and achieved 16 No. 1 radio singles. Since 2009, Zac Brown Band has earned 55 award nominations from the GRAMMY® Awards, Academy of Country Music, American Music Awards, Country Music Association and Country Music Television. Most recently, Zac Brown Band released “The Comeback Deluxe” album with songs featuring Cody Johnson, Blake Shelton, James Taylor and Jimmy Buffet among others. On November 19, they will serve as house band for the legendary Dolly Parton during her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

Concert Following the Sunday, July 23 INDYCAR Race:


Ed Sheeran
 is an era-defining artist.  With five multiplatinum, critically acclaimed albums under his belt, the British singer-songwriter has amassed more than 60 billion streams and sold over 50 million albums, globally to date, making him one of the world’s biggest-selling artist. An unparalleled live performer, Sheeran’s two-year ÷ world tour made history becoming the most-attended and highest-grossing tour of all time when it wrapped in 2019.  Late last year, Sheeran released ‘=’, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and marked his fourth consecutive full-length release to top the chart after its first week. Sheeran is currently in the midst of his worldwide “+ – = ÷ x Tour,” hitting North America for the first time in nearly 5 years, including a stop at the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend. 

Both pre- and post-race concerts are included with Saturday and Sunday Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend tickets as each artist will perform on stage trackside, in front of the main grandstands at Iowa Speedway. Both pre-race concerts will feature 60-minute performances while each post-race concert will include a 90-minute show. Exclusive trackside concert viewing passes will be available for purchase once 2023 tickets go on sale in December.

“Thanks to the support of Hy-Vee and their commitment to making Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend one of the biggest annual events in Iowa, we truly delivered a memorable experience for our fans this summer at Iowa Speedway,” said Bud Denker, President of Penske Corporation. “With four incredible concerts featuring some of the most popular acts in music today, Hy-Vee is raising the bar even higher in 2023. Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend is going to bring non-stop excitement on and off the track July 21 through July 23.” 

More than 80,000 people attended Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend in 2022 as INDYCAR made its return to Iowa Speedway this summer. With the star-studded concert lineup and festival atmosphere adding to the high-speed action on track including two NTT INDYCAR SERIES races – both televised live on NBC – and the next generation of stars competing in the INDY NXT by Firestone Series, event organizers are looking to surpass those totals with sellout crowds at Iowa Speedway in 2023.  

To register for a pre-sale opportunity to purchase 2023 Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend tickets and to learn more about the event, visit https://www.hyveeindycarweekend.com/

JOSH PIERSON NAMED AS FIRST-EVER ED CARPENTER RACING DEVELOPMENT DRIVER WITH PLANS FOR 2025 INDYCAR CAMPAIGN

From E Carpenter racing this morning. Hiring a development driver may not work for every team, but I think it is a good idea for the smaller teams.

