Indianapolis 500 (2014)

Race Report: Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS May 25, 2014—The stage was set for a memorable Indianapolis 500 and the drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series didn’t disappoint. With Ryan Hunter-Reay and three-time victor Helio Castroneves dicing back and forth for the lead in the closing laps—which included a red flag to repair a safer barrier with nine laps to go--the action was intense.

Hunter-Reay prevailed to take his first 500 victory which was the second-closest margin of victory at .0600 of a second. The closest margin of victory in race history was .043 of a second when Al Unser Jr. edged Scott Goodyear in 1992. Third through fifth were Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz and Juan Pablo Montoya. NASCAR star Kurt Busch finished sixth and then headed to Charlotte to compete in the World 600 (engine trouble forced him out).

For 150 laps, the IndyCar drivers ran hard and clean—and there wasn’t a yellow flag in sight. Takuma Sato appeared to be headed for his first top-10 in the 500 (and possibly a top-five finish) but a piece of carbon fiber from Scott Dixon’s lap 168 accident effectively put an end to Sato’s charge. The debris lodged in the undertray and served as a brake on Sato’s speed down the long straightaways.

Prior to that incident Race, Sato had been making his way into the top 10 after adjusting the car on pit stops to the changing track conditions.  The ABC Supply team had been quick all day on their pit stops with most falling in the 8.7-second range.

Raul Prados Makes Debut as Race Engineer in Indy Double

INDIANAPOLIS May 22, 2014--Raul Prados knew from young age that he wanted to work on cars to make them go faster—not as a driver but as an engineer. Since 2012, he has been working with renowned chief engineer and designer Don Halliday at A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Racing team.

This May, Prados made his debut as race engineer of A.J. Foyt’s No. 41 entry in the Indy Double at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Prados, 34, teamed with 26-year-old driver Martin Plowman and the two “rookies” took on the stars and cars of the Verizon IndyCar Series at this country’s most venerable venue.

For Prados, the love affair with racing began as a child in a town outside of Valencia, Spain. An older brother, a staunch fan of Ayrton Senna who was just making his mark in Formula One, watched the races on TV. The younger brother soon became interested in racing and with his share of inheritance from his grandfather, he purchased a go-kart—at age 14! For him the kart was just for fun, he never seriously considered becoming a race driver.

His first job was working at the Benikart Track where he did everything from cleaning the karts to assisting the mechanics by running errands and eventually working alongside them.

“I loved it,” said Prados. “I knew that was what I wanted to do—work on race cars.”

Raul Prados Makes Debut as Race Engineer in Indy Double

INDIANAPOLIS May 22, 2014--Raul Prados knew from young age that he wanted to work on cars to make them go faster—not as a driver but as an engineer. Since 2012, he has been working with renowned chief engineer and designer Don Halliday at A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Racing team.

This May, Prados made his debut as race engineer of A.J. Foyt’s No. 41 entry in the Indy Double at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Prados, 34, teamed with 26-year-old driver Martin Plowman and the two “rookies” took on the stars and cars of the Verizon IndyCar Series at this country’s most venerable venue.

For Prados, the love affair with racing began as a child in a town outside of Valencia, Spain. An older brother, a staunch fan of Ayrton Senna who was just making his mark in Formula One, watched the races on TV. The younger brother soon became interested in racing and with his share of inheritance from his grandfather, he purchased a go-kart—at age 14! For him the kart was just for fun, he never seriously considered becoming a race driver.

His first job was working at the Benikart Track where he did everything from cleaning the karts to assisting the mechanics by running errands and eventually working alongside them.

“I loved it,” said Prados. “I knew that was what I wanted to do—work on race cars.”

Indy 500 Qualifying Report – Phase 2

INDIANAPOLIS May 18, 2014—Although the two ABC Supply Hondas look like twins on the race track, they had two distinct personalities in the final phase of qualifying here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

After a morning warm-up session, rookie Martin Plowman was quite confident in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda that his team brought to the line when qualifying began at 11 a.m. However, in the 90 minutes that elapsed, the temperatures -- both track and ambient— increased more than expected, and the difference showed.

“I think qualifying wasn’t as good as we had hoped it would be,” said the 26-year-old Brit. “After this morning’s warmup we felt very confident about the car, but the conditions seemed to change a lot once we got in the qualifying line so with the very same car we lost the balance slightly. During my run, I developed a pretty severe push which scrubbed speed off the car. It wasn’t the optimal run for us but it was still a decent effort and we made a big improvement over yesterday so we can take heart from that and focus on getting the car ready for next Sunday.”

Plowman’s four-lap average speed was 228.814 mph which landed him in row 10, starting 29th.

Sato went out about 45 minutes later in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. He had an exciting run as he came extremely close to the wall exiting Turn 3, kicking up dust and eliciting a big reaction from the crowd. Never lifting, he went faster than his first lap, posting a 229.3 mph speed on lap two. He was on pace for four solid laps in the 229s but he hit the hard limiter on the final lap which cost about a half mile an hour, dropping his speed to 228.955 mph. His four lap average speed of 229.201 mph put him 23rd on the grid, in the middle of row eight.

Indy 500 Qualifying Report – Phase 1

INDIANAPOLIS  May 17, 2014—The new format for qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 began today and it proved to be exciting for the fans and nerve-wracking for the drivers and teams—even though there was little danger of anyone missing the show.

Today’s qualifying speeds determined  the following:  the nine cars that could vie for the pole tomorrow,  the teams’ pit box locations for next Sunday’s race, and the allocation of qualifying points from one to 33 with the fastest car getting the most points.

Fans watched as 33 cars qualified—some as many as five times—trying to bump their way into the Fast Nine or just improve their speed to gain a better pit box location or grab as many points as possible.

Last year’s pole winner Ed Carpenter grabbed the lion’s share of the points today with his 230.661mph four lap average speed.  There were four Chevy-powered cars (including Carpenter’s) and five Honda-powered cars in the Fast Nine which showed that Honda made significant gains since last year when the Chevys dominated the first three rows.

Takuma Sato qualified with a four-lap average speed of 228.786mph in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. Initially his time was 12th quick but towards mid-afternoon cars began taking second and third attempts and bumped Sato down to 18th when qualifying ended at 5:50 p.m.

“The car was pretty good on the first lap, and then on the second lap it was kind of in a happy place, but by the third and fourth laps, it was getting a little loose, the car was losing the rear grip. There’s definitely room to improve if we can get it right, but otherwise it is pretty much what we expected,” Sato said.