Hanging out in Turn 4 you get to meet all sorts of individuals. I met a couple of folks that I will not readily forget. Reggie was at IMS for the inaugural Brickyard in August of 1994. Chase’s daughter was here today for HER inaugural Brickyard. Today was a day of firsts to firsts!

Reggie came from Nashville, TN and while he was here for the inaugural Brickyard 400, today he was here for Bubba Wallace, who had his best finish at Indianapolis. As we got to the last 10 laps of the race, you could FEEL Reggie pulling for Bubba to finish well. He kept say, “If he finishes top 5, that will be good”, but you could feel that he wanted better for Bubba. And Bubba pulled it out! Bubba Wallace ended up with a 3rd place finish. I know that Reggie’s trip to Nashville will go fast!!

 

 

I also met Chase and his daughter. Chase is a NASCAR fan, but his daughte, has never been to a NASCAR race, until today. She is a die-hard Chase Elliot fan and it was great to see the next generation of NASCAR fans in the crowd today.

 

I think the thing that struck me today was that I met someone who had been here for the inaugural Brickyard in 1994 and I also met someone who had not even been alive for that inaugural Brickyard. NASCAR and IMS brings folks of all ages together.

Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Saturday's Indiana 250. 

Busch managed to hold off the defending Indianapolis race winner, Justin Allgaier, in the final four laps to take the checkered flag for the fourth time this season.

After starting from the pole, Busch maintained top three for the first two stages, finishing third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2. 

With only a handful of laps left, Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell got into one another as they were battling for the lead bringing out a late race caution. The wreck eliminated two of the front-runners, giving Kyle Busch the top spot with only seven laps to go. 

The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota took the lead on the final restart. Justin Allgaier trailed Busch by only .132 seconds as the laps were winding down. Busch held on to win for the 96th time in his career, adding to his series record. 

"I'm really proud of this team. This Toyota Supra was awesome today, and glad we got to take it to Victory Lane."

Allgaier, the defending Indianapolis winner, finished second, followed by Noah Gragson, Jeb Burton and Justin Haley rounding out the top-five. 

The Xfinity Series will be back in action for the regular season finale on Saturday, SeptEmber 14 at 7:30 PM on NBCSN. 

Speedway, IN  9/6/19

USAC comes to IMS! The Driven2savelives BC39 was held over the past 2 days at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and USAC put on a great show! Wednesday night's finish was one for the record books. What a great memorial for Bryan Clauson!

Thursday night's weather was perfect to watch dirt track racing! As I was wandering around Turn 3 at IMS, I noticed all the drivers that were represented on t-shirts. Each race brings with it it's unique race fans, but I noticed how much overlap there was between USAC drivers and NASCAR drivers. There were just as many cheers for USAC drivers as there were for drivers like Kyle Larsen. How great to see everyone mingling and having a great time!!

I started chatting with a woman in the grandstands and Thursday was her first experience with dirt track racing. She was no novice to IMS, having attended quite a few Indy 500s and Brickyard 400s, but this was a completely different experience for her. She talked about the ambiance and how great the atmosphere was. She remarked about the smells of the fuel and the sounds of the engines. It is completely different from Indycar and NASCAR. She said quite a few times that she kept expecting the drivers to crash as they were coming out of their drifts and she thought the control they showed was amazing! When one of the drivers in one of the heats ended up on their side and the fact that they were able to be righted, and take off with a push start, she was in awe! I think she will be back for a repeat visit!

Today, the Xfinity young guns got behind the wheel and had their first practice in an attempt to take on the veteran NASCAR drivers for the Indiana 250.  Tomorrow the action continues with Cup practice and Xfinity qualifying, capped off by the Xfinity race Indiana 250 at 3pm.

Be sure to follow me @Tbalance

 

 

 

Speedway, Indiana - May 27, 2019

Congratulations to Simon Pagenaud for winning the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. A great race to the end with Alexander Rossi! 

 

I want to talk to you about what it's like to be a fan at the Indianapolis 500. I started the day at around 6am in one of the lots. I met some really great folks from NJ. It was their first race and it was a check off on the bucket list of the man in the pair. They were both really excited about what the day would hold for them. 

