May 2011
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RACE NEWS & VIEWS
Latest news is at the bottom
A.J. Foyt Jr Will Drive Pace Car
May 6 - Donald Trump dropped out of driving the pace car for this year's Indianapolis 500.  (He says he decided he was too busy as he may be
running for president.)  So
Mari George, chairman of the speedway, gave A.J. Foyt, Jr. a call and asked him to pace the race on the 100th year
anniversary of the first 500.  Foyt said he'd be honored.  Foyt has won the famous race a record four times. (1961, 1964, 1967, 1977)
1961 Winner
A.J. Foyt Jr.
Scott Speed Coming To IndyCar
May 10 - Scott Speed was the first and last American to race in
Formula One since
Michael Andretti.  After 2 seasons there with
the Toro Rosso team, he raced ARCA and he is now in NASCAR.

He will try to qualify in this year's Indy 500 for Jay Penske's
Dragon Racing.  This will be his first IndyCar race.

He may also be selected as one of the five drivers to compete for
the Izod IndyCar Series' $5 million men, which will happend at the
season-ending IndyCar race October 16th at Las Vegas Motor
Speedway.

IndyCar CEO
Randy Bernard said Speed and others will be
available for the $5 million if they don't participate in more than
one IndyCar race prior to Las Vegas.
500 Rookie Orientation at the Speedway
May 10 - Eight rookies are scheduled to participate in this
Thursday's rookie program at IMS.

They include:
Scott Speed
Ho-Pin Tung
James Hinchcliffe
J.R. Hildebrand
Pippa Mann
James Jakes
Jay Howard
Charlie Kimball

Thursday's action is officially closed to the public, although the
viewing stand in front of the Hall of Fame Museum will be open.
Next Generation IndyCar on Display
May 11 - The 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series oval concept car and its
companion road/street course model were unveiled May 10 in the
Pagoda Plaza at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A rolling chassis with bodywork open to development and sale by
any approved manufacturer. Three engine companies – Honda,
Chevrolet and Lotus -- committed for 2012 will augment the
IndyCar Safety Cell and aero kit programs.
The rookies have to pass speed tests from 200 mph and laps up
to and over 215 mph and show consistancy to get approval to be
in the practice field.

Ho-Pin Tung is the first Chinese to try and qualify for the
Indianapolis 500.  He is driving for Dragon Racing.
<<<<< DAY 1 - OPENING DAY >>>>>>>
May 14 - Ed Carpenter turned the fastest speed today with a lap
of 224.786 mph in the No. 67 car, driving for Sarah Fisher Racing.
New Zealand's
Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy winner, was second at
224.491 mph.

Carpenter posted his speed just before rain started falling for the
first time Saturday.

The delay wiped out nearly two hours of the scheduled six-hour
session. Workers finally got the track dry enough late in the day
to get everyone back out on the track again. But a second round
of showers limited washed out the final 45 minutes of practice.

Rookie
JR Hildebrand, of Panther Racing, surprised many by
finishing third at 224.433 - just two days after passing his rookie
test.

Defending champ and two-time 500 winner
Dario Franchitti,
Dixon's teammate at Target Chip Ganassi, was fourth at 224.107.
The Scotsman finished just ahead of
Marco Andretti, who had a
223.927. Three-time Indy winner
Helio Castroneves, of Brazil,
was ninth at 222.755, and was second among Team Penske
drivers. Castroneves' teammate, Australia's
Ryan Briscoe, was
sixth at 223.811.

England's
James Jakes became the last of the seven rookies to
pass his rookie test Saturday

Rain wasn't the only problem track officials faced Saturday.

The start of practice also was delayed for about 15 minutes after
an automatic sprinkler from the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course
doused the track just before noon. Track workers scrambled to
dry the moisture in the back straightaway.

