It’s January. It’s roughly 5 degrees in Indianapolis and everyone is dreaming about warm weather and the beach.
That’s precisely where I’m headed this weekend. I’m lucky enough to be attending the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the third year in a row. The first year I attended I live blogged from the media center for the full 24 hours. (Check out the blog here) Last year we blogged again and also streamed all the press conferences from the media center. This year? Well that’s up to you guys!
I’m attending the race to capture footage and photos for both our 2013 Super Weekend program and our #Indy500orBust campaign. I’ve been battling with whether or not we should live blog all the action from inside the media center. I figured who better to ask than the folks we’re writing it for! So, would you want to see us live blogging from the infield media center for the full 24 hours?
We’re already planning on working extensively with SPEED’s Marshall Pruett so we’ll have some access to some very cool and exclusive content. There’s a ton of INDYCAR drivers competing in the event and don’t forget, we now have a GRAND-AM event too so all the stars you’ll see here at IMS in July will be competing in the twice-around-the-clock classic! We’ve even heard from a little bird that A.J. Foyt will be at the track as he was unable to attend last year due to illness (the legend Jackie Stewart filled in for him).
Blogging from the Rolex 24 is an exciting weekend for us. It’s definitely a grind but what other event do you get to shoot a sunset, night racing and a sunrise? It certainly makes for some cool imagery. The racing is also some of the best, which anyone who saw the Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix in 2012 will tell you is true. The past two years I’ve been the race has come down to the last few laps with the lead cars all within a few seconds of each other. Think about that! 24 hours of racing, countless laps, pit stops, break-downs, off-tracks, and crashes and the lead lap cars were all within a few seconds of each other! Let me break that down even further for you:
That’s 24 hours, 86,400 seconds, 40,800 Horsepower, 26,000 gallons of fuel, 8,400 corners, 7,500 tire changes, 1,020 pit stops, 719 laps, 612 drivers changes, 272 drivers. Pretty crazy when you think about it!
As I write this I’m actually getting more rev-ed up about live blogging! So if we were to decide to cover the race for you here on blog.ims.com what kinds of things would you like to see? What kinds of behind the scenes images or video would you like us to show you? You, the fans, are in the drivers seat! So tell us what you want to see and we’ll do our best to deliver!
We’re going to be all over the facility during the event and we have some very special #Indy500orBust stickers and signs to hand out so if you see us, don’t hesitate to yell!
Sunday 4:30 PM – The 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records has come to a close – and the conclusion was an unforgettable one for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard and his father John Menard. John Menard is no stranger to the IMS oval with his history in IndyCar racing. He has spent time and money on racing at this track and today his hard work paid off when he saw his son cross over the yard of bricks and win the Brickyard 400. A big congratulations goes out to Paul for his win today, and for this being his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.
This weekend had something for everyone – and next year’s Brickyard will include even more excitement. So start counting down to the 2012 Super Weekend. 364 days to go…. – Cassie
Paul Menard celebrates his win
Sunday 3:45 PM - We’re 123 laps into the 160 lap Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records. Brad Keselowski is currently in the lead as the cars circulate under caution after a small incident on the back stretch. Jeff Burton, Juan Pabolo Montoya, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson round out the top 5. We stepped out of the nice cool media center to hit the beach… The Brickyard Beach Bash that is.
Fans enjoy the Brickyard Beach Bash
If you’re looking for a place to cool off the Beach Bash is the spot. There’s pools, cool zones, beach volleyball, a bar, and the best part… LIVE MUSIC. There’s been a DJ running all morning with dance competitions and as we speak Iyaz is on stage performing for the crowd. If you’ve been to the Snake Pit before this is our NASCAR version of the famed turn 3 party. Believe me when I say, it’s a sight to be seen! -Brian
Speedway native, diehard IMS follower, and Dale Jr fan... Johnny gives the fans a taste of his dance moves.
Sunday 1:45 PM – The 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records is off and running. Kasey Kahne is currently out and front and looking strong (obviously, he’s my pick). Gordon, Ragan, Kenseth, and Allmendinger round out the top 5. It’s a beautiful day, hot, and perfect for racing. It should be a great race as the heat will have the cars slipping and sliding all over the place. Who’s your early pick for victory? What about leader at half distance? – Brian
Sunday 12:30 PM - Emily and I were lucky enough to spend the morning backstage at the Big Machine Records performances. We were up close and personal with Thomas Rhett, The Band Perry, Brantley Gilbert, and Justin Moore. It was an unforgettable experience! The fans loved every minute of the concerts and we got to capture some great pictures that you can find in our Flickr photostream. As soon as Justin Moore concluded the concerts on the Brickfest stage, Rascal Flatts began to rock out on the front straight. Fans who had pre-race pit passes got an awesome 3 song set from Rascal Flatts.
We’re now awaiting Reba McEntire’s performance. The stands are filling up and the waving of the green flag will happen before we know it!
Rascal Flatts on the Brickyard 400 stage
Sunday 11:28 AM – Cars are lined up on pit row. Tires are laid out. The pit stalls are ready. The green flag is inching closer. Who is your pick to kiss the bricks today? We want to know. – Daniel
Sunday 9:28 AM – NASCAR is hosting a tweetup at 10am on the Turn 2 side of the Hall of Fame museum. We’re headed that way. So is Big Machine Records. How about you Tweeps? – Daniel
Sunday 8:20 AM – It’s starting to heat up – and there’s more hustle and bustle. Fans are rolling in and the teams are starting to fill pit lane. Big Machine Records and their star studded line up of Rascal Flatts, Reba, The Band Perry and more, will get started at 9am. Cassie and Emily will be on hand to send out tweets, grab pics and report back later in the blog. In the meantime, put on some sunscreen and head this way. It’s going to be a great day of racing and music. – Daniel
We're here early
Sunday 6:05 AM – It’s 6 AM and the 2011 Brickyard 400 is off with a bang, literally. Just a few hours until some of the biggest names in country music take the stage at IMS. Big Machine Records has provided a fantastic line up including The Band Perry, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts, and the legendary Reba McEntire.
A salute to US troops and the Brickyard Beach Bash are other great activities planned for today. The green flag will be waved at 1 PM and one lucky driver will be given the opportunity to kiss the bricks. We’ll be blogging through all the action, so be sure to keep checking back! – Cassie
The Pagoda at IMS
Saturday 6:15 PM - The 1st annual Brickfest was a hit – autograph sessions, an exciting round of qualifications, and a great concert by Hinder made the day quite a success. We headed out into the crowd of singing, dancing Hinder fans and searched for our Fan of the Day.
Alissa was decked out in Jimmie Johnson gear with her husband by her side dressed in Dale Jr gear and their son head to toe in Jeff Gordon attire. Alissa told us she waited in line for about an hour to get her wristband to get Jimmie’s autograph at the largest Sprint Cup autograph session of 2011. It seemed to be well worth the wait! She said the autograph session was what she was most looking forward to because she had never gotten an autograph. Alissa and her husband have attended the Brickyard 400 every year since 1998 and plan to attend next year’s Super Weekend.
