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Daily Trackside Report - Friday, July 25

DAY 2 – FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014

TODAY’S ON-TRACK SCHEDULE (all times local):

8 a.m.-8:30 p.m.          Public Gates Open
8:30-10 a.m.                NASCAR Nationwide Series Practice
10:30-11:25 a.m.         NASCAR Nationwide Series Practice
11:35 a.m.-1 p.m.        NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice
2:35-5:05 p.m.             Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Race (Timed, 150 Minutes)
5:45-8:30 p.m.             Brickyard Grand Prix (TUDOR United SportsCar Championship) Race (Timed, 165 Minutes)

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David Byrne won the J.D. Byrider 100/Rich Vogler Classic USAC Silver Crown Championship race on Thursday night at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. He passed Tanner Swanson on the last lap after Swanson had led the first 99 laps.

Defending Brickyard 400 champion Ryan Newman finished fourth.

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NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES PRACTICE #1

At 8:30 a.m., the ambient temperature was 60 degrees with a relative humidity of 86 percent and light winds. Skies were sunny.

8:30 a.m. – GREEN.

10 a.m. – CHECKERED. #98 David Ragan fastest at 181.043 mph. Ragan turned the top lap on the last of his 12 laps in the session.

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Scott Pruett, the 1989 Indianapolis 500 co-rookie of the year, will team today in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Brickyard Grand Prix with Sage Karam, who finished ninth at this year’s Indianapolis 500 as a 19-year-old rookie. Karam is substituting for the injured Memo Rojas. They’ll start sixth in the Prototype class in a Ford EcoBoost/Riley owned by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

SCOTT PRUETT: “I think we all got a great view of Sage (Karam) here at the Indy 500. He’s a great kid, great young American talent. We’re happy to have him onboard to be able to fill in for Memo (Rojas) in kind of a short period of time here getting turned around from Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) a couple weeks ago. We’re looking for great things. Ford’s been doing a great job for us, and Telcel and the Ganassi boys. We’ve finished second the last two years, so hopefully we can get to the top.” (On the reconfigured road course): “It’s great; everything that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has done has been terrific. The new course layout it awesome. For me, when I come into Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there’s nothing like it. It just gives me goosebumps.”
   
Karam is one of seven drivers from this year’s Indianapolis 500 that are participating in the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard.

Townsend Bell, James Davison, Jack Hawksworth, Karam and Martin Plowman are driving in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Brickyard Grand Prix, while Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya are entered in the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com.

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As drivers prepare to hit the Brickyard in Indianapolis this weekend, American Ethanol also prepares to hit a new milestone at the track – 6 million miles of racing on Sunoco Green E15. Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress and representatives from American Ethanol sponsors, Growth Energy and Indiana Corn Growers, met the media on Friday morning to discuss 6 million miles of racing with higher blends of ethanol, the future of E15 in NASCAR and the benefits available to consumers who choose to use E15.

RICHARD CHILDRESS: “As of today there has not been one issue (over) six million miles and we put these engines through the toughest test you could put them at, running 9,500, 9,600 rpms, for three to five hours of racing. This is a fuel we need for this country, because of the emissions; we need it so we don’t have to depend upon foreign oils, and for so many great things, the jobs it creates for America. For NASCAR and RCR to be involved in what’s going to be great for this country and the future gives me a lot of pride.” (Beginning of the project) “Each time we change fuels there are always questions – how it is it going to affect performance and reliability. We tested several different blends and went with the E15. Everyone was a little questionable going from leaded fuels to unleaded fuels, no different than there were questions about this (E15). We ran it on our dynos and saw an increase in performance and the engines look much better. As all of us know, we have to have a better environment. Ethanol l is
the cleanest octane booster you can put in an engine today.  As a nation (new federal standards by 2025) we have to get to 55 miles per gallon. The way you are able to do that is with a high octane booster and nothing is better than corn-ethanol to put in these engines to get the boost that we need. I see a great future for ethanol, the economics of this country and the environment.”

KEN PARRENT (Director of Biofuels at Indiana Corn Marketing Council): “In the last seven years, Indiana has become a leader in the ethanol industry and ethanol production. Indiana is the sixth largest producer of ethanol in the country with 12 ethanol producing plants that have the capacity to produce more than one billion gallons annually. It gives Indiana farmers more in-state markets for their corn as well as increases the demand for corn. We also recognize that the ethanol industry has a great impact on local communities and the state’s economy.”  (Indiana Corn Marketing Council commissioned study) “Indiana’s ethanol industry continues to be a driving force in the Hoosier economy: every direct job in ethanol production supports six additional Indiana jobs; more than 4,100 fulltime jobs in 2013 (more on page 3)and generated labor income of $232 million and contributed more than $500 million to the state’s bottom line. Those are pretty impressive numbers and much of that impact is seen in rural Indiana where economic opportunities are few and far between.”

TOM BUIS (CEO of Growth Energy): “I want to thank NASCAR for the movement to Sunoco Green E15 as part of their Green Initiative. Ethanol is a homegrown fuel produced here in Indiana. We have 85 ethanol producing plants nationwide.  Collectively we are 10 percent of the nation’s fuel supply. NASCAR validates what a great performance fuel it is. If you meet with the teams and talk with the owners, they have increased horsepower and higher performance; it’s cleaner. We have tested this fuel, it’s been put under the toughest conditions of NASCAR, and we are in our fourth year, without any problems.”