 

I saw a fan I have talked to for many years from Victory Lane. He has been coming to the track since 1954. He has only missed 1 Indianapolis 500 and that was because he was in the service. I saw a mom pushing her baby around with a t-shirt that said "My First Indianapolis 500". As the month progressed I saw various events; Will Power kissing a girl with Downs Syndrome, the fan access is incredible.

 

On May 7th, the Friday before the GP, I talked to a teacher who had brought her students (about 30 in total) who were on a field trip to IMS. This is a group of kids from a low socioeconomic area of the city and it was their first visit to the track. She talked about how excited her students were to be able to experience the track and hear the sound of the engines. As I watched them, I could see their excitement coming off them like waves. They were trying to be cool, because they were high school students, but it was one of the best things I had seen that day and they could not hide their excitement. That is the spirit of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Race day was spent in the infield of the 4th turn. I set my stuff down and then headed to the red carpet. There, I hung out and watched the crowd wait patiently, for about 2.5 hours, for the incredible list of celebrities to make their way down the carpet. Matt Damon and Christian Bale did not talk to media, but made themselves extremely available to the fans. Matt Damon went so far as to take selfies with anyone who handed him a camera. There was a 19 year old girl there from Belgium and when she mentioned to Damon that she was a fan and from Belgium, he took the time to interact with her personally.

 

Another highlight of the red carpet was seeing Michael Goulian, 2018 winner of the Red Bull Air Race, in Indianapolis. It was great to see past champions of other types of racing at IMS celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend. All the celebrities on the red carpet were incredibly generous with their time with the fans. Jackson Robert Scott and Chevel Shepherd were incredibly open to interacting with their fans. 

 

My race was spent in the infield of turn 4. I had a view of turn 4, and the straightaway toward turn 1. My favorite moment was after the 3rd parade lap and I could hear the engines rev up to running speed. If you haven't heard Indy Cars in full throttle, you haven't lived. It runs straight through your body and lets you know you are alive in no other way. I eagerly watched as we hit lap 100, knowing that if we could not get a full race in due to rain, things were going to get VERY exciting. As it turns out, God really does love Indy car because we were able to get the full race in, even with the threat of rain. There was a wreck at 177  that included Graham Rahal and Sebastian Bourdais that stopped the race. The last few laps were extremely exciting! There were several lead changes between Pagenaud and Rossi. The fact that it came down to the very last minute made it a race that will go down in the history book of Indy.  Thanks to Simon Pagenoud and Alexander Rossi for a GREAT race!!

 

 

 

 

 

Speedway Indiana May 20,2019

After spending the entire day in the rain Sunday! A small window opened late in the afternoon for qualifications.

For the second year in a row 2 highly known drivers were bumped from the Indy 500. In 2018 it was James Hinchcliff, and now this year 2 time Formula One Champion Fernando Alonso was the latest to get bumped from running the Indy 500!

Frankly it could have been avoided! McLaren did not give Fernando car he could compete with, and that fact was proven Sunday! The buzz around the media center was McLaren was going to buy a spot. Well that was quickly squashed. Fernando said if didn’t earn a spot then he didn’t want to be in race. Television cameras focused on Alonso during Kaiser's run as he sat on the brink of elimination. The Juncos driver ran four neat and composed laps, eventually crossing the line and knocking Alonso and McLaren—both synonymous with success but, more recently, catastrophe—out by just two-hundredths of a mile per hour.

Then we had the fast nine and it appears we are playing game of “Simon Says”. Simon Pagenaud wins the GP last weekend and this week he wins the pole. Today Simon leads in practice 1 for the Indy 500 this weekend!

This is the tightest grid in 500 history! With just a little over a second between 1st and 33rd positions.

Todays practice results

 Pagenaud, Simon 228.441

Newgarden, Josef 228.273

Hinchcliffe, James 227.994

Dixon, Scott 227.951

Rossi, Alexander 227.660

Kimball, Charlie 227.645

Castroneves, Helio 227.614

Power, Will 227.480  

Rosenqvist, Felix (R) 227.414

Davison, James 227.393

Practice one results

 

Follow me on Twitter @Tbalance

Headed to the 103rd running of the greatest spectacle in racing?