The speedway held a fantastic car show with 250 antique cars, on
an invitation basis.  Marks featured were from car companies that
had competed in the Indy 500.  All cars were made between
1911-1961.  
See Car Show Photos
Jay Howard's Car - Sam Schmidt Racing
Buddy Rice's Car - Panther Racing
Bertrand Baguette - Rahal Letterman Racing
Paul Tracy - Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
<<<<< DAY 2 - Practice >>>>>>>
Sunday, May 15 - Continuous rainfall postponed the second day
of practice for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.  Due
to the heavy rain showers, the IZOD IndyCar Series cancelled
practice for today and it will resume tomorrow.  
<<<<< DAY 3 - Practice >>>>>>>
Monday, May 16 - Sam Schmidt Motorsports' Alex Tagliani
posted a fastest lap of 225.878 mph to set the pace for a chilly,
breezy, full day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on
Monday. Tagliani's mark bested 39 cars and drivers who saw
action at The Brickyard as preparations continue for this
weekend's Pole Day on Saturday.
Alex Tagliani
Tuesday, May 17 - Mike Conway shook down the No. 27 car on
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after some tweaks overnight,
and Andretti Autosport teammate
Marco Andretti got in five laps
“to get the feel of a different setup.”

That was the extent of on-track action – save for crews tuning up
on pit lane for pit stop competition qualifications May 18 -- on a
day more reminiscent of mid-autumn than mid-spring. The green
flag flew at noon for the start of the six-hour session, but light rain
sent the flagman packing at 4:05 p.m.
<<<<< DAY 4 - Practice >>>>>>>
Mike Conway and Michael Andretti
Biff Henderson, the stage manager for the "Late Show With
David Letterman" and a personality who regularly appears out
of the studio interviewing people, spent the day at the track
hanging out with IndyCar drivers, including
Bertrand
Baguette
, who drives for Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing -- a
team partly owned by the Indiana-born Letterman.
Biff Henderson and Tony Kanaan
Wednesday, May 18 - For the second consecutive day practice
for Saturday's Indianapolis 500 pole qualifications was
frustrated by cold, rainy conditions lingering over Speedway,
Indiana. Rain erupted onto an almost dry track at approximately
3:30 p.m., just as cars and drivers began making their way from
Gasoline Alley onto the pit lane after an initial delay of the
scheduled Noon start that was also caused by showers.

Anxious drivers for the most part waited in the garages for the
weather to improve. Others sought physical recreation to quiet
the nerves and stay in shape during the down time. Among the
latter was
Simona de Silvestro, the young Swiss racer who
has turned heads since her arrival at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway as a rookie IndyCar driver in 2010.

"It's raining a lot here in Indy this week, and we've had a lot of
racquetball matches," she said of the friendly competition she's
struck up with her driving coach
Bob Perona. "I've been pretty
good against him, so he wants a rematch pretty much every
time it rains now."

"It's kind of weird not having that many laps out there, and it's
already Wednesday," she continued, adding that she thinks
Thursday and Friday will be more conducive to running on the
track as planned. "We have a direction we want to go with the
setups, we want to try a couple of different things."

"You want to do more laps here because it is an intimidating
place. The first lap I did on Saturday, I was, 'Wow, it is pretty
fast out there.' Your mind has to kind of get used to the speed."

"Going down the straightaway, which is so long, and then
thinking you're going to be flat out through the corner too…it
takes a little time to get used to that that," she said. "The car
feels so different on the ovals. It's a completely different animal
out there."
Japanese racer Takuma Sato is collaborating with local
students in a project to support the 'With You Japan' charity
program, which he created to help empower local child-care
professionals in Japan to provide responsive and proactive
care to thousands of children as they try to move forward with
their lives.

A total of 137 students from the Towne Meadow Elementary
School in Carmel, Ind., are taking part in an arts project. They
will assemble themselves at ground level to recreate the
Japanese flag when photographed from above. The local fire
department also is involved by providing a fire truck rescue
bucket to serve as the elevated platform for the photograph.

The students want to send this personal and original message
of togetherness and solidarity to their counterparts in Japan,
many of whom have had their lives torn apart by the recent
earthquake and tsunami.

Sato visited the school today to thank the school for its
participation and to answer questions about the disaster. He
visited the affected areas near Sendai last week and has first-
hand experience of the extent of the devastation.