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NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES PRACTICE #2:
    At 10:30 a.m., the ambient temperature was 65 degrees with a relative humidity of 68 percent and light winds. Skies were sunny.
    10:30 a.m. – GREEN.
    11:25 a.m. – CHECKERED. #3 Ty Dillon fastest at 180.245 mph. #98 David Ragan, fastest in the first session, is 10th.

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Kurt Busch, who finished sixth in the Indianapolis 500, returns this week to race in his regular No. 41 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He met the media on Friday morning:

KURT BUSCH: “This feels like an off-weekend now only having to do 400 miles. The way the Month of May went was a tremendous feeling and sense of accomplishment. I really enjoyed it all the way through with the two race teams, Andretti Autosport and Stewart Haas Racing, and all the people along the way who helped make that double happen. I’m still writing thank you notes. It’s a lot of fun to come back to Indianapolis and see Doug Boles (Indianapolis Motor Speedway president) again. I won’t be bumping into any of the IndyCar folks, but the atmosphere here at Indianapolis is always special. Now I have a greater appreciation of the Speedway. I hope the respect I’m going to show it this weekend will help me bounce up on some of my results here at the track. It’s been tough in a stock car here for me. The track goes through a big change throughout the weekend, and we’ll adjust to the changing track conditions. I’m looking forward to running around here in a stock car. Driving down into Turn 1 won’t be the same as
220 (miles per hour); it will be around 200 today.  But Indianapolis always challenges you, no matter what car you’re driving and you have to respect the track.” (On what he accomplished in the Indy 500): “It was a sense of personal accomplishment that I didn’t know I’d be able to attain. I genuinely have so many unique feelings from the whole experience. 1,100 miles was the goal. The second goal was to challenge myself in a different form of motorsports. (More Busch on page 4)
The third objective was to promote motorsports in general on what significance and return on investment motorsports can give a company, whether it’s the IndyCar side or the stock car side or unique ventures such as the 1,100 miles. The fourth reason was to do it for our troops; do it for the military on Memorial Day weekend. The fifth reason was, hey, let’s just do it. Let’s go out there and have fun and go 220 miles per hour into Turn 1 and hold it wide open. Overall, to have a plaque that says, ‘Rookie of the Year Indianapolis;’ to qualify at 230 miles per hour for a four-lap average, that was exciting. I guess there is one regret: I should have stayed for qualifying on Saturday and tried to stay locked into that Fast Nine. To do it all over again, I’d like to come back Sunday and have a shot at the pole. The relationships from the open wheel side that I opened up; whether it’s Jimmy Vasser at KV Racing or Ed Carpenter and his team, it was really unique to talk to a lot of the IndyCar owners and drivers.” (
Beyond the Indy 500, are there other things you’d like to try to challenge yourself?): “I don’t know what’s next. It’s been great to drive anything and everything over the years. Half the battle of finding success is teaming up with a good team. I don’t know what’s around the corner next. Right now, my focus is on this (No.) 41 car, the Haas Automation Chevy, and making it as fast as I possibly can and giving my undivided attention to it to be more competitive and make a good run through this Chase this year.” (On his testimonial about the drivers in IndyCar and the series as a whole): “It’s a tremendous group of drivers and team owners. The sport of IndyCar, I think, is at a healthy status. It’s back similar to where I remember it in the early ’90s.” (On his views of the city as a whole and how he’s embraced in Indianapolis): “It’s been great to receive the congrats and the respect from the Midwesterner fans. What I saw here the month of May was very different than what it is here in July and August. It’s their big backyard party. It’s their moment to show the world what Indianapolis means and what this oval has always meant to them. The people make the Speedway what it is and I’m glad they were rooting me on. And when I got back to Charlotte, the crowd there was, ‘Hey, our NASCAR boy went up there and did good.’ That was a special feeling.”

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On the 20th anniversary of his 1994 Brickyard 400 win, Jeff Gordon met the media and received a special presentation:

JEFF GORDON: “There is always a huge amount of effort that is put into this race. Obviously, that first year, in 1994, we knew something special was happening here and all of the teams and drivers went that extra effort to prepare for this race. It paid off for us then. I think every year, certainly at Hendrick Motorsports, we look at this as a very unique and special event – and one that we want to win. We put that extra effort in and we’ve certainly done that again this season. It’s exciting to be back here in Indianapolis, as always, but when you have a team and a car like we have prepared for this weekend and the type of season we’ve had, it’s even more exciting to be here. (More Gordon on page 5)

