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Nur Ali Teams up with Rally Ready Driving School

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Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 21:12
Nur Ali understands the value of education and for good reason. Throughout his life it has shaped him into a successful racer and businessman. Prior to embarking on any new challenge, Ali seeks out knowledge and wisdom to ensure success. First, it was American University. Next, it was Skip Barber School of Racing. Today, as the Trophy Club, TX resident takes on possibly his biggest challenge by entering the Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) Lites Series, it's Rally Ready Driving School.

     Rally Ready, based in Austin, TX, is designed from the ground up to teach the skills necessary to compete in professional rallying. Led by three-time Pikes Peak Hill Climb division winner Dave Carapetyan, Rally Ready is made up of a diverse group of motorsport professionals brought together in a common passion for learning, teaching and empowering others.

     Throughout the season, Carapetyan will travel to each GRC Lites event with Ali to coach the veteran road racer as he transitions to competing on both dirt and asphalt. Following each event, the two will spend time together at Rally Ready's purpose-built rally racing facility to continue the education.

     "I've always placed a high value on education because it prepares you for the journey ahead," said Ali, driver of the No. 42 Valvoline/Tweaker Energy Shot entry. "As the move is made from road racing to rallycross, it is important that I surround myself with successful people. That's what makes Rally Ready Driving School such a perfect fit. Dave and his staff are focused on helping others be successful. Having them as a resource both at the events and at home in Texas is a huge boost of confidence."

     Ali has been competing in a variety of motorsports genres for the past 17 years. He earned the distinction of becoming the first professional Pakistani-born race car driver, competed internationally in A1 Grand Prix - World Cup of Motorsports, captured two Formula Mazda Championships and two Legends Car Championships, competed in 12 countries on five continents as well as in select NASCAR Xfinity Series and ARCA Racing Series races.

     Last month, Ali announced he would be competing in GRC Lites with San Bernardino, CA-based AFRacing. His AFRacing teammate Alejandro Fernandez finished third in the 2014 GRC Lites Championship.

     "Nur is an exceptional racer with a solid approach to motorsports but no matter the experience level, there is a steep learning curve entering a new discipline," said Carapetyan. "To drive at the limit he needs to develop a keen sense of muscle memory which will allow him to be in sync with his race car. That's where Rally Ready comes in. At the first event in Ft. Lauderdale, we will find the baseline and build a training program using every resource we have available including lots of seat time and personalized coaching."

     The 12-race GRC Lites schedule in 2015, its longest ever, kicks off in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on May 31 and culminates in Las Vegas in November. The eight-city tour includes four  doubleheader events, as well as the class' first trip outside of the United States with an October visit to Barbados. All races will be telecast on NBCSN.

     For more information on Nur Ali visit For more information on Rally Ready Driving School visit

Montoya Earns Second Indianapolis 500 Victory

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Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 21:09
Juan Pablo Montoya won the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and held off reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and teammate Will Power by 0.1046 of a second - the fourth-closest finish in race history - in a thrilling final 15 laps of the historic race. The victory was Montoya's second Indianapolis 500 win, as the Colombian won "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in his first start at the 2.5-mile oval in 2000.

Five of the race's 37 lead changes occurred in the last 15 laps following a restart, when Montoya overtook Dixon in Turn 1 for second place, and then Power in Turn 4 to capture the lead on Lap 197. He held the lead for the remainder of the 200-lap event.

"It was awesome," Montoya said. "This is what racing in INDYCAR is all about, racing down to the wire. These guys, Team Penske, did an amazing job. I had the feeling that I had a really good car, but that fight at the end was really, really hard. All the way down to the wire. This is pretty awesome."

The victory extended team owner Roger Penske's record of Indy 500 victories to 16. The 15-year gap between Indy 500 wins for Montoya is the longest stretch for a driver.

"You give that guy the bit and put it in his mouth, and he doesn't give up," said Penske, the race strategist for three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. "It's a great day for Team Penske. I knew we had two up there, but the worry was Dixon and the 83 (Charlie Kimball). At the end of the day, they played fair. Good passing and we won the race."

Montoya finished fifth last May in his return to the Indy 500 after a 14-year absence in which he won races in Formula One and NASCAR competition, and he is the first multiple winner in six Verizon IndyCar Series races this season. He won the opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and extended his points lead over Power to 25 heading into the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans doubleheader May 30-31.

Montoya, who started 15th in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, fell to 30th early in the race after being hit from behind while the race was under caution, necessitating a pit stop to change the rear wing assembly. He then overshot his pit box on a Lap 95 stop, which cost precious seconds. Montoya worked his way up to third by Lap 102 and remained in the top five to challenge for the win.

Power was two-tenths of a second behind Montoya entering the white-flag lap, but couldn't make a dramatic last-turn pass.

"I just had too much push when he got by," Power said. "I had to lift on that last lap. He was definitely better when he got behind me. That's why he got the run. Anywhere else I'd be happy with second, but (not) here. It was a great month overall -- first, first and second, second."

Power won the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 from the pole and started second in the "500" in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Kimball finished 0.7950 of a second back in third - a career best in five Indy 500 starts - after starting 14th in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Dixon, who led a field-high 84 laps, was 1.0292 seconds arrears in fourth place in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Graham Rahal, who started 17th in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, finished fifth.

Marco Andretti, Castroneves, JR Hildebrand, Josef Newgarden and front-row starter Simon Pagenaud completed the top 10 that includes five Americans on this Memorial Day weekend.

The 200-lap race saw six caution periods for 47 laps, including five incidents involving a total of 11 cars. Sebastian Saavedra, driver of the No. 17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, sustained a contusion to his right foot when his car was hit in the side by Stefano Coletti in the No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet. Saavedra must be evaluated before being cleared to race again.

2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan crashed on his own on Lap 152, but walked away and lauded the safety of the cars.