Sato said, "I really appreciate the local kids getting involved in
this project. There is so much work to be done over in Japan,
and people there really need to know that they are not alone.
The whole world is doing what it can to help them. I love the
idea of the flag picture; it will make a really powerful and
interesting message to Japanese kids.”
<<<<< DAY 5 - Practice >>>>>>>
Simona de Silvestro
Takuma Sato
<<<<< DAY 6 - Practice >>>>>>>
Thursday, May 19 - Throughout most of the six hours of practice
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday,
Alex Tagliani
had the fastest car, but his efforts and those of others were
dashed in the final quarter hour when Team Penske took to the
track.

Will Power powered his way to the top slot with 11 minutes to go,
smoothly navigating around the 2.5-mile oval at a speed of
227.778 miles per hour. "I don't think the speed was
representative of when everyone is at," he said. "We just got a
good tow at the end. Prior to that, we had been working (all day)
on our race set-up, and we haven't changed much on this car
from last year."

Tagliani retained the second spot at 227.652 mph and Power's
teammates
Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves blasted their
way into third and fourth place at 227.217 and 226.927 mph,
respectively.

"We did well today," said Tagliani. "We learned a lot. We had
good track position, and we weren't in a lot of traffic. That lap
(227.652 mph), I was behind
Dario Franchitti, so I had a bit of a
tow. But it shows that the car is quick and capable of doing it."

Townsend Bell and J. R. Hildebrand, the fastest of eight rookie
entrants, were fifth and sixth fastest, and they were trailed by
Oriol Servia, Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter and Danica Patrick.

Stated Hildebrand, "Since rookie orientation, we have been trying
to improve upon our performance. For me, I am just trying to chip
away and we have seen some positive results from small
changes. I think it will be tough to put up big numbers (in
qualifying). It is a tough gig as you are fighting you own emotions
and to be smart is tougher than you might think it would be.
(Teammate)
Buddy Rice and I are just trying to get to know each
other and work as a team."

Swiss driver
Simona de Silvestro survived a fiery crash shortly
after the track opened for practice. The devastating crash started
when something appeared to break in the car as she sped into
turn three. The car smashed into the outer wall, climbed the fence
and skidded along the top of it before tumbling over, coming to a
rest upside down and on fire in turn four.

Rescue staff got to her quickly and she walked from the car to the
ambulance. She was first taken to the infield care center and later
on to Methodist Hospital. After being treated for second-degree
burns on her right hand and superficial burns to her left hand, she
was released from the hospital. She will meet with IndyCar medical
officials Friday to evaluate her driving status.

According to HVM owner
Keith Wiggins, de Silvestro's car was
damaged beyond repair and the team will have to rely upon a
back-up car. Said Wiggins, "Yes, we can build a good car, but it
probably won't be as good as the original car because that was
built specifically for here. We had only one of those built because
that is all our resources will allow."

Forty drivers took advantage of the good weather, and the group
turned 2,394 laps.
3 keys to today's Speedway action:

1. Put the hammer down. It's called Fast Friday for a reason. In
preparation for pole day Saturday, teams will trim out their cars for
maximum speed and go see what they have.

2. Playing it coy. Don't be too alarmed if your favorite driver isn't
among the leaders at the end of the day. He might be lying in the
weeds saving his best for when it counts.

3. Fast but not too fast. Today is all about teams pushing to the
edge while being careful not to go over it. Worse than having a
slow car the day before pole day is having a wrecked car.
<<<<< DAY 7 - Fast Friday >>>>>>>
Three Generations of Andrettis
Simona Burns Hands in Fiery Wreck
She says she can't wait to get rid of
the Mickey Mouse gloves!
1st Crash of May
The United States Postal Service's stamp commemorating the
100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 was issued and
dedicated by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe at the plaza
this morning.

The stamp portrays the Marmon "Wasp" that was driven by
Ray
Harroun
, the winner of the first Indianapolis 500. This stamp will
be classified as a "Forever Stamp" so its value will always be the
same as the value of a First Class Mail 1-Ounce letter--regardless
of postage increases in the future.
<<<<< DAY 8 - Pole Day >>>>>>>
Saturday, May 21 - First day of qualifying determines who will be
on the pole.