I feel like every time we come here we have a shot at winning. We’ve come up short a couple of times when we didn’t win it. We’ve come in here and didn’t really have what it takes to win and made more out of it than I anticipated once the green flag dropped. This weekend, there is no doubt I feel like this is the best chance that we’ve had in winning this race legitimately with the speed in the car. It’s obvious that there are some competitors out there that will be tough – including our teammates. But, I think the preparation that we’ve put into it, and what we’ve been working on since the break and leading into that are things that we are really excited about to see what we have here this weekend. From an overall strength of the team and speed of the car it’s by far the best chance we’ve had at winning in a long time. This race is a historical track. It’s a beautiful facility. It’s an awesome place to come and be a part of the event.  It’s not our high-banked mile-and-a-half Atlanta. It’s just not that. You
come here to see stock cars. You come here to be a part of a NASCAR race. You come here because it’s Indianapolis. You come here to see the cars fly down these long straightaways. I think that (the 2008 Brickyard 400) was definitely a tough year when the tires had the issues that they had. But, I feel like everybody has responded to that very well. I think that maybe that was just a crucial time with everything going on economy wise it was bad timing. No doubt about that. But, I think that Indianapolis has done an excellent job bringing the fans a great package, and NASCAR as well, of having an event that everybody enjoys. I don’t talk to anybody that doesn’t want to come to Indianapolis. 1994 was such a massive huge crowd. It is hard for that event not to kind of flatten out a little bit. It’s hard to say. I’m looking forward to seeing the crowd this weekend. We go places where we are surprised with the crowd. We go other places because it is bigger than what we anticipated and other places we go aren’t as big. I go to every race trying to put on the best race we can, hope the fans enjoy it and that we have a big crowd.”

J. DOUGLAS BOLES, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President: “Since we have you here, we wanted to take advantage of the situation. You are our inaugural winner. We talk a lot about Ray Harroun at the Indianapolis 500. It’s hard to believe that just 20 years ago you were winning the first Brickyard 400. Over a third of the wins in the Brickyard 400 have been by Hoosiers. You lead that way and Tony (Stewart) had a couple and obviously Ryan (Newman) picking up a win. So this has been an event that our fans get excited about and certainly love having you here. You cut your teeth on a lot of race tracks around here so people have seen you from the time you were a teenager all the way up to where we are today. We’re really excited about that. In the city of Indianapolis, we are fortunate enough to have a mayor here that loves motorsports and loves the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In fact, it’s hard to get Mayor Greg Ballard to go back downtown. He hangs out with us quite a bit and we love having him.

If any of you were here for our Inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis our mayor was standing trackside as parts were flying around. We had to run him off to the hospital and he continues to come back. The mayor has a special proclamation he would like to issue while we have you here.”

INDIANAPOLIS MAYOR GREG BALLARD: “Twenty years ago I was still in the Marine Corps. That was just a couple of years after the first Gulf War, which I was in. I think that most of the military that comes out of things like that they want to go back to things that are quintessentially American. This was our first NASCAR race, the first race I brought my son. I was stationed in St. Louis at the time. I drove over to watch the race and we became fans since and have been following you ever since. The Ballard family are big fans of yours. Because you did such a good job and have represented the sport so well, it is the 20th anniversary, and I am the mayor so I get to give proclamations. ‘Whereas NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and Indiana native Jeff Gordon was the inaugural winner of the Inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994. And whereas Jeff won the Brickyard again in 1998, 2001, and 2004, joining Indianapolis 500 greats A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears as four-time
winners at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and whereas Jeff has established a long term relationship with Riley Hospital for Children, providing funding for new construction and equipment, most recently contributing one-and-a-half million dollars to establish the Jeff Gordon Childrens Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Fund and whereas Jeff host the annual bowling tournament each year before the Brickyard 400 to raise funds for Riley Hospital for Children. Today he has raised more than three-and-a-half million dollars. Whereas the city of Indianapolis commends Jeff Gordon for his charitable contributions to Riley Hospital for Children and commemorates the 20th anniversary of his first victory of the first Brickyard 400 in 1994, therefore, I, Mayor Gregory Ballard, Mayor of the city of Indianapolis, due hereby proclaim July 27, 2014, as ‘Jeff Gordon Day.’”

J. DOUGLAS BOLES “We do have the coolest mayor in the country. Not only is he a great leader of the city, just having him as a great race fan it’s great to have Mayor Ballard around. Our fans love having him here. As you have noticed, we have the new pylon up. I don’t know if you know, the first pylon was built in 1959 and was torn down after 1993. Our second-generation pylon was built in 1994. It has been up for every race that you have run in. The first NASCAR race, you ended up at the top of the pylon.”

On Friday, Samuel Sawyer, an 11-year old who has spina bifida, received a free stay at the Richard Petty family-inspired Victory Junction camp and a soccer-ready wheelchair with a marked resemblance to the famed Richard Petty No. 43 stock car. Aric Almirola, who drove the No. 43 to a rain-shortened victory at Daytona three weeks ago, promised Samuel that his wheelchair had the same engine as the race car. The wheelchair was a gift from Operation Inspiration, a movement sponsored by Eckrich and Richard Petty Racing, to benefit U.S. military families. In addition, Kroger donated a year's worth of food to the family. Samuel's father is Navy Master Chief Mike Sawyer, in his 27th year of Navy service.

MIKE SAWYER: “It's just overwhelming. I really don't know how to even begin thanking everyone who has made this happen.”

ARIC ALMIROLA: “I think (my Daytona win) certainly changes the way we view the rest of the races from here to the Chase. It changes the way we view our testing policy from here. It's all about getting prepared. You want to go into the chase with as much momentum as possible so we need to be running fairly well. It gives us the opportunity to try things we wouldn't ordinarily try.” (On winning at IMS): “Any win at the Brickyard would be really special, and to win at the two most famous and historic tracks on our circuit would be really special.”

