500 Veteran Rasmussen Dies

From IMS:

INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, June 6, 2022) – Eldon Rasmussen, a Canadian driver who made three starts in the Indianapolis 500, died June 5. He was 85.

Rasmussen, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, competed in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 1975, 1977 and 1979.

His best start was 32nd in 1975 and 1977, with a best finish of 13th in 1977 in the No. 58 Rent-a-Racer, Inc. entry that featured a “Ras-car” chassis he built with his considerable fabrication skills.

In the 1975 race, Rasmussen was involved in one of the most dramatic accidents in Indianapolis 500 history. Tom Sneva was trying to lap Rasmussen and ran over his left front wheel, launching Sneva’s car into the Turn 2 wall. The car exploded and disintegrated upon impact, but Sneva miraculously escaped serious injury.

Rasmussen started racing on dirt tracks in Southern Alberta, including making more than 600 starts in the touring CAMRA series. He made more than 50 USAC Sprint Car starts before climbing to the USAC National Championship throughout the 1970s, with three top-10 finishes in 23 career starts. His finished a career-best seventh in a 100-mile heat race in 1975 at Ontario Motor Speedway, and he finished ninth in the 500-mile feature that weekend.

He retired as a driver in 1979 after suffering an injury in a crash at Pocono Raceway and then returned his focus to his in-demand work as a race car engineer, designer, builder and fabricator in the Indianapolis area.

Rasmussen designed and built some of the first wings for Indianapolis 500 cars and created innovative rear wings for NHRA Top Fuel dragsters. He also built machines for varied racing disciplines, including ice racing, motorcycle sidecar racing and karting.

Rasmussen was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2001.

500 Wrap Up- Feels Like Old Times

Marcus Ericsson celebrates with car owner Chip Ganassi. Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

Everything about yesterday’s 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 felt like a race day in the 1980s- the huge crowd, the electric tingling buzz in the atmosphere, even the way the race played out- had an 80s feel to it. Roger Penske and Doug Boles have worked hard to restore the glory of the 500 after two devastating years of the pandemic. The real proof of their success will be in seeing the momentum of 2022 continuing for the next several years.

The Speedway expected 300,000 fans. i think they had more than that. It was great to see the stands packed again. G stand, where I sit, was fuller than I’ve ever seen it, including in 2016. The infield crowd across the way was definitely larger than I ever recall.

The Race- Classic Style

This was not the best 500 I’ve ever seen, but it was far from the worst. It was darn good race, though. Most of the drama came in the pits where strong pre race favorites Alex Palou and Scott Dixon lost their chances at winning.

The race had a feel of a race in the 1980s, where a strong favorite would dominate only to drop out out of contention due to some misfortune. Yellows occurred at untimely moments, jumbling the field. One driver, usually a darkhorse like Marcus Ericsson, would emerge victorious.

The Lost Boys of Indy

Two teams that used to dominate Indy, Team Penske and Andretti Autosport, have been MIA the last two years. Yesterday Josef Newgardens’s 13th place finish was the best for the team. Both Newgarden and Will Power had issues in the pits. neither was a serious threat to win.

Alexander Rossi’s fifth place finish salvaged a miserable day for Andretti. Rookie Devlin DeFrancesco was the next best on the team with a 20th place result.

Rookies

The four rookies with long term futures finished in a tight pack from 16th to 20th, with veteran Ed Carpenter in 19th. David Malukas ran a steady pace all day and ended 16th after starting 13th. Kyle Kirkwood arguably had the best drive of the day among the rookies, coming from 28th on the grid to come home 17th.

Christian Lungaard finished 18th. Crashes took out Jimmie Johnson, Callum Ilott, and Romain Grosjean.

Red Flag

I still maintain that the red flag was a horrible call and did nothing to enhance the finish. I will die on this hill. Fans are not entitled to a green flag finish. Some races just don’t have exciting finishes. This is not a video game.

The race ended under yellow anyway, so stopping the race was a moot point. If track safety structures weren’t compromised, there is no need for a red flag in that situation.

21st Century Mario?

Scott Dixon at driver introductions yesterday. Indycar photo by Joe Skibinski

Scott Dixon is becoming the new Mario Andretti. He has one Indianapolis 500 victory, which is a great accomplishment. He also has six Indycar titles and needs just one more win to tie Andretti for second place on the career win list.

Yesterday Dixon passed Al Unser for the most laps led in 500 history.

Like Mario, Dixon has had multiple chances to win a second 500 and has come up short. Similarly, he does not need to win a second 500 to seal his legacy. Dixon is one of the all time greats in Indycar racing no matter how many 500s he has won.

His role, however, is becoming clear as his window of opportunity narrows. Dixon will be an excellent ambassador for the sport when he retires as the mantle passes from Mario.