One of the fastest drivers in Indianapolis 500 practice will have to
qualify his backup car after wrecking his primary.  
Ryan Briscoe,
29, from Australia, crashed the No. 6 Team Penske car shortly
after practice began at 8 a.m. The rear of his car hit the second-
turn wall flush. He was shaken up and taken away on a stretcher,
but an hour later was cleared by doctors to return to the track. His
6T car is 34th in line to qualify.

Rookie Ho-pin Tung from the Netherlands crashed on his final
qualifying lap.  His tail suddenly came around in T2, and he hit the
wall backwards.  He walked away.  Too bad, he was running really
good with an avg speed over 224 mph.

Qualifications were halted at 3:30 PM EDT when showers moved
northward from Turn 1 onto the Gasoline Alley garages and over
the Speedway, bringing with them fears that the 2.5 mile oval
could not be dried quickly enough for the anticipated “Fast Nine”
portion of qualifications.

The TOP 9 QUALIFIERS
1. Alex Tagliani        Team Sam Schmidt - 226.954 mph
2. Scott Dixon           Team Ganassi
3. Dario Franchitti     Team Ganassi
4. Dan Wheldon        Team Bryan Herta
5. Townsend Bell       Team Sam Schmidt
6. Ed Carpenter        Team Sarah Fisher
7. Will Power              Team Penske
8.Oriol Servia             Team Newman Haas
9. Buddy Rice            Team Panther

These guys would have a shoot-out after the track was dryed.  
Notice that no Andretti drivers were fast enough, nor were the
other two Penske's!
Friday, May 20 - Great weather permitted many drivers to practice
today.

Team Penske’s
Helio Castroneves paced Fast Friday with a
best lap speed of 228.611 mph over the 2.5 mile diamond-
ground, asphalt oval surface at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  
This was faster than he went last year when he won the pole.

Sam Schmidt’s
Alex Tagliani continued to show himself as a
strong contender for the pole position on Saturday and the May
29th Indianapolis 500 with the day’s second-best mark, a lap of
228.327 mph turned in the sixth of only 26 circuits of the field
today.

Third fastest on Friday was Ganassi Racing’s
Scott Dixon
(228.181 mph) followed by Castroneves’ teammate
Ryan Briscoe
(228.029 mph).
Bertrand Baguette whizzed along to a lap of
228.028 mph in an attempt to catch Briscoe that missed by a cat’s
whisker.

Ed Carpenter, Will Power, Townsend Bell, Oriol Servia and
Dan Wheldon rounded out the top ten on Friday.
Simona Speaks of Her Injury
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO: “Something broke on the rear
suspension, and when that happens, you’re just a passenger.
You can’t really do anything about it, especially when you’re going
about 220 mph. I hit the wall and it took forever to land, it seemed,
and then it started getting pretty hot out there (because of
flames). It was pretty shocking, actually, especially to be on fire. It’
s kind of weird because the fuel is splashing on you and you don’t
really know what to do. A lot of things go through your head, but
you want to get out of the car as quickly as possible.

Everyone is working hard to get me back in the car, and I think it’s
important for me to get back in the car quickly. It just shows how
safe the car is. I don’t think a crash like that in any other car I
would be standing here. When I got out of the car, I couldn’t
believe it because it was so crazy being along for the ride and
being on fire – again. I was pretty shocked, but it was nice to be
standing.

I don’t think I was a good patient in the infield medical center
because I was in a lot of pain and I was screaming for water to
cool my hands down. They took good care of me and then we
went to the hospital, where they said it was second-degree burns.
We took the bandages off (this morning) and they were really
blistered, and tonight we’re going to check them again and see
what they say. They don’t look pretty, so I don’t want to look.

I can say I’m pretty lucky to be here. It is my goal to get back in
the car as quickly as I can. It will be (INDYCAR’s medical team)
decision and also mine because it’s pretty shocking. I can move
my hands, but it is pretty tight because it pulls the skin. We’ll get
some gloves that can fit.”
Helio Castroneves crossing the finish line.
QUALIFYING RULES
Positions 1-24 Available today,
3 Attempts Per Car Allowed,
4:30pm - Pole Shootout -
Top 9 Cars Must Re-Qualify in Reverse Order for Postions 1-9
<<<<< DAY 9 - Bump Day >>>>>>>
Sunday, May 22 - Today, postions 25-33 will be filled and then
the traditional bumping starts.