RICHARD PETTY: “It was like a dream come true when we finally came to Indy. It's special -- Indy is just Indy. When we came up here to practice, there were probably 40,000 people here just to watch. It was a really big deal in the racing world all over the world. To bring our crowd to Indy, where they had been doing it for 80 or 90 years, was a big deal.” (On Almirola’s win) “It's always a lot better to come back to the track after winning. It's always better to be a winner.”

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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PRACTICE:
    At 11:35 a.m., the ambient temperature was 69 degrees with a relative humidity of 61 percent and light winds. Skies were sunny.
    11:35 a.m. – GREEN.
    12:25 p.m. – RED. Debris on track.
    12:30 p.m. – GREEN.
    1 p.m. – CHECKERED. #20 Matt Kenseth fastest at 186.295 mph.

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Four-time Brickyard 400 champion Jimmie Johnson met the media on Friday to talk about his charitable endeavors and more:

JIMMIE JOHNSON: “We are on our seventh year for the Helmet of Hope. Things have gone exceptionally well over the years and we are so proud of the difference that we have made among small charities across the country. I can’t go without mentioning Blue Bunny and their amazing support of the foundation and all they have done. Once again, they are the sponsor of the Helmet of Hope, also providing the $25,000 grant for each of these five charities. The five winners are Crayons to Classrooms (Dayton, Ohio), Champions for Learning (Naples, Fla.), HEART Tutoring (Charlotte, N.C.), Le Mars Community Schools Foundation (Le Mars, Iowa), and Reading Partners (Denver, Co.). All of the votes totaled up to 438,658 votes. We’re just extremely proud of the way everybody got involved and supported these five charities and helped them stand up from the rest. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of the voting process, along with the fans who helped us to what it is today.” (Why do you feel that Indy winners have gone on
to have such success and what is your most memorable memory here?) “There are certain tracks that are very difficult to get sorted out into knowing how to lead your team. For me, this was one of the toughest ones that I came to. It took me a long time to get it. The light finally turned on in my head, I think maybe in ’04 or ’05, mid-race. I had led my team in the wrong direction. And then, during the race, it really dawned on me. I just think this track is so challenging that the best teams have a chance to standout. Nowadays, the teams that are the best at pit calling and strategy and also knowing that strategy before you get to the race track know that you might add light on fuel, or two tires, or no tires and have it work that balance and know what that balance needs to be throughout practice sessions here. For me, the fact that you get to go around the racetrack when the race is over and having my entire crew jump onto the Corvette and make a lap around this track and see the fans in the stands, that is
unique to this racetrack, along with kissing the bricks. That is something I didn’t know about. It meant so much to me when I won my first time and the couple of times since. A lap around the track is just an awesome moment to take in and absorb. And clearly, kissing the bricks is something special.”

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Winning at Indianapolis has been a harbinger of things to come for some drivers. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett each captured the Brickyard 400 and series championships in the same season.

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The Lilly Diabetes 250 will serve as the host of the third of four races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dash 4 Cash program, where four eligible drivers – Trevor Bayne, Ty Dillon, Chase Elliott and Brian Scott – could win a $100,000 bonus courtesy of Nationwide Insurance.

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Nationwide Series points leader Chase Elliott and his father, 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and 2002 Brickyard 400 champion Bill Elliott met the media on Friday:

CHASE ELLIOTT: “I don't remember much about his win here. There are a lot of great pictures to look back on. I was so little then it's hard to remember a whole lot. It would be great to win here Saturday because this place has a lot of history to it and it's great that Nationwide gets to race here now. I don't think it's going to be a tough hill to climb to achieve what (Bill) has achieved in his career. I was just hoping to do well and to achieve my own goals. It will be as pressure-filled as you make it, but I don't intend to put that much pressure on myself because of who my dad is. I don't go there.” (On today’s practice): “Today didn't go as we had hoped it would, so we have to work tonight and hopefully fix those problems and do a little better tomorrow. It's a very cool thing to go out and do laps here at Indy, but I really didn't see much difference in the track. When it gets hotter, the speeds go down and whatever your car is doing, it will be that much worse.

BILL ELLIOTT: “Everything  just kind of fell our way that day (in 2002) when son Chase was in Victory Lane for my win here. I remember a lot about that one. I enjoyed that one. any win when you're getting older feels much better. It capped off a really great career for me. (On Chase’s race): “It would be great to have him do well here. Whatever happens here this weekend, there's always another race. You just have to put things in perspective. You have to learn to ride that roller coaster. Some of the rookies in this series have more experience than Chase. For their first time here, you're asking a lot for these kids.”