16-Year-Old Standout Driver, ECR Look To Compete Together For At Least Three Years in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES 
(INDIANAPOLIS) November 15, 2022 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today a new driver development program featuring Josh Pierson. The 16-year-old will continue his ascent through the Road to Indy ranks with the intent of competing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2025 with ECR. Pierson, an Oregon native, will have the guidance and support of ECR team members as he furthers his career and will be mentored by team owner Ed Carpenter. Additionally, Pierson will begin testing one of ECR’s Chevrolet-powered Indy cars in 2023. 
Behind the wheel since he was just two years old, Pierson already has a long list of accomplishments and the young driver’s resume grows more today by becoming the first-ever development driver for Ed Carpenter Racing. “I’m honored by the confidence Ed Carpenter has placed in me and so incredibly grateful to have a path to INDYCAR with Ed Carpenter Racing,” stated Pierson. “I’ve been dreaming about racing in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES for as long as I can remember!”
Pierson has been re-writing the history books for several years, collecting accolades and victories as he progresses towards the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. After a decade of karting experience with numerous championships and national titles, he began racing open-wheel cars at 13. At ages 14 and 15, he was the youngest driver on the grid in the Road to Indy’s USF2000. In early 2022, he became the youngest driver to participate in IMSA’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Just two months later, he earned the title of the youngest race winner in the FIA’s World Endurance Championship (WEC) with a victory at the 1000 Miles of Sebring. As of June of 2022, he is the youngest starter in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished 10th overall. This past weekend in Bahrain, Pierson concluded his 2022 WEC season with a 2nd place in the race, 3rd place in the championship standings and was named WEC’s equivalent of Rookie of the Year. 
Reaching the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is part of a five-year program for Pierson. For the next two years, he will focus on INDY NXT, formerly known as Indy Lights. INDY NXT is the final step in the Road to Indy before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. With plans for a partial season in 2023, he will challenge for the INDY NXT championship in 2024 as he races the full calendar. Carpenter, the only active owner/driver in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, will mentor Pierson while working towards the goal of Pierson competing for ECR in 2025 and beyond.
Carpenter is excited for the long-term future of ECR and is confident in the addition of Pierson as a development driver“I have truly enjoyed getting to know Josh Pierson and his family.  For such a young man, he has already accomplished so much in his racing career.  Along with that, he is such a well-spoken and professional person,” commented Carpenter.  “I am confident with the plan that we have in place that he will develop into a complete racing driver. We very much look forward to working with him as we finalize his path to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES starting in 2025.”
The 2023 race season will see Pierson build upon his experience in multiple disciplines, competing in both U.S.-based and international series. Stateside, he will compete in a partial INDY NXT schedule with HMD Motorsports. He will also aim to continue his endurance racing success in LMP2 with United Autosports, competing across the globe in the FIA World Endurance Championship. As part of his development driver program with ECR, Pierson will begin testing in one of the team’s Chevrolet-powered NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars in 2023.
Pierson made his INDY NXT testing debut on October 21, 2022 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with HMD Motorsports. Both the 2023 INDY NXT and NTT INDYCAR SERIES seasons will begin the first weekend of March in the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. ECR will continue to campaign two full-time entries, the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet driven by Conor Daly and the Rinus VeeKay’s No. 21 BitNile Chevrolet. Carpenter will join Daly and VeeKay for the four oval races, expanding ECR’s lineup to three cars for those events.
About Ed Carpenter RacingEd Carpenter Racing (ECR) first entered the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2012. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting eight wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). The 2023 season will see the team continue to compete with two full-time entries: the No. 20 BitNile Chevrolet with Conor Daly behind the wheel and the No. 21 BitNile Chevrolet, driven by Rinus VeeKay. Carpenter will round out the team’s three-car effort on the ovals, campaigning the No. 33 Chevrolet. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.

The Schedule’s the Same, but Some Venues are Changing

Indycar’s 2023 schedule features the same venues as 2022, but that doesn’t mean nothing has changed. Three tracks- Road America, Detroit, and Weather tech raceway Laguna Seca- will be different. The Grabd prix of Detroit moves to downtown from Belle Isle, and then other two tracks will be completely repaved.

The new Detroit downtown layout will feature a dual pit lane, with cars pitting on both sides. I’m not sure how this will work out in real time. Teams will need to put some thought into their pit choice, and decisions on when to pit could come down to what cars in neighboring pits are doing.

I will need to see how this track works inre al life. On paper it has too many square corners for my tatse.

Road America Repave

The Road America repave was chronicled by thwe track on social media in a series of videos. We might see slower speeds for a year as the the track gets rubbered in and cures.

This video is fascinating

Weather Tech Raceway Upgrades

Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca is investing $10 million in upgrades, including repaving then track and replacing the pedestrian bridge near the start/finish line. Several drivers are not in favor of repaving the track. I’m not sure i like the idea either. How will it change the racing? We will have to wait and see.

I’m glad there will be a new bridge, which will be wider and more up to date. It was always an adventure crossing it. The other upgrades will bring an aging facility more up to date. There were signs of some improvements in September. One improvement took away a great viewing spot, however.

Indycar Introduces NXT Series; Releases Schedule

The news release from Indycar regarding the rebranded Indy Lights Series, with heir 14 race schedule:

INDY NXT by Firestone Ready
To Launch Racing’s New Generation of Stars
  2023 14-Race Schedule Unveiled, Streaming to Fans on PeacockINDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022) – The pathway to North America’s premier open-wheel racing series has a fresh, more youthful and energetic final level: INDY NXT by Firestone. INDY NXT will feature a new generation of global racing talent, competing vigorously for podiums and the opportunity to join the elite ranks of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.The presenting sponsor and Official Tire of INDY NXT will be Firestone, also the Official Tire Supplier and longtime partner of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. INDY NXT by Firestone will emphasize talent development, while extending racing’s reach and impact to a younger and emerging consumer audience.The rebranded racing series, formerly known as Indy Lights, will stage 14 races in 2023, starting March 5 on the Streets of St. Petersburg and competing on a diverse set of ovals, road courses and street circuits.

