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Helio Castroneves wins a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 mile race



Photo: Chris Owens/INDYCAR

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Helio Castroneves is joining elite company after winning a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 mile race Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Castroneves passed Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou for the lead for good with two laps-to-go and took the twin checkered flags first to join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as the only 4-time winners of ‘The Greatest Spectacle In Racing’.

“This is absolutely incredible,” said Castroneves. “From the beginning we were so comfortable. The car was incredible. I knew it was good. This is unbelievable.”

Castroneves other victories came in 2001, 2002 and 2009 when he drove for Team Penske.  Sunday’s victory came driving for Meyer Shank Racing and was that organizations first NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory.

Castroneves and Palou started trading the lead back and forth with 17-laps remaining after most of the front runners made their final pit stops.  Palou passed Castroneves on the front stretch with three laps-to-go and Castroneves tucked right behind Palou and followed him through turns one and two and then down the backstretch before pulling the same move on Palou.

Castroneves benefitted from a number of cars who were trying to make it to the end without pitting when he hit the backstretch on the final lap. Castroneves smartly used the draft from those cars to maintain his gap ahead of Palou, who tried to draft Castroneves but the gap was too great at that point.

“My strong corners were two and four and it was just a matter of the right opportunity,” said Castroneves.  “I saw that traffic, because I needed that traffic to get away, so I decided I wasn’t going to wait.”

“It just hurts a little bit because I wanted this win really bad,” said Palou. “For sure the traffic didn’t help. I was doing everything I was doing to catch him but he was catching the tow from the traffic and I was not able to close up.

Palou may not have won but since the Indy 500 pays ‘double points’ towards the series championship he did take over the series points lead, so he while he was disappointed he couldn’t win, Palou was positive after the race.

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“I’m living a dream driving a fast car for the best team in the paddock,” said Palou. “I’m super proud of what we’ve been doing but we’ve got to keep working.”

Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud finished third in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet with Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward in fourth.

“We got caught up on the first yellow and had to make an ’emergency pit stop’ and got sent back to the back of the field,” explained Pagenaud. “We had to fight back over 156-laps and I really think we had a car that could’ve won.”

Pagenaud said that prior to the race he told Castroneves if he couldn’t win the race, he wanted Helio to get his fourth.

“It’s great that we have a guy from our generation (Castroneves) going into the 4-club,” said Pagenaud referring to the 4-time Indy 500 winners. “I hope he comes back to go for five!”

Stefan Wilson brought out the first caution flag of the race when he spun entering pit road during the first round of pit stops and struck the wall ending his day.

The closure of the pits to clean up the Wilson accident cost pole-sitter Scott Dixon and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi dearly.  The pair had yet to pit and were low on fuel and eventually ran out on pit road while making an ’emergency pit stop’. Both cars had to be re-fired and ended up losing a lap in the process.

Dixon got his lap back a little over halfway through the race and battled for an 18th place finish but ended up losing the series points lead in the process.  Dixon sits in second place, one point ahead of third-place O’Ward.

The next race for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is the ‘Duel in Detroit’ on Belle Isle, June 12-13, in Detroit.


Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon wins pole position for 106th Indianapolis 500



Penske Entertainment

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is on the pole position for the 106th Indianapolis 500. Dixon’s 4-lap average of 234.046 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda was the second fastest qualifying average in the history of the event!

Dixon’s run broke the all-time pole record speed of 233.718 set in 1996 by Scott Brayton. Arie Luyendyk set the all-time four-lap qualifying average speed record of 236.986 in 1996, but his run came on the second day of qualifications and wasn’t eligible for the pole.

“When I saw the 234-seven after the first lap I thought, ‘this should be good’,” said Dixon. “The No. 9 PNC Bank team and Honda really brought it today.”

The Indianapolis 500 pole position was the second-straight, and fifth overall for Dixon, who trails only Rick Mears on the all-time Indy 500 pole position list.

“I’d rather have his four wins,” said Dixon of closing in on Mears pole record.

Palou, the defending series Champion, starts second in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda, giving CGR their first 1-2 start since Dixon and the late Dan Wheldon started on the front row in 2008.

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay will start third in the No. 21 Bitcoin Chevrolet.  VeeKay’s boss was the last back-to-back pole winner before Dixon.  Carpenter will start fourth.  “I don’t know that we could’ve trimmed even more,” said Carpenter. “The thing is on the limit.  The fourth lap just wasn’t good enough.”

All five of Chip Ganassi’s Honda’s will start in the Top 12 after the squad dominated qualifying.