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NASCAR SPRINT CUP PRACTICE QUOTES:

MATT KENSETH: “I felt like we had a really good hour and a half. One of our goals was to try to get a good lap in case it does rain tomorrow and they go off of first practice speeds. We’ve been bitten by that this year, so we wanted to try to lay down a lap early when the track is as good as it could be. We were able to do that in case there’s bad weather for qualifying. Then we just worked on race trim the whole time. I felt like we got through a lot of stuff. I felt like we gained on it a lot. I feel like we’re closer than we’ve been in a long time in balance and speed. We still got a lot of work to do tomorrow, but I felt pretty good about today.” (On his comfort level racing at the Speedway): “I’ve always felt like it’s been one of our better racetracks. But you just really don’t know until you get there and you get into the race, even through practice. Even last year, we had an incredible year and we ran so good at so many places I never ran good at before. But then we went to Indy and we finished well,
but we really didn’t run very well compared to how we ran everywhere else. You just never really know. My car drove really good today, so that’s encouraging. I feel like every week as an organization we’re getting closer and faster and stronger. I feel good about it, but a lot of things have to go right to have a shot here. But the first part is having a fast car.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: (On how different he feels being back here racing in a NASCAR race again): “I don’t really feel like an outsider, because you know how to do everything. You know how practice works. You know how qualifying works. You know where you need to go driving around the garage. It’s fine.” (Has it felt the same or different this weekend with your interactions with the teams?): “Maybe actually people are nicer now or I’m nicer, I don’t know.” (On the difference with the feel of an Indy car and a stock car at the Speedway): “They’re just so different, it’s hard to compare. To tell you the truth, and Indy car by yourself in race trim here is actually pretty easy. Now it’s not Daytona easy, but it’s pretty easy. In traffic it’s really hard. In qualifying it’s really, really hard in an Indy car because you take all of the downforce off. You take 40-50 percent of the downforce out of the car. You’re going through the corner at 230, 240 miles per hour and you’re sliding. You’re so close to getting it completely wrong. This is a little different. Like I was talking to Kurt (Busch) a minute ago; you drive it in and you get it wrong you’ve got a lot of time to; how can I get out of trouble. When we started practice I was really, really loose and I’m like. ‘Okay, I can go with this; that’s fine.’ In an Indy car if you do that, you ain’t coming out of the corner.”

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CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTSCAR CHALLENGE RACE RUNNING:
Race length: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Course details: 14 turns, 2.435 miles

At 2:30 p.m., the ambient temperature was 74 degrees with relative humidity of 52 percent and south winds at 7 mph. Skies were cloudy.

Lap 1: GREEN. #9 Bell leads the field into Turn 1.

Lap 5: #9 Bell leads #01 Curran by 1.336 seconds.

Lap 9: #9 Bell leads #01 Curran by .868 of a second, #46 Edwards is 2.868 seconds back in third.

Lap 12: YELLOW. #87 Montgomery (ST class) spins into gravel trap between Turns 2 and 3.

Lap 20: GREEN. #01 Curran takes lead from #9 Bell in Turn 1 on restart.

Lap 21: #01 Curran leads by .307 of a second.

Lap 25: YELLOW. Debris.

Lap 28: GREEN. Leaders to pits. #46 Edwards takes lead.

Lap 30: #32 Rezzetano leads.

Lap 32: YELLOW. Debris. (1 hour elapsed)

Lap 34: GREEN. #32 Rezzetano leads.

Lap 35: #32 Rezzetano pits, #158 James takes lead.

Lap 37: #158 James pits, #48 Atterbury to lead by .112 over #76 Kleinubing.

Lap 41: #9 Lally makes contact with #01 Aschenbach, both drive back to pits. #01 out of race.

Lap 45: #48 Atterbury leads #76 Kleinubing by 2.315 seconds.

Lap 49: (1 hour, 30 min. elapsed, 1 hour remaining) #48 Atterbury leads by .281 seconds.

Lap 54: #48 Atterbury pits, #6 Liddell takes lead.

Lap 55: #32 Aquilante takes lead.

Lap 58: #6 Liddell takes lead. #48 Blackstock second, 6.078 seconds back.

Lap 64: Light rain begins to hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Lap 67: (2 hours elapsed, 30 min. remaining) #6 Liddell leads #46 Hindman by 4.696 seconds.

Lap 78: #6 Liddell leads #46 Hindman by 7.109 seconds.

Lap 82: #6 Liddell leads #46 Hindman by 5.753 seconds.

Lap 86: CHECKERED. #6 Robin Liddell/Andrew Davis win the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge overall and in GS class. #46 Trent Hindman/John Edwards finish second overall and in GS class. #48 Shelby Blackstock/Joey Atterbury third. #50 Cory Lewis/Cody Ellsworth win ST class.

Selected quotes from media availability with defending Brickyard 400 champion Ryan Newman:

RYAN NEWMAN: “When I came here last year I didn’t expect to win the pole and didn’t expect to win the race. … It was definitely a sweet and bittersweet victory for us last year after going through being released in the future from Stewart-Haas. In the end we came back and capitalized on the race in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet at the time. It was really special. After winning Daytona and coming in here winning this race – the two races that I know of that you become a champion when you win – it kind of hit me when I kissed the Yard of Bricks.” (Progress with Richard Childress Racing) “We’ve had some better finishes in the last three or four races, two top 5s, was something that we needed. We have to put ourselves in contention to win and that means being in the top five not the top 10; the competition’s tough. We have progressed as a team. We are not as good as we ultimately can be. Collectively the guys have really done a good job, maintenance-wise, and every part of the race car is doing what it is supposed to. We’ve been competitive everywhere, we just haven’t been a winning race car.” (Former boss/team owner Tony Stewart returning to dirt track racing and winning last week) “Their racing is more special than sleeping in their own bed; I understand it and I feel it. I went over to IRP (now Lucas Oil Raceway) and last night and drove a Silver Crown car, so I know what that feels like. Ultimately its home, it’s what’s special to him. Some people love dogs, some people love cats. It’s just what he loves. It’s what a lot of us love, but he is one of the few who has the opportunity and the resources to do what he loves to do.” (Qualifying strategy) “It has potential to be interesting because of the forecast for tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon to cloud up and become chaotic as qualifying goes through. …You might see a burst of cars at the start of qualifying. In the end, it will take good clean air and then you get what you’ve got. The first session will probably be the most pivotal.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles and Ken Keltner, representing ring manufacturer Herff Jones, presented NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Ryan Newman with his Champion’s ring for winning the 2013 Crown Royal presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard powered by BigMachine Records.com. The presentation had some humorous banter.

