The Racing Capital
of the World
August 16, 2012 | By Paul Kelly and Tom Surber
Maybe no MotoGP riders are looking forward to the Red Bull Indianapolis GP more than Americans Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden.
Spies, in his second year with Yamaha Factory Racing, is enduring a rough season. He produced four podium finishes, including a victory, en route to fifth place in the standings in 2011 during his first year with the team. This season, his best result is fourth, and he is 10th in the standings entering the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 17-19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Spies, from Longview, Texas, has been plagued by freak occurrences this season, such as a broken rear swingarm, a broken frame, a broken helmet visor and food poisoning. It truly has been a year to forget so far.
But Indianapolis is a perfect place for Spies to turn around his season. He won the pole for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP as a MotoGP rookie in 2010 and finished second in 2010 and third in 2011. The second-place result in 2010 was his first career MotoGP podium finish.
“It’s going to be great to get out in front of all the U.S. fans again,” Spies said. “I love racing in America; the reception is always awesome. Indy is a track we go well at, and is pretty special to me for my first GP podium. I’m hoping we can make it three years in a row on the podium here.”
2006 World Champion Hayden also has struggled this season as Ducati GP12 as the team continues to try to close the performance gap to Yamaha and Honda. He is tied for sixth in the standings, with a best finish of sixth at four races this season.
Like Spies, Hayden also has two podium finishes at IMS. He finished second in 2008 on a Honda and third in 2009 on a Ducati. But he has finished sixth and 14th, respectively, in the last two years at this event.
Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., comes to Indy after finishing sixth at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on July 29 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
“Laguna was fun, but Indy is really my home GP, just across the state line from Kentucky,” Hayden said. “Hopefully we can do a good result. We struggled more at Laguna than I expected, but Indy is much faster, with more opportunities to open the throttle. It should be nice to ride that track on the 1000s (1000cc motorcycles), and it will be fun for the American fans to really get to see them in action.
“Last season, tire wear was critical there, but hopefully the pavement will come in a bit better this year. I hope to be competitive starting on Friday, and I’ll definitely be disappointed if we don’t get the best result of the season so far.”
Terol on edge of IMS history: Moto2 rider Nico Terol could become just the eighth competitor – and first motorcycle racer – to win at least four races at the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway since it opened in 1909 if he is victorious Sunday, Aug. 19 in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
Terol won the 125cc race in 2008, 2010 and 2011 on the 16-turn, 2.621-mile road course.
2011 125cc World Champion Terol would join some pillars of American motorsport on the list of four-time winners at Indy: Indianapolis 500 Indy-car legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears, and Brickyard 400 NASCAR dominators Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.
Wolf Henzler won four Porsche Supercup support races during Formula One’s run at Indy last decade, and Formula One legend Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix race at Indy five times.
Edwards to be honored at Indy Mile: American MotoGP veteran Colin Edwards will serve as grand marshal of the AMA Pro Flat Track Lucas Oil Indy Mile race Saturday night, Aug. 18 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Edwards, from Houston, will compete Aug. 17-19 in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP for NGM Mobile Forward Racing. He is in his 10th MotoGP season.
“I make my living going 200 mph on some of the fastest and most exotic bikes known to mankind, and I'm telling you that I honed my skills and built my fundamentals riding small bikes on dirt tracks right here in Texas,” Edwards said.
Edwards created and runs the popular Texas Tornado Boot Camp near his home in Houston. Amateur riders spend a long weekend riding with Edwards and fellow pros on dirt bikes at the Boot Camp, honing their riding skills. Other activities include paintball, motocross, target shooting and barbecues.
Showdown starts at Indy: The top 10 riders in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series will begin competition in the XR Showdown at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 17-19, racing for a $60,000 year-end prize fund.
Points for each of the top 10 riders have been leveled to 1,000 each with five races remaining in the season. Two races will take place this weekend at IMS on the series for Harley-Davidson XR1200 motorcycles with minor modifications allowed.
The XR Showdown features a $60,000 points fund, with the champion receiving $25,000 and the coveted No. 1 plate.
Riders competing in the XR Showdown are Tyler O’Hara, Kyle Wyman, Michael Barnes, Michael Corbino, David Estok, Travis Wyman, Gerry Signorelli, Darren James, Josh Chisum and Bennie Carlson.
Indiana connection: Harley-Davidson of Bloomington is fielding a motorcycle for Spencer, Ind., rider Josh Guyer in the two AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series races during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 17-19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Newgarden to ride get thrill ride on Ducati: IZOD IndyCar Series rookie Josef Newgarden will experience a new thrill ride Sunday, Aug. 19 at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, getting an exhibition ride with former World Championship standout Randy Mamola on a Ducati two-seat MotoGP machine.
2011 Firestone Indy Lights champion Newgarden drives for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing in his first IZOD IndyCar Series season.
American Mamola earned 13 500cc World Championship victories during his career from 1979-92.
National Guard soldier to sing anthem: Indiana Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Dennis White will sing the national anthem before the start of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sunday, Aug. 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A native of Mooresville, Ind., White is a married father of four assigned to the 138th Combat Regiment at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Ind., where he trains Warrant Officer candidates and is a member of the Military Department of Indiana Ceremonial Unit Protocol Section.
White, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2009-10, is the recipient of numerous citations, including the Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals and the Iraqi Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star.
A-10 Thunderbolt to perform flyover: An A-10 Thunderbolt from the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne, Ind., will soar over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the traditional pre-race flyover before the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sunday, Aug. 19.
The A-10, commonly referred to as the “Warthog,” has been in service since the early 1970s. A twin-engine, single-seat aircraft, A-10s played a key role during the Gulf War in 1991 in flying 8,100 sorties and being credited with destroying more than 900 Iraqi tanks, 2,000 military vehicles and 1,200 pieces of artillery.
Burn ban in effect at IMS: Open burning, such as comfort fires and campfires of any kind, will be banned on Indianapolis Motor Speedway property from Aug. 17-19 during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP due to a significant fire hazard created by persistently dry environmental conditions and the absence of significant rainfall.
Fireworks and grilling devices that use a source of ignition other than gas also are not permitted. Specific ignition sources prohibited during this period:
Gas grills are permitted in camping and tailgating areas during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP but are required to be operated at a minimum of 18 inches off the ground, with 36 inches off the ground as the preferred height for the safest usage.
The Town of Speedway also started a burn ban June 28. The Speedway Fire Department will assist in patrols and education of customers during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP about the Town of Speedway burn ban as well as the burn ban initiated by IMS to ensure a safe environment for all customers attending the event.
IMS asks all customers camping on or around Speedway property to be careful concerning the potential threat of ignition to dry areas of grass that could be caused by common sources of heat and fire that are permitted, such as cigarettes, recreational vehicle generator exhaust, vehicle engine heat, fluids from hot vehicle engines and gas grills.
If a fire occurs, please call 911 immediately to contact local authorities.