News & Multimedia

Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Promises More Highlights in Second Running

The big surprise from the inaugural running of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis was visible for all to see: It was a hit. Critics of the first IndyCar road race at IMS left the Speedway with a new appreciation for the volume of fans, families, and positivity that produced such a memorable event.

With the second running of the Angie’s List Grand Prix right around the corner, the highlights from the first event should ensure this year’s race is another unforgettable stop on the Verizon IndyCar Series tour for fans and participants alike.

“It’s a beautiful racetrack, it’s one of the nicest events, and the opportunity to race there in IndyCar is always an honor,” said Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, who won the first GP of Indy driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. “Driving-wise, it was a fun track. We had some tough weather; qualifying in the rain and racing in the dry was a real challenge, and I saw a lot of fans there in the infield and in the different grandstands they made available, so I think it’s a good formula for everyone to come see us race at Indy before the big Month of May really takes off with the 500.”

Significant landscaping work by the IMS Facilities team and alterations to the infield road course layout made for plenty of up-close viewing and close on-track action.

“One of the best things we saw was how fans could either buy a ticket to sit and have their own seat to watch the race, or, as a lot of people chose to do – including many families – was to buy a general admission ticket and move from the different viewing mounds we built in the infield,” said IMS President Doug Boles.

“The 500 is such a tradition for so many people, and many of them have seats that go back generations. I think one of the new traditions we started at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indy was to offer fans an option, and many of them spent time at one corner, then moved to the next one, and then tried another spot just to see the cars accelerating, or braking, or making passes right next to their chosen position. That was a real treat. You can pick the vantage point you want, and for the most part, go watch at different corners where the cars and drivers are doing some incredible things.”

The aforementioned flexibility the GP of Indy offers fans makes it rather unique on the IndyCar calendar. Fans are certainly able to move from corner to corner at some other circuits, but the infield viewing mound arrangement stands out due to the easy access and wide perspectives they offer.

For the drivers, the blend of using the oval’s front straight which transitions into the newly-paved road course makes chassis setup an interesting compromise.

“The road course is so smooth, and the oval is also smooth, but they are ground differently so you have different types of traction to consider,” said A.J., Foyt Racing’s Jack Hawksworth, who was one strategy call away from winning the inaugural event for Bryan Herta Autosport. “It’s really enjoyable to drive, but it’s not easy, and as drivers, that’s what we like – something that’s going to push you to perform at your best.”

Pagenaud and Hawksworth will enter the second GP of Indy with different forms of motivation. For one, maintaining his place as the only person to win the event is the top priority, while the other wants nothing more than to prove his race-winning potential was far from a fluke.

“Being the first person to win the race was amazing, and this year, I obviously want to win it again and I also have some other duties to handle,” said Pagenaud. “I was named the honorary chair for the Rev Indy charity event that takes place before the Grand Prix, so I’ll be trying to help them raise a half-million dollars and then go win the race for by boss, Roger Penske!”

And with his 60-pound trophy from the 2014 race, the Frenchman says he’d like to give it some company. “It’s lonely!” he said with a laugh.

With some unfinished business to handle, Hawksworth is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“It’s racing, so you can’t count on anything, but we definitely felt like we had the winning car last year and I want to come away this year with that big trophy,” he said. “It would look quite nice at home.”

Be sure to check out Marshall Pruett's story on The Blog previewing the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Season. View Blog Story

Show More Show Less
Items 752 - 756 of 1,018