"It (crashing) is a very unfortunate thing to happen to me," Kanaan said, "but if I had to prove it that we don't flip cars anymore, here it is for the critics. (I'm) heartbroken but OK."

Dale Coyne Racing crewman Daniel Jang, part of the No. 18 Tristan Vautier crew, was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital with a right ankle injury when clipped by teammate James Davison's car after it collided with the third Coyne car, driven by Pippa Mann, while exiting its pit.

The 100th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 29, 2016.

Gordon Thrilled to Set Pace for Indy 500 Field

Jeff Gordon has set the pace plenty of times in his incredible NASCAR career, but the former Pittsboro, Ind., resident couldn't wait to lead the Indianapolis 500 field to the green flag as driver of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 pace car.

"What a thrill it is to be here on race day," Gordon said shortly before climbing into the car. "I certainly had plenty of opportunities to make laps around this track before, but never have I had the experience like I'm having here today, to be honored as being the pace car driver, to get the chance to drive that amazing Corvette Z06."

Even though Gordon was scheduled to drive in the NASCAR race in Charlotte later in the evening, he said he wasn't eager to leave Indianapolis so quickly after his honorary pace car duties.

"The hardest thing is going to be getting out of the driver's seat of that car," he said. "It's such a great car.  I want to take it home with me. It's going to be hard to leave the Indy 500, but (I) certainly have a lot to do in Charlotte as well this evening."


WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "I just had too much push when he got by. I had to lift on that last lap. He was definitely better when he got behind me. That's why he got the run. Anywhere else I'd be happy with second. But here. ... It was a great month overall -- first, first and second, second."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet):  "That was an easy race. But this was a lot of work today. I mean, with Simona (de Silvestro) in back of me, that's what happens when you qualify bad. You find yourself with the wrong crowd. We kept adding downforce and adjusting the car. It was fun because after the caution, when I was running like eighth, I could barely keep up with them. I'm like, 'We don't have anything.' As we kept adjusting the car, (I thought) 'Oh, that's a little better, that's a little better.' That's what you got to do, stay on top of the track. What really matters is the last 15 laps. That was fun racing. Probably the best racing. Between Will (Power) and (Scott) Dixon, we have a lot of respect for each other. We understand the risk and we understand when they got you. So it makes it fun." 

STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "We had a pretty difficult start to the race. The No. 4 KVRT car had a lot of understeer in traffic, but with each pit stop we were able to make changes and in the end the car started to feel good in the last stint. We were finally able to run in the tow and attempt some passes. With about 25 laps to go, I was coming into Turn 4 and the two guys in front of me crashed and hit the wall and I was able to avoid the first one, but not the second. It's unfortunate because I think I could have had a top 15, but that's the way it ended. I just wanted to finish my first Indy 500 and I didn't, so hopefully I can do better next year."

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda):  "I just want to thank everyone for the opportunity to jump in the car at the last minute. We're all thinking of Hinch and I was thinking of him during the race as well. It's the Indy 500 and we had a good run. We moved forward from the last row up to twelfth. Not quite enough to get right up there, but I had a lot of fun. The pit stops were phenomenal. I really want to thank everyone at Arrow Electronics, Lucas Oil and all the other partners on the team. It's been a whirlwind for the last four or five days for me, but I've gotten to meet a lot of great people, made a lot of friends already and I really wish the SPM team the best for the rest of the season."

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 6 Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet):  "It just says everything about this team and our sponsor, Preferred Freezer Services, for bringing us out here and being able to finish well. The CFH Racing boys have been busting their rear ends to get everything sorted out. The conditions could not have been trickier today. The cars were all over the place today. The track got away from us quickly, as expected, with the sun being out. I, along with a lot of other guys, was just hanging on for the first couple of stints. We had some dicing around in the pits, the stops kind of went both ways for us as we got through the race. We caught some timely yellows, caught some guys off strategy, and we ended up with a top ten.  I can't thank all of the guys here enough, Preferred Freezer and the CFH team for giving me a shot again this year.  I'm bummed for Ed (Carpenter) that he didn't get to finish the race out, but all-in-all, given how tough it was out there, I think we can be pleased with where we finished."

JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "It was a tough day, really, for the No. 7 SPM MediaTech Oculus car. The car was pretty good in the first stint, but then we just seemed to let the balance get away from us a little bit. It was a long afternoon and we were right there in the end. Everybody knows that Chevy has a bit of an advantage so we really have to put it together from a Honda point of view, but we're looking forward to Detroit next week and we'll move on."

SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet):  "I don't know what Sato's doing. Kind of a bonehead move. He sees me and (Ryan) Hunter-Reay side by side and the first lap he's trying to make it three wide. I just don't get it. The track's clean right now, it's swept so there's no marbles up there and you can run high, but no reason to push a three-wide issue. I mean, just a very stupid move on his part. We had a good start, going through Turn 1 picked up about two spots already, was running side by side with Hunter-Reay, everything was cool. And with Sato, he had a big run, yeah, but he doesn't need to go popping outside on Lap 1, Turn 1. It just doesn't make sense. It ruins a lot of people's races, you know."

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "The whole race went really well. We had a few little issues. All in all, the car had some pretty good speed. At the end there was a little bit of understeer. We were there all day. We were knocking on the door. We led a lot of laps. We just didn't lead the right one. I'm proud of the Target team. The Chip Ganassi Team, all in all, did a hell of a job."

