Catchfence


May 24, 2013
Friday
Dempsey Wins Thrilling Firestone Freedom 100; Pagenaud Leads Final Indy 500 Practice
Press Release

Peter Dempsey celebrates his Firestone Freedom 100 win -- Photo Credit: Michael Roth for IMS
Peter Dempsey celebrates his Firestone Freedom 100 win -- Photo Credit: Michael Roth for IMS
CASTRONEVES TAKES PIT STOP CONTEST

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 24, 2013 - Simon Pagenaud hopes Coors Light Carb Day is a good indication of Indianapolis 500 Race Day.

Pagenaud, who will start the 97th Indianapolis 500 from the outside of the seventh row, topped the speed chart for the final practice session, the final opportunity for teams to fine-tune their cars before Race Day.

Pagenaud, driving the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda, topped the speed chart with a quick lap of 225.827 mph with Andretti Autosport E.J Viso (225.304 mph) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (225.053) right behind.

Similarly, Helio Castroneves hopes that winning the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition could be a good omen for him.

Castroneves, driving the No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Chevrolet, defeated Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the championship round. His pit crew received the $50,000 first place prize for its speed and accuracy.

The winner of the competition has gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 six times, most recently with Castroneves in 2009. It was the 14th win for Team Penske and sixth for Castroneves in the pit stop contest, which extended their records.

Also on Coors Light Carb Day, Peter Dempsey came from fourth place on the final corner of the final lap to overtake Gabby Chaves, Sage Karam and Carlos Munoz and win a thrilling Firestone Freedom 100.

Exiting Turn 4 Munoz, Karam and Chaves were racing side by side to the start-finish of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Suddenly, Dempsey found a seam close to the outside wall on the 50-foot-wide frontstretch.

The 27-year-old native of Ashbourne, Ireland, immediately knew he had won the marquee race of the Firestone Indy Lights season, raising his left hand off the steering wheel, though it was a photo finish. The margin of victory was .0026 of a second — the closest on an oval in the 100-plus-year history of the Speedway.

Chaves was second and pole sitter Karam was .0280 of a second behind the winner in third. Munoz, who led Laps 13-39, was .0443 of a second off the winner.

Poison headlined a concert to conclude the busy day.

COORS LIGHT CARB DAY NOTEBOOK:

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh talked today about driving the 2014 Corvette Stingray Pace Car to lead the starting field to the green flag for the 97th Indianapolis 500 Sunday. Harbaugh played for the Indianapolis Colts during his NFL career and is a longtime partner in Panther Racing.

JIM HARBAUGH: “It’s just fantastic. It’s great to be back here and watch the team, watch our drivers and some of the youngsters, too. Ed Carpenter, I knew him when he was a child; same with Conor Daly. To see those two guys out here doing what they’re doing, it’s just wonderful.” (On driving the Pace Car): “Well, it’s like, ‘How’d you get so lucky?’ I’m just lucky, I guess. I was thrilled when they told me they were considering me. To be able to do it; I’m really thrilled to do it. It’s going to be one of life’s memorable moments. I need some work, though.” (On receiving Pace Car coaching from three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford): “I got that going for me. Mr. Rutherford took me around the track this morning and showed me how to do it. Then he let me do it for four or five laps. I need some work, but I’ll get it down with him in my corner.”

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Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) announced today a long-term sponsorship agreement with Genie Products LLC, the owners of POWERQUBE.

The POWERQUBE is the 21st-century solution to the power strip. The POWERQUBE allows users to plug in six devices and also charge three more devices in three USB ports. It can easily fit into a backpack or briefcase, at just 5.5 inches by 2.75 inches and provides

SARAH FISHER (Team owner, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing): “We’re excited to bring on POWERQUBE as a new partner to the team. It’s neat to be a part of an industry that’s technologically advanced and innovative. We are excited about our long-term agreement with the POWERQUBE team and look forward to supporting this revolutionary product as it is launched in the United States and throughout the world.”

SCOTT WEAVER (President, Genie Products LLC): “Our agreement with SFHR is a partnership that we look to build upon for many years to come. We could not be more excited to be a part of the SFHR team as we partner to bring the POWERQUBE to consumers throughout the world.”

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2013 IICS Team Owner Chip Ganassi - Photo Credit: Paul Powell/Catchfence
2013 IICS Team Owner Chip Ganassi - Photo Credit: Paul Powell/Catchfence
Target Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi presented the Reynard 96I/Honda that Alex Zanardi drove to victory in the CART race at Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca in September 1996 to Zanardi during a special ceremony this morning on the Yard of Bricks. Zanardi passed Bryan Herta in the famed “Corkscrew” turn on the last lap for a famous victory in the car.

Zanardi won CART championships for Ganassi’s team in 1997 and 1998. He suffered severe injuries in a racing crash in September 2001 at Lausitz, Germany, that resulted in the amputation of both legs above the knee. Zanardi inspired millions around the world by resuming his full-time racing career in 2014 in touring cars and also won a gold medal in the handcycling men’s road time trial in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

ALEX ZANARDI: “It is really difficult to put it into words. I’m lucky enough to have had a long career, a career with many highlights, along with the two championships we won with Target Chip Ganassi Racing. which were, for sure, amazing accomplishments, I had days of glory which go above. Laguna Seca in 1996, of all the highlights of my racing career, was probably the most emotional one and the one that actually changed my life. I was very lucky that day, don’t get me wrong, but had I not tried that move, who knows what my racing career would have been? For sure, it changed a lot of things. The perception of all the people watching was that, after that day, I was a different guy, I was definitely a guy to keep an eye on. I’m sure I won a lot of fans that day and caused come controversy, as well. But, hey, this is what keeps us alive, and I was definitely alive that day.”

CHIP GANASSI: “I’m happy to have Alex and his team as special guests of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. (Jimmy) Vasser and Alex were the foundation of Chip Ganassi Racing. Nothing that Alex Zanardi has done has surprised anybody – from Laguna Seca to two Paralympic gold medals. There is no one like Alex … the mold was broken when Alex Zanardi was born. We never had him in a race car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 1996 he made the pass at Laguna Seca in the Corkscrew and went on with the win. Your contribution to this sport and to this team will never be forgotten. In Alex you see a guy who transcends all the issues of the day when we were racing in the mid-’90s. It was a breath of fresh air to see somebody who transcends all that and is all about racing. He’s had some real accomplishments since he has not been in racing. Don’t forget, you’re talking about an Olympian here, and that’s pretty heavy stuff. To be at the top of one sport and to go and be at the top of another – enough said. Only someone with his fortitude could accomplish that. To say the words: ‘Passion, commitment, excellence’ – all the things that I grew up with that meant something; I think he embodies every one of those. He embodies what we would like every athlete, we look up to, to be in our lives.” (About Zanardi never racing at IMS): “It was one of those things that the timing or the political climate, it wasn’t to be. It’s nice that he can come back here today and have the reception that he’s had and to be welcomed with open arms. That’s the one thing about this place; anyone who has ever been here in any capacity is welcomed to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with open arms. And that’s a tribute to Tony (George) and his family.”

***

The fastest IZOD IndyCar Series pit crew will receive a $50,000 first place prize for winning the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge during Coors Light Carb Day on Friday, May 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 12-team competition will begin at 1:30 p.m. on pit lane at IMS, featuring four rounds of action. A total of $100,000 will be awarded, with the runner-up team earning $15,000.

Teams will change four tires and perform a simulated fuel hookup during each round of the competition. The quickest time wins, with time penalties added for various infractions, such as loose wheel nuts or running over air hoses.

Seven teams previously qualified based on pit performance between the 2012 Indianapolis 500 and the 2013 Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 earlier this month. Five teams earned the final spots during time trials last week at IMS.

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