Quick Thoughts on a Quirky 500

What started as a tag team fuel saving race quickly turned into a race from the 1980s with strong cars dropping out of contention due to strange circumstances and a winner who was considered to have an outside shot taking the checkered flag. What looked like a Ganassi 1-2 blowout turned into a free for all.

The timing of the yellows left the outcome sufficiently in doubt.

In the end, a Ganassi car won. Congratulations to Marcus Ericsson. He drove a calculated race and he had the strongest car at the end.

Since Marcus Ericsson joined Ganassi, I have felt he was a bit underrated. he wasn’t one of my top choices to win today, but I felt he was someone to watch out for.

Losing at the Pit Line

Alex Palou was the victim of timing. he entered pit lane just as the caution came out. The penalty gave him no shot at the win, but he did claw back to ninth.

I can’t remember Scott Dixon making an unforced error on a pit stop. It happened so late in the race that he didn’t have time to recover. I’m beginning to wonder if he will ever win another race. Today seemed like a lock.

Team Finishes

Despite the two Ganassi favorites Dixon and Palou losing their chance to win, Ganassi cars finished first, third, and ninth.

Arrow McLaren SP had finishes of second and fourth. Both Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist had cars capable of winning. Their split strategy late when Rosenqvist pitted early nearly got them to Victory Lane. I didn’t think their cars had quite the pace of the Ganassi cars, but their tactics nearly worked.

TK’s Last Dance?

If this was Tony Kanaan’s final 500, he went out strong. He finished third and led six laps. Kanaan was in the mix all day. I hope he comes back.

Movers

Four drivers who started 16th or worse finished in a group in the top ten. Alexander Rossi finished fifth from 20th; Conor Daly was sixth after lining up in 18th; Helio Castroneves went from 27th to seventh; and Simon Pagenaud finished eighth from 16th on the grid.

The biggest mover of the race was Juan Pablo Montoya, who started 30th and finished 11th.

Five of the drivers involved in crashes today had three years or less Indycar experience. Three were Indy 500 rookies.

After the race it looked like Ericsson was going to stop on track and celebrate in a similar manner to Castroneves and Pagenaud did. Instead he pulled into pit lane at the last possible moment. Did Indycar order him to go directly to the Victory Podium? If so, why?

I will have a more extensive race wrap up tomorrow. Thanks for following along for the last three weeks. I have had a lot of fun this month.

Race Day!

Good morning from IMS.

Today’s schedule: (All Times Eastern)

CHEDULE (All times local):

NBC coverage begins at 11:00 am. Also streamed live on Peacock

5 a.m.-1 p.m.: Ticket and Credential Office Open

6 a.m.: Public Gates Open

7 a.m.: Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light Gates Open

8:15 a.m.: Snake Pit – Yellow Claw Begins

8:45 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy March Begins

8:55 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy March Reaches Checkpoint 1 – South Pit Gate

9 a.m.: DJ Slater Begins on Pagoda 3 Stage

9:05 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy March Reaches Checkpoint 2 – Pagoda Plaza

9:10 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy March Reaches Checkpoint 3 – IMS Midway

9:15 a.m.: Snake Pit – Steve Aoki Begins

9:38 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy Marches Reaches Checkpoint 4 – Band Gate

9:50 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy March Departs from Band Gate

10:10 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy March Arrives at Yard of Bricks

10:22 a.m.: Borg-Warner Trophy Dedication – Fred Lissalde and J. Douglas Boles

10:25 a.m.: “On the Banks of the Wabash” (Purdue University Band)

10:30 a.m.: Cars to the Grid

Snake Pit – Deadmau5 begins

10:31 a.m.: Green Flag Delivery in Turn 1 by IU Health Helicopter

10:37 a.m.: Green Flag & Past Winners’ Lap Departs Turn 1

10:51 a.m.: Historic Race Cars Laps

10:55 a.m.: All Cars on the Grid

11:25 a.m.: Military Appreciation Lap from Turn 4

11:47 a.m.: Pace Car Driver Introduction

11:47 a.m.: Indianapolis 500 Driver Introductions

12:03 p.m.: Red Bull “Keys to the Track” Stunt Team Begins – Turn 2/Turn 4

12:06 p.m.: Military March Begins

12:12 p.m.: “God Bless America” – Victory Podium

12:14 p.m.: Military Address – Gen. Daniel Hokanson (U.S. Army) from Victory Podium

12:18 p.m.: Presentation of Colors

12:18 p.m.: Invocation by Archdiocese of Indianapolis Archbishop Charles Thompson – Trackside Stage