Three Rivers Karting

The second row features CGR teammates Marcus Ericsson, who will start fifth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda, and 2013 500 winner Tony Kanaan, who will start sixth in the No. 1 American Legion Honda.

“I think my run was good,” said Ericsson. “I was hoping and thinking it was a bit faster than that but still it’s a great performance all week and we start from a really, really good spot next weekend.”

Arrow McLaren SP teammates Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist will start seventh and eighth respectively and Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean rounds out row three.

The final row of the ‘Fast Twelve’ is made up of two-time 500 winner Takuma Sato of Dale Coyne Racing (10th), Team Penske’s Will Power (11th) and Indianapolis 500 rookie Jimmie Johnson, who will start 12th in the No. 48 Carvana Honda after the save of the day on his first lap of qualifying.

“To get five of our cars into the fast 12 and four into the (Firestone Fast) Six, I hope Chip has a smile on his face.,” said Dixon. “That definitely deserves a smile.”

Indy 500 Qualifying


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Indy 500 Qualifying moved up due to weather; Ganassi’s Tony Kanaan turns fastest 4-lap average in practice



Penske Entertainment: Chris Jones

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES is moving the start of Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge qualifying to 11 a.m. (ET) Saturday, May 21 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway due to the potential of rain in the afternoon for the first day of PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying.

Qualifying will run until its previously scheduled end time of 5:50 p.m., weather permitting, with starting spots 13 through 33 locked in for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

The morning practice session also will be moved up, with group one on the 2.5-mile oval from 8:30-9 a.m. and group two from 9-9:30 a.m.

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The revised schedule:

  • 8 a.m. – IMS Gates Open
  • 8:30-9 a.m. – Practice Group 1
  • 9-9:30 a.m. – Practice Group 2
  • 11 a.m. – PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying begins

Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Takuma Sato turned the fastest lap on a tricky ‘Fast Friday’ that was complicated by windy conditions that kept many teams in the garages for the better part of the day.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan posted the fastest 4-lap qualifying simulation average of 230.517 mph in the No. 1 American Legion Honda.  Kanaan’s CGR teammates Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon posted the fourth and fifth fastest 4-lap averages.  Ericsson turned a 231.782 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda and Dixon a 231.530 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.

Peacock Premium will provide live coverage of both practice groups and the entire qualifying session, with the INDYCAR Radio Network also offering coverage. Public gates at IMS will open at their previously scheduled time of 8 a.m.

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Chip Ganassi’s cars fast as practice opens for the Indianapolis 500



Penske Entertainment: Chris Jones

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) is off to a quick start in preparations for the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.  Four of the five CGR Honda’s were in the Top 6 of the speed chart following Tuesday’s opening practice for ‘The Greatest Spectacle In Racing’, and all five were in the Top 10.

Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon led the CGR squad posting a fast lap of 227.768 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.  Right behind Dixon in third was Indianapolis 500 rookie Jimmie Johnson, who’s fast lap was 227.722 in the No. 48 Carvana Honda.

“All in all, a really good day” said Johnson. “I feel like where we ended in this session gives me a lot of confidence for working forward.  It’s just trying to work through extremes for me. What is a low trim setting? What’s a high trim setting? What’s mechanically tight? What’s mechanically free? Just trying to work through some of those big-picture things.”

Marcus Ericsson was fourth at 227.094 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate CGR Honda.

“I think it was a very positive day for me and for the team,” said Ericsson. “We rolled off (the truck) with really good cars again and sort of continued our work that we did at the open test a few weeks ago.  Really, really happy with our progress and where our car is for the moment, a positive first day.”

Defending Series Champion Alex Palou was next on the charts, ending up sixth at 226.973 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda.

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“Felt really good to be honest,” said Palou. “The car is super-fast. We were just going through the plan.  I think all the Chip Ganassi Racing cars are super-fast. We’re looking good. A lot of work to do but we’re looking good so far.”

The fifth Ganassi entry, Tony Kanaan, was ninth quickest in the No. 1 American Legion Honda with a fast lap of 226.292.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato turned the fastest lap of the day, 228.939, in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing.

“We had a big tow,” Sato said. “In Happy Hour, if you have new tires, I think you can do that. I’m very happy with the 51 car. Dale Coyne Racing did a good job.”

Practice resumes from Noon-to-6 p.m. (ET) Wednesday (live on Peacock Premium), with PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying this Saturday and Sunday. The 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is scheduled for Sunday, May 29.

Tuesday AM 500 Practice  Tuesday Afternoon 500 Practice

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