Saturday 5:45 PM – Qualifying has ended and the driver wheeling the car with the paint scheme commemorating our Grand Marshal, Ned Jarrett, is on pole. David Ragan set the fastest lap in qualifying with a lap speed of 182.994. My choice for pole position, Kasey Kahne was just behind him in second place.
David Ragan 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records Pole Sitter
Here’s the top 10 after qualifying:
1.) David Ragan
2.) Kasey Kahne
3.) Jimmie Johnson
4.) Kurt Busch
5.) Brad Keselowski
6.) AJ Allmendinger
7.) Juan Pablo Montoya
8.) Jeff Gordon
9.) Matt Kenseth
10.) Carl Edwards
We’re off to the Hinder concert! – Brian
Saturday 3:25 PM – We caught up with Hope Solo and showed her around pit lane and Gasoline Alley. She got to rub elbows with lots of NASCAR and soccer fans, as well as meet Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon, 2nd place finisher JR Hildebrand, and NASCAR driver David Ragan. Hope talked about how excited she is to drive the pace car, driving over 100mph around IMS, being at such an amazing facility and how overwhelmingly friendly everyone has been. She’s still walking around soaking in all the excitement. – Daniel
JR Hildebrand and Hope Solo
Saturday 2:00 PM – We stepped out just a few minutes ago to check out the MASSIVE autograph session taking place in the chalet’s behind the pagoda. Today’s autograph session is actually the largest session in the NASCAR Sprint Cup this season. Drivers like Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, and Jeff Gordon were all present for the second half of today’s two part autograph session.
Trevor Bayne at the autograph session.
After strolling through the session it was pretty obvious why fans were sprinting through the gates this morning to get in line for the wristband distribution. It’s not too often to get to experience these drivers in a face to face atmosphere, especially this many! It certainly was a rare experience and I’m sure many fans won’t forget anytime soon. – B
Saturday 11:30 AM – The practice session has concluded, and we took the time to check out the view from Club 94. Club 94 is ticket holders that have had tickets since the innagural Brickyard 400 – in 1994. Club 94 is located on the front straight, so it’s pretty much front row seats to all the NASCAR action all weekend long. Not to mention the food and shade from this crazy July heat. – Cassie
Outside of Club 94
Saturday 10:06 AM – Practice is underway at the Brickyard. In other news, US Women’s National Soccer Team Goalie, Hope Solo will be driving tomorrow’s 2011 Chevrolet Corvette. We already know she has good reflexes. – Daniel
Saturday 9:14 AM – Another good morning. We’re ready for a massive day at the Brickyard for Brickfest. Autograph Sessions. NASCAR Qualifying. Club 94. Kids Club activities. An open Hall of Fame Museum. Hinder in concert. And it’s only Saturday. It’s also going to be a hot one – so stay hydrated and well fed. Speaking of which, Cassie and I started our day off with a breakfast sandwich. It’s no breakfast burrito, but it got the job done. What are you eating today? Daniel
Saturday 6:45 AM – Good morning! It’s a bit damp here this morning after the late night showers we had here in Indy but the trucks are already out on the track doing laps in order to dry the track. Today’s a big day, it’s the 1st Annual Brickfest! We’re all looking forward to all the live music, autograph sessions, and obviously on-track activity.
An early morning at IMS
There’s been quite a bit of debate here in the media center as to who will take the pole for the Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records but I’m going to go with Kasey Kahne. It’d be a big story if the week after his spectacular shunt in a World of Outlaws car he took the pole.
Who do you think will be sitting on top of the timing charts this afternoon? -Brian
Friday 5:55 PM - It’s the end of the day and we’re glad the weather held out. Tomorrow’s a big day – autograph session, qualifying with lots of track time and the Hinder concert. The Daily Trackside Report is available now, if you want a good dose of track facts and quotes. And below, we’ve got a slideshow of over 200 images from the Brickyard 400 so far. Have a great night. See you tomorrow? – Daniel
Friday 5:33 PM – It was another hot day, but it seemed much more bearable than yesterday. As practice ended, fans gathered around Gasoline Alley and Thunder Alley to cheer and jeer their favorite teams and drivers. It made me realize how loyal NASCAR fans are. Who’s your favorite driver? – Daniel
The Gasoline Alley sign
Friday 5:00 PM – The final practice session has ended concluding track activity for the day (other than the Richard Petty Driving Experience). This session had a bit more activity as one of the cars had an engine let go. After a yellow flag to clean up the track, we were back to green flag conditions and the practice ended with no other events.
Jeff Gordon on track
The final top 10 ended up like this:
1.) Greg Biffle
2.) Martin Truex Jr
3.) Jimmie Johnson
4.) Casey Mears
5.) Kevin Harvick
6.) Carl Edwards
7.) Joey Logano
8.) David Reutimann
9.) Jeff Burton
10.) Brian Vickers
Tomorrow’s a big day here at IMS. We’ve got live music all day (including Hinder!), the NASCAR Sprint Cup largest autograph session, Q&A sessions, and of course qualifying. We’ll also have an exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peak from inside the IMS Hall of Fame museum.
We’ll be here through it all, make sure you follow along. – Brian
Friday 3:45 PM – After the first practice session concluded we headed out towards Turn 3 for the vintage car show that will be going on all weekend, and it was impressive! If you’re coming to the track this weekend, make sure to head over and check it out.
Then it was time to find the Fan of the Day! True fans hang out by the garages and that’s exactly where we found Derek. He was wearing his Jeff Gordon hat, and surrounded by his family of Tony Stewart fans. I asked him why his favorite driver is Jeff Gordon and his little sister answered for him – “because he isn’t our favorite” meaning herself and their parents. This is Derek’s 3rd year in a row at the Brickyard 400 and he can’t wait to see Jeff Gordon win this weekend!
Derek & his family
Practice session #2 is almost over and at 5 the Richard Petty Driving Experience is taking over the IMS oval. Keep checking back to stay up-to-date on all of the Brickyard happenings. – Cassie
Friday 2:15 PM – The first practice for the 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records has just concluded. No major event to speak of as it was a caution free session. Matt Kenseth was the fastest of the session… followed by Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, and Jeff Burton.
Kasey Kahne crosses the yard of bricks
The next session starts at 3:15 PM ET. We’re heading out to go find our next Fan of the Day. So if you see us drive by be sure to scream and shout, we just might pick you! -Brian
Friday 11:30 AM – About an hour and a half ago, the 2011 Brickyard 400 pace car was unveiled. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Jamie McMurray had the honor of taking the cover off of the Chevrolet Corvette. This is the 18th year in a row a Chevy has been featured as the Brickyard 400 pace car, in other words, a Chevy has always paced the Brickyard 400.
