May 12, 2012  |   By New Media Team

May 2012 LIVE Blog

It's no secret that the track is the hottest place to be, but there are a ton of hot events going on too! Despite the heat, tons of people have showed up today at the track to take part in everything that is going on. Between the giveaways and autograph sessions there are fun ways to get out of the sun as well, like here in the social media garage with Simraceway.

We found today's Fan of the Day, Karren Kingery, waiting in line for the next autograph session. Karren has been coming from Dallas, TX for 25 years to attend the Indy 500.  She sits between Turn 3 and 4 every year. Though it was a tough call, the two racers she'd most like to see win this year are Helio Castroneves or Tony Kanaan. If you hang out with Karren on race day you'll find her making her signature "Indy Subs" and Bloody Mary's.

If you couldn't make it out for Legends Day make sure you stop by tomorrow for the big day!

-K


Do you hear that? Yep, that's the sound of the Miller Lite Carb Day concert! Lynyrd Skynyrd has drawn a massive crowd! After the crazy, exciting Firestone Freedom 100 and the surprising IZOD Pit Stop Competition results, the fans have migrated to the Miller Lite stage.

If you haven't heard yet, Esteban Guerrieri was the winner of the Firestone Freedom 100 and Target Chip Ganassi and Scott Dixon were the winners of the pit stop competition. The crowd was huge today and everyone seemed to be having a great time despite the heat. Speaking of the heat, our Fan of the Day wasn't letting the heat stop him from his Carb Day tradition that includes wearing an STP one-piece suit just like a member of Andy Granatelli's crew.

Randall said he wears the suit every year on Carb Day. It even holds an autograph from Mario Andretti on the back left shoulder. Randall was definitely drawing a crowd of his own and being asked for pictures every time he turned around. When I was able to grab a second of his time he told me that his parents had brought him to IMS in 1972 and he's been coming every year since. With the exception of Race Day, the one day Randall looks forward to the most every year is Carb Day. At this year's Indianapolis 500 Randall would love to see Marco Andretti win. He said he has always been an Andretti fan.Randall's best memory of IMS was the unbelievably close finish in 1992 between Al Unser Jr and Scott Goodyear. Check out Randall's photo above. 

As I type, the sound of Freebird is spilling out over the IMS grounds from the Miller Lite stage. If you missed out on Carb Day you should make it a point to come next year. You won't regret it!

-C


Yesterday may have been a bit slow, but today will be the exact opposite. IT'S CARB DAY! Gates opened at 8AM and the fans have been making their way to the stands ever since. IMS will be filled with excitement today! The final practice for the 96th Indianapolis 500 will begin at 11AM. Then at 12:30PM the green flag will be waved for the Firestone Freedom 100. Right after, the IZOD Pit Stop Competition will take place. And what would Carb Day be without a rock concert? Lynyrd Skynyrd will take the stage at 3:30PM. What more could you want on a Friday?

In other news, the Social Media Garage is open again today. Word on the street is that Helio Castroneves and Ed Carpenter will be making appearances later this afternoon. Keep an eye on our Tweets to stay informed (@IMS).

It's sure to be a thrilling day. By the way, hope you brought some sunscreen and a few bottles of H2O. The weather is sure to take its toll on you! Click here for a map of the cool-down stations located around the facility.

So, if you're here for Carb Day...WELCOME!

-C


Today's a rather slow day for us but it's also one of my favorites.  Firestone Indy Lights will be on track all day for practice and qualifying.  If you haven't seen an Indy Lights race, or more specifically the Freedom 100, I suggest you make your way out here today for practice or tomorrow for the race.  The Firestone Indy Lights series produces some of the best racing on the planet.  Extremely equal cars, wheel to wheel racing and young fearless drivers combine for a very impressive on-track product.  Several of my favorite races I've attended have been Indy Lights events. Plus, our video blogger Anders Krohn is racing this week! 

The green flag was just waved.  Don't forget you can watch all the on-track activity on our live streaming page today.  Unfortunately, there won't be any announcers today.

See you in a bit!

-B


Community Day seems to have been a big hit. Plenty of fans got autographs from their favorite drivers and pictures in Vicory Circle. There were hundereds of fans of all ages today, so it was tough to pick a Fan of the Day. So, it turns out that today we have Fans of the Day.

