Grand Prix of Indy - Race Advance
Chip Ganassi Racing Indianapolis Motor Speedway Advance Notes
Races: Grand Prix of Indianapolis, May 10
Indianapolis 500, May 25
Drivers: @scottdixon9 @tonykanaan @Ryan_Briscoe @RaceWithInsulin
Cars: No. 9 and 10 Target Chevrolets (No. 10 Lexar Chevrolet for GP of Indianapolis), No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet, No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet
Tracks: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix Circuit (2.43-mile road course) in Indianapolis, Ind.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval) in Indianapolis, Ind.
TV: Grand Prix: ABC 3:30pm ET
Indianapolis 500: ABC 11:00am ET
Social: @CGRTeams #TeamTarget #NTTDATARacing #RaceWithInsulin
INDY INSIGHT FROM THE BETTER HALVES OF CHIP GANASSI RACING
For the month of May, the wives of Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Briscoe and the fiancé of Charlie Kimball provided special insight into what life is like for their families during the busiest month of the racing year.
How does he prepare for the race weekend?
Lauren Bohlander Kanaan (LBK): "Nothing out of the ordinary. We make life around the race weekend as normal as possible."
Emma Davies Dixon (EDD): "A good week of training, Taco Bell on Thursday ... And then a lot of sleep."
Nicole Briscoe (NB): "Race prep, for Ryan, is more than just what happens the week of a race. He's dedicated to his fitness, and is at the gym five days a week. That's a huge part of his race prep. He talks to his engineer, Eric Cowdin, several times prior to arriving at the track. Then there is packing. That is probably the part of race prep that he hates the most! He puts it off to the last second each and every trip."
Kathleen Thompson (KT): "Packing is a ritual. He has to have the exact right clothing, especially socks. He is very particular about the socks that he wears with his race suit. Other than that each race weekend is so different, it is hard to have the same ritual every weekend."
What types of superstitions do they have before the race?
LBK: "He puts his left shoe on first and gets into the car from the left side."
EDD: "Scotty isn't massively superstitious, but he does like to keep the same race helmet paint job."
NB: "I don't think he has any. Maybe not having a superstition is superstitious."
KT: "Not so much superstitions but rituals. He always has the same breakfast and lunch and more often than not tries to sneak in a nap. Before he puts his helmet on he gives me a kiss, and if his Dad is there, he and his dad have a special handshake."
Do you have any race day traditions together?
LBK: "Just before he gets in the race car, I give him a kiss on the helmet and tell him to be safe."
EDD: "We enjoy breakfast together; I love to make him English pancakes... and chat about anything other than the race to calm the nerves."
KT: "We try to have breakfast together before race day starts, but sometimes on night races or extenuating circumstances that doesn't work. We at least try to have a quiet minute together before it gets hectic."
What does race morning look like for you?
LBK: "Everything is as normal as possible."
EDD: "It's a little crazy! I'm trying to keep the little ones occupied while trying to glam up for the race. :-)"
NB: "It usually starts when the cannon goes off and scares the &%$# out of me! F1 at Monaco is usually on the TV, but really there is nothing about the morning of the Indy 500 that is normal. It's such a big day and such a huge event that so many of our family and friends are at the track too. There's always a lot of commotion and coordinating. And I won't lie, I usually wake up nervous for that race."
KT: "Wake up, breakfast with Charlie, then at many races I'll drop him off and head back to the hotel to get ready."
How is he different during the month of May?
LBK: "He is so much busier! The schedule picks up like crazy, making it ever more important to keep our routine as normal as possible as we can control."
EDD: "Scott always starts the month off super upbeat, but slowly as we creep toward the 500 he starts to become a lot more focused. He's a quiet chap at the best of times... I'd say I'm doing all the talking from qualifying onwards, when the nerves start kicking in."
NB: "I wouldn't say he's terribly different, but he is really focused and intense. He's not as relaxed and goofy as he is at home."
KT: "BUSY! It is so much more intense than a normal race weekend. There is always an event to go to, or a practice, or something. We try and grab downtime together whenever possible and since we are at home in Indianapolis, we like to spend time with our dogs. I'll bring them to the track or he will come home, and we will take them to a park by our house."
What's the best way to deal with him when he's had a bad day at the track?
LBK: "Let him vent (when he's ready to talk!), then remind him that he's in his privileged position because he is one of the best at what he does. Encourage him to keep communicating with the team and support him 100%."