The driver of this year’s pace car is Hope Solo, the goalie of the US women’s soccer team. Racing, soccer, music, autographs – what more could you ask for in one weekend?- Cassie
Jeff Belskus, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, A lucky fan!, Jeff Chew, and Jimmie Johnson with the 2011 Pace Car
Friday 11:00 AM – I was lucky enough to climb onboard one of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro pace cars and go for a spin around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Any fan who was at IMS today and took a Chevrolet test-drive in the Chevy Experience area was granted a hot lap in a Camaro or Corvette. There aren’t very many feelings in this world like coming off turn 4 at IMS and heading down the front straight.
Heading down the front stretch at IMS
In the early morning the front stretch is similar to a long dark tunnel with the light at the end being turn 1. Roaring past the Pagoda at over 120 mph is an experience every diehard race fan should have. -Brian
Friday 8:45 AM - Good morning! The track is officially open and the 2011 Brickyard 400 presented by Big Machine Records has begun. It’s Chevy Day and tons of exciting event are planned for today. People were seen sprinting through the gates this morning in order to get in line for the autograph session wristband give away. Vintage cars are rolling through the gates and concession stands are providing the fans with coffee and breakfast sandwiches.
Happy Friday morning from IMS!
There are TONS of things going on here today. There’s a vintage car show running the entirety of the day, autograph sessions, pace car rides and, of course, Sprint Cup practice. We’ll also have some exclusive behind-the-scenes photos coming from an event at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum. Stay tuned all day! -Brian
9:00 PM- The Hauler Parade was the perfect way to kick off Brickyard 400 weekend! The event was definitely successful, but we can’t say the same about our pit stop competition team. We lost first round, but it was a great time! NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Ned Jarrett & David Ragan arrived and answered questions from fans to make the evening even more exciting.
We headed home early to rest up for another day of NASCAR action tomorrow, but the Hauler Parade will continue until around 11 PM. So if you haven’t yet, head to Main Street for some great Thursday night entertainment! – Cassie
Pit Stop Competition in Full Swing!
6:10 PM - Not gonna lie. It’s a hot one, but there are tons of fans on Main Street. And now they are joined by tons of NASCAR Haulers. The band is still playing and there a lots of refreshments, so it’s worth it. Up next? The pit stop challenge! Daniel
Up in the grill
5:10 PM - Headed to the Hauler Parade! We’re competing in the pit stop competition and everything! Head to Main St and join in on the fun and check back here later for full Hauler Parade details! -Cassie
3:40 PM - It’s hot here today and when I say hot, I mean that kind of hot where it feels like your eyes are sweating. Disregarding the heat, my colleague Cassie and I ventured out of the media center here at IMS with the goal of finding our first 2011 Brickyard 400 Fan of the Day. The grounds are mostly filled with workers diligently building stages, kiosks, and fan entertainment zones but we stumbled across this IMS first-timer at the Hall of Fame Museum.
Brickyard 400 Fan of the Day - Tony from Manchester, England
Tony is from Manchester, England and this weekend is his first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A self-confessed Formula 1 fan, Tony is pulling for his namesake in the 2011 Brickyard 400, Tony Stewart. His favorite racing moment was Lewis Hamilton’s first win in Formula 1, obviously a big moment for all natives of England. When asked which event he’d be most excited to see in 2012 at the newly announced Super Weekend, Tony was eager to return for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
We’ll be looking for fans of the day all weekend. So keep your eyes peeled for Cassie, myself and our camera! -Brian
12:45 PM -2012 is already looking very different with a new Super Weekend at The Brickyard. Today the IMS announced that Crown Royal will become the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, July 29, 2012 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The announcement was even followed by a whisky tasting. So we’re off to a great start to this weekend – Daniel.
Crown Royal and the Bricks - coming in 2012
Set-Up Day at the Brickyard
10:45 AM – The 2011 Brickyard 400 has arrived and IMS is making final preparations. We’re all set up in the media center and awaiting the exciting activities! We’ll be covering everything from crazy fans to food being made in the drivers’ garages. At about 11:30 AM today, a HUGE announcement regarding next year’s Brickyard 400 will take place! We’ll be covering it, so check back later to get full details.
If you’re sitting at home wishing you could be here then open this link: Brickyard Tickets and purchase your weekend tickets! Concerts, autograph sessions and great NASCAR racing will be lighting up the Speedway, you don’t want to miss out! Follow us on Twitter (@IMS) and “like” our Facebook page to stay up-to-date all weekend as well! – Cassie
Race fan Dan Johnson never has driven in the Indianapolis 500, but he shares something in common with two-time Indy winner Arie Luyendyk.
Johnson and Luyendyk both live in Arizona, and they both are pumped up about the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible that was unveiled as the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car and will be auctioned Saturday night at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.
2011 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Awaits Auction at Barrett-Jackson
The top bidder will have the opportunity to drive the car during a parade lap in front of the field of 33 starters shortly before the green flag flies at “The Most Important Race In History” on Sunday, May 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
SPEED will televise the Camaro auction between 9-11 p.m. (ET) Jan. 22 during its 11 consecutive hours of live coverage from 2 p.m.-1 a.m., with Indianapolis 500 winners and speed milestone holders Luyendyk and Tom Sneva scheduled to drive the Camaro Convertible Pace Car onto the auction stage.
Chevrolet will donate full proceeds of the auction to the David Foster Foundation, a charity devoted to supporting families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants. David Foster, the 15-time Grammy-winning music producer and songwriter, founded the organization in his native Canada.
Listen to Johnson, from Mesa, Ariz., and Luyendyk talk about their excitement about the Camaro Convertible Pace Car and the auction Saturday night!
The Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 is every bit as historic and legendary as the race itself and the track where it’s held. It’s been driven by astronauts, Indy 500 winners, decorated American generals, world-famous actors, late-night television hosts, Formula One World Champions, heads of large corporations, land speed record holders, Tour de France winners and car dealers.
There have been many, many models and makes of Pace Cars in the Speedway’s 100 years of history. Ranging from Marmons and Lincolns to Cadillacs and Fords. It’s been very interesting to look back and see the evolution of the Pace Car over the years. In 1911, the first Indianapolis 500 was paced by a Stoddard Dayton driven by none other than Indianapolis Motor Speedway co-founder Carl G. Fisher.
The 1911 Stoddard Dayton Pace Car driven by Carl G. Fisher
The image above is quite a sight. The pace car is shown here but not in 1911. The photo is actually from 1909 while the track was still under construction.
Eddie Rickenbacker in the 1925 Rickenbacker "8"
In 1925, the field was led to the green flag by a Rickenbacker “8.” The car was driven by racing driver, WWI Flying Ace, CEO of Eastern Airlines, Rickenbacker Motors and Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Eddie Rickenbacker.
In 1926, the first Chevrolet hit the track, although it wasn’t a Pace Car. The 1926 Indianapolis 500 was started with Louis Chevrolet, the founder of Chevrolet, behind the wheel of the Chrysler Imperial “80.” Louis was a four-time Indianapolis 500 competitor, having completed his career at Indy with a best finish of seventh.
