Going Home- IMS Museum’s From the Vault Collection

I got to go home today. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum re-opened yesterday, and today I arrived there just after it opened. Things have changed, Guests need to fill out a health screening questionnaire at on eof three stands outside the museum’s doors. Hand sanitizer and pens are provided. There is a bin for new pens and a bin for used pens.

Inside the doors one person takes the questionnaire and another on takes a photo of each guest. Guests may then proceed to the admission desk. Cash is not accepted for museum admission or in the gift shops. Merchandise displays are behind tensor barriers. guests must request a staff member to get an item to inspect.

Once inside the museum proper, the brave new world of 2020 vanishes into the comforting past of racing history. The current exhibit is From the Vault. On the floor are things are not usually shown. Some of the cars are beautiful. The trophy collections, especially that of Rudolf Caraccciola, is outstanding. Caracciola’s widow donated his collection to the museum after his death. The German driver convalesced with the Hulmans after crashing on a practice run in 1946.

My favorite trophy is the Wheeler-Schebler trophy, awarded to the winner of the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy Race in 1909 and 1910. In 1914 the trophy was awarded to the race leader after 400 miles.  It was retired after the 1932 race and given permanently to Harry Hartz, whose cars had led at 160 laps for three years in a row.

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As for the cars, there were some I had not seen in the museum before (not on track either). This stunning beauty was from 1938-1940, driven by Louis Meyer and Rex Mays.

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A car that never raced is the Firestone Test car. The car was built solely for tire testing in 1954. it was powered by a Chrysler 331 cubic inch stock block. Sam Hanks, Rodger Ward, and Pat O’Connor drove the car.

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The collection is not limited to cars that drove at the Speedway. A 1954-55 Mercedes Benz driven by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio is the highlight of the European part of the exhibit.

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The W196 finished 1-2 in their first race, the 1954 French Grand Prix. Fangio won the world championship in this car. The fenders were removed for racing at tighter circuits.

A couple of other interesting items were cloth numbers used for scoring the race. An individual was assigned a car to count laps for during the race. the scorer pinned the number to the back of his shirt.

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This mallet was used to remove and replace the wheel hubs during tire changes.

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I will share more photos next week. My first impression of the speedway when i got out of my car was how bright everything is. It appears layers of dust and grime have been washed away. Even the grandstands look new.  It was great to return to my second home again, just to be inside the grounds lifted my spirits.

Road America coverage will

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decision Day

Number 54 will have to wait. I have agonized over this decision since IMS announced its ticket plan for the postponed Indianapolis 500. After talking to my friends last night, who aren’t going, I have decided to join them on the sidelines. Earlier i received some advice from a medical professional whom I trust. If attendance had been limited to people from Indiana, I might have leaned more toward going to the race. My concern is fans from the petri dish states like Florida, Texas, and California who might be attending.

I have gone to the last 22 500s. the last time I missed the race was 1997. I have endured extreme cold, tornadoes, and scorching heat to watch this most grand of all races. This year I feel is something much more dangerous than any of those perils.  It will be okay. If the television blackout remains in place, i will travel to another city to watch the race live. If it is lifted, i will watch from my home.

I will still attend practice days and maybe qualifying. Carb Day is iffy right now. The Speedway is requesting people in my age group not attend, but it now seems more younger people are contracting the virus. Maybe they should be encouraged not to attend as well.

I have thought that businesses were re-opening too soon, and this is not the year for an event like the 500 to take place with fans. I miss all sports like crazy, but I can wait. We are starting to see athletes contract the disease even when they are in a somewhat controlled environment.

I am looking forward the 2021 Indianapolis 500 on the traditional May 30 date next year. It still might be the 104th running.

 

REMINDER: If you have a ticket for the 500, today is the last day to inform the speedway of your intentions. You will not lose your seats for next year or your ticket seniority.

INDYCAR, IMS Announce ‘Race for Equality & Change’

This slipped under my radar this weekend. I’m glad to  see Indycar finally addressing this issue.

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 4, 2020 – INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have announced the “Race for Equality & Change,” a major effort to support diversity and inclusivity across the INDYCAR industry. A key pillar of “Race for Equality & Change” will be a $1 million fund to fuel internal and external programs and initiatives that will create fundamental change.

“As our country has grappled with systemic issues related to race, equality and access to opportunity, we’ve been doing a lot of listening, learning and reflecting,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “‘Race for Equality & Change’ will create a more diverse and inclusive INDYCAR community that fundamentally transforms our sport.”