“We look forward to being part of the journey as INDY NXT enters a new era and expands our partnership with INDYCAR,” said Lisa Boggs, director of motorsports, Bridgestone Americas. “Having been in the series previously, we know how important it is for the development of the next generation of drivers, and we are proud to support them again. INDY NXT provides opportunities for Firestone to engage with new audiences and develop and showcase our technology.”

Said INDYCAR President Jay Frye: “INDY NXT by Firestone will continue to develop and graduate new generations of racers ready to engage in breathtaking, high-stakes competition. Firestone is the perfect partner in this endeavor, with its innovative technology and authentic appreciation for INDY NXT and its vast potential.”

Starting with the 2022 season, INDYCAR took over the management and operations of the developmental series. The launch of the new era included a vastly enhanced collaborative partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, featuring integration in paddock spaces, marketing, digital assets and race officiating. The 2023 season will provide an additional opportunity for a reset and a new mission to emerge, guided by an ethos that aims to inspire and relate to Generation Z and the young talent piloting race cars.

After an expansion of teams and car count in 2022, the 2023 season is expected to build on that momentum, with the highest entry list for the developmental series since 2009.The 2023 INDY NXT by Firestone championship still will compete on the same tracks and on the same weekends as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES events, providing further exposure to the series. As in 2022, the schedule consists of three doubleheader weekends: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Streets of Detroit and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where the 2023 INDY NXT champion will be crowned.Additionally, coverage of all 14 races once again will be available in the United States via Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Start times for the 2023 INDY NXT by Firestone season will be announced at a later date.

For more information about INDY NXT by Firestone, visit www.indynxt.com.

The schedule:

March 5, Streets of St. Petersburg

April 30, Barber Motorsports Park

May 12, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Race 1

May 13, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Race 2

June 3, Streets of Detroit Race 1

June 4, Streets of Detroit Race 2

June 18, Road America

July 2, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

July 22, Iowa Speedway

Aug. 6, Streets of Nashville

Aug. 27, World Wide Technology Raceway

Sept. 3, Portland International Raceway

Sept. 9, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Race 1

Sept. 10, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Race 2

Indy Lights Rebrands- Introducing Indy NXT

A video this morning on @IndyNXT:

I am not thrilled with the name. I assume the NXT stands for next. It i a questionable name since Indycar is apparently not next for 2022 Indy Lights champion Linus Lundquist, and his meager $500,000 award for winning. That amount won’t help the 2023 champion obtain an Indycar ride either.

I hope the Firestone support will also chip in another half million dollars or so to make moving to Indycar more of a possibility for the series champion.

I will have more on this topic later today.

Rahal and AMSP 500 Additions Put Field at 33

Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing announced a fourth car for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 yesterday but did not name a driver. This morning Arrow McLaren SP introduced their fourth car and driver combination for Memorial Day weekend, with 2013 winner Tony Kanaan joining the team.

AMSP will field the drivers who finished second, third, fourth, and fifth in the 2022 500.

The two additional cars add to the growing list of entries for the race. The field for the Indianapolis 500 as it stands now:

Team Penske- 3

Chip Ganassi Racing- 3 (+1?)

Andretti Autosport- 5

AMSP-4

Rahal letterman Lanigan Racing- 4

Ed Carpenter Racing-3

Meyer Shank Racing-2

A. J. Foyt Racing-2

Juncos Racing-2

Dale Coyne-2

Dreyer and Reinbold-2

With the fourth car at Ganassi presumed to come into being, the entry list is at 33. There are 16 Chevy engines and 17 Honda engines. How much more will each manufacturer run? I think no more than one each. The sad part is a couple of one off teams will not be able to come to the Speedway in May. The one off teams are part of the allure of the race. It’s nice to see the little guy fighting for a spot. Those days may be coming to an end.