Mueller: News and Notes from Barber Friday

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The following is taken directly from the IndyCar Media website.

Welcome to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the third race of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The INDYCAR and ZOOM Motorsports media relations staffs are here to assist you. Please direct your questions and requests to anyone in the Media Center.

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TODAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):

10 – 10:45 a.m.

Verizon IndyCar Series practice

2 – 2:45 p.m.

Verizon IndyCar Series practice

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The Verizon IndyCar Series will compete in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, a 90-lap race at 4:50 p.m. (ET) Sunday. The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the final developmental step on the Mazda Road to Indy, will compete in the Long Beach 100, a 45-lap race at 1:15 p.m. Sunday.

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How Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal said he plans to attack the twists and turns of the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park road course during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama caught the attention of students  from  seven Birmingham City high schools during an event at the racetrack April 24.

            Rahal, driver of the No. 15 National Guard car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, took students trackside and used a show car to explain the physicality of racing for 90 laps on the road course punctuated by 80 feet of elevation change.

            The students – all of whom have an interest in science, technology, engineering and math — participated in Alabama Power’s fourth Automobiles for a Cleaner Tomorrow education event. Rahal and other guests pointed out how the sciences connect to the automotive industry and racing.

            “Our  relationship  with  Alabama  Power  is  one  that  we  greatly  value,”  said Rick  Humphrey,  vice  president  of  ZOOM  Motorsports,  the  event  promoter  of  Barber  Motorsports  Park.   “Their  dedication  to  investing  in  the  lives  of  children  through  the  Alabama  Power:  Automobiles  for  a  Cleaner  Tomorrow  education  event  is  remarkable.”

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Juan Pablo Montoya returns to race in Alabama for the first time since rejoining the Verizon IndyCar Series this season. Talladega Superspeedway was the site of Montoya’s first career stock car race and the first pole of his NASCAR career.

            “Barber is a really a cool racetrack with the way they used the terrain and hills. But it’s really fast and coming here for the first time (to test) in February was an eye-opening experience,” he said.

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Helio Castroneves’ No. 3 AAA-sponsored car will feature a promotion of the DreamWorks feature film “How To Train Your Dragon 2,” which will hit theaters June 13.

            Castroneves, the 2010 race winner at Barber, recorded a safe driving public service announcement that included promotion of the movie.

            “Winning the first race there in 2010 was a great feeling. Everyone wants to be the first to do something,” Castroneves said. “Team Penske has been pretty solid there and I expect more of the same this weekend.”

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In his 10-year Indy car career, Will Power has picked up 20 of his 22 wins on temporary street circuits or road courses. The current Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader has won two of the four races at Barber and has finished in the top five in the other two races.

            “You love any track where you’ve had a lot of success. It just fits my driving style well,” Power said. “Barber is very high speed with a lot of banking – there aren’t many road courses like it that we go to.”

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Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR Medical Director: James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Autosport and Sebastian Saavedra of AFS KVAFS Racing, who reported injuries suffered in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13, have been re-evaluated and are cleared to drive.

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE #1

            At 10 a.m., the ambient temperature was 70 degrees with a relative humidity of 76 percent and winds from the north at 7 mph. Skies were sunny. The track temperature was 94 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

            10 a.m. – GREEN.

            10:15 a.m. – RED FLAG. #15 Rahal is off course after contact with the barrier in Turn 15.

            10:20 a.m. – GREEN.

            10:22 a.m. – RED FLAG. #11 Bourdais spins off course in Turn 8. Car is assisted by the Holmatro Safety Team and returns to the pit lane under its own power.

            10:31 a.m. – GREEN.

10:35 a.m. – RED FLAG. #9 Dixon is stopped on course in Turn 4 with an apparent mechanical issue. Car is going to put in a safe area until the end of the session.

10:43 a.m. – GREEN. Session is extended for all cars to receive one timed lap.

            10:46 a.m. – CHECKERED.

FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF SESSION:

Pos.

Car

Name

Time

1.

28

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:08.8470

2.

67

Josef Newgarden

1:08.9336

3.

3

Helio Castroneves

1:09.0094

4.

25

Marco Andretti

1:09.0930

5.

2

Juan Pablo Montoya

1:09.1395

Quotes from driver media availablity:

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda) “Well, it’s actually better that (Barber) is round three now, because normally it’s round two. And coming off of St. Pete, it’s a hard race. I think now that we’ve had Long Beach as well and we actually all have pretty much had a Texas test, I think everyone is conditioned enough for getting into it, but it is one of the tougher races of the year. This is probably the most physically demanding course if it goes green all the way through, which is nearly what happened last year. We almost ran the whole race green and it was a tough round. So yea, you got to be hydrated and you know, you really got to man up in this type of race. Even if you get worn out, you got to fight through all the way to the end.”

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A total of 50 points have been deducted from Chevrolet’s manufacturer championship total and Honda’s total has been reduced by 30 points for violation of engine sporting regulations.

The Nos. 11, 12, 17 and 20 cars with Chevrolet power and the No. 98 Honda-powered car were found to have violated rule 10.6.4 (non-minor engine repair). In accordance with the rule, 10 points will be deducted for an engine undergoing a non-minor repair that requires a component change, subject to INDYCAR approval. The engine will no longer be eligible for points from Rule 10.6.4.2.

Additionally, both manufacturers were found to have violated Rule 16.5.1 (engine change under mileage). Chevrolet switched out the engine in the No. 83 car and Honda before it met the 2,500-mile threshold, while the Honda engine in the Nos. 7 and 77 cars were changed out.

The members may contest the imposition of the penalties pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

Chevrolet leads the Engine Manufacturers’ Championship 197-112 heading into the April 27 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

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It’s long been subjective that the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum contained the best collection of motorcycles in the world. Now it officially has been recognized as having the largest by Guinness World Records.

            Jeff Ray, the museum’s executive director, joined museum founder George Barber and Birmingham Mayor William Bell in unveiling a certificate citing the acknowledgement from the London-based organization.

            Guinness World Record for Barber Motorsports ParkThe 144,000-square-foot facility on the grounds of Barber Motorsports Park houses almost 1,400 motorcycles — about 700 of which are on display in rotation — dating to 1902. Bikes from 20 countries represent 200 different manufacturers. The common street bike is represented, as well as rare, one-off Gran Prix race machinery. Bikes have been purchased from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and Sweden.

            “It’s great to be recognized by Guinness as the world’s largest motorcycle museum because it puts Alabama on the map in an interesting and unique way,” said Barber (in photo at left), whose interest in motorcycles spurred the opening in 1995 of his first display in a building on the south side of the city. “The museum provides a wonderful experience for visitors.”

            The current five-story facility opened in 2003, and also contains an extensive vintage race car collection and the largest array of Lotus cars in the world.

            “The park and museum bring large crowds during the weekend of (the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama),” Ray said. “What better time to make this announcement.”

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The Long Beach City Council unanimously approved an extension to the current Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach agreement on April 22 that will allow Indy car racing to continue through 2018, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach officials announced.

“We’re delighted to have received the unanimous vote of the City Council for approval of the extension of our contract with the city through 2018,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association. “This will afford us the opportunity to continue to partner with the city in conducting the No. 1 street race in America for years to come.”

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE #2:

At 1:45 p.m., the ambient temperature was 74 degrees with a relative humidity of 48 percent. Winds from the east-southeast at 4 mph. Skies were sunny. The track temperature was 120 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

            2 p.m. – GREEN.

            2:15 p.m. – RED FLAG. Debris in Turn 14.

            2:20 p.m. – GREEN.

            2:45 p.m. – CHECKERED.

FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF SESSION:

Pos.

Car

Name

Time

1.

28

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:08.7836

2.

11

Sebastien Bourdais

1:08.9311

3.

12

Will Power

1:08.9746

4.

27

James Hinchcliffe

1:09.0036

5.

3

Helio Castroneves

1:09.0586

           

FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF DAY:

Pos.

Car

Name

Time

1.

28

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:08.7836

2.

11

Sebastien Bourdais

1:08.9311

3.

67

Josef Newgarden

1:08.9336

4.

12

Will Power

1:08.9746

5.

27

James Hinchcliffe

1:09.0036

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “The track was good – this is quite a bit hotter than we’re used to here at Barber. It takes some getting used to and the track conditions have certainly changed, but we’ve tested here quite a bit – we tested here in the offseason and we definitely can’t get enough of Barber. It’s going to be a little bit hotter (tomorrow) and the track temp is going to go up, so we’ll look at what we did her last year preparing for qualifying. The Andretti Autosport car is great right now, we’re not where we want to be yet, but I expect to see all four of us up front (tomorrow).”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): ““The PPG Chevy was really good in the first session. I was able to push it a little harder than I did at Long Beach and it looked like it we were making big gains. For some reason the speed fell off in the afternoon. Not sure why that was but we’ll figure it out before qualifying tomorrow. Qualifying continues to be very important for us and tomorrow will be no different.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “We made a couple of changes after this morning, trying to make small, deliberate changes and it was a bit of a handful this afternoon. We’ll see what we missed and we’ll work on that, and hopefully we’ll have a better run at it tomorrow.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “We know how slick this place can be when it gets hot and how much tire degradation can be a factor. We come here (in March) and test for two days and it’s drizzling and it’s British weather in the 50s, no wind, and the track is awesome – and the car feels great and it’s super fast. And then we come back and the track is 125 degrees, and it’s gusty, and you’re like, ‘Is this the same car?’ You’re two seconds slower and you’re P1. And that’s interesting. I think it’s very difficult to anticipate what might happen; the track might not pick up any speed at all and it’s getting very slick out there. We’ll see what happens.”

MIKE CONWAY (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “It’s been a busy time since the win at Long Beach. I flew back to the UK for the WEC race at Silverstone, Unfortunately, the sponsorship for the LMP2 effort didn’t come through for the race so I didn’t drive. But I did get to see the Toyota Hybrid P1 team place 1-2 there. I helped with the testing on that car so it felt good to be there and watch the win. I then flew back to Scottsdale and moved from my house to a condo on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I flew to Birmingham for a media day on Thursday, so it felt good to get back in the race car today. We didn’t have the grip level in the practice sessions that we wanted. This place is challenging and tough to get everything just right. But we’ll work overnight and be ready for Saturday’s practice and qualifying.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet): “The AAA Chevrolet has good speed so far this weekend. The speed is there to qualify well and to contend for the win on Sunday. I really enjoy racing at the place and we know how to win here. We took a race off last year but it’s time to put Team Penske back in Victory Lane.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “The conditions are quite a bit different from the Open Test; it’s a lot warmer so the tire grip is acting differently. We didn’t get a good feel for the setup in the morning session because there were so many red flags. In the afternoon, we tried to find what we had in the test but we’re not there yet. We have to work pretty hard tonight.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “Today was okay. I am only a second off the pace on my first day so it is not bad. This is a challenging circuit, it is pretty difficult to get it all together and also the setup is quite tricky. We still have to adjust the car a bit more. I hope we get things set to give it a good go this weekend.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “We improved the car from the first to second session but at the end (of Practice 2) we got derailed a little bit by a downshift issue and separate fuel pressure issue. But I’m still not happy with the car. I think we still have a lot to gain by finding the right setup. This place is very hard on the tires so if you are a little bit off on balance, it will just eat one end or the other. Its tough, we just need to keep at it. That’s what we did at Long Beach and by race day we had one of the best cars out there. I’m still confident we can do that here.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): “We’re obviously still learning. There are still some things we have to figure out and some time to be found but at the end of the day, we aren’t that far off time-wise. You look at the time sheets and it looks like both of our cars are struggling but when you are only eight-tenths (of a second) off (fast time), yet you’re 19th, it’s a difficult thing. If you find less than one-tenth (of a second) a corner, you are right up there with those guys. That’s what we’ve got to do, just keep working and find more speed. I feel like there is potential here. We found some things that worked at the end of the session. I didn’t get the best out of my tire run. I don’t know what I did but the tires only lasted me a lap so I have to figure that out. Overall I think we will be alright.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda):  “It felt like we tried a ton of different set-ups in the car today, and we definitely found the one we’ll use tomorrow for qualifications. The second practice definitely went better for me than the first and we were able to run way more green laps. The field is really tight and everyone’s searching for that last bit of speed.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing Honda): “We come here testing in Barber testing every winter and it’s usually really cold and the track is super fast. Today it’s very hot and the track is very greasy. There’s a lot of rubber from other series out there on the track and it’s getting very slippery. We had to adjust the No. 77 car because of that but I’m happy – we’re fast right now. We were P8 in practice two on old tires, so that’s a good sign. We need to adjust the balance a little for tomorrow but we’ll be right up there with the rest of the competition for qualifying.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet): “We had a really good second session with the NTT DATA Chevrolet. The first session we couldn’t really get much done with all the red flags, so it was nice to have a solid second session. The conditions are very different here this weekend than they were at the open test. It’s just a lot hotter so the track is a little more slippery. We’ve definitely got some challenges for qualifying tomorrow and some work to do over night, but I think we’ll have a fast car tomorrow.” 

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet): “It was good to finally get some good running in during that second session. We made some solid improvements to the car after the first session and we were able to save some tires to test those changes. We’re expecting tomorrow’s conditions during qualifying to be pretty similar to today’s, so we’ll have to make sure we’re ready for that. The work we did with Chevy and the whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew is the reason we’re making such steady improvements and we’re ready to get the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet in the Firestone Fast 6 tomorrow.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chevrolet): “We had a very slow start to the weekend after not even getting to turn a lap in the morning session due to an electrical issue. It was frustrating for the Target guys to say the least, but we made good progress in the second session. We still have a lot of work to do but I like this track, we’ve been strong here in the past and I’m looking forward to qualifying tomorrow.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 GE Reveal Chevrolet): “Well we really didn’t know what we had to start with in the GE Reveal car because of all the problems in the first session with cars going off and causing red flags. It was frustrating to say the least. Every time you thought you were able to get something going, the red flag would come out again and stop the session. We struggled today with the setup and will go back to see what the rest of the team is doing and be ready for tomorrow.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS KVAFS Racing Chevrolet): “It’s been a positive first day for the KV AFS team. We showed strong pace. Everything is so tight here that if you don’t take advantage of tire life then you won’t get far and I think this is something I didn’t do with the second set. The track changed dramatically in this afternoon’s session, which everyone experienced. We will be working hard this weekend to set the car up to the ever changing track conditions.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Verizon Chevy team didn’t do bad today. We went through and made a few changes today but we will definitely have to think about what we can do a little bit different tomorrow so we can qualify at the top.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): “We were here for spring training and had a little bit of an idea of what to expect this weekend, of course the conditions are a bit different now which has a huge affect on the track. The team did a great job though, obviously Ryan (Hunter-Reay) was quickest both session. I’m happy with the United Fiber & Data Honda, but still a little bit of work to do for tomorrow.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): “We weren’t as high on the charts as we wanted to be today and still have a few things to dial in on the Snapple car. But our teammates were quick and we are headed in the right direction. We’ll look at everything tonight and do our best to come ready for qualifying tomorrow.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): “It was a good day here at Barber. We are still working to figure out a few details in the setup but we have a very solid base after today and I feel confident about the rest of the weekend.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): “I think things went pretty good today, the afternoon was better than the morning session. But things feel good, I think we have to work a little bit tonight. In Long Beach I improved a lot over the weekend so I hopefully I will do the same here. In the first session the track had much more grip so it was tougher, but we have a good idea of what to do for tomorrow.”

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SATURDAY’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), NBCSN (Taped, 3 p.m)

Tony Tellez

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