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet):  "We had been loose all day and we made a change for the last stop and it was apparently the wrong way to go. It's unfortunate. We had a strong race all day between the Penske boys and the Ganassi guys. I feel bad for my sponsor, NTT Data and Bryant, they have a huge crowd here - but I was trying and actually we finally proved that we don't flip every time we crash. ... It's track position, right? We had a little bit of a hiccup on one of the stops. I think I didn't hit my marks and we lost three positions. We put ourselves back there. The car behaves a lot different with five cars in front of you instead of two. It is what it is. I'm glad I'm OK. It's a very unfortunate thing to happen to me but if I had to prove it that we don't flip cars anymore, here it is for the critics. (I'm) heartbroken but OK."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut - HAUS Vaporizer KVSH Chevrolet): "It was a tough day for the Hydroxycut HAUS Vaporizer team. I was dreading these conditions because on Monday and Carb Day we saw that we were not on the money when the track temperature went up. Unfortunately, it was 85 degrees and windy today. The track temp got up to 125 degrees, so I just did the best I could. I really struggled on restarts and lost a bunch of positions. That is something I am going to have to work on. The balance wasn't an issue we just lacked overall grip. I was hoping I could stay at the front and make up a couple of positions at the start of the race, but instead I lost a couple straightaway. However, we stuck it out and almost finished in the top-10, so we will move on from there. Overall, I feel kind of lucky and happy to finish 11th."

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda):  "There was a bit of drama at Turn 1-was really disappointed. I was staying in my line outside going to Turn 1 outside and exited Turn 1 outside and it all looked good. The No. 8 car was just coming up and my front wheel was already in front of his rear wheel so I could do nothing. I was sandwiched between him and the wall. Unfortunately I had to come back to the pit and replace the front toelink and got a couple laps down. It took 150 laps to get our three laps back. The ABC boys did a good job on the pit stops and the strategy so that we were on the lead lap for the final restart. I had to work my way up from the back and I gained a couple positions in the end. It was a hard race and a really disappointing race."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda): "I'm really, really proud of these guys, all the effort they continue to put in. I mean, once again today, the top Honda. The Chevy was just in a league of its own unfortunately on horsepower. I was happy we were as close to Chuck and Dixon at the end as we were. I thought there was no hope. With 15 to go, to be tenth or ninth, charge up through those guys, pretty tricky. A lot of fun. I thought the racing was really good. Again, 500 miles. We were good at times, bad at times. Lucky we ended on a high note. More important than anything, I said to my boys coming into today, no matter what, two things I wanted, that was to be the top Honda, and to keep up with the top three in points, top four.  Unfortunately three of those guys finished ahead of us, but we still had a very good points day."   

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet):  "Unfortunately I have no idea what happened. I was a victim of a rookie, but it's something that makes you want to come back and do everything all over again. I'm feeling good - thankful of that I'm pretty lucky. I have an ankle sprain and some bone bruising, but I'm just happy for the whole Holmatro team that did an amazing job keeping me calm. I'm putting everything behind and trying to recover as quick as possible to see what's the next race for us. Definitely not the way we wanted to finish the race. I think first of all that I'm very proud of absolutely everybody on the 17 car. We did not have any easy race out there but we never gave up. We fought our way through and we ended up with an amazing car. Amazing pit stops out there that put us in position to battle. Once we got the balance of the car right we started moving forward."

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Three cars of the team were involved in the incident and two of them are out. Nothing we could have done different on our side. We were just in our pit box and got hit. It sucks because the car was coming to us. We started off really bad and made some really good changes during the pit stops. It was really coming alive. We were looking forward to the second half of the race. We were actually starting to pass cars. It sucks but overall I am really happy that I got the chance to take my second start in the Indy 500."

JAMES DAVISON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Well, we came in for our pit stop there, and the car was working as well as it had been all race. I think we just got sent right out into the path of Pippa (Mann) and contact was made that slammed my car into Tristan's car - our sister car. Tristan and I sustained damage that ended our race. Obviously a crew member was hit and hurt and I'm just really hoping that he's going to be OK."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): "My guess is there's probably some fault both ways (for the crash). I thought Oriol (Servia) blocked me a little too heavy for that point in the race. He got by me earlier and I didn't block him as aggressively as that. Once I saw what he was going to do, I was on the brakes hard trying to get out of the situation and not crash either of us. It doesn't really matter whose fault it is. At the end of the day, both of our days are over. End of a crappy month for me, just watch my teammates and see if they can pull something out." ... (On his bad luck in Turn 1 the past two years): "Yeah. It's kind of starting to be annoying."

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet): "I think we were fairly solid today. We didn't have enough for the top guys. We definitely battled the conditions trying to keep the car underneath us. We kept digging. We had a great team at Carpenter Fisher Hartman, we had great pit stops, great leadership within the group. Everyone worked their tails off the whole month with some of the adversity we had. We did what we could. I don't think we had enough at the end, but we were in the mix, and that's pretty cool to say."

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet): "The car was amazing. I thank Team Penske. It was a great day. The Avaya crew was on it, fantastic pit stops. What a race - we led, we were just cruising behind (Scott) Dixon, saving fuel. At Lap 170, we knocked our front wing on Dixon and we had to come back in and we were last. We came back up to 10th in 10 laps. That just shows you how good the car was. I'm disappointed, too, but I'm really happy for Juan Pablo (Montoya) and Team Penske. It's amazing. This team's incredible." (About Team Penske): "The cars they give us are just off the charts. They're comfortable to drive, they're fast and this team is all about winning. I want to thank Roger (Penske) and Tim Cindric for the opportunity." (About teammate Montoya): "The guy is amazing, especially on ovals. He deserves to win. He came back. I guess he had a little issue at the beginning, he had time to recover. That's Juan Pablo. He's so good on those superspeedways. I'm going to have to learn from him a little bit. It's great to be part of such a great team with such great teammates."