DOUG BOLES: “We were so excited last year to add our third Hoosier as a winner of the Brickyard 400 and certainly would love to have you do it multiple times so all three of our Hoosiers are multiple winners here.”

RYAN NEWMAN: “Is there any chance this ring has any kind of key to it to be able to get in the gate to fish in the pond over there?”

KEN KELTNER: “This (ring) will take you anywhere you want to go. On behalf of the 4,600 employees of Herff Jones Company nationwide, I’m proud to present this ring to you to represent the champions of champions ring for the Brickyard 400. As Doug said, it’s a thrill to see a South Bend, Indiana guy and a Purdue University graduate run the oval.”

Actor Patrick Dempsey, the 2007 Indianapolis 500 pace car driver, is competing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the GTD class. The “Grey’s Anatomy” star took time before the race to talk about the Speedway and his team.

PATRICK DEMPSEY: “You forget about the history of this great city. It’s pretty much dominated by the ‘500’ in many ways. It’s cool, because when we were coming in with some of the kids today, we were asking them what’s the history about why is this town is important, what’s the monument about downtown and all of that stuff, so it’s good.”  (On the two-day format for the weekend now compared to his first year here in 2012) “It’s good that we had a test here a few weeks ago. That helped us just because the GTD category is so competitive. It’s nice; it’s nice for us to be around the other teams and the other races that are going on. It keeps it very active for the fans.” (On changes to the track since the first time he raced here in 2012): “I think they’ve made great improvements. There used to be a big difference between the banking and the infield. The grip level, now that’s consistent. The one thing I would like to see, we want to get on the banking again. For us it would be nice if we could spend a little time on the banking. But I think it’s important that we’re here. It’s going to be a spectacular event.” (On driving the pace car back in 2007): “I had the chance to drive the pace car for the ‘500’ and I’ve got the biggest ring imaginable for driving the pace car. Every time I put it on and try to shake someone’s hand, my hand gets crushed by the size of that ring.”

***

CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTSCAR CHALLENGE POST-RACE QUOTES:

COREY LEWIS (Winner, ST): “I couldn't believe that last-lap pass (to win). I saw them go three-wide and I couldn't believe it. On the radio I asked if we had passed the leader. It was unbelievable. Cody (co-driver Ellsworth) gave us a huge lead (after winning the pole) and that made it easy for me. We were P3 after a quick pit stop, but things worked out for us and the car was flawless.We had talked about a driver-lineup change (to just two drivers) and it worked.”

CODY ELLSWORTH (Winner, ST): “That driver change was what did it. With just two drivers, we saved time in the pits and the two-tire change worked great. We started on fresher tires than most of the field because we changed them right after we ran a qualification lap (Thursday). When I got out of the car, we were in third place, but Corey did a great job getting to the front. That last-lap pass was great.”

ROBIN LIDDELL (Winner, GS): “We were quite tight on fuel but not overly worried; we did go to reserve on the last lap. But it was mostly due to ST traffic. That was the main reason it was back and forth a little bit. Obviously we had some spots of rain that made me a little nervous because we didn’t know what was going to happen at that point. (Continued)

There was quite a lot of rain on the windshield and I had to turn the wipers on but it never got to the point where we had any problems on track.” (Dominating win) “To be honest, I think some of our strongest competitors weren’t in the running. For whatever reason the No. 9 (Andy Lally/Matt Bell), our sister car, came out of the pits with a problem. They had to pit again and had contact later on with the No. 46 (Trent Hindman/John Edwards) car that was another one of our strongest competitors, the 01 (Eric Curran/Lawson Aschenbach) was involved in that fracas. The 48 (Shelby Blackstock/Joey Atterbury) was quite strong at the end which kept us honest. We only took two tires on our last pit stop so we were managing that situation (late race). We were struggling a bit with the brakes. If we had to battle really hard we would have struggled a bit at the end. The car is a great car and the team has done a great job to have the cars in contention for a number of our last few races so we’re really happy about that.
The new track (configuration) helped us quite a lot. … Our car is deficient at top speed. By putting that sequence in there and shortening the straight, it helped us quite a lot. The competition is very high in the series. I’m really impressed with the driving standards this year; some of it had been appalling. It is really good; you’re seeing some great racing and long periods of green.”

TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RUNNING:

Race length: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Course details: 14 turns, 2.435 miles

At 5:40 p.m., the ambient temperature was 71 degrees with relative humidity of 59 percent and south winds at 8 mph. Skies were cloudy.

