May 15, 2014  |   By Verizon IndyCar Series

Daily Trackside Report - Thursday May 15

TODAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m.    Garages open
11 a.m. – Noon    Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program (James Davison)
Noon-6 p.m.    Indianapolis 500 practice
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Light mist was falling over the Speedway this morning.
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11 a.m. – Track drying efforts underway. Rookie Orientation for #33 James Davison is on hold.
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Takuma Sato is offering the opportunity for race fans and serious collectors a chance to own his Indianapolis 500 helmet. Sato, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda, will put his race-worn helmet especially designed for the 500, up for auction to raise money for With you Japan” charity, which Sato founded to help the victims of the 2011 tsunami that wreaked havoc on the island country.
The helmet’s red, white and blue scheme echoes Sato’s distinctive helmet but also integrates elements from Japan’s only IndyCar race winner and the Speedway’s first four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt, who owns the number 14 IndyCar Sato will drive May 25. In addition to Sato’s name and the Japanese flag, the helmet will feature Sato’s car number—14—plus bricks to represent the historic Speedway nicknamed ‘The Brickyard.’ The four white stars atop the helmet were included as a tribute to Foyt’s four Indy victories as a driver.
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “I think this helmet design is really cool, so I am looking forward to challenging in the Indy 500 with it. To develop the design concept, I had several discussions with the designer, who has also designed our TS official goods (including my driver’s cap). He came up with this wonderful design, which represents my wishes and challenging spirit. I will do my best to win a new star for my fans, A.J. and the team. This helmet will be auctioned off for charity and I hope many people will join in the auction.”
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Helio Castroneves says that viewers of the May 27 episode of “Celebrity Wife Swap” on ABC “will see who wears the pants in my family.”
As the show’s title implies, the mothers in two celebrity families move into the other's home for a week and adopt that family's lifestyle. They agree to follow a manual written by the departing mother that sets out the rules of their new household - how they parent, manage their social life, do house work, unwind, etc.
Adriana Henao, the mother of Castroneves’ 4-year-old daughter, Mikaella, moved into the home of Larry Birkhead in December, while the three-time Indianapolis 500 champion opened his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home for Birkhead.
“It came about in June last year and I when told Adrianna I didn’t think she would do it because normally she doesn’t like the red carpet and things like that,” Castroneves said. “But she decided to do it, and I think it was a great experience for Adriana to try a different family, and myself, too. The whole Zodiac Production (company) did a great job and I’m looking forward to it. I have no idea how the piece is going to come out; I haven’t seen it. It turned out to be some interesting scenes in our (house).”
The show airs at 10 p.m. (ET). ABC, which will televise the Indianapolis 500 for the 50th consecutive year on May 25, also will televise qualifications on May 17 (4-6:30 p.m. ET) and May 18 (1-3 p.m.).

Former Indy car driver and team owner Robbie Buhl will join chief announcer Paul Page and Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson as an analyst for the IMS Radio Network broadcasts of Indy 500 qualifying and the race.
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Olympians Dallas Robinson and Abe Morlu are members of the Lazier Partners Racing entry for the No. 91 car driven by 1996 Indy 500 winner Buddy Lazier. They came on board through their association with race engineer David Cripps, who worked with the U.S. Bobsled & Luge team for the Sochi Games.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE:
At noon, the ambient temperature was 50 degrees with a relative humidity of 77 percent and winds from the north-northwest at 4 mph. Skies were cloudy. The track temperature was 67 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
12:45 p.m. – GREEN. Session has begun after a delay of 45 minutes. #2 Montoya is first on track.
1:12 p.m. – YELLOW. Tow-in for #63 Mann, who slowed on course on the backstretch. Car is able to continue to pit lane without power.
1:15 p.m. – GREEN.
1:56 p.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.
2:05 p.m. – GREEN.
2:08 p.m. – YELLOW. Smoke trailing from #27 Viso. Driver pulls off course in Turn 1 and climbs out of the car.
2:16 p.m. – GREEN.
2:33 p.m. – YELLOW.
2:42 p.m. – GREEN. Bourdais shaking down #33 car of Davison in preparation for Davison’s participation in ROP.
3:02 p.m. – YELLOW. Tow in for #63 Mann, who has pulled off course in the Turn 1 warmup lane.
3:08 p.m. – GREEN.
3:40 p.m. – YELLOW. Track is closed to allow #91 Lazier and #33 Davison to complete Rookie Orientation/Refresher Program
3:42 p.m. – GREEN. Track is open to #91 Lazier and #33 Davison.    
3:53 p.m. -- #33 Davison has completed Phase 1 of Rookie Orientation Program.
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Quotes from James Hinchcliffe, who was medically cleared to resumed racing activities today.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): “Obviously very excited. It’s been a long couple of days sitting at home and not even really watching. I was banned from electronics and I was getting little updates and snippets here and there, and that made it tougher because you don’t know exactly what’s going on. But I knew everyone was running and I was sitting at home. Getting better was the No. 1 goal and the effort we put into that is paying off because we ever surprised the doctors with how quickly we’ve been able to come back. All of the testing has been good and everything we’ve done is pointing in the right direction, so I’m feeling good.” (About his recovery): “I woke up Sunday with a little bit of a headache, but other than that, not bad at all. I did a really intense day of resting, which is kind of an oxymoron, but a lot of sitting around. My girlfriend (Kirsten Dee) and my sister (Rebecca) and my family were there and they took really good care of me and made sure I didn’t have to lift a finger.” (More Hinchcliffe on Page 3).