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet): "That was a wild race in the middle of the field today. I thought there was going to be a couple of big crashes on the back straight. I'm not sure how everyone made it through some of that  stuff.  At the end, there were people on the grass and in the gray stuff.  At the start, I was sure than (Takuma) Sato was going to hit my right rear wheel when he came off the wall. I had to do a big swerve to avoid him. My first stint was pretty shaky as the car was pushing (understeer) badly. But we took on a half-turn of front wing and the Robert Graham Special really came alive. I think I passed like nine cars in the next stint. We really didn't make too many changes throughout the race after that. The last stint wasn't the best but our Dreyer & Reinbold - Kingdom Racing crew was spectacular on the last pit stop. In fact, they were outstanding all day in with the pit stops. Overall, the conditions were difficult at the end and we didn't have the setup to stay in the top-ten. Graham (Rahal) took fifth and I raced with him a lot today. We just were a little light in downforce later in the race. I'm happy to take it to the checkered flag. Just wish we would have finished up further on the scoring pylon."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Rolling Stones Honda):  "Tough day for the No. 25. We had a vibration in one of our rear tires so we were forced to pit early because we were losing a lot of lap time. So we had to pit a few laps early and that's when the yellow flag came out and that was it, we went a lap down and just tried to fight our way back to the front. We tried something with fuel mileage and strategy to get back into the front of the pack, but we were a lap short. Unfortunately since we were a lap short, we had to pit two laps till the end and not risk anything. It's frustrating, but it's just been a long, tough day. I want to thank Andretti Autosport for this opportunity, looking forward to hopefully working with them again."

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): "I made a mistake and received a drive-thru penalty; I didn't hit the pit lane limiter or something... I don't really know what happened there. Since we were at the back (of the field), we just tried to change our strategy a little bit, to not stop again, but we ended up two laps short. I think we were pretty fast, even in the end when I had our fuel saving map on and with more laps on our tires than anyone else. I think we had a good race. It's a shame I made a mistake, but it is what it is, and hopefully next year I will have another shot to do it again."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "It was a frustrating 500 miles; We lost some track position in the pits and I lost some more out on the track. It was just a hard fight to keep the car balanced, let alone try to win. I was just trying to be best in class, but there were so many times that I just got the short end of the stick. This stuff is hard to plan, but it's been frustrating so hopefully we can turn things around heading into the next race weekend."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "Not a good day. It was bad from the start, we definitely have an issue with the car. It's got some balance issues at the moment, compared to the rest of my Andretti Autosport teammates, even with the aero settings. We had to change some things around today to try and get the car to work. I'm just happy to bring the DHL Honda back in one piece."

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda):  "It was kind of a so-so day. I made a bit of a mistake at the restart where I ran into (Juan Pablo) Montoya; it didn't hurt him as much as it did us, I guess. It was a long day. The car felt pretty good, we just couldn't get by people - that was the trickiest part - we really struggled on passing people. It felt great to be back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the fans were awesome. I wish we had a better result. I'm pretty disappointed but on to the next one. Huge thank you to everyone at TE Connectivity for giving me the opportunity, and the Andretti Autosport guys did an amazing job the whole month. So I'm looking forward to hopefully working with everyone here at Andretti again."

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda):
"I think Ed (Carpenter) got a little optimistic. I think he did to me what (James) Hinchcliffe did to him last year. Funny enough we talked about what happened the other day. He had a run on me but it was coming too late. I don't know if he thought I was going to lift or something. I'm sure I'm going to get a phone call once he sees a replay. It's a shame; I think we are both smart racers and we usually don't do those things. The race is over, the one we really wanted to win. The car felt very good. I was just being really patient because the race was only half way and I felt really strong. The team kept asking about the car and I didn't want to change anything because it felt so good. I just wanted to be there at the end, at the last pit stop. It's unfortunate. I think he was struggling all day and frustrated. I'm very upset they didn't send the sweepers earlier. When (Bryan) Clauson crashed, he crashed because there were so many marbles up there and I was on the radio saying 'They need to clean if they want some racing.' And they didn't clean them so that's another reason I was not going to stay high; the marbles were huge. I knew if I stayed high we were crashing and Carpenter knows that. Anyway, I'm thinking of next year already."

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): "There was a bit of a gap for me to the big group that was in front and they had a huge checkup in front. I guess I misjudged my closing speed a little bit and I touched the back of the 17 and he spun and then we all started crashing. It was disappointing, but it was the last 20-30 laps of the Indy 500 and I was going for it. I'm fine but disappointed for the team and our sponsor, ABC, because we had a pretty decent car-maybe could have gotten a top-10. Not the day we wanted but we'll try again in Detroit."

CONOR DALY (No. 43 FUELED by BACON Special Honda): "We had a fuel leak that caused a fire in the back of the car and burned some key items, so sadly, that was our end of the race before it even started. It was a real shame for sure. These things happen in racing, though, so all we can do is look forward."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Special Honda): "It was a pretty eventful race for us, nothing I could ask more of from the guys. I am very appreciative and honored to be part of the Foyt family. I was really appreciative just to be here, it means a lot to me. Having the limited time we did, we were playing a little on the fly today with pit stops, so that hurt us a little bit, but other than that I think the race was OK. The car was fairly good, it was missing a bit of speed, but I think in general we can say we accomplished what we needed to accomplish as a team. Doing it last minute like this was very difficult for everyone, but we pulled it off. We managed to run all 500 miles without a problem on the car, and that says it all for all the hard work and preparation the Al-Fe Heat Treating guys put into the car. I am very, very proud of them."

PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Today ended up being a really long, tough day at the race track at the 99th Indianapolis 500. We had some handling issues throughout the race and the crew and engineers worked their tails off, trying to help bring the car to a place where I was more comfortable. My spotters did a fantastic job all day long, trying to help me out around the traffic of the faster cars. It was really hard avoiding some of the incidents out there. We picked up a little damage from one incident and then a little more damage from the second incident, resulting in some unplanned pit stops, and compounded our handling issues. In the end, I was very grateful to see the checkered flag and to be able to bring the pink Dale Coyne Racing car supporting Susan G. Komen home at the end of this year's Indianapolis 500. I'd like to thank everyone who took part in our #GetInvolved campaign to help us raise funds and awareness for Susan G. Komen. We've raised over $58,000. ... After a rough race, it's great to know the campaign is already a success, and we haven't even hit our deadline yet."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "I'm so happy with today's result - it means a lot to finish in the top three at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet was obviously fast and we made up a lot of spots throughout the race. Whenever I asked for something with the car, the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys just kept making the car better and better. We've had some bad luck this season, so it's nice to see our hard work finally start to pay off. I'm looking forward to Detroit and I'm hoping we can keep the good results coming."