Lap 1: GREEN. #5 Fittipaldi leads over #1 Sharp.

Lap 3: #5 Fittipaldi leads by .866 of a second over #1 Sharp. #90 Valiante in third.

Lap 8: #5 Fittipaldi leads by .703 of a second over #1 Sharp. #90 Valiante in third. #01 Karam in fourth.

Lap 13: YELLOW. Debris.

Lap 15: GREEN. #5 Fittipaldi leads over #01 Karam, #90 Valiante in third.

Lap 16: YELLOW. Debris.

Lap 18: GREEN. #5 Fittipaldi remains in the lead over #01 Karam.

Lap 23: YELLOW. #94 Dalla Lana in gravel trap.

Lap 24: Leaders to pit road. #5 makes driver change, Fittipaldi out and Barbosa in.

Lap 30: Yellow continues as track workers fix rumble strips in multiple spots on course.

Lap 35: GREEN. #5 Barbosa leads over #42 Yacaman.

Lap 40: (1 hour, 30 min. remaining) #5 Barbosa leads by 1.037 seconds over #43 Yacaman, #01 Karam third, #1 Dalziel fourth, #90 Valiante fifth.

Lap 47: #5 Barbosa leads #01 Karam by 2.082 seconds.

Lap 55: #01 Karam to the lead as #5 Barbosa slows to avoid traffic.

Lap 57: #01 Karam leads #5 Barbosa by 2.128 seconds, #1 Dalziel third.

Lap 62: (1 hour remaining) #01 Karam leads #5 Barbosa by 4.405 seconds.

Lap 66: #01 Karam to pits, driver change to Pruett. #5 Barbosa takes lead.

Lap 69: #5 Barbosa to pits, #10 Taylor takes lead.

Lap 72: #10 Taylor to pits, #5 Barbosa reclaims lead.

Lap 74: (45 min. remaining) #5 Barbosa leads #01 Pruett by 4.817 sec., #1 Dalziel third.

Lap 82: #5 Barbosa leads #01 Pruett by 6.391 seconds.

Lap 88: (25 minutes remaining) #5 Barbosa leads #01 Pruett by 9.610 seconds.

Lap 94: #5 Barbosa leads #01 Pruett by 7.779 seconds.

Lap 99: (10 minutes remaining) #5 Barbosa leads #01 Pruett by 7.260 seconds.

Lap 101: #01 Pruett to pits, fuel only.

Lap 104: #5 Barbosa leads #2 van Overbeek by 45.704 seconds.

Lap 108: CHECKERED. #5 Joao Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi win the Prototype class and overall Brickyard Grand Prix. #01 Scott Pruett/Sage Karam finish second. #08 Jack Hawksworth/Chris Cumming win Prototype Challenge, #93 Jonathan Bomarito/Kuno Wittmer win GT Le Mans, #63 Alessandro Balzan/Jeff Westphal win GT Daytona class.

TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP POST-RACE NOTES:

The No. 01 Riley-Ford EcoBoost DP owned by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has finished second three consecutive years at the Brickyard Grand Prix. Scott Pruett drove in 2012-13 with Memo Rojas; this weekend Rojas was out with an injury so 19-year-old Sage Karam substituted. Karam finished ninth in this year’s Indianapolis 500 as a rookie.

Jack Hawksworth is showing a knack for getting around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. In May’s Indianapolis Grand Prix in the Verizon IndyCar Series, he led a race-high 31 laps and finished seventh, and on Friday he won the Prototype Challenge class in the Brickyard Grand Prix with Chris Cumming in the RSR Racing ORECA FLM09-Chevrolet.

TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP POST-RACE QUOTES:

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 08 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09-Chevrolet, PC winner): “I had a lot of fun in that last 45 minutes. That’s the most fun I’ve had in a race car, to be honest. I had an absolute great bout with Bruno, sliding through the traffic and what-not. I enjoyed every minute of it.  I enjoyed my race day. To finally get a win here feels awesome. Big congrats to Chris, you came in first to get us over that. We had a great car like Chris said and 1-2 with Bruno. Happy days!”

CHRIS CUMMING (No. 08 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09-Chevrolet, PC winner): “It’s an historic place, a great place to get our first win of the season. It really means a lot to the team. We’ve had some bad luck this year. We’ve had the speed; we just haven’t had the results. It was good for our team to come in one and two. It gives us lots of momentum.”

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI (No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, overall and P winner): – “It’s very an important venue to have these two things happen (1995 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year and 2014 Brickyard Grand Prix champion.) Back in 1995, although that was 19 years ago, that was a little bit of mixed feelings in that race because Emo (Emerson Fittipaldi) didn’t make the field that weekend and I finished second. I was happy for myself but I wanted to race together with him at least once over here and unfortunately that didn’t happen. But, this was definitely an awesome race for us. It couldn’t have gone any better. Hats off to the team. Action did a wonderful job. I’m also very happy for the win but I am also very happy to be first in the championship again or definitely in the hunt.”