EDD: "Just a smile and an "I love you' ...and nothing more....I wait until he's ready to talk about it which is normally the next day."
NB: "Hand him Finley or a bag of salt and vinegar chips. Better yet, both."
KT: "Move on, tomorrow is another day. We try not to dwell on it, but sometimes he likes to talk it through and analyze what mistakes were made."
What are the kids doing during the race? Do they have any traditions on race day to help their dad?
EDD: "If we don't make it to the race weekend the girls love to send Scott off with a few good luck pictures and stickers. Poppy and Tilly love the start and the last few laps of the race, they love to scream at the telly "Daddy !'...when they see his car. They're super proud that Scott is a race car driver and tell every stranger they meet."
NB: "This is Finley's first Indy 500. And considering she's only five months old, her activities are pretty limited during the race. You know, she'll probably roll over a few times, drool a bit, and eat."
What does his race day breakfast look like?
LBK: "Three egg whites and oatmeal."
EDD: "Usually something heavy like English pancakes, eggs and fresh fruit. I always try to do Scott a big breakfast as he's normally too hyped up to eat near the race. So something that'll take a little to digest. And then a quick snack for energy."
NB: "Ryan is not a big race day eater. Breakfast is usually something very simple like a small bowl of cereal with maybe some juice."
KT: "Two eggs sunny side up, fruit, and toast. But no blueberries, he hates blueberries."
What are you doing during the actual race? What do you do when you get nervous?
LBK: "I'm watching from the pit box and listening to his radio. I don't get nervous often, usually only the last 20 laps or so at Indy! Then I pace. In whatever form it takes, I pace it out."
EDD: "I'm pretty nervous from the moment the cannon goes off race day morning during the 500... I'm in the pits the whole race."
NB: "I've always watched from the pit box, but I'm not sure what I'll do this year. I might spend a bit of time with Finley in the bus. It might be the perfect plan because when I get nervous, I tend to pace. Walking back and forth from the bus to pit lane will probably do me some good!"
KT: "I am typically in pit lane. I listen to the team radio and monitor Twitter and INDYCAR race control. When I get nervous I pace, lots of pacing. Kim Jackson, his personal manager, typically reminds me to breathe."
What's one thing you always hear him say on the radio during the race?
EDD: "During May I tend to always here him point out that it's a marathon not a sprint..."
NB: "He's pretty quiet on the radio. If he starts talking a lot, that usually means something has gone wrong."
KT: "He always thanks the crew guys if they have a good pit stop and he'll say something like, "nice stop boys.'"
What's your favorite thing about the owner/driver lot?
LBK: "Getting to see everyone and their families before and after races."
EDD: "So much! I love a chance to hang out with everyone for longer than a weekend. IMS is such a special set up, full of so many wonderful characters. It's great to all be together supporting each other through the tough month of May."
NB: "Because of my own job, I don't get to go to all of Ryan's races. May is special too because not only am I at the races, but I'm in Indy pretty much the entire time he's in Indy. 3 weeks? In the same place? At the same time? The only other time that happens is in the off season. Plus, the break for me means I get to spend quality time with our families, catch up with friends, and even relax a bit."
KT: "It just becomes a second home in May. Everyone waves at you as you pull in, and it's nice to have everyone in one place to talk and catch up."
Favorite May event that you attend?
LBK: "Zoopolis 500 or the Pit Stop Competition."
EDD: "Probably the Driver after party, the night of the race...I actually help put on the event with local DJ's. It's always a riot, a chance for the drivers to celebrate the win, or to drink, dance and shake off the fact they didn't win."
NB: "There are so many! I love the 500 Festival parade. The route is packed and its fun to see just how much the city of Indianapolis embraces the Indy 500. Not sure this qualifies as an event, but the Pit Stop competition fun!"
KT: "The Indy Family Foundation Festival on Main. Heather Carpenter and I have worked really hard to make this event a success for the last two years, and seeing so many people enjoying the event on May 9th makes it so worth it!"
How you do choose your race day outfit?
LBK: "From the footwear up. I have to be comfortable!"
EDD: "The weather plays a big part! I always like to dress up a lot more for the 500."
NB: "The weather! Ha! I don't usually put too much thought into it."
KT: "First, I look at the weather. Then I stress about it, send a million pictures back and forth with my best friend and eventually find something I can feel comfortable and confident in."