Cocky American
Scott Speed, who spent two miserable years in
Formula One, could not get up to speed yesterday and was
replaced by Dragon Racing today by
Patrick Carpentier.  
Carpentier crashed during practice this morning when he spun in
turn one and hit the wall,  causing serious damage to the left side
of the car.  Team owner
Jay Penske does not have a backup
car for the No. 20. Chinese rookie
Ho-Pin Tung crashed
Penske's other entry, the No. 8, on Saturday. Tung was
diagnosed with a concussion and must sit out seven days.

After
Graham Rahal and Ana Beatriz qualified, rain moved in to
delay qualifying.

Drivers who still need to qualify:
Charlie Kimball, Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti, Paul Tracy, Ryan
Hunter-Reray, Alex Lloyd, Raphael Matos, Mike Conway, James
Jakes, Sebastian Saavedra.   

After an hour and a half, the track was dried and qualifying
resumed.  

33 cars got qualified when the rain returned at 3:30pm.  
Paul
Tracy
had just got in, but  Danica Patrick was sitting in her car
on the pits ready to try to qualify when they closed the track!

Fortunately for her, the rain stopped and they got the track
redried by 5pm.  Qualifying resumed.

Drivers Who Did Not QUALIFY
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Raphael Matos
James Jakes
Mike Conway
Ho-Pin Tung
Scott Speed

Four women qualified for this year's race.
Ryan Briscoe crash
Ho-pin Tung crash
Sam Schmidt and Alex Tagliani win 500 Pole Position
Tom Carnegie Pole Day at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway came to a storybook ending with the
$100,000 pole position award going to
Alex
Tagliani
and team owner Schmidt Motorsports with
the a four-lap qualifying speed of 227.472 mph.

The 38 year old Canadian driver turned in a heroic
effort at the close of the Fast Nine portion of
qualifying for quadriplegic team owner Schmidt, who
was forced into retirement from the sport after a
practice accident in 1991.

“I have to give all praise to this team,” said Tagliani.
“I see them in the shop, working night and day, from
every day last winter. It is truly a family effort, and
today all the hard work paid off.”

A tearful Schmidt could not watch the huge
television monitors stationed around the Speedway
as Tagliani nailed down the first spot on the front row for his team.
Afterwards he was emotional in saying, “Thank God we are here.
We’re living the dream. Today is the greatest day in my life since
my last child was born. I'm numb. This is a fantastic day”

Ganassi Racing's
Scott Dixon's mark of 227.340 mph in the Fast
Nine put him into the middle of the front row, but the 2009
Indianapolis 500 winner might have done better still had his car
not run out of fuel entering the final turn of his fourth qualifying
lap.

The same fate befell Dixon’s teammate and last year’s Indy 500
winner
Dario Franchitti, who slowed on his final lap of Fast Nine
qualifications and was officially recorded with “No Speed”.
Franchitti will start ninth in the May 29th race.