Louis Chevrolet in his 1919 Indianapolis 500 Racer
In 1948, a Chevrolet Fleetmaster Six-Series would take over the duties as Pace Car (driven by Wilbur Shaw) and would start the long line of 22 Chevrolet Pace Cars.
Wilbur Shaw behind the wheel of the first Chevrolet Pace Car. A 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Six-Series
Chevrolet has led the field of the Indianapolis 500 with assorted models in their expansive line of automobiles. There have been Corvettes, Camaros, Berettas, Monte Carlos and car-truck hybrids like the SSR from 2003. In 1967, what could be considered one of Chevrolet’s most iconic cars made its debut at IMS. The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro was a modified, 375-horsepower, 396 cubic-inch V-8 convertible. It was painted in a patriotic red, white and blue and was driven by three-time Indy 500 winner Mauri Rose.
The 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Indianapolis 500 Pace Car
In 1993, the Camaro made what seemed to be its last laps around the Speedway until it returned to lead the field in 2009 and 2010. This year, for the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, a Camaro once again will lead the lucky 33 drivers to the Yard of Bricks.
The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car is equipped with a 400-horsepower V-8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The actual Pace Car for the race requires no performance modifications to perform its duty in front of the racing field.
All 50 of the Indianapolis 500 Festival committees cars will be SS convertible models fitted with the 2SS equipment package, offering the following standard features:
Four-wheel disc brakes with Brembo four-piston calipers and hydraulic asssist
StabiliTrak electronic stability control
Competitive/sport mode that enhances on-track performance
Performance Launch Control (with the manual transmission) that optimizes hard-acceleration launches for quicker, more consistent performance.
Twenty-inch polished aluminum wheels and performance tires
Head-up instrument display
Center console with auxiliary gauge packaage.
This new Pace Car continues the tradition of performance and style at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At 22 Pace Cars and counting, Chevrolet has certainly made its mark on Indianapolis 500 history.
Want even more Pace Car history?
Check out our Flickr set with a comprehensive look at Pace Cars over the years.
Find out more about the Barrett-Jackson Pace Car auction on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 — the winning bidder will drive the Pace Car on a Parade Lap of the 2011 Indianapolis 500!
Jimmie Johnson put himself in the same room as NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt — both seven-time Cup champions — by winning his fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday by finishing second to Carl Edwards in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson rallied from a 15-point deficit to pass Denny Hamlin for another championship. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus endured a tumultuous Chase, during which Johnson’s crew was benched, to continue their reign over the sport.
Say it five times fast: This guy is a legend.
And the great debate begins: Is Johnson’s dominance good for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and help it gain more attention as it attempts to rebound in 2011 from a season of decreased attendance and TV ratings? Or will it hurt, as fans are getting sick and tired of seeing Johnson and Knaus hoisting the big silver trophy every year at Homestead?
SBNation’s Jeff Gluck, an avid Tweeter, posted this interesting smorgasbord of Twitter reaction from fans after the race Sunday. Many fans complained about Johnson’s victory. And those fans are wrong.
What Johnson is doing here, folks, is beyond special because it’s almost beyond comprehension. NASCAR rule makers toil long and hard to build equality into the sport. The COT has homogenized the machinery. The point system rewards consistency more than winning. The Chase system was created to prevent a runaway champion late in the season, erasing any early-season dominance. Four of the 10 Chase races are on 1.5-mile ovals, with no road courses and only one short track.
This is racing’s version of the salary cap and free agency, two components that have killed dynasties in the NFL, NBA and NHL. Yet Johnson, Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports continue to just deliver under pressure, year after year. Think about it: The last time Jimmie Johnson failed to win the Sprint Cup, only Alaskans had ever heard of Sarah Palin. Justin Bieber was a kid dreaming of stardom in his bedroom in Canada. Joey Logano was 15 years old.
Why is this criticized? Why is this seen as boring? I agree with Peter DeLorenzo at Autoextremist: It’s not like Johnson and Knaus are crushing the competition due to superior equipment, an argument that could be made about the Ferrari that Michael Schumacher drove to five consecutive Formula One World Championships last decade.
It was one of those weekends why we dig this sport. The unexpected happened, which is one of the most appealing aspects of motor racing.
Here are the facts after the Kobalt Tools 500 Sunday at Phoenix: Hamlin leads four-time reigning champion Jimmie Johnson by 15 points entering the season finale this Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 2003 Brickyard 400 winner Kevin Harvick is third, 46 points behind. It’s the closest three-way Chase with one race remaining.
Muzzle the mouth or walk the walk, Mike.
Now to the opinions. It might be a good idea for Hamlin’s crew chief, Mike Ford, to keep a low profile heading into South Florida this week. Ford crowed after the Texas race Nov. 7 that crew chief Chad Knaus may have lost a fifth consecutive title for Johnson by essentially firing Johnson’s crew mid-race and replacing it with the crew of Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon.
The end result was that Hamlin is rattled. He ripped his team after the race by saying, “Like I said, I did my job.” Not exactly a rousing vote of confidence or rallying of the beleaguered troops by a wise veteran. More of the impetuous Denny we thought had grown up. And at just the wrong time.
Hamlin pledges a pedal-to-the-metal approach at Homestead. He’s going to need it, as there are only two guaranteed routes to the championship for him, either winning the race or finishing second and leading the most laps.
My money still remains on Johnson to hoist the Cup for the fifth straight year. Who is your pick, and why?
Have you ever played poker and held a hand you know can’t be topped? Just sat there quietly while everyone else showed their cards and then blew them away with your straight flush or four of a kind?
That’s how I felt while reviewing the Interwebs today before writing this edition of Splash And Go. I knew it would be highly unlikely that I’d find anything in NASCAR, MotoGP, Formula One or anywhere else in racing that would top the seismic impact of THE news of the day in worldwide motorsport on a date that will be circled in red for a long, long time in INDYCAR annals: Chevrolet is returning to the IZOD IndyCar Series as an engine manufacturer starting in 2012.
The Bowtie is back, baby!
The Bowtie is back. Roll that off your tongue as many times as you’d like, open-wheel racing fans. Manufacturer competition is back in IndyCar, and Chevy’s return to take on Honda hopefully will tip another fence-sitter or two among car manufacturers into the IZOD IndyCar Series as an engine builder.
It’s impossible to overestimate how huge this announcement is for the IZOD IndyCar Series. Competition. An iconic American manufacturer with deep, successful roots in IndyCar racing. Penske Racing as Chevy’s first customer. And most importantly, a validation from the colossus known as General Motors that the technical package created for 2012 by the ICONIC committee is attractive to auto manufacturers.
This wasn’t just a home run or a knockout. This was Reggie Jackson taking Dock Ellis more than 500 feet deep and out of Tiger Stadium in the 1971 All-Star Game. This was Manny Pacquiao transporting Ricky Hatton into la-la land with one left hook in the second round.
This was big. But the announcement was important for more than just engine competition. Chevy officials also indicated they are interested in building an aero package, a significant development.