Dylan and Ryan were running about with their parents. The two boys were dressed in full racing suits. Dylan is the older brother, while Ryan is the younger but they've both been to the Indy 500 four times. Scott Dixon is Ryan's favorite driver and Tony Kanaan is Dylan's. Their favorite part of today so far, besides Ryan getting Scott Dixon's autograph, was giving out their own autographs. They both race "mini IndyCars" and had been signing autographs all day. (Hence the fire suits). Check out their photo above.

Well there are only about 20 minutes left here for Community Day, and we couldn't have asked for more perfect weather or fans! See ya tomorrow for Firestone Indy Lights qualifying?

-C


The gates are open once again to the public this May. Today is 500 Festival Community Day and there are a lot of great things happening. There will be a Firestone Indy Lights autograph session along with 3 other autograph sessions that include Indy500 drivers past and present. Other activities include pictures in Victory Circle, a tour of Timing and Scoring, and a track lap in your own car! Like I said, tons of great things happening.

The Social Media Garage has taken on a new look today with the addition of Simraceway simulators. So be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check-in at the Social Media Garage to be entered to win some great prizes. Also, stop into the garage to meet some of our loyal bloggers!

Later today we'll pick out a Fan of the Day and report back. It's Community Day, but it's also Wednesday. You should totally take a break from your work week and head to IMS. Just a thought!

-C


Well, the field of 33 is officially set for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. There wasn't any bumping today, but the fans seemed to enjoy the track action without it! Cars are currently practicing until 6PM, so there is still plenty of track activity to watch.

I was strolling through Gasoline Alley when Josef Newgarden and his team were heading back to the garage. Plenty of fans followed the car back to the garage and yelled things like "rookie of the year!" and "we know who you are!". Standing in the background of all the commotion was Kathy. She was the perfect fan of the day.

Kathy has been to at least 50 Indy 500's she said. Her first was in 1960. If she had to choose a driver as her all-time favorite it would be Mario Andretti. Presently, she is an Ed Carpenter fan. She said she has a ton of memories at IMS, but one that stands out to her was the Indy 500 of 1985. She was sitting in South East Vista when Danny Sullivan spun in a complete circle right in front of her, but he still managed to win the race. In the past, Kathy and her husband along with many family members and friends would buy 50 tickets and sit between turns 1 and 2. Today, Kathy and her husband sit in Paddock Penthouse to stay out of the sun. Check out Kathy's photo above.

We'll continue with the live blog on Wednesday when we are once again open to the public for Community Day! Hope to see you then!

-C


Yesterday's Pole Day action ended in the closest 1-2 time margin in race qualifying history. Ryan Briscoe won the pole positon and James Hinchcliffe grabbed the second position.

Now it's Armed Forces Bump Day and we are awaiting the remainder of the qualifications. Today we are saluting the men and women of the U.S Armed Forces via Twitter and the big screens located around the track. There is also a display of military vehicles in the plaza that you can check out.

We'll fill you in on the rest of the Bump Day news as things unfold.

- C


Guess what?  It's POLE DAY!  I'm beyond excited for this.  The new cars, the extra boost, surprise fast drivers and a beautiful day all combine for what is sure to be a wild day.  My pick for pole is Marco Andretti.  Marco has been quick all month and seems focused to eradicate the supposed Andretti curse at IMS.  My picks for the rest of the front row are Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon.  RHR has been leading the Andretti stable throughout the month and you can never count out the Kiwi at IMS.  

I'm also cheering for Wade Cunningham to have a good run.  He's been consistent all month and if there's one track Wade knows well, it's IMS.  He's won here three times in Firestone Indy Lights.  I think he'll suprise some people today. 

Where are you sitting this afternoon?  My friends and I always started in Turn 4 for morning practice and then walked down to E-Penthouse for Qualifying.  If you haven't sat in E-Penthouse before I suggest you make your way over.  They're arguably the best seats in the house.

As for me?  I'm off to pitlane to get ready for the Qualifying photos!

-B


Fast Friday has come to an end. The Social Media Garage couldn't have been a greater success. If you didn't get a chance to check it out today, don't worry! The garage will be open tomorrow and Sunday as well as Carb Day, Armed Forces Day, and Race Day.

While we were checking people into the SMGarage, in walked the perfect Fan of the Day. Larry stood out in his tie-dye Indy 500 shirt and his worn-in Indy 500 hat that held Team Penske pins. Larry was honored to be our Fan of the Day. He has been to every Indianapolis 500 since 1956, but his first was in 1948. During the 1948 Indy 500, Larry said he remembers sitting in the wooden stands with his father. That day Mauri Rose hit a speed of 118mph. Larry told me (with a chuckle) that his father told him that no one would ever match that speed.

Larry would love to see Tony Kanaan or Graham Rahal win this year. As a former high school principal, Larry said he likes to look at people as mentors for younger children and he believes TK and Graham would be great role models.

Larry said the one of his many traditions he has every May is to get here as early as he can on Race Day and stay as long as possible! Check out Larry's picture above.

-C

 


So, so sorry for the lack of updates! Things have been so crazy with the set-up of the new Social Media Garage, but it's finally up and running! Fans have been in and out of the garage all day. They've been playing the racing simulators and taking their turn at the Race to Win sweepstakes games. We are also making progress on our goal of 100,000 Facebook likes and getting plenty of #SMGarage tweets on our Tweet wall. This morning, Wade Cunningham made an appearance and our VIP bloggers got to ask him some questions. We'll be sure to post the video later today.

Cars are on track and the weather is amazing once again. If you aren't here you should probably fake sick and get off work early to make your way out here. It's the PERFECT day to be at IMS.

-C 


Today's Fan of the Day was Larry. He was holding a hand-made poster that featured the Marmon Wasp on a checkered background. His mission in the garages today was to fill it with autographs. Larry told me that this year marks his 42nd Indianapolis 500. Impressive! One of his most cherished memories at IMS was when he met Swede Savage. Savage was his favorite driver. Currently his favorite driver is Vitor Meira, but since he won't be racing in the Indianapolis 500 this year he hopes to see Graham Rahal in Victory Circle. Check out Larry's photo above.

To recap the rest of the day, very late into practice Josef Newgarden lost control and had a run-in with the inside wall. His minor accident didn't keep him from still being fastest of the day...once again.

So the sun has begun to set once more on IMS and we are one day closer to the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 mile race. Hope to see you there.

-C


So far today has been as laid-back as the past couple days. Skies are clear, cars are on track, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. Today marked the start of the activities that have been arranged to honor Dan Wheldon at this year's Indy 500. His 2011 Indy 500 winning car was placed in the Hall of Fame Museum this morning for the public to view. Fans can also take part in honoring Dan. Find out how here.

Today we also changed the Hot Spot feature a bit today. No longer will the first person to show up win the prize, we've come up with a way to make it a bit more fair. Instead, the first person at the Hot Spot to answer our trivia question that day will win the prize. So be prepared!

-C


Good morning!  Sorry we missed everyone yesterday.  We had a busy day getting items delivered for our social media garage.  Have you heard of it?  No?  Well it's going to be awesome.

We'll have simulators, live web cams, a bloggers lounge, a tweet wall, places for you to check your Facebook and Twitter AND INDYCAR Nation will be in the garage.  We'll be having daily tweetups with tons of giveaways and driver appearances.  It should be awesome!  It's located in MotoGP Garages 34 & 35 which are just south of the Pagoda.  Make sure you stop by and see us!

Gates are now open and currently the two seater is out on track giving people the experience of a lifetime.  190mph may not be as fast as the real cars go but it will surely give you a rush. 

The on-track action this month has been all about the Americans.  JR Hildebrand, Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden and Bryan Clauson have consistently been at the top of the charts.  Could an American driver be drinking milk in victory lane at IMS?  Personally, I would love to see Josef take the checkered flag this year.  He's a star of the future.  The last time a Rookie won at IMS was when Helio won for Penske in 2001.  Could Josef be the next 3-time winner?  We'll see!

-B


We have found our Fan of the Day for day 4! Better late than never, right? I had caught a glimpse of Clayton earlier in the week sitting outside Wade Cunningham's garage with his arms full of items to be autographed along with his black and white checkered top hat. It was obvious he deserved to be Fan of the Day. So I tracked him down today.

He was standing in the first row of garages, perhaps taking a break from the sun and chasing down drivers. Clayton told me that his first Indy 500 was in 1989. During this year he was delivering papers for the Indianapolis Star and had gained free entrance to the track for this reason. He said he was headed down the pit lane fence line when one of the drivers entering pit lane hit the wall. Clayton said that's one memory he will never forget.