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (Continued): “By Monday, I was feeling myself. I felt 100 percent. We knew we needed to take time and make sure. I got permission on Tuesday to get back in the gym and Wednesday just went lightly to make sure my head was fine with the heart rate coming up and yesterday, no sorry, this morning – I swear my memory is fine – I got back in the gym and working a little harder and got that heart rate threshold up to where it would be in the car and everything was great. I did some reaction training and I was on the upper end of average of the previous runs and then came here for the ImPACT Test. That was the toughest thing knowing it kind of make or break and seeing everyone driving. It was the first time I’d been here for any on-track activity and it was tough to watch but it’s all come good. Looking forward to getting out there.”
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INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE (Cont.)

3:57 pm. – Course has reopened to all cars.
4:15 p.m. – YELLOW. Track is closed to allow #91 Lazier and #33 Davison to complete Rookie Orientation/Refresher Program.
4:16 pm. – GREEN. Track is open to #33 Davison to complete Phase 2 of Rookie Orientation Program.
4:27 p.m. – #33 Davison has completed Phase 2 of Rookie Orientation Program. Track is open to all cars.
4:38 p.m. – YELLOW. #7 Aleshin is stopped on course at pit in with smoke and fire under the engine cover.
4:53 p.m. – GREEN.
5:09 p.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.
5:19 p.m. – GREEN.
5:31 p.m. – #20 Carpenter turns lap at 226.257 mph, fastest lap of the month so far.
5:55 p.m. – #3 Castroneves turns lap at 227.166 mph, fastest lap of the month, so far.
5:58 p.m. – #98 Hawksworth back on track for first time since accident nearly 24 hours ago. #27 Hinchcliffe also records first lap of the month.
6 p.m. – CHECKERED.
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FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF PRACTICE:
Pos.    Car     Name    Time    Speed
1.    3    Helio Castroneves    39.6187    227.166
2.    20    Ed Carpenter    39.7777    226.257
3.    12    Will Power    39.8408    225.899
4.    6    Townsend Bell    39.9142    225.484
5.    28    Ryan Hunter-Reay    39.9449    225.340
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Thirty-four drivers have been on the track to date and turned 2,516 laps today and 7,611 laps this month. Takuma Sato turned 150 laps today, most of any driver. There were nine cautions for a total of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 21 seconds today.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We worked on logging laps today and knew that we were getting close to maxing out the engine mileage of the Target car. We ran for a few hours this morning and did long runs, then the team did an engine change before finishing out the afternoon on track.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was overcast all day today with the temperature just hovering over 50 degrees. It was cold but we got some good track time in after the engine change [last night]. We mostly worked on aerodynamics today as well as began trimming the Target cars out for qualifying this weekend.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): ““We ran out the miles on our first engine this morning and had an engine change this afternoon. The guys on the No. 2 Verizon Chevy did a really quick job on that to make sure we got as many laps as we could afterwards. Now we are starting to understand a little bit of what we need for qualifying; just trying to get the basics of how the car feels in that trim. We’ll start taking more downforce off to get ready for the weekend.”

MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 41 ABC Suppy/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “We definitely worked on the balance of the car in traffic. I was a lot happier with it today and we're tickling on the edge of it being a little loose right now. That's not a bad thing. We need to get the car solid at the rear again and I think we've got a good race car." (You have one more day of practice. What do you need to get accomplished tomorrow?): “Tomorrow we'll hopefully start working on trimming out the car and seeing what kind of speed we have. We haven't really been thinking about speed all week, just getting extra downforce on the car and working on balance and also allowing me to have extra laps just for experience. There's no point in risking the car to do a quick time early in the week. So I think tomorrow we may start pushing the envelope a bit more and getting closer to where we need to be for qualifying."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was great to finally get in a full day of on-track time here at IMS. It was really important for us to be out there today running as many laps as we could so that we could hit the mileage mark to change our engine. I think it’ll really benefit us to have a fresh engine during qualifying and I was really happy with the way the No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet performed today on the long fuel runs. I’m looking forward to Fast Friday tomorrow and qualifying this weekend.”  

CHARLIE KIMBALL, No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet:  “Today was really good. We got a lot of running in with the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet. We were able to do a lot of race work and do a couple of full-tank runs. We were even able to get in a few runs looking towards qualifying. Overall we’re pretty happy with the day and I think we’re in really good shape for the weekend. We’ll start working towards Fast Friday tomorrow then onto qualifying. Once we get through the weekend, we can really just focus on race-day setup.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): ““I think it was a very productive day. We ran 150 laps and we tried many other things to make the car more stable. I was happy this afternoon with the way the car behaved in traffic—it was better. We made good progress.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “We got a lot done today and made some improvements with the balance of the car, so that feels good. I think we are in reasonable shape for tomorrow. We’ll see how it plays out tomorrow when we get more power. I’m looking forward to it. So far, have been focused on race set up—seeing what the car is like on old tires and on long runs.”

JAMES DAVISON (No. 33 KV Racing Technology/Always Evolving Racing Chevrolet): (About completing Rookie Orientation Program today) “I can go to bed resting easier knowing we got through our first day at IMS smoothly and completed ROP. We now know what to expect, any anxiety has dried up and I am excited to continue working on our program. I am pleased with my first laps in an Indy car at IMS. We got up to speed conservatively. In the end, we trimmed the car one stage and I was happy with the balance. In terms of speed, we know where we’re at since we didn’t run in traffic or with a tow. The No. 33 KV Racing Technology/Always Evolving Racing team had a good day and we will build on it tomorrow.”
   
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Wynn Institute for Vision Research Chevrolet): “For me, (shaking off the rust) was much easier than last year when I had never been in the car. It feels really good. We have some continuity from last year. We have some of the same guys back. I’m enjoying starting the process. I would have liked to start earlier, but I’m enjoying starting the process with our engineers and with the car. Bottom line is that I’m thrilled to be here. Happy to be part of this group of drivers. It’s a great group of drivers and I’m looking forward to advancing our car as quickly as possible.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Things have been going good. We are improving every day. The first day we couldn't run a lot so it put us a bit behind our plan. Today was the best day so far and the car is improving all the time. I have been getting more comfortable in traffic. The first day was really difficult. Today was the best day in every aspect, by far, the best. Running on your own you get up to speed very quickly but running with other cars is challenging. Sometimes you have to anticipate or you have to be more patient than you think you have to be."

PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Overall it was another extremely positive day in the Susan G. Komen / Dale Coyne Racing car. I've spent the most time I've ever spent outside of a race here running in dirty air today, and it was so great to have the opportunity to go and do that. The direction we found yesterday definitely gave me a car I could go and play with today, and I started to get a lot more comfortable working in the draft, and working out the timing I think I'm going to need to make a pass. I got to do another full-tank run, this time the entire way through without a yellow. I was extremely pleased with how the car handled over the entire stint. The cooler track conditions today mean it would be easy to be overconfident given that cool air and track temp helps everyone, including us, but I'm definitely pleased with where we ended up. Hopefully everything we learned will still translate once we get back into higher ambient temps. We also turned another 78 laps today. I'm thrilled with our month total so far for the pledge site, and that we're getting all of these laps banked before we even get to race day. It’s great for me as a driver to be getting so much track time, and it's great in terms of our pledgers knowing that we really are making those laps, and therefore will be making a difference in the fight against breast cancer.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “We weren’t sure about the weather today, but we were able to get in quite few laps. That was good for both Ed and I. I think Ed is pretty happy with his car and my team went through some different changes today. We had to get through twice as much stuff as normal because we are concerned about the weather on Friday. We did some race prep early in the practice with some full tanks runs. We are pretty happy with it but we need to look through the data. There might be some think we steal from the No. 20 car because they ended up more positive changes. All in all, the car feels pretty good. We did a couple of qual (ifying) runs to see if things are in the right direction. We seem to have some good grip. Hopefully we get out on Friday with the extra (turbocharged) boost and see what we have for qualifying.” 