Newman Haas Lanigan driver
Oriol Servia won the outside spot
on the front row with a 227.168 mph average. “I am so happy,”
said the Spaniard. “The car was on the limit the whole time
around. It says so much about the team and our performance that
we've come so far since last winter.”
Front Row Starters
Alex Tagliani
227.472 mph
Scott Dixon
227.340 mph
Oriol Servia
227.168 mph
Townsend Bell
226.887 mph
Will Power
226.773 mph
Dan Wheldon
226.490 mph
Buddy Rice
225.786 mph
Ed Carpenter
225.121 mph
Dario Franchitti
226.379 mph
Takuma Sato
225.736 mph
Vitor Meira
225.590 mph
JR Hildebrand
225.579 mph
James Hinchcliffe
225.572 mph
Bertand Baguette
225.285 mph
Davey Hamilton
225.250 mph
Helio Castroneves
225.216 mph
John Andretti
224.981 mph
E.J. Viso
224.732 mph
Bruno Junqueira
224.691 mph
Justin Wilson
224.511 mph
Jay Horward
224.483 mph
Tomas Scheckter
224.433 mph
Tony Kanaan
224.417 mph
Simona de Silvestro
224.392 mph
Paul Tracy
224.939
Danica Patrick
224.861 mph
Ryan Briscoe
224.639 mph
Marco Andretti
224.628 mph
Charlie Kimball
224.499 mph
Graham Rahal
224.380 mph
Alex Lloyd
223.957 mph
Pippa Mann
223.936 mph
Ana Beatriz
223.879 mph
2011 STARTING GRID
95th Indy 500
500 Queen Riley Hoffman
Patrick Carpentier wreck
Last Day of Qualifying was filled with many highs and lows.
Alex Lloyd's team celebrate qualifying after being bumped
Michael Andretti's team has had
trouble finding speed this month and
two of their drivers will not make the
show.  

Still, they are happy that John
Andretti,  Danica Patrick and Marco
Andretti made it in.
Using a rear wing for an umbrella
AJ Foyt Sells 500 Entry
May 23 - A.J. Foyt, Jr. hired Bruno Junqueira to drive his
#41 car,   Junqueira qualified the car in 19th position.

Meanwhile, Andretti Autosport driver
Ryan Hunter-Reay did
not qualify for the race.

Michael Andretti met with A.J. Foyt and came up with a deal
to sell Foyt's entry to Andretti who then plans to replace
Junqueira with Hunter-Reay, even though that will probably
mean that the car will be moved to the last position on the
grid.

Junqeira said, "I will watch the race from home with my son,
and we will cheer for my friend
Vitor Meira. Yes of course I
am disappointed, but I'm most sad of all that the rules allow
this to happen. It's strange and sad."

I agree.  Junqueira has been screwed over at Indy again and
again.  Just two years ago, this same scenario happened
when rookie
Alex Tagliani was bumped out, ironically by
Hunter-Reay.  Junqueira had came in and qualified, but then
they took him out and gave the ride back to Tag.  

Junqueira was also put into the wall by AJ's grandson in 2005
resulting in a broken back.  He still lives with a 9-inch rod and
14 screws embedded in his spine to this day.

Junqueira has made five Indianapolis 500 starts, notching
pole position for the 2002 race and two top-five finishes.
Bruno Junqeira
Gold Brick Put In Finish Line
May 24 - Back in 1961, Tony Hulman and Ray Harroun
placed a gold brick in the Yard of Bricks to honor the 50th
anniversary of when Harroun had won the first Indy 500.

Today, speedway president Jeff Belskus, Mari Hulman
George and A.J. Foyt placed a centennial golden brick in the
Yard of Bricks.  It weighs 37 lbs.
Military Pre-Race Festivities
May 25 - We have been honoring our U.S. soldiers at the
Indy 500 since the inaugural event on Decoration Day – now
known as Memorial Day – May 30, 1911.  Salutes to the
military occupy many special moments during the pomp and
pageantry of pre-race ceremonies on Race Day.  Military
members march in uniform down the front straightaway.
Large American flags have been unfurled in the infield during
the performance of the national anthem, and a military rifle
team fires a volley to honor fallen comrades. Florence
Henderson also traditionally sings “America the Beautiful” to
honor America and the troops.  
General Peter W. Chiarelli,
Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army, will give a speech
honoring the U.S. Armed Forces during pre-race ceremonies.
Chiarelli also will meet with the 400 service members and
approximately 40 Wounded Warriors who will be on hand for
the “500.”  Global music superstars and Grammy Award
winners
David Foster, Seal and Kelly Clarkson will
perform the national anthem during pre-race ceremonies for
the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 on May 29.  Seal and
Clarkson will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a duet,
accompanied by Foster on piano. Members of the U.S.
Armed Forces will stand at attention beside Foster’s grand
piano during the performance.  The traditional flyover during
the national anthem this year will feature a Northrop
Grumman B-2 Spirit, also known as a “Stealth Bomber.”
Following the national anthem will be one of the most
poignant tributes to America’s veterans during pre-race
ceremonies when a lone bugler plays “Taps.”
Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
Bruce P. Crandall
will serve as the honorary starter, waving the green flag to
begin racing for the field of 33 drivers.  Retired Col. Crandall,
who flew more than 900 missions as a helicopter pilot during
the Vietnam War, received the Congressional Medal of Honor
– the highest military decoration awarded by the United
States government – in 2007.