Key focuses of the “Race for Equality & Change” include:

  • Recruiting and developing a diverse workforce throughout all levels of INDYCAR and IMS
  • Diversifying the competitive driver field at the grassroots, Road to Indy and NTT INDYCAR SERIES levels
  • Supporting impactful grassroots youth motorsports programs, including enhancing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s longstanding partnership with Nexgeneracers, a 501c3 that introduces minority students to the world of motorsports
  • Diversifying employment, leadership and ownership within the SERIES and with INDYCAR promoters
  • Investment in minority communities to encourage greater engagement with INDYCAR and IMS
  • Establishing a procurement program to meaningfully increase the number of minority-owned businesses that contract with INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway each year

As part of today’s announcement, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pylon will light up with a special “Race for Equality & Change” message during the NTT INDYCAR SERIES GMR Grand Prix this afternoon on the IMS road course. The NBC broadcast also will feature a conversation on the initiative between host Mike Tirico and Miles.

Traditions Smashed: Quick Thoughts on the GMR Grand Prix

Photo: Indycar, James Black

Two traditions of this race went down n flames today- A clean first lap for the first time in race history, and the biggest tradition-the two winners club was intruded upon by Scott Dixon. It was only the second time a Team Penske car did not win.

Five drivers with less than three years of Indycar experience finished in the top 10.Colton Herta finished fourth, Rinus VeeKay came home fifth, Marcus Ericsson was sixth, Pato O’W  and Santino Ferrucci ended up in eighth and ninth. VeeKay started 18th. His 13 spot improvement was second to Simon Pagenaud who moved up 17 positions from 20th to third.

Scott Dixon should have at least 50 career  victories by season’s end. He is now just four behind Mario Andretti for second place.

What is going on with Will Power and pit stops? There have been issues in both races this year.

The yellow for Oliver Askew’s crash hurt Graham Rahal. His two stop strategy was working perfectly until then. It was nice to see Rahal fighting for the win again.

It was a great day for Ed Carpenter Racing. In addition to VeeKay’s fifth place, Conor Daly finished 12th. Daly had been in the top 10 for much of the race. I hope to see more of this kind  of result from the team the rest of the year.

Andretti Autosport  struggled overall for the second straight race. Except for Herta, the rest of the team was not a factor. In Texas Veach was the lone bright spot. They need to turn things around at Road America next week.

Think it’s boring watching Dixon win the first two races? We are watching one of the best ever. As someone who has been lucky enough to watch Foyt, Andretti, Jones, Mears,  and the Unsers, I am telling you Dixon belongs with this group. appreciate him that you can watch someone with his skill.

A few people gathered outside the fence of IMS around 23rd and Georgetown Road to watch the race on the video board and soak in the sounds of the race. It was weird just getting tiny glimpses of the cars, but it was better than sitting at home.

I will be back with a more detailed wrap up later tonight or tomorrow.

Enjoy your holiday. wash your hands and mask up. Thanks for following along this weekend.

 

Tire Choices for GMR Grand Prix

START CAR NO. DRIVER TIRE CHOICE
1 12 Will Power Alternate – Red
2 60 Jack Harvey Alternate – Red
3 88 Colton Herta Alternate – Red
4 15 Graham Rahal Alternate – Red
5 7 Oliver Askew Alternate – Red
6 1 Josef Newgarden Alternate – Red
7 9 Scott Dixon Primary – Black
8 20 Conor Daly Alternate – Red
9 10 Felix Rosenqvist Primary – Black
10 59 Max Chilton Alternate – Red
11 27 Alexander Rossi Alternate – Red
12 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Alternate – Red
13 5 Pato O’Ward Primary – Black
14 8 Marcus Ericsson Primary – Black
15 18 Santino Ferrucci Alternate – Red
16 45 Spencer Pigot Alternate – Red
17 30 Takuma Sato Primary – Black
18 21 Rinus VeeKay Primary – Black
19 29 James Hinchcliffe Primary – Black
20 22 Simon Pagenaud Primary – Black
21 55 Álex Palou Alternate – Red
22 26 Zach Veach Primary – Black
23 24 Sage Karam Alternate – Red
24 4 Charlie Kimball Primary – Black
25 98 Marco Andretti Primary – Black
26 14 Dalton Kellett Primary – Black

Dixon Fastest in Warm Up: Andretti Cars Struggle

Scott Dixon turned the quickest lap in this morning’s warmup for the GMR Grand Prix. Dixon’s best lap of 1:11.0771 came near the end of the 30 minute session. It was an adventure filled period for several cars. the escape roads in turns 1 and 12 saw a lot of traffic.

Five minutes into the session, Marco Andretti stalled. The issue was a CV joint which also gave the team problems yesterday. Alexander Rossi missed the first 10 minutes of the practice with fuel pressure issues. He finished seventh but complained of the rear of the car being loose.

With about two minutes to go Charlie Kimball slid in turn 10, briefly got into the grass, then got the car straightened out and continued. the track stayed green. Colton Herta had several issues with brakes locking up.