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): “We focused on race stuff all day, trying to improve, trying to find a little bit more speed. We made some improvement but there is still a little bit of work to do. At the end of the day I’m pretty happy with the balance we started the day with. As Oriol said, I think the biggest thing is that we’ve got to find some grip, find a better balance for us so that we can race with these guys and stay underneath them on the track. You can see how close some of these guys can follow and both Oriol and I are struggling with that for now. I’m optimistic after today’s practice. I feel like we found some stuff that is going to help but I think we have a long road ahead before we get where we ultimately need to be.”
 
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “I’m still not as happy as I would like to be at this point. Obviously tomorrow we are all going to the super-boost, super speeds preparing for qualifying. At the end there I finally got the balance I want for the car although I still think we need to find grip. And that’s what we’re going to have to do.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Pennzoil Ultra Platinum Team Penske Chevrolet): “We will keep working. The weather dropped a lot today, but right now the car is handling really well. Certainly the draft counts a lot here and I feel very confident in the Pennzoil No. 3 machine, so right now we will keep going and keep working. Right now the conditions are really, really good. It has cooled down, which means that it is good for the tires, it’s good for the engine, and downforce as well, so we don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. They are calling for rain, but right now we are looking quite happy.” (About the new format of qualifying): “The team is going to have a meeting tomorrow so that they understand more of the new format. For me, it is just about understanding what the car is doing. Right now, I really like what I have, but tomorrow we will go to the boost, and you are going to see big numbers up there too. So, we are really looking forward to tomorrow to see those numbers keep going higher.” (About qualifying in general): “At Indianapolis, (qualifying) is always very stressful. I always repeat myself because it’s true. Rick Mears always said there are two type of races, and it is true, it is qualifying and then the race. Now we definitely have to go for Saturday and for Sunday, so that is going to be nerve wracking, I will tell you. To go four laps at this place, I know how tough it is. So, to do two days in a row, it will be really tough. I don’t think I will or I don’t think my guys will have much sleep.” (About speed): “I think 229 or 230…it’s possible.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): “It was tough. There was no doubt it was tough. To miss a couple of days like that when you know everybody’s here running around. They banned me from phone and computers so that made it a bit easier because I wasn’t obsessing with the websites and on Twitter. I was just dreaming up what was happening instead. The biggest thing was I wanted to be back for qualifying and if I wanted to do that I had to go overkill on the rest and do everything the doctor said. We did that and more and luckily it was enough. It’s amazing to be back. Such a good feeling. Thanks to E.J. (Viso) for filling in and getting a lot of work done over the past couple of days. It’s too bad the weather wasn’t cooperating for the guys but we’re here now and we’re ready to hit Fast Friday.” (About his recovery): “I had an entire support system at home between my girlfriend (Kirsten Dee) and my sister (Rebecca) and my parents for the first couple days. I was motivated to do it. I wasn’t wanting to break any of those rules. I just wanted to be back as quickly as possible. When I got the clearance to start training and when I got into the gym at PitFit, it felt really good. Once I was in the gym this morning I knew I was pretty strong and felt like I could do it so came in this afternoon to do the test and the test went well and here we are. Now it’s time to go fast. I just want to go fast.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): ““Today was a little tedious for us on the 67 car. We needed to do quite a bit of miles today and that's basically what we did. We got through some of the things on our list but mainly needed to get miles clocked. We worked more on race setup and the handling of the car. Tomorrow if it's not raining, we will trim out and do a lot of qualifying work to get ready for Saturday and Sunday."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 68 SFHR/RW Motorsports Honda): “"We learned a lot today. We ran the car in qualifying trim at some points and also race mode. I thought the car was very, very good even with very low downforce, which is a good thing. I think we need to make a little improvement in traffic and in dirty air to lose less overall downforce on the car and add less understeer. If we can achieve that I think we will have a very strong car for the race."

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet had a good day today. After our engine change yesterday, we went out there today and a had a few good couple of qualifying runs today. The weather created some tough conditions with it being so cold, but we got what we needed done and we're getting where we need to be for qualifying.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): It’s going well. It’s really been fun working with JR (Hildebrand) and we make a little progress every day and it’s a lot of fun. Helio (Castroneves) nipped us in the end, but it was a good day at the Speedway. It was nice to get a little running in finally and have some more track time available especially since tomorrow kind of doesn’t look so great again. I’m definitely happy that James (Hinchcliffe) is going to back out there with us as well. It’s awesome.
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FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m. –  Garages open
Noon-6 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice