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Category: Indianapolis 500

Scott Dixon, Alex Tagliani lead final practice for Indianapolis 500

Photo: Drivers pose next to their cars after qualifying on the front row for the Indianapolis 500. Credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images. Scott Dixon and pole-sitter Alex Tagliani topped the speed charts Friday in the final practice for Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

Dixon, who won the iconic race in 2008, turned the fastest lap of 225.474 mph at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway on "Carb Day," a throwback term to the days when the cars' engines still had carburetors and mechanics made final adjustments.

Tagliani was second at 224.739 mph and Dario Franchitti, the defending Indy 500 winner and Dixon's teammate at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, was third at 224.658 mph.

"I was quite happy with the balance of the car," said Tagliani, a Canadian who drives for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Izod IndyCar Series. "I was trying to find myself some traffic because I wanted to see what the car was capable of doing in turbulence.

"It’s been a pleasure for me to drive a very competitive car, hopefully it will continue," he said.

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Donald Trump decides not to drive pace car at Indianapolis 500

Lhuv0vnc While starring in a weekly reality TV show may be appropriate for a potential presidential candidate, driving the pace car in the Indianapolis 500 apparently is not.

In a move that is sure to please the more than 17,500 fans of "We Don't Want Donald Trump to Drive the Indy 500 Pace Car" on Facebook, Donald Trump informed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday that he will not take part in the event after all.

According to the speedway's website, the real estate mogul and star of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" said driving the pace car at the May 29 race would be inappropriate since he soon may be announcing his intention to run for the Republican nomination for president.

More than a month after saying he "can't wait to get behind the wheel" of the pace car and less than four weeks before the event, Trump also said the practice sessions would not fit into his busy schedule.

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Hot Wheels stunt to come to life at Indianapolis 500

Remember all those cool stunts you used to do with your toy cars as a kid? Some pretty crazy stuff, right?

Well, Hot Wheels will try to pull off a grown-up version of one of those crazy stunts -- with a real driver in a real car -- as part of the Indianapolis 500 festivities next month.

Mattel Inc., the maker of Hot Wheels, has built a giant replica of its V-Drop ramp -- as well as a 100-foot "door" to attach it to, kid-style -- with the intention of breaking the world record for a jump by a four-wheel vehicle. The stunt will take place in the hours before the May 29 race.

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Donald Trump to drive pace car at Indianapolis 500

Donald Trump hasn't yet given the green light to a presidential bid, but the business mogul will lead 33 cars to the green flag as driver of the pace car at this year's Indianapolis 500 on May 29.

111657870ML016_DONALD_TRUMPThis will be the 100th anniversary of the famed race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and "it's a great honor to be selected as the pace-car driver," Trump said in a statement. "I can't wait to get behind the wheel."

The Donald will drive a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro ahead of such IndyCar drivers as defending 500 winner Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves.

Last year, actor Jack Nicholson waved the green flag as honorary starter of the Memorial Day weekend classic.

ALSO:

Dario Franchitti easily wins IndyCar opener

Photos: Helio Castroneves wins his third Indy 500

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Donald Trump at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York for the announcement that he'll drive the pace car at this year's Indianapolis 500. Credit: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti visits L.A. Live

 

Dario Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion, is coming off a dream season.

His IndyCar Series championship was his second in a row and his third in the past four seasons. His Indy 500 win was the second of his career.

During a visit to the ESPN Zone at L.A. Live, Franchitti talked about how his return to IndyCar racing after a year in NASCAR reignited his passion for motor sports. He also talked about what he would like to accomplish after winning three IndyCar Series championships, two Indianapolis 500s, the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Go to Haddock in the Paddock for more on Franchitti and the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.

ALSO:

IndyCar's season to end in Las Vegas -- with a $5-million twist

Danica Patrick's NASCAR plans, IndyCar to exit Japan, and a repave in Phoenix

-- Tim Haddock

IndyCar Series seeks to bolster Hollywood ties with Santa Monica office

The Izod IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Tuesday they're opening an office in Santa Monica to further develop marketing opportunities with Hollywood.

JackThe series' marquee event is the Indianapolis 500 at the famed speedway on Memorial Day weekend in May, and the series schedule also includes the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach each April.

IndyCar said the new office's goal is to heighten the presence of the series and the Indy 500 -- which will hold its 100th anniversary race this year on May 29 -- in "film, television, music and emerging media."

"If we want to grow the sport, we need to be fully vested in relationships with the entertainment community that can tell the story lines of our sport," series chief executive Randy Bernard said in a statement.

IndyCar said the new office would be managed by Sarah Nettinga, who held a similar post with NASCAR stock-car racing and earlier worked in the television industry.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Actor Jack Nicholson waves the green flag to start the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last May 30. Credit: Darron Cummings / Associated Press

 

 

Long Beach is third race in 2011 IndyCar schedule

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be held April 17 next year, the third race in the 2011 IndyCar Series schedule announced Friday.

The schedule starts with a street race in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 27, includes a return to the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin on June 19 and for the first time features a street race in Baltimore, on Sept. 4. IndyCar's crown jewel, the Indianapolis 500, is scheduled May 29.