This here is the track schedule for the week!

Monday May 20,

  • Noon-6 pm…Public Gates Open
  • 10:00-11:30 Indy Lights Test
  • Noon-2:00 pm Indy 500 open practice
  • 2:30-4 pm Indy Lights Test

Tuesday May 21st-Wednesday May 22nd

No Track Activity

Thursday May 23rd

  • No Public access
  • 10-10:45 Indy Lights Practice
  • 1:30-2:30 Indy Lights Qualifying

Friday May 24- MILLER LIGHT CARB DAY!

  • 8:00 am-6 pm Public Gates open
  • 11:00 AM -12:30 Indy 500 Final Practice
  • 1:00 Pm 17th Freedom 100 (Indy Lights Race)
  • 2-3:30 Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge
  • 3:30 Miller Lite Carb Day Concert, Turn 4 infield

 Saturday May 25th- Legions Day

  • Parade, Downtown Indianapolis... (Non Track Sponsored Event)
  • 9 AM-10:00 Driver Autograph Session Pagoda Plaza
  • 10:25: Public Drivers Meeting- Tower Terrace
  • 3:30 Firestone Legends Day Concert Turn 4 Infield

Sunday May 26- RACE DAY

  • 6:00 AM Public Gates Open
  • 7:00 AM Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Coors Light begins, Turn 3 Infield
  • 12:30 PM 103rd running of The Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge

Have fun, stay safe and hydrated. SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING!

Speedway Indiana- 5/20/2019

Sad news to report from Indy!

Two-time Indy 500 Champion Al Unser Jr was arrested in the suburb of Indianapolis of Avon, Indiana!

According to Fox 59 in Indianapolis.. 

Avon police arrested two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. on an OWI charge.

Unser was booked into the Hendricks County Jail at 3:21 a.m. on Monday.

Unser faced similar legal problems in the past. He made headlines in 2002 when he was arrested after an alcohol-fueled fight with his girlfriend. He also has previous drunk driving arrests in 2007 and 2011.

Unser has been very vocal about his struggles with alcohol. In fact, just a few weeks ago he spoke with Hope Academy students to share his story of addiction as a recovering alcoholic. He said drinking was a demon he faced, and he hopes others will learn from his mistakes.

That years-long challenge has gotten him into trouble with the law before. In 2002, he was arrested for domestic battery against his girlfriend at the time. She blamed his drinking for the incident when she reported it to police. He first denied knowing her, but later said she hit him first. The charges were later dropped the woman stopped cooperating with investigators, but Unser still decided he needed help.

"Nearly every poor choice I've made in my life occurred under the influence of alcohol," he read in a statement at the time

Bobby Unser after the arrest that he'd talked to his nephew about his drinking problem. "It’s been addressed, for sure. He knows about it, but not doing anything is the problem. In other words, knowing is one thing, doing something about it is another thing and he really needs to do something about it."

He found sobriety for a time, but was arrested in 2007 in Las Vegas for driving under the influence. He was arrested again in 2011 in New Mexico, accused of drag racing while drunk.

Al Jr., now 57 years old, won 34 races including two Indianapolis 500s during his time as a driver, and continues working in the racing industry.

Speedway Indiana May 19th, 2019

 

We knew this was a likely going to be the case today. Rain continues to fall here at IMS. This comes on the heels of a big day 1 of qualifying.

Day one was a rough day for some and an incredible day for others!

 

 After spending more than a year working toward an Indy 500 comeback, Hinchcliffe had some difficulties with his No. 5 Honda during his first qualifying attempt Saturday after crashing the race car on the 2.5 mile track, which slid into the backstretch of the track after hitting a wall along the second turn. Thankfully, Hinchcliffe climbed out of the car of his own will, he was also checked, cleared and released from the infield care center. With not getting enough speed in his backup to move his way into the Top 30 starting positions, the 33-year-old Canadian driver’s final shot is Sunday afternoon according to CBS News, when six drivers will vie for three spots in the “Last Row Shootout.”