This year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. navy
aviation, there will be a 2nd fly-over after the race's
conclusion.   A formation of U.S. Navy aircraft consisting of
one A-4 Skyhawk and a T-2C Buckeye will soar over the
track followed by the Navy flyover of four F/A-18E Super
Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadrons 105 from Oceana, Va.
and 137 from Lemoore, Calif. Representing the Navy at the
Indianapolis 500 will be
Vice Admiral Al Myers, USN,
Commander, U.S. Naval Air Force.
500 Crowd Continues To Grow
May 25 - Through my search for tickets, my ticket bulletin
board and just observing the crowds at the 500, it has been
obvious that it has been close to selling out again and that
tickets are harder to come by.

According to the Indianapolis Star, suite tickets for the
Indianapolis 500 will be even more difficult to come by this
weekend as all have been sold, including the ones along
Gasoline Alley, for the first time in at least five years.

Demand for other tickets is up, too, prepping Indianapolis
Motor Speedway for one of its largest crowds in years.

"We're almost to a double-digit increase," IMS CEO
Jeff
Belskus
said Tuesday. "It's the first time we've seen an
uptick in three years."
Behind the scenes at the speedway.
Ever wonder what the view is like from the top of the pagoda?
Did You Know...
It has been 100 years since the first Indy 500,
but it will be the 95th Indy 500 because the
race was not ran for a couple years during
WWI and WWII.
Crashed in turn 3.  2nd Degree burns to hands.
Hit T2 wall backwards.  He's ok.
Hit T2 wall backwards.  Has a concussion.
Crashed in turn 1.
Simona de Silvestro
Ryan Briscoe
Ho-pin Tung
Patrick Carpentier
May 19
May 21
May 21
May 22
CRASHES DURING MAY - INDY 500
224.786 mph
225.878 mph
227.778 mph
228.611 mph
228.184 mph
224.939 mph
Ed Carpenter
Alex Tagliani
Will Power
Helio Castroneves
Alex Tagliani
Paul Tracy
May 14
May 16
May 19
May 20
May 21
May 22
500 FASTEST DRIVER OF THE DAY
Cautions: Laps: 21-26 (#5 accident turn 2), 28-32 (#06,59 accident turn 1), 62-69 (#88 accident turn 2), 101-106 (#06 accident turn 1), 148-154
(#77 accident turn 4), 158-164 (#6,99 accident turn 1), 200-200 (#4 accident turn 4)

Lap leaders: Scott Dixon 1-7, Alex Tagliani 8-26, Scott Dixon 27-33, Alex Tagliani 34, Scott Dixon 35-60, Dario Franchitti 61, Ed Carpenter 62-64,
Dario Franchitti 65-72, Scott Dixon 73-98, Dario Franchitti 99, J.R. Hildebrand 100-103, Dario Franchitti 104-112, Oriol Servia 113-128, Dario
Franchitti 129-137, J.R. Hildebrand 138, Bertrand Baguette 139-140, Dario Franchitti 141-163, Oriol Servia 164-165, Graham Rahal 166-171,
Scott Dixon 172-178, Danica Patrick 179-188, Bertrand Baguette 189-197, J.R. Hildebrand 198-199, Dan Wheldon 200
2011 Indianapolis 500  Race Results (May 29, 2011)
<<<<< DAY 11 - Race Day >>>>>>>
Sunday, May 29 -  Dan Wheldon was zipping toward the final
corner of Sunday's Indianapolis 500, surely figuring the best he
could do was another runner-up finish.

Then he came upon
J.R. Hildebrand's crumpled car, all
smashed up and sliding along the wall.

