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Daily Trackside Report - Friday May 9

DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014


TODAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):
10– 10:45 a.m.    Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3
2 – 3:10 p.m.    Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying for Verizon P1 Award (knockout qualifying and Firestone Fast Six)
***
Simon Pagenaud will turn 30 on May 18, and gave himself a birthday gift a few days early.
The Verizon IndyCar Series driver took delivery of a 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback -- a car he calls his American dream car – last weekend. He christened the car, which he calls Miss Madison, by driving it to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“(Damon Sturrock) did exactly what I wanted. It’s exactly the look I was wanting,” Pagenaud said of the owner of SNAKEPIT CUSTOMS. “From where the car was when I found it. I won’t say it was in a junkyard, but it wasn’t the best garage you can find. The way she looks today is absolutely stunning. It’s probably the prettiest car I’ve ever had or seen.  It drives very well from the brakes to the Hotchkiss suspension and those American Racing Wheels are the best. Personally, I’m in love.”
Pagenaud brought the car in California last fall just before the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway. And though it was rust-free, he had his own vision for the car. Sturrock, a long-time Indy car mechanic, worked on the car over the winter.
“It feels like an everyday car now,” said Pagenaud, who had dreamed of owning a Mustang since hearing stories of his grandfather importing a Bullitt Mustang to France before he was born. “I wanted something that felt good and felt safe. I think my girlfriend is more excited than I am. She loves it just as much as I do. Hopefully, she’ll let me drive it.”
The project was the first for Sturrock, who will spend the Month of May with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as chief mechanic for the entry driven by 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve.
“When I was 19, I had a ‘67 Mustang Fastback that I built the motor and did suspension work on it and on my test drive, the engine ripped off the frame when I hit the gas,” Sturrock said. “Back then I didn’t have the skill or the knowledge to fix something like that, so I sold it and always had regrets about it. To build this car for Simon was awesome. It’s fantastic.”
Pagenaud says he wants to drive the car to Speedway, but the notoriety he’s already gained might make him more visible than he hoped for.
“I made it black because I wanted to be under the radar with the police,” he said. “With all the people who were looking at it already on the road, I feel very proud. She is like my baby. I got to design it and choose every piece that went on her. I’m honored people like it.”


DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE #3
At 10 a.m., the ambient temperature was 67 degrees with a relative humidity of 77 percent and winds from the north-east at 4 mph. Skies were cloudy and light rain was falling. The track temperature was 73 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
10 a.m. – GREEN. Session will be the full 45 minutes.
10:13 a.m. – RED FLAG. #8 Briscoe has spun off course in Turn 4. Car has made light contact with the tire barrier. Car is assisted by the Holmatro Safety Team and returns to the pit lane under its own power.
10:20 a.m. – GREEN.
10:45 a.m. – RED and CHECKERED. #7 Aleshin has spun at the exit of Turn 6.

FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF SESSION:
Pos.    Car     Name    Time   
1.    77    Simon Pagenaud    1:23.1579   
2.    98    Jack Hawksworth    1:23.1732   
3.    27    James Hinchcliffe    1:23.3126   
4.    12    Will Power    1:23.3589   
5.    34    Carlos Munoz    1:23.3622   
***
Celebrity Chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Vic Vegas visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday and were treated to a ride in an IndyCar Experience two-seater. Mendelsohn and Vegas are in town to take part in REV, which will take place on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 
REV is a Methodist Health Foundation marquee event for Indiana University Health and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to raise funds to provide support for IU Health Statewide Trauma programs, including medical services for drivers and patrons of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
SPIKE MENDELSOHN: “It’s an honor to be involved with the Rev event. It’s for a great cause. It’s bringing a really great community of people down here who enjoy the race culture, some good chefs and some foodies.  We’re looking forward to putting out some good food for tonight. It’s a great extension of my job. This day and age, the food business has been so good and there are so many different avenues to get involved in so many different things. I think this opportunity is well-fitting for us and I’m so excited about it.” (On taking a ride in an IndyCar two-seater this morning): “Oh my god, it was amazing. We woke up at 8 a.m. and took the LifeLine helicopter ride right to the track. Then we went in the two-seater cars. I was with Arie (Luyendyk) and he holds the record down here on the track, so I was super excited. It was an exhilarating moment. I’m kind of a speed junky myself, so it’s been something I’ve been waiting to do for a while. It’s all smiles today.”
VIC VEGAS: “We actually get to feed a bunch of people and show some of our classic family dishes left by Grandma and Mom. We get to share it with all these great people out here.” (This is a neat extension of your job, isn’t it?): “I forgot about the word ‘job’ for some reason in this equation. This is called living life.” (And you got to live life this morning doing the two-seater): “From helicopter rides to ‘Hey, Mario Andretti. I always wanted to meet you. You mean I’m getting in a car with you? Wait a minute, you’re going 200 miles per hour?’ It’s a dream. I don’t want to wake up right now.”



DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014

Davey Hamilton, co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports which fields driver Simon Pagenaud in the No. 77 Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series,  has been driving the Indy Racing Experience 2-seater program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Hamilton was a Verizon IndyCar Series driver from 1996-2001. A severe accident at Texas Motor Speedway caused him to sit out a number of years, but he returned to drive from 2007 to 2011.
DAVEY HAMILTON – “I think the (Grand Prix of Indianapolis) is going to be cool. Simon (Pagenaud) is P1, so I love that – being on top of the charts. He was second (fastest) yesterday and quick today. I think it’s cool. Unfortunately, I don’t get to be here for the race. I’m going to be racing a supermodified tomorrow in New York. Hopefully, I will catch it on TV. The road course is cool. It’s fast. It’s a fast road course with 125 mile per hour average speeds. It’s going to get faster as rubber gets down. For a 14-corner road course, that’s cookin’. The great thing is, after being out there with the two-seaters, there are plenty of good passing zones. I think it is going to be a great race. I hope it is supported. I hope it’s the right move for everybody. I think the excitement is here. I mean, we’re at Indy. That hasn’t changed. I dig it.”

QUALIFYING FOR THE VERIZON P1 AWARD:
Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award consists of three segments. In Segment One of qualifying, each group receives 10 minutes of track time. The fastest six cars from each group advance to Segment Two, while the remaining cars are assigned positions 13-26. Group One drivers will occupy the odd-numbered positions (13, 15, 17...) while Group Two drivers will occupy the even-numbered positions (14, 16, 18...) based on their fastest lap times.
During Segment Two, the 12 advancing cars receive 10 minutes of track time. The fastest six advance to the Firestone Fast Six Shootout while the remaining six cars are ranked in positions 7-12 based on their fastest laps.
During the Firestone Fast Six, the six cars receive 10 minutes of track time, with a guarantee of five minutes of green flag time. Each car receives one additional set of Firestone Firehawk tires for use during this final segment. At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-6 based on their fastest laps.
Any driver who causes a red flag during any of the groups will lose their two quickest laps.
The timeline for qualifying today is between Turns 10 and 11.
At 1:45 p.m., the ambient temperature was 72 degrees with a relative humidity of 69 percent and winds from the northeast at 7 mph. Skies were mostly cloudy. The track temperature was 89 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
Fastest lap this weekend: #9 Scott Dixon, 1:10.2654 (Practice 2).
2 p.m. – GREEN. Round 1. Group 1.
2:03 p.m. – Light rain reported over the south-end of circuit in Turn 10.
2:10 p.m. – CHECKERED. Advancing to Round 2 are: #77 Pagenaud, #12 Power, #27 Hinchcliffe, #3 Castroneves, #17 Saavedra, #28 Hunter-Reay. Lap time of #77 Pagenaud 1:09.6716 is a track record.
2:15 p.m. – GREEN. Round 1. Group 2.
2:25 p.m. – CHECKERED. Advancing to Round 2 are: #2 Montoya, #11 Bourdais, #7 Aleshin, #9 Dixon, #10 Kanaan and #98 Hawksworth.
2:27 p.m. – Rain is falling over the Speedway on the frontstretch.
Verizon IndyCar Series officials have penalized #7 Aleshin his two fastest laps for qualifying interference with #11 Bourdais. #15 Rahal will advance to Round 2.

DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014

2:35 p.m. – GREEN. Round 2. The use of wet tires has been allowed by Race Control.
2:45 p.m. – CHECKERED. Advancing to Firestone Fast Six are: #98 Hawksworth, #12 Power, #9 Dixon, #28 Hunter-Reay and #77 Pagenaud.
2:55 p.m. – GREEN. Firestone Fast Six. Heavy rain reported over the circuit.
2:56 p.m. – RED FLAG. Track inspection due to conditions. When the session resumes, it will be complete restart of the clock for the full 10 minutes.
3:10 p.m. – GREEN. Firestone Fast Six has resumed after a delay of 14 minutes.
3:17 p.m. – With three minutes remaining in the session, fastest is #17 Saavedra 1:23.8822, the #28 Hunter-Reay takes fastest lap with
3:18 p.m. – RED FLAG. #28 Hunter-Reay spins in Turn 14 and makes hard rear contact with the wall on the frontstretch. Car will lose its two fastest laps for causing a red flag in the session.
3:20 p.m. – CHECKERED.  Sebastian Saavedra has claimed the Verizon P1 Award for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS QUALIFYING NOTES:

This is the first pole for Sebastian Saavedra in the Verizon IndyCar Series. His previous best start was sixth at Milwaukee in 2013.
Jack Hawksworth qualified second – his best start in the Verizon IndyCar Series. It is his second appearance in Firestone Fast Six in four starts. He was also in Firestone Fast Six at Long Beach.
Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified third. He is the only driver to qualify for every Firestone Fast Six session this season.
Simon Pagenaud qualified fourth. His lap of 1:09.6716 from Round 1 set a track record for the modified Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Will Power qualified fifth, his third top five start in four races in 2014.
Scott Dixon qualified sixth. It is his fourth straight start in the top-seven for every race this season.

GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS QUALIFYING QUOTES:

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS KV AFS Racing Chevrolet): “I love the rain. It was crazy at first because we didn’t know what to expect from the track – if it was going to be wet, if it was going to be dry. We were comfortable yesterday, as it got hotter, we just needed to work a little bit more – especially with the rain. We made a huge leap this morning and then the whole session was just weird. It started to rain and went from wet, to dry, to super dry, to super wet. I loved it.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We definitely gave that one away. It’s a fun track. Since we got here it’s been dry-wet-dry-wet. It was changing conditions and it was a lot of fun, but it ended the wrong way, so congrats to Saavedra – good job and good pace. It’s going to be a really great championship race (tomorrow) and there will be a lot of passing – especially with these long straights. There will be a lot of different strategies on downforce and tires. I think there will be a lot of (teams) mixing it up like you always do with the Verizon IndyCar Series.”



DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing): “I am a little disappointed not to make the Firestone Fast Six…missed it by a couple of hundredths of a second. I just made a mistake in turn three on my fastest lap and that was pretty much that. The Mistic E- Cigs guys have done a good job. We have a good race car. One with a strong pace in dry conditions. It is just a matter of getting a good start tomorrow, staying out of trouble and hopefully finally getting a strong result at the checkered flag.”

MIKE CONWAY (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “We did improve the car from yesterday. But we have been behind and it’s tough trying to catch up.  I think we could have used a dry session this morning to help make the car a little better. But it didn’t work out that way. The conditions today were changing all of the time. We still have some work to do for the race. We’ll sit down and go over the data tonight and see what direction will be best for the race.  With no warmup on Saturday, I think a lot of people will have some unknowns entering the race.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “Tough day for us today. With the practice session being wet in the morning, we had no time to try something that we wanted to do after yesterday’s analysis of the car setup because the car requires a different setup in the wet. So we went straight into qualifying with a little bit unknown, but we tried our best but didn’t have the speed. I think we improved the car a bit but we’re struggling with the lap times and the balance. We don’t have a morning warmup so hopefully we can put things together after looking at the qualifying data and have a better run tomorrow.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Qualifying was difficult. The car was still a bit hard to drive and, yeah, it wasn’t easy to get the maximum and the times are really close.  Every little detail makes a big difference. It has been difficult to try different setups on the car because of the different conditions and it doesn’t make things easy. It would have been nice to have the same conditions in practice so we could try different setups.”

MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 41 Alfe/ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "It was a fun but tough first qualifying for us as it was the first time that I've used the Firestone red tires, so I didn't have any time to learn what the limit was of these tires. I felt like we missed the balance of the car a little bit, which hurt me by a couple of tenths. Overall I think to be right on pace with Takuma with no experience is not a bad result, but of course we would both like to be further up the field. I think if we put together all of the small details, we could have been in the top 12, but we'll save that for tomorrow when it really matters."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): “We were right on the cusp in Round 1. We did the same lap time as the guys ahead of us and were right on the cusp and Aleshin got a penalty and we slid in. I feel like our car was good enough to get there anyway. The tire pressures came up in the rear a little too high and we were sliding a bit too much those last couple of laps.  At the end of the day we’re starting twelfth.  I’m proud of this National Guard team. These guys keep working very hard and we’re going to get one at some point. I think we’re going to have a good day tomorrow. We’re starting 12th and we can work from there. (On Push to Pass:) Push to Pass is going to have a huge impact here because the straightaway is so long. Without a doubt, it’s going to play a huge role in this race. Hopefully we will have a good car and be right up there.”

DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “I’m disappointed. The car was way better than I showed. We had changed the car a lot and I went out there to qualifying and you really have two laps to make it happen. I was judging the car and by the time I figured it out it was too late. I was six-tenths (of a second) from the fastest time, and three-tenths from making the cut. It’s not like you are miles away from making the cut. You have two laps to do it and I just guessed too much and I didn’t guess right on my driving. I think we have a good car for the race if it stays dry. It’s not where I wanted to start but it’s a race that, with how they have designed this track with long straights and a lot of passing zones, it will definitely be a race where you can move forward.  (On Push to Pass:) With the long straight, if you’re behind somebody that is not pushing Push to Pass and you are, you are definitely going to pass them. You can gain two or three miles just from the Push to Pass. It’s going to make it even more important to make sure you have them when you need them. We will have to be smart about that.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “The car felt really good and I felt confident that we had the speed to qualify better, but we just ran out of time. I was preparing the car for another lap and then we got the checkered flag. It’s just disappointing that we didn’t get the chance to go another lap, but the car felt really strong and I’m confident that we could’ve qualified much better with one more. We just need to look towards tomorrow now and make sure the car is ready to go.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): “Obviously I’m not very happy (with the outcome). I think it was a team decision to go out because we were worried about the weather. We plateaued too early and the car got better at the end, so we’re sitting on the outside looking in on this hundredth of a second… I’m losing sleep over this. (The rain during the session) I think it threw off our strategy a bit as we rushed and went out a bit early. When the track was at its best, we had already plateaued so it’s a bummer.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): “I don’t really know what happened during qualifying. The Cinsay car wasn’t bad – I was feeling more or less good with the car, just the time game came into play. It was my worst qualifying of the year. Tomorrow is a long race; we’ll have to work tonight to see what happened during qualifying and make it better for tomorrow.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Klipsch/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): “It’s a really close field, IndyCar is just really tight all around. With everyone being incredibly good and close, if you miss it by a little bit you can be off. It’s a shame we didn’t get through to the next round, I think we were close to a top-5 car, but we will be working hard tomorrow and try to run up front.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Going from dry to wet conditions wasn’t a big problem for us. We gambled and took a lot of rear wing out of the car for the wet track and we paid the price. We knew we need to run a little less during the practice session, but I think we went a bit too far. I think for the dry track we were really good. The fastest car in my group. It’s another step forward. I really feel like I had a shot at the pole today with the No. 2 Verizon Chevy, so it’s a little disappointing to be starting where we are. We only used one set of red Firestone tires, so I’m managing to get it all out early in the run. I think we are going to have a great race tomorrow.”

DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “The car felt pretty good although there was a slight problem with the brakes. But the balance of the car really felt nice. I’m disappointed to get knocked out, but obviously we just need to do an even better job. The car felt good, so I’m not sure how much we gave up with the braking issue. It is going to make for an interesting race. I’m going to be coming up from the back and aiming to be up front.” On brake issue: “A different wheel every break zone would lock up, so it was constantly changing every lap. It was difficult to keep up with what was happening and I couldn’t quite push the brake zones all the way to the limit. But we will just keep working and see what happens tomorrow.”

FRANCK MONTAGNY (No. 26 Suretone Honda): “I was out at the beginning, but I saw the rain coming and I said, ‘OK I’ll keep my eyes on my back tires’. I come in, put the reds on and got out on the straightaway. I thought there was a chance for me after that, but there wasn’t once the rain stopped. Most guys here are tough you know, they have been here for ages and they know the car perfectly. I'm not too disappointed about my pace. I'm like two tenths off Marco, which is a good reference here with this championship. But to tell you the truth, it has been six years since I’ve been in single-seater car. It's not a baby championship; it’s the big guys out there. I’ll do the best I can tomorrow; I’ve got a very good team behind me so the race will be better.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Our No. 3 Verizon Chevrolet was doing pretty good. We were able to make it to the second round of qualifying. But then the rain came and made for an interesting scenario. It became very wet and we weren’t able to take the chance that we needed to in order to make it to the Firestone Fast Six. We get to start tomorrow from the top-10 and it’s going to be a big race, a long race and I’m looking forward to the first Grand Prix here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was an interesting few sessions. Strategy-wise Team Target went out on older wets because we didn't have enough new sets to run. I think Will (Power) was on the same strategy.  Came in, took tires, there was a red.  That definitely hurt us and caught us out. Still in the Fast Six.  I think we got a good opportunity.  The No. 9 Target car has been quick all week.  Hopefully we can have a smooth race tomorrow.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing Honda): “Yeah, it's the exact same team on the 77 side. The advantage of three years in a row is that we worked on details years after years. The first year you kind of get a feel for it. Then myself as a driver, I wasn't fully up to speed yet. In the third year it's a lot easier to work on your driving, improve it here and there, get the car to your liking week in and week out. That's what difficult about IndyCar, it's so tight, so competitive, that it's actually difficult to get to that level. That's why consistency with people is key. It has been for us, for sure.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I know how it feels when you get your first pole. It feels pretty cool. You feel a little bit of pressure going into the race. Man, there's no bad drivers in this series. That's why you see such a mixed-up qualifying session week in, week out. They're all good. They're all good racers. They can all win races. To me, yeah, I think they're going to do a good job and we'll see what happens. We'll know tomorrow. “




DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 98 Charter/Castrol Edge Honda): (On being a one-car team) “I think it has its pros and cons. In some ways it's good, get through the politics. To be honest, I'm working very well with the team. They're giving me what I want. I think I'm able to kind of lead them in the right direction with the car, as well. I'm not too worried about not having a teammate. I kind of like it. Really looking forward to the rest of the season with them. We started the season out quite strong. There's been glimmers of speed and potential.  Not all quite there yet, but hopefully tomorrow is the day when we do to. Bryan is awesome. He's experienced. He's got the T-shirt, been there, won races. Always good to bounce ideas off him. He's always there giving advice to myself on driving. Also he understands the feelings which perhaps sometimes I have with the car. He can relate to that. Yeah, it's a good relationship. It really helps for sure”
***
Will Owen of Pabst Racing captured the first the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. It was the first win for the 18-year-old native of Plano, Texas, who now lives in Castle Rock, Colo.
WILL OWEN: “It was pretty sketchy going into that first corner. I got tapped, I don’t know who it was; but I would like to thank them. I came in (pits), got tires (slicks) and went out.  That call was brilliant, genius, by the team. It was sketchy for a few laps because there were still a lot of wet spots. I started picking off the drivers and picking up speed. I had to keep pushing, not make any mistakes; then I figured out I was almost to the front. I had to get the last couple of cars.” (About the winning pass): “That was on the front straight vs. Jake Eidson. Jake moved to the inside a little bit and I went to the outside. He got a little bit of draft from me, so we went into the brakes (Turn 1) going side by side and I was able to out-break him. I stayed on the outside in Turn 1 and on the inside in Turn 2. I was better at every part of the course near the end. In the beginning there were certain corners where I had to choose to pass. Some corners were still wet and I would go in, be sideways, and be real on the limit. There were other corners where I was a lot faster and could roll off with speed. (Inaugural USF2000 winner at the Speedway): “I feel great!  I’m going to tell that to everybody.”
***
Scott Hargrove of Canada claimed the first race of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Indianapolis doubleheader today. It was the first win in the series for the 2013 USF2000 Champion.
SCOTT HARGROVE: “To win this race today, in the inaugural Grand Prix weekend is a very cool feeling. The weather was a problem, whether it was going to be wet or dry, but it ended up in the dry, where we had been fast all weekend. It was a thrill to be here and I hope we can come back here in a few years and be here at the end of May in the Indy 500. I got the lead at the start, but (runner-up  Neil Alberico) came from seventh to second very quickly and was right behind me. I went to block him going into Turn 4 because I thought he was going to try something on me, but I completly blew the brake zone and he got around me. We just stayed behind him, but every restart was just so much fun, wheel-to-wheel. I had some contact with three or four other cars. On the final restart, I was able to get around him. I think there was a little contact. That's as close as it gets without tears.”
   