Since 2002, Clayton has spent every day of May at IMS. "I get great use out of my badge," he said. He said it would be hard to pick his favorite day in May, because he loves them all. Clayton predicts that a Chevrolet engine will win the 500 mile race this year. Personally, he would love to see Tony Kanaan or Will Power win. Check out Clayton's photo above.

-C


If it isn't obvious, we have been slacking on the live blogging today. We've been busy putting together our Social Media Garage, which we are beyond excited for! Fast Friday is the first day it will be open. There will be daily TweetUps with drivers like Helio Castroneves and legends like Donald Daivdson. iRacing and Simraceway simulators will be set up and prizes will be given away every day. We'd love to see anyone and everyone stop by to help make the SMG the hippest place to be this May!

In other news, it's another perfect day here at IMS. There is about an hour left in practice and right now, James Hinchcliffe has turned the fastest lap. We'll try and check in later today!

-C


Like Brian said, it's been another great day at IMS. A few hours ago we headed out to our Hot Spot to give away the hat autographed by JR Hildebrand, with a few fans waiting around we gave it to the one who had gotten to the location first. However, we still needed a Fan of the Day. Troy had been waiting patiently at the Hot Spot and gladly agreed to be our Fan of the Day!

Troy told us he has been coming to the Indy 500 every year since 1988 in addition to 7 or 8 earlier 500s. He said he has had different favorites throughout his time as a fan of the IndyCar series. First it was Bobby Unser then Rick Mears. This year he hopes to see Dario Franchitti pull off another Indy 500 win. Troy told us that the Indy 500 has always been a family thing (hence the picture above with his mother). Every year they always park in the exact same spot because he knows they can beat the traffic. One of Troy's favorite memories at IMS was last year on race day he was interviewed by a news channel in Turn 4. He also loved last year's returning legends autograph session and is looking forward to this year's.

It was so great to see so many fans at the Hot Spot. If you haven't won yet be sure to check Twitter and Facebook every day to see where the next Hot Spot will be. Also, the Social Media Garage opens on Fast Friday. Daily prizes will be given away at that location as well!

We've got about 40 minutes left in practice. If you are at IMS today, I hope you enjoyed yourself! 13 days until race day!

-C


It's another fantastic day at IMS.  The weather is warm, the sun is shining and cars are flying around the 2.5 mile oval.  Rookie sensation Josef Newgarden sits atop the charts once again.  If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Josef, make sure you get out here for the autograph session.  He's extremely well spoken, intelligent and fast on the track.  I truly believe he's the future of INDYCAR racing.  Marco Andretti is showing some speed today as well, sititng in the 2nd position.  James Jakes, Helio Castroneves, and yesterday's fastest driver Sebastian Saavedra round out the top 5.

Our rookie driver, Wade Cunningham, is currently off track but turned a 217mph lap and is sitting in 15th position.  Wade's been progressing nicely through the month.  Did you see his latest diary?  It's was HILLARIOUS.


Another practice day is upon us. The skies are clear as can be and we are about 30 minutes away from the green flag.

Just as a heads up, the Hot Spot for today will be at the entrance to our future Social Media Garage at 2PM. This is located in garages 34 and 35 next to the Pagoda. Today's prize is an autographed JR Hildebrand hat. Hope to see you there!

As of now, there is not much to report on. Keep following our Tweets and Facebook posts for more updates.

-C


It's an INCREDIBLY beautiful day today and there has been plenty of on-track action.  A total of 29 cars have hit the track.  Justin Wilson currently leads the field with a 220.6 while Ryan Hunter-Reay is very close to the top with a 220.3.  

It's hard for me to describe how happy I am that turbos are back at Indy.  The whistle of the motor as it flys by is beyond exhilirating.  To be honest though, my favorite sound is when the engine comes to a stop and you here the turbo spool down.  If you get the chance be sure to get down to the pits and wait for a car to come in and shut off the motor.  It's a beautiful noise. 

I must admit that at first glance I was not a fan of the new DW12.  I, like most fans, thought it was a bit "ugly."  My opinion has completely changed.  The low slung rear wing and the bumpers remind me alot of Danny Ongais' famous "Batmobile" of the 80's.  It looks super quick in the corners and I'm excited to see what 33 of them lined up three-wide is going to look like. 