The rookie had made the ultimate mistake with his very last turn of
the wheel, and Wheldon, not Hildebrand, made an improbable
turn into Victory Lane.

"It's obviously unfortunate, but that's Indianapolis," said Wheldon,
who won Indy in 2005 and finished second the last two years.
"That's why it's the greatest spectacle in racing. You never now
what's going to happen."

This might have been the whackiest one ever.

In his first event of the year, Wheldon captured the ultimate
IndyCar prize. But the 100th anniversary of the "Greatest
Spectacle in Racing" will be remembered more for the guy who let
it slip away with the checkered flag in sight.

Leading by almost 4 seconds and needing to make it around the
2½-mile track just one more time, Hildebrand cruised through the
first three turns with no problem.

The fourth one got him. He went too high, lost control and
slammed into the outside wall. Wheldon sped past, while
Hildebrand's battered machine skidded across the line 2.1
seconds behind, still hugging the concrete barrier.

"It's a helpless feeling," Hildebrand said.

The 23-year-old Californian got into trouble when he came up on
another rookie,
Charlie Kimball, going much slower as they
approached the last corner. Instead of backing off, the leader
moved to the outside to make the pass -- a decision that sent him
slamming into the wall to a collective gasp from the crowd of
250,000.

"I caught him in the wrong piece of track," Hildebrand said. "I got
up in the marbles and that was it."

While Wheldon celebrated his second Indy 500 win, series
officials reviewed the video to see if Wheldon passed the wrecked
machine before the caution lights went on. He clearly did, and
Hildebrand's team said it wouldn't protest the result.

That gave the Brit another spot on the Borg-Warner Trophy.

Not bad, considering he doesn't even have a full-time job.  "I think
my contract expires at midnight," Wheldon said, managing a smile.
"I just felt a lot of relief. It's an incredible feeling.  I never gave up."
He has 16 career wins and finished in the top 10 of the series
standings seven years in a row, capturing the title in 2005.  But in
the peculiar world of auto racing, which runs on sponsorship
dollars and not necessarily credentials, Wheldon was squeezed
out of his ride at Panther.  He sat out the first four races of the
year, but no way was he going without a ride at Indy. He's had too
much success around this place.

He took the traditional swig of milk and headed off on a triumphant
lap around the speedway.

Wheldon never led a lap until the last one, the first time that's
happened since
Joe Dawson won the second Indy 500 in 1912.

It was the second time a driver lost the lead on the last lap -- it
happened to another rookie,
Marco Andretti, in 2006.

The 200-lap race was dominated much of the day by Chip
Ganassi's top two drivers, defending champ
Dario Franchitti and
2008 winner
Scott Dixon.
JR Hildebrand Slides Across Finish Line
Dan Wheldon - Victor
But after a series of late pit stops, things really got interesting.
Second-generation racer
Graham Rahal spent some time up
front.
Danica Patrick claimed the lead but had to stop for fuel
with nine laps to go. Belgium driver
Bertrand Baguette had
already gotten past Patrick, but he didn't have enough fuel, either.

When Baguette went to the pits with three laps to go, the lead
belonged to Hildebrand. All he had to do was make it to the end.

Rahal finished third, followed by hard-charging
Tony Kanaan,
who came all the way from the 22nd starting spot to contend for
his first 500 win, just a year after leaving
Michael Andretti's
team. Dixon was fifth, followed by
Oriol Servia, while Franchitti
lost speed in the closing laps and slipped all the way to 12th.

Right from the start, the Ganassi cars showed just how strong
they would be on a sweltering day at the Brickyard, where the
temperature climbed into the upper 80s and the heat on the track
was well over 100 degrees.

From the middle of the front row, Dixon blew by pole-sitter
Alex
Tagliani
before they even got to the start-finish line, diving into
the first turn with the lead.

Tagliani ran strong through the first half of the race but began
having problems with his handling. Finally, on lap 147, he lost it
coming out of the fourth turn and banged into the wall for a
disappointing end to an amazing month


Finally,
Roger Penske's trio of drivers capped a disappointing
month with a grim performance.