Notes & Quotes: Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix
Chris Tucker is the crew chief and outside front tire changer on the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet. Growing up in Evanston, Ill., he now lives in Indianapolis. He joined AJ Foyt Racing in 2021 and has been coming to The Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he was a kid. We asked him a few questions….
What got you interested in racing and how did you go about pursuing it as a career?
“I grew up loving to watch any type of racing and making it to the track during the month of May. As soon as I was old enough, I contacted every team that was local to Indy to get my foot in the door.”
Tell us about your role on the team. What does your job entail in the shop and then during race weekends?
“I’m crew chief for the number 4 car of Dalton Kellett. In the shop, I’m in constant contact with engineering and the crew on tasks in preparation for and post-race, key project deadlines, and team dynamics. During the race weekend, I’m the primary contact for any car set up, changes, and in the pitbox I’m the outside front tire changer.”
What has been your proudest moment of your career thus far?
“For sure it would be the 2009 season when I was working for Justin Wilson at Dale Coyne Racing. That season was all-around the best season. To top it off we won at Watkins Glen. There were only three teams to win that year: Penske, Ganassi and us.”
What’s your biggest goal?
“My biggest goal is for us to get the whole AJ Foyt Racing organization back to the front side of the grid!”
Do you foresee any issues sharing the track with cars that use an entirely different tire compound?
“The first practice session is for sure tricky when we are there with different series. Usually towards the latter half of the weekend we know how react to the different compounds and simulate that in our program.”
What’s your favorite track to race at?
“You can’t go wrong with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! But also, Toronto holds a tight second.”
Do you enjoy hobbies outside of racing? Tell us about that.
“Yeah, for sure, one of my main hobbies outside of racing is sailing! It’s a nice disconnect and a way to be able to enjoy some quiet time, yet be just as challenging as racing! It’s nice to be able to bring the whole family to the club for the weekend regattas.”
What’s one thing about you that may surprise people?
“Outside of racing and sailing, one thing most people don’t know about me is I love to fly! I haven’t been able to do it as much as I like as of late, but will make up for lost time.”
Pilot Chris Tucker with Jenn Knapp, his significant other.
Dalton Kellett (No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet): “I’m looking forward to being back at Indy. We had a tough weekend at Nashville but there were definitely positives to take from the car
development and pace. For the second race at Indy Road Course, we’re coming back with a slightly different setup approach, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out in practice. It will be exciting to share the weekend with NASCAR, I think that’s a great combo for the fans.”
Kellett Fast Facts: Age 27…Born in Toronto, Canada…lives in Indianapolis; bought his first house there in May…Graduated from Queens University with a degree in Engineering Physics…Brand spokesman for Ten80 Education’s National STEM League…Enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, camping, playing guitar, cooking and golf.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet): “The Indy road course hasn't been a good place for us, but I really like this track. We keep checking things off the list and hopefully we'll finally hit a
good setup. It will be a tough physical challenge with the August heat as well. The whole group has worked very hard all year and following some very poor luck we could seriously use some things going our way!”
Bourdais Fast Facts: Age 42…Born in LeMans, France…lives in St. Petersburg, Fla…Married to Claire, has two children, Emma and Alex…Ranks sixth on INDYCAR’s All-time Wins list with 37 victories and ranks seventh in career poles with 34…Ex-Formula One driver (2008-09)…Won 12 Hours of Sebring this year; has won Rolex 24 at Daytona overall (2014) and Petit LeMans…Finished second overall in 24 Hours of LeMans and won in the GTE class with Ford in 2016.
A.J. Foyt also makes his return to the paddock this weekend for the first time since being here in May. After suffering a heat stroke before the Detroit Grand Prix, he heeded the advice of his doctors to lay low and relax at home.
Past Performance at the Indy GP: AJ Foyt Racing last competed here during the Month of May for the GMR Indy Grand Prix. Bourdais qualified 20th and finished 19th. Kellett qualified 24th and finished 20th.
Last Race: Both of the AJ Foyt Racing cars were taken out of contention in last week’s inaugural Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville. Dalton Kellett suffered a mechanical issue with his steering wheel on the opening lap of the race which brought out the first full course yellow of the race. During the restart, Bourdais was hit from behind by Marcus Ericsson who launched over Bourdais in dramatic fashion, but caused substantial damage to the suspension of the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet. Ericsson who was penalized for avoidable contact would go on to win the race. Kellett reentered the race two laps down after the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet crew replaced the steering wheel, but Scott McLaughlin had spun in a blind spot on the track ahead of him and when Kellett rounded the corner he had nowhere to go. His car also suffered a bent suspension and retired midway through the race. Neither driver was injured.
This weekend is set to mark a new chapter in history as the NTT INDYCAR Series shares the IMS road course with NASCAR Cup Series for the first time. The NTT INDYCAR Series takes on the 14-turn, 2.439 mile road course beginning with a single practice session Friday at 3:00 PM ET (Peacock), followed by qualifying at 7:00 PM ET (NBCSN). There will be a single warmup session Saturday morning at 9:00 AM ET (Peacock) followed by the 85-lap Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix with coverage beginning at 12:30 PM ET on NBCSN.