A site for the season finale in October hasn't yet been chosen, although there is speculation it might be held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Ryan Hunter-Reay won this year's Long Beach grand prix, which is run on a 1.97-mile, 11-turn course through the city's seaside streets.

--Jim Peltz

IndyCar sticks with Dallara for new race cars, but what will they look like?

After months of deliberation, the Izod IndyCar Series said Wednesday it would stick with current chassis designer Dallara to provide the chassis for its new race cars set to debut in the 2012 season.

But in a twist, the series said other manufacturers and engineering firms -- including those not currently involved in motor sports -- would be invited to "dress" the chassis with different body work, or aero kits, that could include front and rear wings, side pods and so forth.

So the final look of the cars would vary for IndyCar drivers, who currently include this year's Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves and Danica Patrick.

Here's a general idea from IndyCar's website:


In a sport where the cars reach speeds of 225 mph at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the kits would be subject to the series' safety testing before they could be made available to IndyCar teams. Each team would be able to race two different aero kits during the season.

IndycarThe new chassis would have enhanced driver safety features and be nearly 200 pounds lighter, at 1,380 pounds, than the current IndyCar chassis made by Italian-based Dallara. Also, the new chassis, at $349,000, would cost about 40% less than the current version.

That reduction "is a game-changer for the sport," said Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, a member of the committee that chose Dallara's entry instead of four other candidates. "We've ensured that team owners currently in the sport can continue to participate and we can entice new teams to join."

At a press conference at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, series officials also said Dallara would build the new chassis at a facility in Speedway, Ind., just outside Indianapolis.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Alex Tagliani leads Helio Castroneves through a corner in the Izod IndyCar Series race last Sunday in Watkins Glen, N.Y., with cars using the current Dallara chassis. Credit: David Boe / Associated Press


Dario Franchitti wins Indianapolis 500 and team owner Chip Ganassi makes history [Update]

Franchitti_600

Dario Franchitti won his second Indianapolis 500 on Sunday after dominating the race and his team owner Chip Ganassi made history, becoming the first owner to win the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Daytona 500 in the same year.

Although Franchitti had the strongest car, he had to wait out several drivers who opted not to make a late pit stop with the leaders. Eventually, though, those drivers -- who included defending race winner Helio Castroneves -- were forced to pit for fuel and Franchitti regained the lead for good.

With his wife, actress Ashley Judd, rooting him on, Franchitti crossed the finish line under a caution flag because of a vicious crash involving Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay two laps from the end. Then Franchitti took the traditional drink of milk given to the winner at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"It's just as good the second time," said Franchitti, who won his first Indy 500 in a rain-shortened race in 2007. Jamie McMurray, a driver on Ganassi's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, won the Daytona 500 in February.

[Updated] Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon, two former Indy 500 winners, finished second and fifth, respectively. Marco Andretti finished third and Alex Lloyd was fourth.

Castroneves was trying to become only the fourth driver to win four Indy 500s, but his day was spoiled when he stalled his car after he made a pit stop on Lap 143. Until then, he had been running in the top five. He finished ninth.

[Update] Danica Patrick finished sixth after starting 23rd and struggling for much of the 200-lap race.

--Jim Peltz in Indianapolis

Photo: Two-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti hoists the traditional glass of milk in Victory Lane on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire

Kanaan surges, but Franchitti leads Indy 500 with 50 laps left

Tony Kanaan made a remarkable surge to the front, but Dario Franchitti still held the lead with 50 laps remaining in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

Matos Kanaan, who drives for the Andretti Autosport team and has never won the Indy 500, had started next to last, in 32nd, after having qualifying troubles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But he steadily moved through the field and was third behind Franchitti, the 2007 Indy 500 winner, and Marco Andretti.

Pole-sitter Helio Castroneves of Team Penske was running in the top five, but he lost precious seconds when he stalled the car after making a late pit stop.

And another Penske driver, Ryan Briscoe, also was contending for the win, but he crashed into the wall coming out of the fourth turn on Lap 148.

Danica Patrick climbed to 12th after starting 23rd. She's a teammate of Kanaan's and Andretti's at the team of Andretti Autosport.

Brazilian driver Raphael Matos was running as high as third before he spun and slammed the wall on Lap 72.

-- Jim Peltz in Indianapolis

Photo: Raphael Matos crashes into the wall as E.J. Viso passes in the foreground during the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 30, 2010. Credit: Steve Metz / Associated Press

Franchitti leads Castroneves at Indy 500 halfway point

Dario Franchitti continued to narrowly lead Helio Castroneves at the midpoint of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday on a warm, sunny day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dario

Castroneves, who started on the pole in hopes of becoming only the fourth driver to win four Indy 500s, was less than one second behind Franchitti, who won the historic race in 2007. Castroneves also is the defending winner of the Indy 500.


Ryan Briscoe, Castroneves' teammate at Team Penske, was third and Ed Carpenter fourth.

Danica Patrick continued to struggle. After starting 23rd, she was 17th and running at speeds much slower than the leaders.


But Tony Kanaan, her teammate at the team of Andretti Autosport, made a huge move forward and was fifth after starting next-to-last in 32nd.

Stay tuned to latimes.com/sports for more updates on the race.

-- Jim Peltz in Indianapolis

Photo: Dario Franchitti makes a pit stop during the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Credit: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images

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