 Dragon who? No we aren’t talking about the latest Game Of Thrones episode. We are talking about DragonSpeed a low budget unsponsored car. I’m pretty sure most didn’t have much confidence in their 31 year old rookie who had never been on an oval until his rookie test! At IMS just a few days ago. Welcome to Indy Ben Hanley. Hanley qualified with a speed of  227.482 yes that’s only 27th but what a performance from DragonSpeed

Also Fernando Alonso has been struggling for speed in his McLaren car! Fernando Alonso is in danger of failing to make the grid for the Indianapolis 500 after setting the 31st fastest time on the first day of qualifying. The two-time Formula 1 world champion faces a shootout on Sunday with five other drivers for the final three places on the 33-car grid.

If it rains continues, the shootout will be when weather allows next week. Alonso had five attempts at locking in a place in the top 30 on the grid but the McLaren car was not fast enough.

"We didn't have the speed," said Alonso, who managed a fastest average over his four-lap run of 227.224mph.

"We are where we deserve today and hopefully tomorrow we will have another chance. If we do not take it, it is because we do not deserve to be in the race.

"The whole week, the speed is not really there in the car. We will not find it in one night. We will try to do a good clean run and hopefully that will put us in the top three positions."

While there will be dry at times Sunday, I think it is going to be hard to get on the track for Fast 9 #Fast9 and last row shootout .Strong/severe t'storms possible after 2pm. Plus, winds will be gusting 35 mph.

We will continue to monitor the situation but not looking good at the moment.

Follow me @TBalance

 

 

Indianapolis, May 10, 2019  A cold brisk day at Indianapolis, Indy Car is back home again in Indiana for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series We saw action on the track today from Indy Lights and Road to Indy series. 

 

The Andretti Boys and Gang Penski were nowhere to be found today. The top leaders in the NTT indyCar Series point series won't even start the IndyCar Grand Prix leading the field to green. Series point leaders, Josef Newgarden and 2nd place in the standings Alexander Rossi didn't even advance from the first round of qualifying Friday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both drivers might as well be in Egypt, as they are in foreign land. A surprise lack of showing from Andretti and Penski. 

 

But some positive news, Robert Wickens, of Aero Schmidt Perterson Racing, was spotted on pit lane today in a wheelchair but in good spirits. As remember, last year in August 2018, Wickens was injured in a horrific crash at Pokono Raceway. We wondered if Wickens would even make it out alive, if he would be in a race car again. He is defying all odds. I asked him, "How does it feel to be back at Indianapolis?" He said, "Wonderful and expects to back racing soon." The young Canadian driver has clearly defied all odds. Our thoughts and prayers as he continues his recovery. 

 

This was Chip's day. Chip Ganassi, that is, as rookie Felix Rosenqvist Swedish driver, gets his first IndyCar pole at his first appearance at Indianapolis and his teammate IndyCar favorite, Scott Dixon will be starting 2nd behind him. This will be a good win for Chip Ganassi Racing and if we have a all green race, Rosenqvist is all but certain his first win in the IndyCar series. Other great storylines to follow: Jack Harvey, a part time team and IndyCar sensation Colton Herta.

 

The top 10 qualify in order for the IndyCar Grand Prix, Saturday May 11, 2019

1. Rosenqvist, Felix (R)

2. Dixon, Scott

3. Harvey, Jack

4. Herta, Colton (R)

5. Jones, Ed

6. Power, Will

7. Rahal, Graham

8. Pagenaud, Sion

9. Ericsson, Marcus (R)

10. Bourdais, Sebastien

Indianapolis—

Let’s do this again the NASCAR Marathon continues at the Indianapolis motor Speedway.

Coming off what is likely the most exciting Xfinty race of the season.

A very emotional Justin Allgaier has won the Xfinity Series race that kicked off a NASCAR doubleheader at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

We are finally able to start the 25th running of the Brickyard 400.

