MONTOYA WINS FASTEST 500-MILE RACE IN HISTORY AT POCONO
CARPENTER TOPS DAY 1 QUALIFYING FOR 98th RUNNING OF INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS — Ed Carpenter turned the fastest four-lap average speed in Round 1 of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, but he’ll have to make another run May 18 to capture the Verizon P1 Award in the Fast Nine Shootout.
The Verizon IndyCar Series team owner/driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet recorded a four-lap average of 230.661 mph to lead the 10 entries that surpassed 230 mph — the first qualifiers above 230 mph since 2003 — during the qualifications format revamped for 2014 to emphasize two days of competition.
Round 1, which featured 71 qualifying attempts, set the 33-car field for the May 25 race. Qualifiers 10-33 from Saturday will make another four-lap run on Sunday to set their starting positions. The fastest nine qualifiers from Saturday will compete in Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout, where they will vie for the pole and set the first three rows of the race.
Carpenter will try to repeat as the Verizon P1 Award winner at Indianapolis. He was joined in the 230 mph club by Carlos Munoz (230.460), three-time Indy 500 winner and four-time pole winner Helio Castroneves (230.432), James Hinchcliffe (230.407), Will Power (230.323), Marco Andretti (230.134), Simon Pagenaud (230.070), Josef Newgarden (230.033) and JR Hildebrand (230.027).
Newgarden, in his third season with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, bumped Ryan Hunter-Reay from the fast nine with his run in the final five minutes of the session. Five different teams are represented in the Fast Nine Shootout.
Kurt Busch, who is seeking to be the fourth driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, N.C., in the same day, was 12th after his initial qualifying run (229.256 mph). With an hour to spare before having to leave for the evening all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Busch moved into the top nine (229.960) and departed by helicopter satisfied with the day’s efforts. By the time he landed, Juan Pablo Montoya had bumped Busch from the fast nine with a four-lap average of 229.966 mph. Montoya was summarily bumped by Andretti.
DAY 7 NOTEBOOK:
The Verizon IndyCar Series boost level has been increased from 130 kPa to 140 kPa for qualifications today and Sunday.
The change in pressure adds about a 40-horsepower boost to the engines produced by Chevrolet (twin-turbocharged Chevy IndyCar V6) and Honda (twin-turbo-charged Honda HI14TT. The boost level will return to 130 kPa for practice on Monday, May 19, Coors Light Carb Day on Friday, May 23 and the 500-mile race Sunday, May 25.
MONTOYA, DIXON, CASTRONEVES, KANAAN TALK ABOUT THE 500—
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (Team Penske): “Every year you came here and you’re not in an Indy car, it’s cool, but you want to come to the Museum to see the Indy cars. It’s not the same. The Brickyard is a big deal, but it’s not the Indy 500. I never thought I’d be back here to try to get another win. I’m excited and to race here for Team Penske is a hell of a chance (to win).”
(What’s it like to be back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway?): “It’s pretty exciting. I really haven’t thought about it too much. I’m more of a guy who goes, ‘What’s next? Are we testing? Are we doing this or are we doing that? I try not to think about it too much. Once we need to come to Indy, I’ll worry about Indy and not before. Still it’s exciting. If you think about it, I’m 1-for-1 here and it would be cool to be 2-for-2.”
SCOTT DIXON (Target Chip Ganassi Racing): For a driver, and anyone involved with the Indy 500, the Speedway is a really special place. The history and everything about it. Coming from New Zealand this is pretty spectacular and I think you can say that about anybody. The way the year works out, you can break it down into two goals. You can try to win the Indianapolis 500 and then try to win the championship. It’s always an exciting time. To try to get everything right in just a three hour time is nearly impossible.”
(Can Juan Pablo Montoya step in and be competitive at the top level?): “Yes. Absolutely. As they just said, he’s won in every kind of formula that he’s ever been in. It’s going to be a learning curve, but it’s not something that he’s not done before. Yes, the past six or seven years have been a totally different kind of car, but this year with some of the changes in testing, it’s opened it up a bit. There’s 18 days in total now, which seems like more than what we’ve had recently. That’s good for him, but the addition of being in a really strong team and having really strong teammates will definitely quicken that process up. Say he comes in a little slow; it won’t take long if he does. I expect him to be quick straight out of the box and having the possibility of going for race wins straight on.”
(Has the manufacturer switch affected the team’s preparation for the upcoming season?): “In some ways, change is enlightening. Over a two year period – if you look at the previous four or five years with Honda it wasn’t the same because there was no competition – the last two years was a short time, but it was relationships you’d be working on for quite some time. The change is what it is, but it makes it interesting, too. The engine is totally different, even though they are very close and competitive on track. The ways they have reached that power and drivability from different directions and that’s quite exciting.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (Team Penske): “Being in Indianapolis is always incredible. Winning three times and being so close to winning four. I’m sure these other guys feel the opposite. But if I get four, I’ll be able to join Rick Mears, who I work with and is my mentor and hero. It would be amazing and a dream come true to be in the same group as Rick, A.J. Foyt and Al Unser Sr. I know it’s a big task, but I have big dreams as well.”
TONY KANAAN (Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “Now I know why these guys enjoyed winning the Indy 500 so much. You get to celebrate for a year. It’s January and tomorrow I go to Detroit to finally get my Baby Borg. I don’t have my ring yet, which I’m waiting for quite anxiously. A lot of things have happened since (May). But I have to say, all the good things that happened was because of the win.”
(About his transition to Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “It’s been pretty smooth. We did a test in December, but I was in the 8 car… I haven’t driven the 10 car yet, but we’ll see what that’s like on Friday.