If Chevy builds aero kits for the new Dallara Safety Cell, can Honda be far behind? After all, if Chevy builds a very efficient aero kit, will Honda want cars powered by its engine to wear Chevy clothing? I think not. Lotus has expressed interest in building an aero kit, and you have to figure Dallara will offer one, too.
So we have at least two engines and at least three body kits — with Honda as a probable fourth — for 2012. The series still has plenty of hurdles to jump, but rays from that proverbial light toward the back of the tunnel are burning more brightly today.
Full compliments to INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard, who listens and then gets things done. Full compliments to Roger Penske, whose influence, wisdom and business and racing wizardry got the IndyCar door re-opened with Chevy. Full compliments to the ICONIC committee, which was validated big-time today. Full compliments to Honda, which requested competition and welcomes it. And full compliments to Chevrolet and GM, which showed great vision to see IndyCar racing as a place for growth, relevant technological development and strong marketing of its passenger vehicles.
There might be only three guys in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing who have it better right now than Jamie McMurray — Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick — even though McMurray isn’t one of the 12 drivers this year in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
You'd be stoked if you won at Daytona, Indy and Charlotte in the same season, too. Even if you weren't in the Chase.
McMurray continued his banner season with a victory last Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jamie Mac’s three victories this season came at the three most prestigious tracks in NASCAR – Daytona, Indianapolis and Charlotte.
I wrote this before, but McMurray’s primary sponsors, Bass Pro Shops and McDonald’s, must be pretty stoked these days. I know I’d rather benefit from the exposure of winning the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and a race at Charlotte and miss the Chase than make the Chase and go winless, as Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth have done so far this season.
Only Johnson, Hamlin and Harvick should be happier than Jamie Mac these days because they’re the only three drivers with a chance to lift the Sprint Cup on Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson finished third at Charlotte, with Hamlin fourth, stretching JJ’s lead to 41 points over Hamlin in the standings. Harvick is third, 77 points back.
Everyone else from fourth-place Jeff Gordon to 12th-place Clint Bowyer are at least 156 points behind Johnson. They can turn out the lights on 2010, Irene. With just five races remaining, they’re toast.
While most media members and fans think Johnson is easing away from Hamlin heading into Martinsville this weekend, Dustin Long begs to differ. He believes this could be Hamlin’s Chase to lose and presents an interesting statistical case.
Kasey Kahne’s lost season continued with illness and a third brake failure Saturday night at Charlotte, and the relations between Kahne and Richard Petty Motorsports plunged to an even deeper malaise. Kahne claimed illness for his reason for leaving the team after his early accident, yet he was healthy enough to run a 5K race for charity the next morning. Granted, RPM has provided Kahne with cars barely worthy of Fred Sanford’s junkyard this season.
It’s an ugly example of how a lame-duck driver and team should not end a partnership.
Plenty to catch up on after a day away from Splashing And Going. But first, it was good to be Bruce Barhydt on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Damn good.
Bruce and his wife, Barbara, visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to pick up the keys to their 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Indianapolis 500 Pace Car that they won in the Indy 500 Pace Car Sweepstakes simply by renewing their tickets for the 2011 “500″ at www.imstix.com. And two-time and reigning Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti was there to hand the Barhydt’s the keys to their new ride and take them for a spin around IMS in the Camaro. Dario is a hell of a driver and a classy dude – a magically delicious ambassador for the Indy 500 and IndyCar.
Not a bad way to spend a day, eh? Speaking of Indianapolis 500 tickets, it’s time for a friendly Public Service Announcement: Tickets for the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29 – the 100th anniversary of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – are on sale now at www.imstix.com.
While Japan’s rabid-but-polite IndyCar fans are still coming down from their fun last weekend at Twin Ring Motegi, attention in IZOD IndyCar land has shifted to South Florida for the season finale Saturday, Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Will Power leads Franchitti by just 12 points entering their titanic tussle, but Pop Off Valve has those drivers reversed in its latest power rankings. Hard to blame them. Will never has won an oval race; Dario has won plenty, including last year at Miami.
VERSUS will televise the finale, and Pressdog interviewed ace racing TV producer Terry Lingner about all the hard work that goes on inside and outside “the truck” just to get an IZOD IndyCar Series race broadcast on the air. One of Lingner’s charges that night will be reporter Jack Arute, who curiously wonders out loud why the season finale is going up against SEC and Big 12 football.
I’m really getting tired of the “we need to avoid football” argument. First, if the finale was contested on Sunday afternoon, it would clash with the NFL. And is there really enough room in the schedule to end the season by the end of August, before football? No.
So all IndyCar can do is put on a good show (it does), have a compelling championship race (it does, without gimmicks) and promote the hell out of it. Every other sport in America – not just IndyCar – is a fresh asphalt speed bump ready to be flattened by the steamroller known as football. Even NASCAR, the self-proclaimed No. 2 sport in America, is struggling with ratings against the mighty giants of the gridiron.
Plenty of reasons and solutions for the disappointing TV ratings of the Chase opener at New Hampshire are being tossed about in the blogosphere. One of the reasons I see often is the proliferation of high-def TV’s these days. The camera angles are great from the track, the picture is crystal-clear on an HDTV, and the beer is a lot cheaper and plentiful and the traffic is a lot thinner at home in front of the 50-inch plasma than it is at the racetrack.
That might be true. So how is Charlotte Motor Speedway responding? By building the largest HDTV in the world at its track. It’s even bigger than Jerry Jones’ vaunted board hanging over the field at the new Cowboys Stadium, which has to rankle Jerruh’s considerable ego just a smidge. Everything is big in Texas, but it’s even bigger in Charlotte.
Can you play Xbox 360 on that thing?
I have mixed emotions about this board. It will be good for replays. I’m also guessing advertisers and sponsors will dig it. But “Bruton-tron” also will breed more of the loons who pay good money to attend sporting events and spend more time watching the video boards than the action on the field or on the track. I’ve never understood that. If I wanted to watch TV, I would have stayed home. Am I a lone, crotchety voice in the video wilderness?
This just in, almost literally as I type, from the halls of NASCAR in Daytona Beach: Clint Bowyer was using an illegal car when he won the Sylvania 300 last Sunday at New Hampshire, the opening race of the Chase. Bowyer was docked 150 points, and his crew chief, Shane Wilson, was fined $150,000 and suspended six weeks. I guess it was more than a misplaced wheel nut, then.
Richard Childress, Bowyer’s car owner, claims the car was out of specification because other drivers tapped the rear of it during Bowyer’s victory lap. Childress also said the tow truck that pushed Bowyer’s car into Victory Lane knocked the rear out of whack.
Childress vowed to appeal the penalty all the way to the NASCAR Commissioner. This could get interesting. What if the penalty is overturned, Bowyer stays on a hot streak and ends up winning the Chase by less than 150 points? What if the penalty is upheld and he ends the season 149 points or less behind the eventual champion?
Sticky. And fun.