DAY 2 – FRIDAY, May 9, 2014

Country music star Reba McEntire was at the Speedway today to cheer on her son, Shelby Blackstock, who competes in the Pro Mazda Championship for Andretti Autosport. Blackstock finished second in today’s race.
SHELBY BLACKSTOCK: “This is by far one of the most fun races of the whole series now. IMS has done a great job constructing the track. There’s so much passing. The start was a little too much thrilling for all of us. But in the end, it was an amazing racetrack. It’s now one of my favorites in the country, so I’m really, really happy to be here.” (Do you like the variable conditions out there?): “Well, not really. We do at the end but in the middle we definitely don’t. When I was seeing the rain coming, I was like, ‘Well, how is this going to happen? Are they going to call it early or are they going to let us run in the rain?’ But in the end it was a good day.” (And you get to come back and do it again tomorrow.): “I know; different conditions. It’s going to be dry all day, so it should be a good day.” (On having his Mom, Reba McEntire, here to watch him finish on the podium.): “I think she would be just as happy if I finished fifth or third or second. Hopefully tomorrow we can do one better.”
REBA McENTIRE: “I’m thrilled to death with him getting second place today. My heart is still beating so fast. I told Shelby that a while ago. He said he was still shaking. (Husband) Narvel (Blackstock) and I were up top watching. I had my binoculars and I couldn’t hardly keep them still to watch it. Very excited; a little nervous, but he loves this. We’re just thrilled to death that he’s found his passion.” (On being at the Speedway): “I’ve been here lots of times. We love it.”
***
Third-generation racer Matthew Brabham won the first race of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires doubleheader at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis for his first win in the series. He joins Sage Karam as the only driver to win in all three series. Brabham, 20, is the grandson of racing legend Sir Jack Brabham and son of 10-time Indianapolis 500 starter Geoff Brabham.
MATTHEW BRABHAM: “It was pretty sketchy out there for sure. You know, we had wet tires on a drying track. At the end there it was dry, but they ended up holding out really, really good at the end. We were just kind of sliding about at the end there. I got a good start and Gabby (Chaves) got me back on the straight. I think he was running a little bit less wing. Then, I managed to get him back. I can’t describe the feeling it is to win here. I love the track. It was really fun. It was a fun wet track and it was a fun dry track. It’s really smooth and it’s a top class circuit. I’m really impressed by it and I had a lot of fun out there.”

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE
7 a.m. – Garage opens
10:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series Systems Check (one time out and in).
2:45 p.m. – Grand Prix of Indianapolis pre-race
3:43 p.m. – “Drivers Start Your Engines”
3:50 p.m. – Green Flag, Grand Prix of Indianapolis (82 laps/200 miles), ABC (Live).

 

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