Twitter action from stage 1  

Early in 400 L10: @KyleLarsonRacin says the biggest issue so far is Turn 4. "I think I hit the wall a little on the short chute between 1 and 2."

#Brickyard400 L22: "That's all I got. I'm trying. Loose off ... but overall not too bad." - Brad @keselowski

#Brickyard400 L26: @keselowski told to follow the leaders to pit road if they stop before the Lap 30 caution.

#Lap32 Elliott goes for "right side only" on tires, gains significant track position.

#Brickyard400 L30: 2nd competition caution. Larson: 5th Kez: 9th Logano: 18th Harvick: 33rd (made his way back to 19th before pitting)

Green flag back out on lap 34. #Brickyard400 #NASCAR

Martin Truex JR lost a brake rotor his day at IMS ended early

Clint Bowyer wins Stage 1 of the Brickyard 400 followed by Kurt Busch

In Stage 2 big crash between David Starr and Bubba Wallace followed by another crash between Alex Bowman and AJ Allmendinger. This huge for Bowman with a playoff spot on the line. Heavy repairs were made to the RF and RR it cost Bowman 3 laps

Next caution JJ Yeley goes for a spin. Teammates Clint Boyer and Kevin Harvick lead field on the restart.

Stage 2 Twitter action

Through 80 (halfway): - Chase Elliott at 7th - Ryan Blaney at 3rd - Austin Dillon 23rd #Brickyard400

Heavy impact between @BubbaWallace and @starr_racing. #Brickyard400

#Brickyard400 L86: @KevinHarvick reporting a vibration. Spotter continues to tell him his gap to 2nd


@WilliamByron is told he's got a penalty for an uncontrolled tire. He will restart at the tail end of the field. Was running top 10 prior. Lap 78. #NASCAR #Brickyard400

#Brickyard400 L92: @KyleLarsonRacin picks up a spot that lap and moves up to P4 with 8 to go in Stage 2.

@dariangrubb to @WilliamByron: "Really really REALLY slow blue 66 car coming up." Lap 90. #NASCAR #Brickyard400

 

Matt Kenseth WINS STAGE 2 followed by Chase Elliot.

Final Stage 3...a ton strategies are going to come into play to finish this race

Penalty for Kyle Busch and the Number 18 team hit with a commitment line Violation at the close of stage 2

1 more pit stop for most teams

To start Stage 3: @WilliamByron, @ClintBowyer, @dennyhamlin, @KevinHarvick, and @KyleLarsonRacin are the top 5. #NASCAR #Brickyard400 Lap 104.

Ryan Blayneywas running in top three but disaster on pit road will likely end his of a #BrickYard400 win.

#Brickyard400 L137: Leader @keselowski reports he just hit debris and wants crew to check splitter.

#Brickyard400 L140: @keselowski radio now speaking strategy code: "Page No. 3." He leads Johnson by 2.4 seconds

#Brickyard400 L141: @keselowski pitting this time

Debris on the Front Stretch brings out caution

@KurtBusch reports an ill-handling car. Asks how many cars are on the lead lap. When told 23 cars are on the lead lap, Kurt replies in the only way Kurt can, "expletive". #NASCAR #Brickyard400 Lap 145

1 to go at the line. Restart with 12 to go. Top 5: @dennyhamlin, @ClintBowyer, @jamiemcmurray, @KevinHarvick, and @erik_jones #NASCAR #Brickyard400

#Brickyard400: Hamlin already out to a nearly 1 second lead

Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray make contact, but Bowyer hangs on! #Brickyard400

Caution is out for @JEarnhardt1 and @landoncassill with 7 laps to go!

 

CHECKERED FLAG GOES TO BRAD KESELOWSKI AND THE FIRST BRICKYARD WIN FOR THE CAPTAIN!

Kyle Busch captured the regular-season points title. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, in the No. 18 Toyota, finished eighth.

The other drivers competing for the Cup title will be: Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Jones, Aric Almirola and Ryan Newman.

Saturday's qualifying was rained out, so the starting grid was determined by points. Sunday's scheduled race also was washed out, forcing the race to be moved to a rare Monday start.

 

Follow

@thomasMarq

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