April 2013
Latest news is at the bottom
Mini-Marathon Sold Out

April 1 - All 35,000 entries for the annual 500
Mini-Marathon have been sold.  This event
has sold out the last 12 years in a row.  

This year's race is the 37th.

If you didn't get yours in time, you may still be
able to.  There is a
web site where you can
pay a $20 fee to transfer an entry from
someone who no longer wants theirs.

Registration is still open for the May 11th  
Rookie Run.  This event is for children 3-12.
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Grand Prix of Alabama

April 7 - Beautiful 75°F weather in Birmingham
today.  The 2.38-mile, undulating, 17-turn circuit is
located on 740-acres.  The facility was donated to
the city by
George Barber, who constructed it.  The
Barber Motorsports Park contains a museum that
has over 1200 vintage and modern motorcycles
and racecars.  

Ryan Hunter-Reay started from pole.  

AJ Almendinger returned to Indy cars after a 7 year
hiatus.  He surprised many by qualifying well right off
the bat yesterday.  He started 10th, but he stalled
the engine during a pit stop and would only finish in
19th.  Penske has added him to race at Long
Beach in two weeks.

James Hinchcliffe finished last today after crashing
at the start.  He won two weeks ago at the season
opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  The last time
an Indy car driver finished last after having just won
the first race was 1956 -
Lloyd Ruby.

After the caution on lap 3, the race ran under green
flag the rest of the way!

Dario Franchitti had another terrible race and was
out on lap 42.

Josef Newgarden captured his best finish yet with
Charlie Kimball got to lead some today and
got his best finish yet with 4th place!

Helio Castroneves was leading toward the end but
he dropped to third due to tire strategy.  None the
less, he now sits atop the points.  

Over the last 14-laps,  
Scott Dixon chased
Hunter-Reay hard for first place, but Hunter-Reay
held on to break Penske's hold over the race and
won it for Andretti Autosport.  This was the 4th year
in a row that Dixon has finished 2nd at this race.
Charlie Kimball drives for Ganassi.
Last year's IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay
celebrates today's victory.
Indy 500 Festival Car

April  17 - Chevy announced that their "Hot
Wheel" Edition of the 2013 Camaro
convertible will serve as the festival car at
this year's 500.

33 of the cars were lined up at the track and
loaned to the lucky 500 directors.

You can order this edition of the Camaro for  
your driveway for an additional $7k.  $4780
of it is for the 21-inch red-trimmed wheels
which make it look like the Hot Wheels toys.
Government Deserts Historic Tribute

April 23 - Due to budget cuts the U.S. military will not
be providing a fly-over from a military aircraft for the
Memorial Day race in Indianapolis.

There will be a fly-over that the speedway will arrange,
probably from individuals with retired military aircraft.

In addition, the government will not be supporting the
military's presence here in the opening ceremonies.  
The speedway says they will still have a tribute to
service men and women.

I find this bit of news shocking.  Here is one of the
most historic sporting events in the nation paying
tribute to our Armed Forces on Memorial Day.  You
have over 300,000 people present, soldiers
throughout the world listening in over the radio and
millions of Americans watching on television and the
government retracts support?!   They can't send 6
soldiers and a bugle???   Really?
No mention was made of what will be at the track on
Armed Forces Day.
IndyCar Loads Up For Brazil

April 26 - IndyCar teams packed up their equipment this
morning at the airport to head 5000 miles to Brazil.

They will race on the streets of San Paulo on May 5.

About 400,000 lbs of freight were loaded onto two 747
cargo planes.  The planes leave Indy on Sunday.
Speedway Prices Continue to Increase

April 27 - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has
always offered the best entertainment 'bang for your
buck' in town.

Several years ago prices were raised about $5-$10 per
ticket across the board.  I wonder if this happened after
the George family booted Tony George and started
looking for ways to make more money.

This year they are going to be charging to park in the
infield on race day.  I understand this, but it is still a
shock, after having been able to pull into the infield for
the last 100 years if you were willing to get up early
enough and wait in line for the honor.  When I was
young, I would get in line the day before and stay up
most of the night tailgaiting, awaiting the bomb to go
off at 5 am signalling the opening of the gates.  We
also did this on first day of Qualifying.   Ideally we
wanted to be up against the fence or along the road
that wound through the sea of cars.  That way you
would have a front row seat to all the people who
would walk along all day. There are many great
memories from those times.  Having to wait in line all
night guaranteed that the infield was full of serious
young partiers.

Beginning this year, you need to order parking tickets
in advance.  The speedway will sell you a front row
spot for $75.  It will cost you $25 to secure yourself a
spot elsewhere in the turn 3 infield.  (Turn 3 is the north
east corner of the track.)

The infield motorcycle parking lot is still free on race
Indy parking 1947
Not any more!

April 30 -  NASCAR had the perfect combination for
the start of Tuesday's tire test in Indianapolis.

Cool track, new tires, long straightaways and cars
with grip.

It doesn't get any better than that , and they aren't
likely go much faster than this, either. After
wrote on Twitter that he had hit 212 mph in
the backstretch during the morning session, a
Jeff Gordon walked over to his team to
see what it had recorded.

"They said 214 and I said, `My gosh, it really is fast,"'
Gordon said.

To put the speeds in perspective,
Denny Hamlin
won last year's Brickyard 400 pole with a fast lap of
182.293 mph. Gordon said all the cars Tuesday
were faster.

The incredibly quick speeds didn't last long when the
temperatures warmed up and tires started wearing
faster. And while nobody expects the cars to go
anywhere close to these speeds in late July,
everybody was encouraged by the early
performance of the new Gen-6 cars on one of
America's most historic, and tricky tracks.

All of that is good news for a series that hasn't
always had the smoothest races on Indy's 2.5-mile

Tire wear had been an issue for years before the
2008 race turned into a caution-marred debacle of
short sprints. Since then, Goodyear has come out
with tire compounds that have worked better at Indy.
On Tuesday, Gordon and a handful of other drivers
were asked to start the testing on a new more
environmentally friendly tire. It worked spectacularly
well under ideal conditions. The tires, Gordon said,
did not respond nearly as well in the afternoon, and
Trevor Bayne, who also tested, noted his speeds
were down by about one full second per lap in the

The bigger concern?

"You want balance so the car enters the turn
comfortably and that's what we had," Gordon said.
"But it was definitely wearing a little more than we
wanted it to."

So drivers tested other tire compounds with mixed

The same drivers will return to the track Wednesday
for another closed practice.

One way to solve the tire-wear issue would be cooler
temperatures, and after the state legislature
approved the Motorsports Initiative last week, there
has been talk of installing lights.

Speedway officials will have access to a loan for up
to $5 million for 20 years to complete capital
improvement projects but have not said what they
intend to do. The possibility of night racing at Indy is
an idea Bayne and Gordon support.

"I'm game for night races because that's what I grew
up doing," Bayne said. "It would probably be better
with the heat in July, so it would be a win all around
for me."

It might even help improve attendance, which has
been on the decline, too.
Jeff Gordon
Using the old F1 garages