BRYAN CLAUSON (No. 88 Jonathan Byrd's/Cancer Treatment Centers of America Chevrolet):  "It wasn't really that hard of a hit, that angle there. We were trying to run our own race and our car just went away there towards the end of that first run. Fell back from the pack and was right there in the thick of some leaders trying to get to the bottom and just got up a little high on a long green-flag run there, got up in the marbles and there was no saving it. I feel bad for my guys, these Jonathan Byrd's Racing/KVSH guys that worked really hard this month. Obviously we struggled for speed all month, we were hanging in there just trying to run 500 miles and it was a dumb mistake." (On his race tonight in Kokomo): "Yeah, hopefully I do a little better."

GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins / Curb Honda): "It was a very good race for us. I wish I could go out there and do it again. One mistake cost us a lot of time. We had to drive back through the field. We drove all the way up to ninth before that last caution. Right before the caution, we were overtaking a car that was a lap down, lost our front wing. Very unfortunate.  We didn't change the wing just to see how long the caution would be, would stay. Unfortunately once we got back to green, it was a handful.  I lost a few positions, lost a couple positions in that last stop as well, but we had a great car. We drove through the field twice, into the top 10 twice after two mistakes. I wish I could go out there and do it again. But I'm very happy with the job my crew did, my team. I'm super excited to keep using this momentum, keep progressing through the season."

Molson Coors returns to IndyCar

Written by
Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 21:05
Molson Coors is returning to the Indy. Organizers of the Honda Indy Toronto today announced a new partnership with Molson Coors Canada to serve as the official beer and cider of Ontario’s largest annual sporting event, through 2017.


“Toronto has an important place in the history of auto racing in Canada and Molson Coors has been a big part of that,” said Charlie Johnstone, President of the Honda Indy Toronto. “We are thrilled to welcome them back as a major partner of the event."


This is the first year that Molson Coors will be associated with the event since founding and holding title sponsorship of the event from 1986 to 2006. Indy fans will now be able to responsibly enjoy the event with the great brand portfolio of Molson Coors, including Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Creemore Lot 9 Pilsner, GranvilleIsland Hey Day Hefeweizen, Molson Canadian Cider and Heineken.


“We are so excited to be back once again with this awesome motorsport event. Molson Coors has a long history of supporting community events across Canada and we are very proud to be part of the Honda Indy Toronto excitement again!” said Greg Barbour, Senior Director of Sponsorship and Events, Molson Coors Canada. “Our brands have grown hand in glove with the most important sports events in this country and we look forward to joining Honda Indy Toronto fans to celebrate.”


In 2015, the Honda Indy Toronto will feature a full-site license and a central beer garden located near food vendors and interactive games. Individual vendors selling beverages will also roam the grounds.


Tickets for the 2015 Honda Indy Toronto are available now online at or by phone at 1-877-725-8849.

Pacific Raceways Majors Takes the Checkers Out West

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Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 21:02
Round 10 of the SCCA Western Conference U.S. Majors Tour concluded at Pacific Raceways as part of a doubleheader race weekend that capped off the Memorial Day holiday. The event brought together some of the most talented amateur racecar drivers on the West Coast on a weekend where winners in many different disciplines of motorsport were honored.
At Pacific Raceways, drivers from 24 Runoffs-eligible classes completed six 20-lap races at the 10-turn, 2.25-mile circuit. The starting grid for each race was ordered by the fastest single lap turned by each driver throughout the weekend, up until Monday. That included laps from the two 15-minute qualifying sessions run on Saturday and Sunday, as well as laps from Sunday's sprint race.
Here is a summary of Monday's competition:
Race One: Both Super Touring Lite and Touring 4 saw repeat winners. Paul Whiting, of Pahrump, Nevada, took home the win in STL, and the overall win, in his No. 57 Honda CRX. Like Sunday Whiting was able to cover the field and best his closest rival, Thomas Lepper.
Lance Stewart, of Coconut Grove, Florida, also snagged the win by, once again, finishing ahead of Kristina Etherington.
Race Two: In a race group that combined the Spec Racers with three classes of closed-fender cars, Patrick Byrne, of Spokane, Washington, took home the feature race win in his No. 02 Spec Racer Ford Gen3. However, there was also some great racing that went on deeper in the pack.
Todd Harris, of Portland, Oregon, tallied a second win on the weekend, but this time in the previous generation of SRF car. In his No. 24x Pro Drive Racing/Flat Out SRF, Harris beat Leonardo Del Castillo to the line by 0.869-second. In addition, Harris also claimed a new track record.
Further back, the battle for B-Spec supremacy was renewed between Eric Boucher and Derrick Ambrose. Boucher, of Auburn, California completed the sweep while also setting a new track record in his No. 35 The Wife Mazda2.
Also taking home wins on Monday were Michelle Abbate, of Henderson, Nevada, in Super Touring Under and Marco Gallaher, of Santa Rosa, California, in Spec Miata.
Race Three: The production group was fairly spaced out by the time the overall leader – Jess Heitman, of Portland, Oregon – saw the checkered flag. Heitman also added another feather in his cap as he got the best of Runoffs winning driver Joe Huffaker twice. However, Huffaker still showed his driving talent behind the wheel as he set the fastest lap of the race.
Also finishing the extended holiday weekend with two-race sweeps were Kale Swifts, of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, in E Production; Lansing Stout Jr., of Corvallis, Oregon, in Touring 3; Lans Stout, of Cornelius, Oregon, in GT-Lite and Parker Johnstone, of Wilsonville, Oregon, in H Production.
Race Four: In the small-bore formula group, winners in both Formula Vee and Formula F were decided by less than 0.3-second. Rick Payne, of Mission, British Columbia, Canada, recorded his second overall, and Formula F class, win on the weekend in his No. 75 Payton Pools Van Diemen. Payne pulled off the two-race feat after beating Mark Keller to the line by just 0.275-second.
Formula Vee also saw a repeat winner in Brian McCarthy, of Sacramento, California. Like Sunday's race, McCarthy finished at the front of a tightly-packed FV field. He took home victory with only a 0.296-second margin to second place.
Race Five: In Formula 1000, Gary Hickman (No. 76 Edge Engineering Inc. Phoenix F1000), of Santee, California, was the class and overall group winner. By doing that, Hickman kept Larry Vollum one win short of a weekend sweep to go with his new track record set on Monday.
Drivers in the group who did complete double wins on the weekend were Jeffery Lederman, of Vacaville, California, in Prototype 1 and Edward Lever, of Bakersfield, California, in Formula Atlantic.
Race Six: The big-bore cars put a period on the weekend's on-track activities. Erich Joiner, of Torrance, California, took home the day-two win in GT-2. His class win was not in question by the end of the 20-lap race as he rolled across the finish line, in his No. 3 Tool of North America Porsche 997, with four laps in-hand over his class competitor.
Marc Hoover, of Shingle Springs, California, took home a second win in Touring 1 as did Collin Jackson, of Langley, British Columbia, Canada, in GT-3; Roger Start, of Redmond, Washington, in GT-1 and Russ Peterson, of Menlo Park, California, in Touring 2.
Additional information regarding the Majors at Pacific Raceways, including full results, can be found at
Like SCCA on Facebook at and follow the Club on Twitter @SCCAOfficial.

RCH Up to the Challenge at Glen Helen

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Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 20:59
RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing riders Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle raced to fourth- and 13th-place overall finishes in Saturday’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross FMF Glen Helen National at Glen Helen Raceway.
Roczen’s solid outing propelled the German rider from 12th to sixth in the Pro Motocross Championship standings. Tickle’s day was full of challenges but despite finishing 12th and 15th in each of the day’s 450 motos, the rider of RCH’s No. 20 Suzuki RM-Z450 still sits 10th in points with 10 races left.
After fighting his way through last week’s outdoor season opener with an ailing back, Roczen rebounded by posting the fastest lap of Saturday morning’s qualifying session and looked to be in winning form before the gate dropped on the first 450 moto of the day.
Bad luck in the form of contact with another rider left Roczen hung up shortly after the gate dropped and ultimately deep in the field when he pointed his Suzuki RM-Z450 in the right direction. Despite the early-race incident, the defending Pro Motocross Champion charged back to finish eighth.
Roczen stepped it up in the second moto and bettered his first showing by a handsome five positions to record his first podium finish of the 2015 outdoor campaign.
“It seems like the luck wasn’t really on our side during that first moto,” Roczen explained. “I got tangled up with someone and got stuck really long and started dead last, basically and made my way up to eighth, which was ok. In the second moto, I got a little bit better of a start and fought my way up to third right away. I was behind (Ryan) Dungey and tried to hang on but I tipped over and that’s what cost me big time. After that, I just tried to be somewhat consistent. The track was really gnarly. I made a bunch of mistakes. If I could have cleaned up some places, it would have made my lap times quite a bit better. We’ll build from here. I’m ok with third place in the second moto. We’ll work hard this week and try to get back up top.”
For Tickle, Round 2 didn’t go exactly as planned, but the 25-year-old veteran took the good with the bad and set his sights on the next race.
“It was alright,” said Tickle after the race. “I was looking forward to Glen Helen. I felt like I rode well preparing for the National. The track was brutal. I felt like part of the issue was that I started off a little slow and that left me with a bad start. I ended up being around slower guys in the beginning of the race. Towards the end of the motos, I felt like I had some good flow going but it was just too late.
“I pulled into the mechanics area during the first moto, thinking I had a flat tire and went back to 19th and then back to 12th, so that was a bit of a struggle. In the second moto, I stalled my bike on top of the hill, went back to 19th again and then back to 15th. I feel like I had some good laps at the end. I’m looking forward to Colorado and the rest of the races.”
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to Lakewood, Colo., this week for Saturday’s True Value Thunder Valley National from Thunder Valley Motocross Park. The first moto from Round 3 of the 2015 outdoor campaign will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., May 30 at beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, noon Pacific. Television coverage for the second moto will shift to NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. EDT. All motos can also be streamed live online through or the NBC Sports Live Extra app. NBC, NBCSN and MAVTV will combine to televise over 60 hours of racing over the course of the 12-round season.
The International Hot Rod Association's Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series is coming to Cordova International Raceway this weekend (May 29-30) for the annual Summer Nationals.


Pre-race ceremonies will begin at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, followed by two rounds of qualifying for the AMSOIL Nitro Funny Cars, U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stocks, Nitro Harleys, Crower Pro Mods and Jet Dragsters.


Final qualifying will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with pre-race ceremonies at 4:45 p.m. Final-elimination rounds will take place at 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.


The AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car Presented By Aeromotive class boasts a season-high entry list of 14 cars, including points leader and three-time winner Mike McIntire, defending champion Jason Rupert, Baton Rouge winner Tim Boychuk from Canada, Texan John Hale and local racer Marc White.


Likewise, the U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock class has a season-high 14 entries, including defending champion Cary Goforth, Palm Beach winner John Montecalvo and Baton Rouge victor Roger Bealko.


The top racers in the recently-reinstated Crower Pro Mod class are locked in a tight points battle. With one win each, Isaias Rojas and Jimmy Keen are separated by just two points.


Jay Turner, Tracy Kile and Randal Andras are waging a fierce points battle in the Nitro Harley class.


American Idol XIV contestant Alex Fischbach, from Morrison, Illinois, will sing the national anthem during pre-race ceremonies on both days.