Well, so much for the Bowyer Cinderella story, at least for now. Bowyer now has yo-yo’d from 12th to second back to 12th in the points since last Sunday morning. Leader Denny Hamlin now enjoys a 45-point gap over second-place Kevin Harvick.
The soap opera continues in Formula One, where a battle is brewing over who has control of the iconic Lotus name. It’s a typical F1 sh*tstorm between two guys with wallets to match their egos. But does it really matter? Lotus isn’t Lotus without Colin Chapman running the show, and reviving the classic British Racing Green paint job doesn’t instantly play Lazarus with an esteemed racing marque.
All this does is besmirch the names of late Lotus greats like Chapman and Jim Clark. Sad.
There also are rumblings that Michael Schumacher may pull the plug on his ill-fated comeback attempt after this season and hang up his helmet. So the ego really has landed? I’ll believe it when I see it, but it would be a good idea. Right now, Michael looks like Willie Mays in his final, sad season with the Mets, losing routine fly balls in the sun.
From a four-wheeled legend to one on two wheels, Kenny Roberts, the first American MotoGP World Champion, is selling his house and practice facility in California. Check out King Kenny’s Krib. It’s a roomy place, but in time-honored gearhead tradition, the garage is almost as big as the house and contains a complete machine shop:
Ducati also was in the news recently, but it had little to do with Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi or Nicky Hayden. The iconic Italian manufacturer presented two of its Multistrada models to the motorcade for Pope Benedict XVI. Maybe it’s a gift for His Holiness using his WATS line to above for Ducati, as Stoner answered the Ducatisti’s prayers by earning the team’s first victory of the season Sept. 19 at the Grand Prix of Aragon. Hey, they don’t call it the Red Phone for nothing.
There is real, on-track news in MotoGP. Seriously. The Grand Prix Commission rubber-stamped a change of the schedule for the rest of the season in which the three hours of MotoGP track time Friday and Saturday will be divided into two 45-minute practices Friday, and one 45-minute practice and one 45-minute qualifying session Saturday. Since 2009, there has been a one-hour practice Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, with a one-hour qualifying session.
That revised schedule debuted at Aragon, and it looks like it also will become the rule of the land for the 2011 season.
Sunday 4:57 p.m.- Celebrating in Victory Lane. Congratulations to Jamie McMurray and Chip Ganassi for being the only owner to win the Daytona 500, Indy 500 and Brickyard 400! We will be uploading all the Race Day photos as they come in. Make sure you check them out on our Flickr photostream and thanks for following the Brickyard 400 Live Blog!
Jamie McMurray in Victory Lane drinks CocaCola
Sunday 4:18 p.m.-JAMIE McMURRAY WINS THE 2010 BRICKYARD 400!
Jamie McMurray burns out on the bricks- Smoke covers the crowd- They are going crazy!
Jamie McMurray wins the 2010 Brickyard 400
Sunday 4:01 p.m.- YELLOW! Juan Pablo Montoya hits the wall in turn four, wrecking with Dale Earnhardt Jr. …Montoya is out of the race- This changes things! Harvick in the lead.
Sunday 3:36 p.m.- Green flag- Back to racing with 38 laps to go!
Sunday 3:27 p.m.- Caution due to debris on the track. Top Ten currently: Montoya, Biffle, McMurray, Bowyer, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Burton, Edwards
Sunday 3:21 p.m.- About 112 laps into the race! Time is flying by and the sun is out- over at the Brickyard Beach Bash things are really heating up. Check out the Super Fan we found- He loves Indianapolis Motor Speedway!
Super Fan at the Beach Bash
Sunday 3:17 p.m.- Hope you will stop by the Family Fun Zone while you are here. Check out all of the pictures on our Flickr account. Lots of fun vendors came out with free stuff for kids and their families to participate in:
"Art with a Heart" Tent in the Family Fun Area
Sunday 2:41 p.m.- Biffle is leading the race under yellow. You can follow all of the updates on our Twitter account – HERE.
Sunday 2:09 p.m.- Juan Pablo Montoya has a fast car.
Sunday 1:43 p.m.- YELLOW! Robby Gordon and Max Papis make contact and Papis is now flaming, Gordon is missing right front tire.
Sunday 1:40 p.m.- Check out this LIVE Leaderboard provided by NASCAR: Live Leaderboard
Sunday 1:22 p.m.- Oh no! Lap one ends under a yellow flag: Reed Sorenson, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Reutimann crash!
Sunday 1:20 p.m.- Dallas Clark drops the green flag andthe 2010 BRICKYARD 400 is underway! Stay tuned to the live blog- we will be updating throughout the entire race…all 160 laps!
Sunday 1:07 p.m.- “GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES!”
Sunday 1:01 p.m.- AWESOME! National Anthem by Steven Curtis Chapman and a fly over! Incredible atmosphere at the track and only moments away from the race!
Sunday 12:46 p.m.- We were able to talk to Mike Ford the crew chief for Denny Hamlin’s #11 car. A really nice guy, hear what he had to say about the Brickyard 400:
“Personally, this is the largest day of the season for us. This is the pinnacle of what you look forward to, nothing compares. I’ve been fortunate to win here 3 times, been fortunate enough to win the Daytona 500, personally I like Indianapolis. Here it’s a total package, you have to have a good car, good downforce, good engines, good driver- good aggressive driver, good pit crew, it’s a short enough race you cant afford to make any mistakes. I think the record of the groups that have won here speaks to that.”
Sunday 12:33 p.m.- Driver introductions are taking place! Can hear all the fans cheering for their favorites…goosebump moment!
Sunday 12:26 p.m.- The drivers who have won a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are now posing for a photo on Victory Lane. (Juan Pablo Montoya, Jacques Villeneuve, Sam Hornish Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott)
Sunday 12:12 p.m.-Behind the Wheel- Scott Speed. We were fortunate enough to get to talk to Scott Speed, a former F1 driver and now the driver of the #82 Red Bull Toyota. See what he had to say about being back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway-
Scott Speed #82
On being back in Indianapolis- “To be honest, it’s quite a different atmosphere being here with NASCAR.”
Racing at IMS- “Racing on the oval is unique for sure I think it means more to race on the actual Brickyard than to race on the F1 track per say.”
Sunday 11:14 a.m.-The Inside Scoop- Did You Know? On race day morning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you can walk across the track from the outside of turn one to the infield? While this is true for the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, there is an added bonus for NASCAR fans.
Dale Earnhardts Jr. is rolled to the grid
In preparation for pre-race activities, the crews push the cars down pit road and then onto the main straightaway. During this time, the end of pit road becomes the best place to stand and get an up-close and personal view of your favorite cars. The best part? No credential required. So, if you’ve ever wanted inside access, but have never had the chance to get a credential, this is the best spot to hang out race morning.
Up close and personal with Kurt Busch
Sunday 10:41 a.m.- People are loving the SPEED Stage located in the infield walking towards Turn 4.
Sunday 10:35 a.m.- The Brickyard Beach Bash ready for partying! Stop by Turn 3 in the infield and let’s have some fun:
Brickyard Beach Bash is open!