12:19 p.m.: Rifle Volley – Victory Podium

12:20 p.m.: “Taps” Begins – Flag Stand

12:21 p.m.: “America the Beautiful” Begins – Girl Named Tom

12:24 p.m.: National Anthem Begins – Jordan Fisher

12:26 p.m.: First Flyover, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

12:29 p.m.: “Drivers to Your Cars” – Grand Marshal Blake Shelton

12:36 p.m.: “Back Home Again in Indiana” – Jim Cornelison

12:37 p.m.: Second Flyover, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

12:38 p.m.: Command Introduction

12:38 p.m.: “Start Your Engines” Command – Roger Penske from Victory Podium

12:45 p.m.: Green Flag – 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge (200 Laps)

12:50 p.m.: Snake Pit – Martin Garrix Begins

2:35 p.m.: Snake Pit – Galantis Begins

TICKETS: Reserved seats available at various prices from $60-$135. $50 for (General Admission only, no grandstand access and no Snake Pit entry). Kids 15 and under are free when accompanied by a General Admission adult ticketholder. All Snake Pit attendees must also hold a valid Indianapolis 500 Race Day ticket. The Snake Pit is part of the Indianapolis 500 Race Day activities. Fans will not be admitted to the track with just the Snake Pit wristband.

PUBLIC GATES OPEN (6 a.m.): Gate 1, Gate 1B.1, Gate 1C, Gate 2, Gate 3, Gate 4, Gate 5N, Gate 5B, Gate 6N, Gate 6S, Gate 6B, Gate 7, Gate 7S, Gate 7N, Gate 9, Gate 10, Gate 10A, Gate 11A, Gate 11B, Gate 11C and Gate 12.

PARKING LOTS OPEN (5 a.m.): Parking for the Indianapolis 500 is sold out, including ADA and motorcycle parking. All IMS exterior parking lots open at 5 a.m. on Race Morning, while interior lots open at 6 a.m. 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.

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MUSEUM HOURS (6 a.m.-4 p.m.): Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, located inside Gate 2 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will be open from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for guests over the age of 62 and $8 for guests ages 6-15. Children 5 and under and Museum members are free.

It was great to see a line of cars on 16th Street backed up past the bridge again. The parking lots were filling up as I drove in. The weather will be ideal. The temperature should be 75 degrees at the green flag and rixe to about 82 degrees by the checkered flag.

The weekend has been one of happy reunions as friends who have not seen each other for three years meet again. I am so glad that I will be able to once again sit with my friends while I watch the race.

I had a small gathering of friends last night. we talked about what we had missed the past two years. The predominant response was friends.

I don’t think it matters a lot what kind of =race we have today. Most people will be thrilled just to be here watching the Indianapolis 500.

Whether you are in the paddock, the Northeast Vista, or watching at home, enjoy the race. Indy is back at full force, and I couldn’t be happier.

500 Fast Facts

From Indycar:

106th Running of the Indianapolis 500
presented by Gainbridge Fast Facts
 
 Race weekend: Friday, May 27 – Sunday, May 29
Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile oval
Media Links: Indianapolis 500 Starting Lineup (PDF) | Driver Video Quotes (individual driver quotes posted to content.indycar.com) | Trackside Media Guide (Interactive PDF posted to content.indycar.com)
Race distance: 200 laps / 500 miles
Firestone tire allotment: Thirty-four sets for use throughout the event.
Twitter: @IMS @IndyCar, #Indy500 #ThisIsMay, #IndyCar
Event website: www.ims.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2021 race winner: Helio Castroneves (No. 06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda)
2022 NTT P1 Award winner: Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda), 2:33.8162, 234.046 mph (four laps)
NBC race broadcast: Sunday, May 29 (11 a.m. ET)Mike Tirico serves as host for NBC’s telecast of the 106th Indianapolis 500 alongside Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Leigh Diffey will be the play-by-play announcer alongside analysts Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe. The pit reporters are Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Dave Burns and Dillon Welch. Rutledge Wood also will participate in the telecast’s pre-race show. Telemundo Deportes on Universo will provide a Spanish-language telecast with Omar Amador and Sergio Rodriguez providing commentary on Universo and streaming on TelemundoDeportes.com and the Telemundo Deportes app. Milka Duno will serve as a studio guest
.Peacock Premium Live Streaming: The Indianapolis 500 and the Indy 500 Victory Celebration will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
INDYCAR Radio broadcasts: Race Day: 11 a.m. Sunday. Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Nick Yeoman (Turn 1), Michael Young (Turn 2) Jake Query (Turn 3) and Chris Denari (Turn 4) are the turn announcers with Ryan Myrehn, Alex Wollf, Rob Blackman and Scott Sander on pit road.
At-track schedule (all times local):
SUNDAY, MAY 29
10:30 a.m. – Cars to the Grid
11:47 a.m. – Driver Introductions
12:18 p.m. – Indy 500 Pre-Race Ceremonies
12:29 p.m. – “Drivers to Your Cars”
12:38 p.m. – Command to Start Engines12:45 p.m. – 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge (200 laps/500 miles), NBC, Telemundo Deportes on Universo, INDYCAR Radio Network.
RACE NOTESThe Indianapolis 500 will be the 106th 500-mile INDYCAR SERIES race conducted on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s oval. Ray Harroun won the inaugural race in 1911. Helio Castroneves won the race in 2021 to become the fourth four-time winner of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Eight drivers entered have won the Indianapolis 500. Helio Castroneves has won the race four times (2001, 2002, 2009 and 2021) while Takuma Sato (2017 and 2020) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2000 and 2015) have won twice. Scott Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2013), Alexander Rossi (2016), Will Power (2018) and Simon Pagenaud (2019) are the other former winners in the field.
There have been four different winners in the first five NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season. Scott McLaughlin (Streets of St. Petersburg), Josef Newgarden (Texas Motor Speedway and Streets of Long Beach), Pato O’Ward (Barber Motorsports Park) and Colton Herta (IMS road course) have won races in 2022. The record for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.Seven Indianapolis 500 rookie drivers qualified for the race: Devlin DeFrancesco, Romain Grosjean, Callum Ilott, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Kirkwood, Christian Lundgaard and David Malukas.
Scott Dixon won the pole with the fastest four-lap average for a pole winner in Indy 500 history at 234.046 mph. Twenty-one drivers have won the race from the pole – most recently Simon Pagenaud in 2019.
Team Penske has 18 wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the most of any team. Andretti Autosport has five wins while Chip Ganassi Racing has won four times. A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Rahal Letterman Racing have won twice. Meyer Shank Racing has one win
.Colton Herta has a chance to join Will Power and Simon Pagenaud as a winner on both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the famed 2.5-mile oval in the same season. Power accomplished the feat in 2018, while Pagenaud did it in 2019.Scott Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, is third on the all-time INDYCAR SERIES victory list with 51 wins. Will Power is fifth on the all-time list with 40 wins. 
 

Indy 500 News and Notes

I have come to the legends’ Day autograph session many times. I have never seen this as I walked through the Gate 6 tunnel.

This is the autograph line for Row 9- Herta, McLaughlin , and Castroneves. I had a feeling this group might get more attention than Row 9 usually does, .but I have never seen an autograph line extend down the tunnel before. The sign in the back is the cutoff point, yet fans are lined up behind hoping someone drops out. The other lines were packed as well.

Newgarden Wins Pit Stop Competition

Josef Newgarden’s team win the Pit Stop competition yesterday afternoon, beating Scott Dixon’s team in convincing fashion.

O’Ward Extension with McLaren

According to Marshall Pruett or Racer, Pato has signed an extension with Arrow McLaren SP through 2025. Team owner Zak Brown hinted at another lineup announcement may be coming.

O’Ward after winning at Barber

The 500 on (pay) TV

Fans in nthe Indianapolis area not going to the race will be able to watch the race tomorrow live on Peacock. If you aren’t a subscriber, i think it’s worth the $4.99 fee for one month to see the race live. You can cancel after the race,

This is the third year in a row that the 500 will be available live on television locally.

Legends Day

Today’s Schedule:

 

SCHEDULE (All times local):
8 a.m.-1 p.m.: Public gates open
9-10 a.m.: Full-Field Autograph Session
10:30 a.m.: Public Drivers’ Meeting, Tower Terrace
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Veteran Driver Autograph Session A
12:45-1:30 p.m.: Veteran Driver Autograph Session B
TICKETS: General Admission tickets are $10 for Legends Day Presented by Firestone. Children 15 and under are admitted free with paying adult.
PUBLIC GATES OPEN (8 a.m.-1 p.m.): Gate 2, Gate 4, Gate 6S, Gate 7S, Gate 7, Gate 10, Gate 10A.
PARKING: Free parking for Legends Day presented by Firestone is located inside at 5th and Hulman, in the South Carousel Lot for motorcycle parking and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Lot for ADA parking.

Legends’ Day is the lightest activity day at IMS. It has never been a hugely busy day at the track, but under Roger Penske, today’s program is bare bones. The memorabilia show is in Plainfield. Vintage cars will not be on track today. The evening concert will be downtown tonight. I really don’t know why IMS is even charging admission for today.

I like to watch the autograph lines form. usually the front rows fill up first, but with Helio Castroneves and other popular drivers starting near the back of the grid, I wonder if the line distribution will be different this year.

I enjoy seeing the drivers assembled for the public meeting. It is a chance to honor them before the race.

Today will be a short day for me. I will try to put a couple of posts, one this afternoon and one tonight. Enjoy Christmas Eve. Get plenty of rest today.