The top five:

Scott Dixon    1:11.0771

Josef Newgarden  1:11.2178

Ryan Hunter-Reay  1:11.2380

Graham Rahal  1:11.4352

Felix Rosenqvist  1:11.4380

Turn 12 could be a trouble spot in the race. The temperature should be at least 10 degrees warmer at race time. Back after the race.

 

It’s Race Day

Happy Fourth of July.

Good morning on Race Day number 2 for the NTT Indycar Series,  Today’s schedule ( All Times Eastern):

9:00 am-9:30  Warm up   NBC Gold

12:00 noon- GMR Grand Prix   NBC

The Starting Lineup:

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Notes

For all NBC’s hype about the historic weekend doubleheader, I just don’t feel it. The lack of fans takes away from the luster and prestige of the two races.

I wish Jimmie Johnson a speedy recovery from COVID-19. Sooner or later the disease was bound to find its way into a racing paddock. No one knows how many races Johnson will miss. He also won’t get to drive in his scheduled Indycar test for Ganassi next week.

Today’s race theme- Youth vs. Experience.

How far can Simon Pagenaud advance from 20th place? If he gets through turn 1, lap 1, unscathed, look for a top 10 from the defending race winner.

I will be back with a brief summary of the warmup, then a race wrap -up later.

 

 

GMR Qualifying- The Kids Are Alright

Photo: Indycar, Chris Jones

Will Power won the pole for tomorrow’s GMR Grand Prix with a brilliant final lap in the Fast Six. he nipped Jack Harvey by 0.188  seconds. Old news. This was Power’s fourth pole in this race. He won the other three times he started on pole. The pole was the 58th of Power’s career, and he is just nine shy of tying Mario Andretti for the most career poles. He will creep even closer by year’s end.

What I want to focus this qualifying report on though is the younger drivers in the series. Overall, they had a great day. I will discuss them after a recap of qualifying.

Round 1, Group 1

The youngsters led the way, grabbing the first four spots to advance. Defending series champion Josef Newgarden struggled to squeeze into the final transfer spot.

Results:

Oliver Askew

Max Chilton

Felix Rosenqvist

Conor Daly

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Josef Newgarden

Round 1, Group 2

This session had a more traditional look with Power leading and more drivers expected to advance filling the next round.

Results:

Will Power

Colton Herta

Scott Dixon

Jack Harvey

Graham Rahal

Alexander Rossi

Round of 12

Half of the drivers in the second round have less than three full years of Indycar experience. It looked as if the fast Six would shape up to be another the great Power vs. Herta pole battles we had last season, but another youngster decided to spoil the fun.

Results:

Oliver Askew

Jack Harvey

Graham Rahal

Colton Herta

Will Power

Josef Newgarden

Fast Six

Jack Harvey came within a whisker of his first career pole. Power nipped him on the final lap as time ran out. The result was Harvey’s second consecutive GMR Grand Prix Fast Six. In 2019 he started third and finished third.

Results:

Will Power      1:10.177

Jack Harvey    1:10.365

Colton Herta

Graham Rahal

Oliver Askew

Josef Newgarden

The Kids

If you were keeping score, half of each of the last two rounds had drivers with less than three years experience. Oliver Askew in his first road course qualifying led two rounds of qualifying and had the fastest lap of 1:09.878 in the second round.

Conor Daly got a rare second round spot for Ed Carpenter Racing and will start 8th tomorrow.

Colton Herta showed last year that he will be a perennial contender.

Jack Harvey loves this track. if he can transfer his success at IMS to the rest of the series, he will be someone fun to watch.

Max Chilton advancing to the second round was nice to see.

Felix rosenqvist had an off day today, but could be a factor tomorrow.

We are witnessing a very quick generational change. These younger drivers are the sport’s future. The current stars have at most three years left. The series will be in very good hands when they leave. We could see a few more surprises this season. The kids are alright.

 

 

 

Qualifying Groups for GMR Grand Prix

Photo- Indycar, Jonathan Ferrey (Getty Images)

Qualifying groups for this afternoon’s knockout rounds and Fast Six:

Qualifying Groups (unofficial)

GROUP 1 GROUP 2
Santino Ferrucci Will Power
Pato O’Ward Marcus Ericsson
Ryan Hunter-Reay Scott Dixon
Felix Rosenqvist Simon Pagenaud
Oliver Askew Spencer Pigot
Josef Newgarden Colton Herta
Marco Andretti Jack Harvey
Takuma Sato Alexander Rossi
Max Chilton Rinus VeeKay
Conor Daly Graham Rahal
Álex Palou Zach Veach
James Hinchcliffe Charlie Kimball
Sage Karam Dalton Kellett

Qualifying can be seen on NBCSN at 4:30 Eastern. The race is at noon tomnorrow on NBC.