Sunday 9:35 a.m.- We crashed an @NASCAR Tweet Up and met with tons of followers. The Tweet Up was located behind the Hall of Fame Museum.
@NASCAR Tweet Up
Sunday 8:54 a.m.- GOOD MORNING INFIELD! Anyone up for a game of ping pong? These guys were:
Turn 3- Ping Pong
Sunday 8:33 a.m.-Meet Ben Phillips 2010 FAN OF THE DAY-BRICKYARD 400! Decked out in Kyle Busch attire…he was a huge fan. Ben was also at the track super early, gotta love that.
Fan of the Day- Ben Phillips
Who is your favorite driver?
What is your favorite Brickyard 400 memory?
Jeff Gordon winning it the first time.
What would you like to see at the Brickyard 400 next year?
Watching Kyle Busch win!
Sunday 8:03 a.m.- The sun has finally come up but earlier this morning it was cold, wet and dark. Good thing the rain has gone away, it’s race day! While they are drying off the track, take a look at some of these early bird photos: click here.
Pagoda Early Morning
SUNDAY-RACE DAY 7:00 a.m.- BOOM! The cannon has been fired! GATES ARE OPEN FOR THE 2010 BRICKYARD 400!
Saturday 6:06 p.m.- Tons of NEW photos to look at on our Brickyard 400 Flickr set, check them all out here.
Cool photos like this one!
Saturday 6:00 p.m.- It’s fairly safe to say that a NASCAR fan could die happy with only three things; the Brickyard, beer, and babes in bikinis. Don’t call the coroner just yet, but this Sunday, July 25th, 2010, turn 3 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield will become a little piece of heaven on earth. Beginning at 10 a.m., any Brickyard 400 race day ticket holder can join the party at the Speedway’s first Brickyard Beach Bash. Between the high temps and host Playboy Playmate AJ Alexander, this is sure to be one HOT summer day. Fortunately, party goers will be able to cool off in one of eight pools, or quench their thirst in a little beer pong competition. Those looking to add even more action to their race day can join in the volleyball competition, or get pumped for the race by dancing along to hits spun by DJ Metrognome.
Brickyard Beach Bash Poster- It's gonna be SWEET!
Let’s not get off “track” here though there is of course, a race to watch on Sunday. Turn three is an ideal location to catch all of the action both on and off the track. If the revival of the Snake Pit during this past Indy 500 is any indication of just what kind of shindig the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can throw, there is sure to be plenty of both. So grab your bathing suit, lather up in sunscreen, and head out to turn three. This is one party that will be worth living for.
The Brickyard Beach Bash welcomes anyone with a ticket, general admission or reserved! Race Day General Admission tickets are just $40. Visit IMSTIX.COM to get your tickets now!
(Post by Blogger Leslie Bailey)
Saturday 5:32 p.m.- Behind the Wheel: Bill Elliott- We strolled through Gasoline Alley at the end of the day and happened to spot Bill Elliot. He was kind enough to chat with us, and talked to us about his initial impressions of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -
Bill Elliott - another Brickyard
“Well you know you always hear a lot about indy, its the biggest thing going because its got so much history here, and for them to come and run stock cars here, I thought was a pretty big deal at the time.”
It was pretty cool to hear that from Bill Elliot, especially a former winner at the Brickyard.
Saturday 4:55 p.m.- The Brickyard Beach Bash is coming along nicely! Pools are being filled and decorations are being hung. The water will be perfect for cooling off during the heat of the day tomorrow, make sure you stop by and soak it all in.
Just add water!
Saturday 4:35 p.m.- Happy Hour is over! Top Five finishers:
Martin Truex Jr.
Saturday 3:09 p.m.-Practice 3 is over- Top Five:
Saturday 2:16 p.m.- Afternoon practice has started. Look who we found in the infield!
Sweet Van in the infield! "The Mystery Machine"
Saturday 1:37 p.m.- We found “Fan of the Day” he was participating in the Wheaties Fuel Challenge, that we mentioned in yesterday’s post. (For more information click here) Meet Jordan Johnson:
Fan of the Day- Jordan Johnson
When was your first experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Jordan’s first Brickyard 400 was 4 years ago though when Jimmie Johnson won. However, he has been coming to the track since he was 7-years old for the Indy500.
Who is your favorite driver and why?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. -because he is a laid back and knows how to drive.
What is your favorite Brickyard 400 memory?
Being chosen to participate in the Wheaties Fuel Challenge!
What would you like to see at the Brickyard 400 next year?
Jordan wanted to see a packed house for the race next year.
Saturday 12:10 p.m.- We hope you will come join us for the Luke Bryan concert happening on the Plaza Stage now! Get your country on!
Saturday 12:09 p.m.- It’s official POLE SITTER: Juan Pablo Montoya!
Top 5 drivers after Quals:
Juan Pablo Montoya
Saturday 10:12 a.m.- Behind the Wheel: Juan Pablo Montoya- Qualifications are underway, watch the live grid: here. Before they started we got a chance to talk to Juan Pablo Montoya, the fastest in both practices yesterday. Here are some of the highlights-
Juan Pablo Montoya with the Media
On being back in Indianapolis: “It is always cool, I always try to go to the Museum [Hall of Fame] they have a lot of exciting cars… it’s just fun!”
Favorite restaurant in Indy: “There is a Japanese place downtown they serve teppanyaki it’s really fun and now they have opened Fogo de Cho which is always pretty exciting to go to.”
Interacting with fans: “Some people like you some people hate you. It’s always exciting to see both sides. I don’t really think about anything else, just driving the car.”
Saturday 8:20 a.m.- Hope you are getting your morning munch on- We love breakfast here, especially when we discover the Garlic Garage (they provide good cookin’ to 14 different teams). Check out other morning pictures here on our Flickr photostream.
Corn Dog or Breakfast Burrito? Anything you want at the Garlic Garage
Saturday 7:45 a.m.- I just got goosebumps watching this video! Is it race day yet?!
Saturday 6:51 a.m.- GOOD MORNING! Welcome to Brickyard 400 Qualifying Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! Gates open in 10 minutes, qualifications start at 10:10 a.m. And guess who is playing on the Plaza Stage at noon? Luke Bryan!..so you better get down to the track, it’s going to be a great day!
Early Morning- Pagoda Silhouette
Friday 6:44 p.m.- The Wheaties Fuel Challenge is in hour 11 of its 33 hours time span. Participants are competing in an endurance contest where they must keep one hand on the car at all times or they will be disqualified. The contest will conclude Saturday at 5:30 p.m. with the winner returning to the Speedway on Sunday for a VIP experience, $500 in cash and $500 in Kroger gift cards.
Wheaties Fuel Challenge
Friday 5:47 p.m.- Over in the camping lots, we found Guy Quinn and Clay Vea grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. They’ve been at every Brickyard 400 and travel down from near Chicago. We didn’t get a chance to eat, but it doesn’t mean we won’t go back. The dog in background was having a good time.