(About communicating with Dario Franchitti): “I’ve been with him all day, yesterday. We had dinner last night. We’re having dinner tonight. We’ve been talking. It’s funny. I expected that we were going to be talking more, even if he was still racing, because we are in the same team. Since his retirement, we’ve been talking every day. More than ever. He’s still part of the team, so for me, it’s still hard for me to see that he’s not going to be around driving the car. Not a lot of things have changed. We’re not going to bang wheels on the track but we still talk a lot.”
F1weekly podcast number 575 with the Spanish GP review and
Special interview with ALMS driver Adrian Fernandez
Adrian Fernandez began his career by racing motocross at age eight. He entered his first auto race in 1981 at the “24 Hours of Mexico” and at the age of 15 he made the permanent move to cars in 1982. From 1982 to 1984 Fernandez competed in the Formula Vee Championship taking the title in ’83 and ’84. He also raced in the Formula K Series in 1984, competing in that series through 1986. He finished in the top four in the standings all three years in Formula K.
In 1987, he ran one race in the Benelux Formula Ford 1600 Championship, one British RAC Formula Ford 1600 Championship race and competed in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. From 1988-89 he ran the British RAC and Esso Formula Ford 1600 Championship series before moving to the Mexican F3 Championship for 1990 and 1991, winning the title in ’91.
In 1992, Fernandez came to the United States to compete in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship (now the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship). He finished third in the points winning four races, a rookie record, and took the “Indy Lights Rookie of the Year” honors and made more than two million dollars in prize earnings.
His talent apparent, Fernandez made the jump to the CART IndyCar World Series in 1993, competing in five races for Galles Racing International. He ran his first full CART season in 1994 with Galles finishing 13th and capturing the “Marco Magania” and “Luchador Olmeca” awards and the “JAC” trophy for “Best Driver” outside Mexico. Competing again with Galles in 1995, Fernandez finished 12th in the standings placing in the top ten nine times.
Fernandez moved to Tasman Motorsports in 1996. He had six top ten finishes, including his first career CART victory at Toronto. Unfortunately his delight at taking his first win was dampened by the fatal accident suffered by Jeff Krosnoff late in the race. The win in Toronto made him the first Mexican to win a CART event since Hector Rebaque in 1982, and Fernandez went on to finish 12th in the season points tally. However, 1997 was a disappointing season for Fernandez. The Tasman team ran a Lola chassis which failed to perform to expectations. Through force of will, determination and talent, Fernandez battled to three top ten finishes and 18th place in the PPG Cup standings.
Fernandez joined Patrick Racing for the 1998 season and proved his ability to challenge for the championship. He enjoyed 14 top ten finishes with eight top five placements and two victories, Japan and Mid-Ohio, en route to a fourth place showing in the PPG Cup race during the 1998 Fed Ex Championship. He captured his first career pole at Michigan and led the championship race for the first time in his career. Unfortunately once again Fernandez was touched by tragedy – a crash at Michigan resulted in an errant wheel from his car flying into the stands and killing three spectators. However, it was his victory during the Miller Lite 200 that gave Patrick Racing one of its most memorable moments when Fernandez stood atop the podium next to his teammate Scott Pruett. Fernandez was also named the “Athlete of the Year” in Mexico.
In 1999, enjoying his most successful season so far in the CART series, Adrian Fernandez behind the wheel of the #40 Tecate/Quaker State Reynard Ford-Cosworth completed the year sixth in the championship battle. He led the points series early in the season for the first time in his CART career, however an accident at Detroit resulted in a fracture in one of his hands, forcing him to sit out for several races. However he won at Motegi, Japan at the Firestone Firehawk 500 and at the Marlboro 500 at Fontana, California – a race marred by the death of good friend Greg Moore. In addition, he was selected to participate in the IROC series during 1999 where he competed against other top-named drivers including NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt. Fernandez solid racing career which began in 1993, now has 80 total starts in the series. Of those starts he has finished in the top ten 41 times throughout his seven-year career.
In 2000 Fernandez had his best season in the CART series, coming close to winning the championship despite not starting on the front row all season. He scored points in 17 of the 20 races including 2 wins at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Australia, and 3 further podium results. He finished second to Gil de Ferran in the championship.
In 2001 he founded Fernandez Racing, with former Ganassi manager Tom Anderson as his partner, and ex-F1 driver Shinji Nakano as his team-mate. He finished 3rd twice and took 2 poles that year, but his team’s first victory came at Portland in 2003, the first win for an owner-driver since Bobby Rahal achieved the feat in 1992. That year he also ran an IRL entry for Asian-American Roger Yasukawa, in partnership with Aguri Suzuki, and for 2004 he moved the whole team to the series. Despite taking 3 wins and 4th overall in the 2004 IRL, he was unable to secure funding to race in 2005 – Delphi was driver Scott Sharp’s personal sponsor while engine suppliers Honda insisted on Japanese driver Kosuke Matsuura in the second car.
In 2005 he drove the 5 Lowe’s / Hitachi Chevrolet in Mexico for Rick Hendrick in the first NASCAR Busch Series race held outside the United States. In this race, (called the Telcel-Motorola 200) Fernandez raced in a one time ride to help promote NASCAR racing to the local fans. He led several laps in the race before giving up the lead to eventual race winner Martin Truex Jr.. It was announced that he would run 4 more races in the Busch Series for Hendrick Motorsports, but he did not run up front at any of those races. In 2006 he competed in 2 Busch races for Hendrick and competed full time in the Grand-Am series for his own team with Lowe’s sponsorship.
In 2007, he moved the team to the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class as an Acura factory team. His teammate will be fellow Mexican and Grand-Am veteran Luis Díaz.
On October 10, 2009, Adrián and his co-driver Luis Díaz won at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. With this victory the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01B concludes the season with the drivers’ championship and teams’ championship of the American Le Mans Series in the LMP2 category.