JOAO BARBOSA (No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, overall and P winner): – “It’s just an unbelievable feeling, winning here for the first time in Indy and able to kiss the bricks. It’s pretty special. It’s just unbelievable the work that we did this weekend. (Continued)

We were prepared and we executed everything like we should and it paid off. It’s such a tight series. It’s very competitive. Every little mistake – you pay for it with a lot of positions. So, we needed everything to be perfect and that’s what we did today. We had a great race and I am just looking forward to the rest of the championship.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley-Ford EcoBoost DP, 2nd in P class): “I found out probably four days ago I was going to be driving this race. I was going to be in Indy, so Chip (Ganassi) just gave me a call and asked if I wanted to do it. Of course I wanted to. My run was eventful, I’ll tell you that. We had some ups and downs. I had a little bit of an issue on Lap 1. I just kind of missed my brake zone, got in some marbles and got pushed pretty low. I just locked it up. I couldn’t really do much. I kind of felt bad about that. The one thing about sports car racing is you’re not driving for yourself. You’re driving for your teammate, so I felt bad. I was like, ‘Oh man, Scott’s probably yelling at me right now. Thankfully, we got it back going. I drove really hard to get back to the front and made some good moves there. I did a little bit of rubbing with (Christian) Fittipaldi, and that was cool. Seeing these guys I used to watch race and now I’m racing them, rubbing doors with th
em and stuff. It was cool, he raced me clean. He was fighting for positions and I don’t blame him. I had a lot of fun; great result for me, great result for the team. I’m just real happy for the boys. The day went great. Scott drove an awesome race. We just kind of lost the race there on a little bit of fuel strategy. It’s just the way the yellows fell.”

SCOTT PRUETT (No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley-Ford EcoBoost DP, 2nd in P class): “At least we’re consistent. We got second two years ago, second last year and second this year. We haven’t quite figured out the recipe to get on top, and hopefully next year we can do that. But Sage (Karam) did a great job. I couldn’t be more happy with all the Ganassi boys and Ford and the EcoBoost program. We’ve had a tough few races for sure, and it’s nice to get on the podium, especially here at Indianapolis. It’s a pretty special place for me. I’ve been coming here in Indy cars, Cup cars, across the board, and I couldn’t say enough about the track. The changes that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway did, it made the racing great. Hopefully, it made it great for the fans as much as it made it great for the drivers.”

ALESSANDRO BALZAN (No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari F458 Italia, GTD winner): “It was the perfect race. Yesterday we had a very hard day because we had problems with the setup during qualifying. But I knew that the car could be very fast. Jeff, from ninth position, he entered the pits in first place. It’s a historical place for me coming to Indianapolis, for me coming from Italy I was a little baby, now I am a little man. It was always historical. I’ll realize tomorrow where I won today.”

JEFF WESTPHAL (No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari F458 Italia, GTD winner): “First and foremost thank you to the team. We came off a rough race in Mosport and everybody in the team did a fantastic job. We pushed all the way to the last minute. We tried to make our way up the field when we could. It’s probably one of the more historic wins I’ve had in my career. It’s a really, really nice feeling to win and kiss the bricks.”

KUNO WITTMER (No. 93 SRT Motorsport Dodge Viper SRT, GTLM winner): “First off, you gotta love this sport. It’s such a sport that involves a team effort, it’s not a single man’s sport. It’s not a two-man sport. It’s a multiple person effort from anyone who has an input on the car. I think with the amount of focus that everyone has been putting into this program from the get-go in 2012. Everything is coming together ever so slowly and it’s starting to show. The last two or three races, you think, can we keep this momentum going. That’s always the question and you always try to work harder. Here we are, this is the Brickyard, it’s special. You don’t get to kiss the bricks every day.”

JONATHAN BOMARITO (No. 93 SRT Motorsport Dodge Viper SRT, GTLM winner): “I was second in 2012 and I gotta tell you I was pretty jealous watching those guys kiss the bricks. To come back here and experience that first hand with the team. Everybody that is part of this team was out there kissing the bricks. That’s just memories that will last a lifetime
for everyone. It was very special. It’s great momentum, we have three podiums in a row.”

***

UNIQUE RACE DAY EXPERIENCES AVAILABLE ON IMS BRICKYARD MOBILE APP: Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard fans looking to upgrade their race day experience can do so by downloading the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard Mobile app and purchasing exclusive, limited-quantity upgrades to their already-existing tickets.

Fans with the IMS Brickyard Mobile app will have the chance to purchase unique items such as a Sunday pit pass for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com, seat upgrades, a post-race chance to “Kiss the Bricks,” VIP access to the Brickfest Music Festival concert and the opportunity get their picture taken with the race winner in Victory Circle. All experiences have limited quantities.

The free IMS Brickyard Mobile app is available for Apple devices through iTunes and for Android devices through the Android Market and Google Play.

Many features are included on the app, such as ticket purchasing, event schedules, photos, news feeds, race results, track maps with key points of interest, Know Your Zone parking information and much more.

Fans using the IMS Brickyard Mobile app automatically receive updated information on their mobile device, such as schedules, track action reports and more.

***

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):
7 a.m.-10 p.m.        Public Gates Open
9-11 a.m.                NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice
12:10-1:15 p.m.    NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying
2:10-3:45 p.m.     NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying
4:30 p.m.                     Lilly Diabetes 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series Race (100 laps)
 

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