Grilling and Camping
Friday 4:31 p.m.-Practice two just ended. Top five are:
Juan Pablo Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya
Just because practice is over doesn’t mean there isn’t anything going on! There will be live music by Josh Golden & Anna Margaret on the Plaza Stage at 5:00 p.m. See you there!
Friday 3:47 p.m.- Set up day #2 for the Brickyard Beach Bash- lots of cool stuff coming in including MasterCraft boats, volleyball nets, lifeguard stand and more sand! Word has it DJ Metrognome will be spinning from one of the boats! Guess you will have to stop to make sure.
Brickyard Beach Bash Set Up Day #2
Friday 3:43 p.m.- Practice two is underway! Still hot out here, make sure you are hydrating.
Friday 3:15 p.m.- We found “Fan of the Day” Maggie Johnson, escaping the afternoon heat by the Hall of Fame Museum. Maggie has been to every Brickyard 400 except for one do to an auto accident on the way to the race! She rocks!
Fan of the Day- Maggie Thomas
When was your first experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
Maggie came to IMS for the first time when she was 5 years old for the Indy 500. She has been coming to the track as long as she can remember.
Who is your favorite driver and why?
Jeff Gordon, cause he is the best!!
What is your favorite Brickyard 400 memory?
Jeff Gordon’s second win, because everyone said he couldn’t do it again, but he proved them wrong!
What would you like to see at the Brickyard 400 next year?
Maggie wanted to see more inside vendors who are connected to the sport and more stuff to do during Practice and Qualification days.
Friday 3:13 p.m.- Practice is over top 5 finishers:
Juan Pablo Montoya
Friday 1:32 p.m.- Practice starts in half an hour! Get down to the track! ..Now? …Please?
Friday 11:47 a.m.- Behind the Wheel: Jacques Villeneuve Just caught with former Indy 500 & Formula One Champion Jacques Villeneuve who’s very happy to be back at Indy. He’s been here for IndyCar, F1 and now with Braun Racing at the Brickyard. We spent a few minutes chatting with him, here are some highlights -
Jacques Villeneuve back at Indy
He said this it’s crazy challenging preparing the car for this track.
“I have to remind myself I’m not in an IndyCar.”
On being back at Indy: “You know you’re in the center of racing.”
On enjoying the race fans from IndyCar, F1 and NASCAR – “They’re petrol heads.”
On the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a race track: “It’s one of the main tracks on the planet. The whole thing is big, it’s special.”
Friday 11:14 a.m.- We want to meet you and so does @IndyTalk (our twitter handle)! Please join our street team at noon downtown on Monument Circle for a Tweet Up! If you are lucky you might even get an IMS goodie to take home or to the track on Sunday!
Chevy Camaro at the Tweet Up!
Friday 11:02 a.m.- Got to see Jimmie Johnson give Pace Car rides in the Chevy Corvette this morning. Very cool experience for fans to partake in. Pictures to come!
Friday 9:44 a.m.- We are headed over the the Plaza Stage to watch “GI Joe vs. Pro”! GI Joe vs. Pro is a XBOX gaming competition involving military members and NASCAR drivers. The event is from 10-11am. Should be a lot of fun to watch, so stop on by.
Jeff Gordon plays Guitar Hero
Friday 8:40 a.m.- Quick update. Some of us might have just had some biscuits and gravy from the Clabber Girl trailer. YUM.
Friday 8:00 a.m.- Good Morning ! Beautiful day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is Chevy Day at the track! Stay tuned for the skinny on today’s concerts, Tweet Up, Fan of the Day and more. If you have the day off..then get off your computer and get down here! It’s going to be fun!
Thursday 7:26 p.m.- Heat advisory! The Hauler Parade was HOT! The fans still came out despite the afternoon heat though to view the haulers, eat, listen to music and watch the Pit Stop Challenge. The Pit Stop Challenge included teams of local bloggers, local media and fans. Check out all the action on our Brickyard 400 Flickr set: here
Pit Stop Challenge Channel 8 vs. Fan Team
Thursday 6:01 p.m.- We found our first offiical “Fan of the Day” at the Hauler Parade and Festival. He was decked out in Tony Stewart gear complete with a #14 cooler. Meet Keith Steeber returning to the Speedway for his 8th Brickyard 400!
Fan of the Day-Keith Steeber
When was your first experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
The year Bill Elliot won in 2002. Awesome!
Who is your favorite driver and why?
Tony Stewart, because he raced the Indy500 and the Brickyard in the same year and donated winnnings to charity.
What is your favorite Brickyard 400 memory?
Being here (Hauler Parade and Festival) for the first time!
What would you like to see at the Brickyard 400 next year?
No tire issues; no rain on Sunday!
Thursday 4:30 p.m.- We are gearing up for the Hauler Parade and Festival tonight. What’s that? Only the beginning of “The Most Fun You Will Ever Have a at Race Track” weekend! Lots of cool things going on tonight at the festival…
The event takes place from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ADMISSIONS IS FREE to the public with live music featuring local country music act KJ & TKJ’s! Meet us at the corner of 15th and Main Streets – across the street from popular local restaurant Dawson’s on Main. More than 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series haulers will arrive at 6 p.m. in parade fashion and park on Main Street from just south of 15th Street in two lines stretching to 10th Street.
There will also be a local media and local blogger Pit Stop Challenge taking place at 6:30p.m. that you aren’t going to want to miss. I hear that they may be making a fan team to compete as well! So come on down and be part of all the action!
Thursday 3:53 p.m.- It’s going to be hot on Sunday but no worries a little oasis will be waiting just for you! When you buy a general admissions ticket you have instant access to the Brickyard Beach Bash and you better believe there will be sand and water! There will be music by DJ Metrognome, POOLS, Beer Pong, Volleyball and so much more! Make sure you wear a bathing suit, you are going to the beach after all! Part one of the Beach Bash set up is currently underway. Sand is being laid down in turn 3 of the infield as I type. Check it out:
Spreading the sand love for the Brickyard Beach Bash
Also, saw the SPEED stage setting up today. They will be doing live coverage from the infield all weekend. Looks pretty cool! What do you think?
SPEED Stage set up
Thursday 11:04 a.m.- Welcome to the live blog for the Brickyard 400! This is the only place you will get extensive coverage on everything happening at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. There is a lot to be excited about: Hauler Parade and Party, pit stop challenge between local media and bloggers, driver interviews, a Family Fun Zone, Luke Bryan Concert, Brickyard Beach Bash, so much more and of course THE RACE! We will also be selecting a Fan of the Day to appear on the homepage of the website. Could it be you? We are selecting one fan starting today through Sunday, so come out to the track in your best race gear and spirit and make our day!
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/indianapolismotorspeedway/4821167339/” title=”Montoya talking Indy by indianapolismotorspeedway.com, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4138/4821167339_fc9129dcb4.jpg” width=”500″ height=”334″ alt=”Montoya talking Indy” /></a>