The subject of our Rookie Diaries, Wade Cunningham, has completed his ROP!  Good news for Wade, although we never doubted that he'd make it.  He hasn't run much since completing his ROP and is sitting in 25th position with a 215 mph lap (the final stage of his ROP).  We'll look forward to catching up with him later this afternoon.  Check out Wade's diary from yesterday below:

-B


Day 2 couldn't be going any better. The weather is perfect and plenty of cars are getting some laps in. After lunch, Katie and I ventured to the Hot Spot for today, Gasoline Alley. We were looking for a fan of the day when Adam approached us asking if we were there for today's Hot Spot. He was in luck! Adam received his prize of two Carb Day tickets and then answered some questions to be our Fan of the Day!

This year marks Adam's 9th Indy 500 in a row. He said he'd love to see JR Hildebrand win, especially after his heart-breaking finish last year. If Adam had to choose one great memory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it would be the finish between Sam Hornish Jr. and Marco Andretti in 2006. He also has fond memories of Danica Patrick's first year in the 500 mile race.

In other news, practice is still underway right now and will be happening until 6PM tonight. We'll check back in and give you some updates on today's fastest drivers. Until then, check out our live feed of practice here: Live Track Feed and photos from today here: IMS Flickr.

-C


Hi I'm Katie. This is my first day interning at the track. It is soo awesome! I'm only in high school so all of this is a little overwhelming but totally exciting. I cannot imagine a cooler place or cooler people to be spending my summer working with, and I'm off to a great start.

Seeing the track from up here is way cool and everyone should be here. It is beautiful out right now. I'm going to be here for the next few months helping out. Can't wait to be here for all the races and events taking place at IMS. Later today Cassie and I will be choosing the fan of the day and keeping everyone updated on the FB and Twitter. Happy Mother's Day!

-K


Things have been smooth sailing around here today. Practice seems to be going well, the Celebration of Automobiles was a success, and the EV Rally has definitely drawn a crowd. Around 3PM Brian and I headed to the Hall of Fame Museum parking lot to give away our Hot Spot prize and find our Fan of the Day.

It was impossible to miss Thomas standing at the top of the viewing mounds watching the EV racing. He was dressed head to toe in checkered cloth. Even his glasses were checkered! He gladly accepted our Fan of the Day request and was beyond excited to receive the hat autographed by Helio Castroneves.

Thomas told us that this will be his 21st Indy 500 that he has attended. He'd really like to see Newgarden or Clauson pull off the win, or maybe Graham Rahal. Thomas said he likes to root for the guys that aren't so popular. His best racing memory was the time he came to IMS as a six year old in 1972. He says he has been hooked ever since. 

Keep checking Twitter and Facebook for tomorrow's Hot Spot for a chance to win some great prizes and become our Fan of the Day.

For now, I'm going to cross my fingers that rain isn't on the way! You should too!

-C


It's officially May.  Cars are on track and the smell of breaded tenderloins is in the air.  Opening day is one of my favorite days of the month.  The anticipation of seeing cars on track for the first time reaches boiling point just before the green flag waves on practice. 

So far, American Rookie sensation, Josef Newgarden, sits atop the charts.  His teammate Bryan Clauson is in 2nd place and Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan and JR Hildebrand round out the top 5.  Josef has been extremely impressive this season both on and off the track.  I imagine we'll be seeing alot of him over the next two weeks. 

One of the traditions my friends and I have on opening day is to make our driver picks.  We pick in three categories.  1.) First driver in the wall 2.)Fastest driver on opening day and 3.) Indianapolis 500 race winner.  It's a fun tradition.  Who are your picks in these categories?

Don't forget we'll be at our first HOT SPOT at 3PM.  So come find us at the EV Rally at the Hall of Fame Museum parking lot between 3pm and 4pm.  We'll be giving away prizes and selecting our fan of the day!  

-B


Opening Day has arrived! We'll be live blogging all month to make sure you don't miss out on any of the action. Today is the 2nd Celebration of Automobiles as well as the EV Rally. There will also be IndyCar practice from Noon-6PM that we'll be streaming live!

We also wanted to introduce our new feature called Hot Spot. Every day on Twitter and Facebook we'll announce the Hot Spot at IMS that day. Meet us there during the times we post to possibly win some free swag and become our fan of the day! You can follow us on Twitter @IMS and Facebook at facebook.com/IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.

We'll check back later and fill you in on all the fun stuff going on or, better yet, come out to the track and bring the whole family to experience Opening Day for yourself!

-C