The IHRA Nitro Jam Summer Nationals also will mark the inaugural Battle of the Jet Fire Trucks, featuring Mark Smith's 1940 Ford U.S. Fire Force fire truck versus volunteer firefighter Dave Modder's 1940 Dragon's Fyre. Smith's jet-powered fire truck uses not one, but two jet engines and Modder's truck is partnered with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation ( Dragon's Fyre and U.S. Fire Force will wage a fiery battle on CIR's freshly-paved quarter-mile drag strip. If veteran sportscaster Howard Cosell were alive today, he might dub this smoky showdown "The Inferno in Cordova."


Nitro Jam fans may save money by purchasing tickets in advance at Children's tickets (ages 6-12) are only $10. Each ticket includes a pit pass.


The IHRA pit experience allows fans to tour the pit area, meet the drivers and take part in a number of fun family activities. A special attraction this year is the renowned Hollywood Cars of the Stars collection from the Miami Auto Museum at the Dezer Collection. The exhibit will include famous television and motion picture cars including the TV Batmobile from 1966, the General Lee Dodge Charger from the Dukes of Hazzard TV series and the DeLorean time machine from the 1985 cinema hit, Back to the Future.





Pre-race ceremonies - 6:45 p.m.

First round of Nitro Jam qualifying - 7 p.m.

Second round of Nitro Jam qualifying - 9 p.m.



Third round of Nitro Jam qualifying - 2 p.m.

Pre-race ceremonies -- 4:45 p.m.

First round of Nitro Jam eliminations - 5 p.m.

Second round of Nitro Jam eliminations - 7 p.m.

Final round of Nitro Jam eliminations - 8:30 p.m.


Schedule subject to change.





Friday Adult -- $20.

Friday Child (ages 6-12) -- $10.

Saturday Adult -- $25.

Saturday Child (ages 6-12) -- $10.

All tickets include a free pit pass.


Cordova International Raceway is located at 19425 IL Rt. 84 N, Cordova, Illinois. For more information, please call (309) 654-2110 or visit

Nearly one-third of the way through the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season, rookie William Byron is a surprise leader in as the championship race heads to famed Bowman Gray Stadium this Saturday for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150.

Byron, 17, is sitting at the top of the standings with 176 points after earning two wins, three top fives and four top 10s. The Charlotte product got a late start racing, purchasing his first Legends car in the fall of 2012, and began competing in the U.S. Legend Young Lions Division in 2013. In just his first year competing in Legends, Byron won the 2013 U.S. Legend Young Lions National Championship and has been on the fast track to success ever since.

He's trailed by a pair of drivers who have also visited Victory Lane this season. Series veteran Austin Hill, 21, is 15 points back. The Winston, Georgia, native started off the season strong by winning the season opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway to extend his victory streak to three and has four top 10 finishes this season. Rookie Kyle Benjamin is in third place, five behind Hill, and the Easley, South Carolina, earned his first Victory Lane visit at Bristol Motor Speedway in April.

After that, Byron's already put 37 points -- nearly a full race -- on the rest of the field. By contrast, just 30 points separate fourth-place Gray Gaulding and fifth-place Scott Heckert, who both have 139 points, from 14th.

Juan Pablo Montoya earned $2,449,055 from an overall purse of $13,397,315 for his victory Sunday, May 24, in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In driving his No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to victory, Montoya held off reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and teammate Will Power by 0.1046 of a second – the fourth-closest finish in race history. The Penske pair battled Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon in a thrilling final 15 laps. This marks Montoya’s second Indianapolis 500 win, as the Colombian won "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" as a rookie in 2000.
Five of the race’s 37 lead changes occurred in the last 15 laps following a restart when Montoya, who led four times for a total of nine laps, passed Dixon in Turn 1 for second place before overtaking Power exiting Turn 4 to capture the lead on Lap 197. He held the lead for the remainder of the 200-lap event. The nine laps led by Montoya is the third-fewest laps led by a winner. Dan Wheldon led one lap in 2011 and Joe Dawson led two laps in 1912.

The 15-year gap between Montoya’s two Indianapolis 500 triumphs is the longest stretch for a driver. The victory extended team owner Roger Penske’s record of Indy 500 victories to 16. 

Power, who earlier this month won the second annual Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the IMS road course, earned $792,555 in driving his No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to a runner-up finish, his best in eight "500" starts. Power led the race five times for a total of 23 laps.

Charlie Kimball, who started the race 14th on the grid, also posted a career best Indianapolis 500 performance in finishing third in his fifth start driving the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Kimball led the race twice for 10 laps and earned $564,055.

Finishing fourth was polesitter and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Dixon, who earned $615,805 for his performance on Sunday – which included $100,000 for earning the Verizon P1 Award as pole winner for the second time in his career – led the most laps of any driver with 84. He also led the most laps in 2008 (115), 2009 (73) and in 2011 (73), and now joins Mario Andretti and Louis Meyer as the only drivers to lead the most laps of an Indianapolis 500 on four occasions.

Graham Rahal drove his No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Steak ‘n Shake Honda to a fifth-place finish, the second best of his career at the "500" (finished third in 2011). The highest finisher of all Honda entries, Rahal earned $439,555.

Marco Andretti, who earned $412,055, finished in sixth place in his No. 27 Andretti Autosport Snapple Honda, giving him seven top-10 finishes in 10 Indianapolis 500 starts.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves -- who was the runner-up in last year’s race -- finished seventh for his 12th top-10 finish in 15 starts at "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Castroneves, who qualified fifth and led once for two laps in his No. 3 Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet, completed the full 500-mile distance for a record-extending 11th time and earned $482,555.

In his first Indianapolis 500 start, Gabby Chaves of Bogota, Colombia, qualified 26th and finished 16th in his No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda. Chaves was voted the winner of the prestigious Sunoco Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award and was presented with $399,055, which included a $50,000 bonus from Sunoco.

The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Purse consists of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Verizon IndyCar Series awards, plus other designated and special awards. Purse awards were announced and presented at the Victory Awards Celebration presented by Ice Miller Legal Counsel, Contour Hardening, Inc. and Allied Solutions on Monday, May 25, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Victory Weekend Heads To The Monster Mile

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Published in Racing News
Monday, 25 May 2015 13:27
As the NASCAR Series makes their way to Dover to tame the Monster Mile, Victory Weekend brings their 2015 tour to the Lot 10 Campground providing their brand of free family and fan friendly entertainment to the Dover 400 race weekend. On both Friday May 29th and Saturday May 30th from 7:30 – 11:30 pm, Victory Weekend will host a set of concerts featuring Rick Patterson, Chareé White, and Southern Edge.

Victory Weekend returns to Dover’s Lot 10 Campground after creating a sensation last season with the NASCAR fan base. Chareé White headlines the tour, performing her “Keeping It County” single which is climbing the country radio charts. Opening for Chareé will be Rick Patterson, who has just released his single “Don’t Cry For Me” off his debut CD Hick It Up. Chareé and the band Southern Edge rocked the stage last season at several of the NASCAR Victory Weekend events and are a huge hit with the racing crowd.

Saturday night offers a special appreciation night at the Victory Weekend stage where local Veterans, First Responders, and Active Duty Personnel will be honored. In addition, Dover International Speedway will be providing a fireworks display for fans to enjoy.

“We are really looking forward to returning to Lot 10, we’ve been building a strong following and can’t wait join them all again next weekend!” said John Birmingham, Director of Social Media and Outreach for Victory Weekend. “A special thanks to Dover International Speedway for providing the fans and Victory Weekend stage area with an amazing fireworks display again this season.”

Victory Weekend, an outreach organization and division of the Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association, has built a reputation of fan and family friendly free entertainment at racing venues. They work to provide positive, friendly events that include concerts, driver and fan interaction, ceremonies to honor veterans, hospitality and other opportunities to serve beside other outreach organizations, local civic and church groups and communities where NASCAR travels. For more information about Victory Weekend and their current schedule of outreach events planned for the 2015 season, please visit

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Victory Weekend PR
Fifteen years after his first Indianapolis 500 triumph, Juan Pablo Montoya became a champion again on Sunday at the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

The Colombian outlasted fellow Team Penske teammate Will Power and Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Charlie Kimball in a thrilling battle over the closing laps, putting his No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet in Victory Circle to give Roger Penske a record-extending 16th "500" win as an owner.

Montoya took the lead on Lap 197 from Power and held on by 0.1046 of a second over the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet in the fourth-closest finish in race history. Kimball finished third and Dixon, the polesitter, finished fourth in a 15-lap sprint to the finish that featured five lead changes among the Verizon IndyCar Series stars.

"I don't know what to say -- this is too much!" Montoya said after the victor's swig of milk. "This is what racing in IndyCar is all about, awesome racing all the way down to the wire."

Montoya won as a rookie for Ganassi in 2000 and did not race again in the "500" until last year, finishing fifth; during the years in between he drove at IMS on the road course in Formula One and on the oval in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With Sunday's victory, he set a record for most years between two "500" wins, Gordon Johncock previously held the mark with nine years between wins in 1973 and 1982. He also became the 19th driver with multiple Indianapolis 500 victories.

Montoya qualified 15th for Sunday's race, well behind his three Team Penske mates, and had problems at the start of the race. On Lap 7, Simona de Silvestro ran into Montoya's rear under yellow, forcing Montoya to pit for new rear wheel guards. He fell back to 30th in the running order. On Lap 41, Montoya slid through his pit box on a stop and had to be pulled back by his crew.

But the 39-year-old was clean from that point on and worked his way into a position to win at the end.

"Our guys stayed in there, and Montoya coming from all the way back ... I'll tell you, you give that guy the bit and put it in his mouth, as you know, he doesn't give up," said Penske, who ended a six-year drought at Indy following Helio Castroneves' win in 2009. "I'm just so thrilled for everyone who works for us, all the people who support us and all these race fans - what a great day."

For five consecutive years, the "500" has had a winning pass for the lead in the last four laps of the race. Sunday's race also tied last year's record with 20 cars finishing on the lead lap.

Gordon's day: Pittsboro, Indiana's Jeff Gordon led the 33 drivers to the green flag in the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and enjoyed what he called a "huge thrill and a huge honor."

The four-time NASCAR Cup champion and five-time Brickyard champion spent a few minutes in the morning with childhood hero and four-time "500" champion Rick Mears and talked to a few drivers in the field before embarking on the first half of his Memorial Day weekend "double."

"To come down that front straightaway the first time and hear that crowd cheering for the cars, the drivers and this amazing event ... to be able to hear that from inside the pace car with the windows down is just amazing," said Gordon, who shortly after his driving duties left for NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He also relished the chance to have his wife and two children on hand for the start of the race.

"I want to see them see how fast these cars go through the corner," Gordon said.

Gordon will be back at IMS in July for his final drive in the Crown Royal Presents the "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard, where he will try for a record-extending sixth win on the oval.

Street work: The three members of the Indianapolis 500's most exclusive club are newly honored on streets inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

Drive around the infield now and you might find yourself on Foyt Drive, Unser Lane or Mears Way, named, of course, for four-time "500" winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Foyt Drive runs north-south just west of the "N" Lot and connects Sixth and Seventh streets. Unser Lane is off of Tunnel 7 and Seventh Street in front of spectator mounds for the IMS road course. Mears Way is off Tunnel 10 on the north end and connects to Shaw Drive just west of the Turn 3 infield parking lot.

Each street is marked with new signage. To see the legends photographed with their new street signs, click here.

One year 'til the 100th: The historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race will be May 29, 2016. Merchandise featuring the 100th logo went on sale immediately after Sunday's race at retail outlets at IMS, the Indianapolis International Airport and

For more on the 100th, watch this video.

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