One thing you could just simply do without in May?
LBK: "I love it all. Every crazy tradition has become special."
EDD: "Nothing, I loooove the month of May!"
NB: "Is wine an appropriate response?"
KT: "The weather, I wish it was 75 and sunny the entire month. Rain delays are the worst. Charlie gets antsy when he is scheduled to be in the car and isn't."
Favorite sound at the track?
LBK: "The roar of all 33 cars out of turn four and down the front straight taking the green flag."
EDD: "The start."
NB: "The sound of the cars. They have a unique sound at Indy."
KT: "The sound of the cars echoing in the tunnel as you drive in."
Favorite thing about victory lane?
LBK: "Seeing Tony's face for the very first time after the big win."
EDD: "The pure joy on my husband's face."
NB: "Seeing the look on his face. It's so hard to get a win in IndyCar. It's so competitive. When it all comes together on a race weekend, and it results in a win, it's pretty special to end up in victory lane. I can't imagine what it would feel like to see Ryan's face in Indy's victory lane."
Do you wear a luck charm for the month or a favorite piece of jewelry?
LBK: "I wear all the same jewelry every race. My wedding rings, a pair of earrings Tony gave me, one small bracelet and Tony's watch."
EDD: "I wear a locket with my two little girls in it and a heart pendant from my little sister who passed away."
Do you prefer to watch the race by yourself to focus or with family/friends to keep you calm?
LBK: "I do better by myself, but don't mind if they are around."
EDD: "When it's going well I like to be on my own, when it's looking tough I prefer to stay occupied with the company of friends."
NB: "I can watch any other race with family and friends, but I'm not sure I can watch the 500 with anyone other than Finley. I don't like to talk much when I'm nervous."
KT: "I prefer to be by myself or with one or two trusted friends that I can celebrate or commiserate with. I prefer for them to be independent so I don't feel like I need to entertain them during the race."
What's your favorite Month of May fact you like to share with first-timers? Or, what do you like to "show off" about IMS to first-timers?
LBK: "I love to talk about the energy in Gasoline Alley when you walk out to the grid on race day. Indescribable."
EDD: "I love that it's the world's largest sporting spectacular."
NB: "The Indy 500 is not just a race. It's an event. I think it's a bucket list event. The pomp and circumstance of pre-race, the start when all 33 cars are in formation, what the win means to the driver who pulls into victory lane....you just have to take it all in. I don't think there is any other event quite like Indy."
KT: "I love walking around the paddock and when a legend walks by, and I'll tell them that was Mario or AJ Foyt and their face lights up."
What's the craziest thing you've ever seen a fan do during the month of May? Anything specifically towards him?
LBK: "One lady had Tony autograph her shoulder blade and then went straight to have it tattooed on permanently! She came back to show us the finished product."
EDD: "It's a little rude to say! Lol."
NB: "Two words: Carb Day. During the pit stop competition, a woman decided to climb the catch fence and lay on the curved part that goes over pit road. Let's just say she was missing certain articles of clothing."
KT: "Last year when Colts quarterback Andrew Luck came to visit Charlie at the track, there were crazy fans running along the golf cart trying to get Andrew to sign things as we were rolling. It was insane. But what's different about IMS than every other track is the dedication of the fans. They will stand outside of a garage for hours to get a picture or autograph, while at other tracks the fans might stand there for 15-20 minutes and leave, but not at IMS."
Follow Team Target on Twitter: Continue to follow Target Chip Ganassi Racing through Chip Ganassi Racing's official team Twitter page. Find in-race updates and weekly news on the No.9 and No.10 Target teams and the No. 8 NTT DATA and No. 83 Novo Nordisk teams throughout the 2014 season by following "@CGRTeams".
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Scott Dixon & Tony Kanaan - No. 9 and 10 Target Chevrolets (No. 10 Lexar Chevrolet for GP of Indianapolis), Ryan Briscoe - No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet, Charlie Kimball - No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet
Return to the Road: The 2014 Indianapolis Grand Prix will be the second race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for both Team Target drivers, each having competed for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams in the Rolex GRAND-AM SportsCar Series on the track prior to the renovations completed earlier this year. Dixon drove the No. 02 Daytona Prototype alongside Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya in July of 2012, and Kanaan co-drove the No. 02 Daytona Prototype with Joey Hand in July of 2013. Both entries had top-10 finishes - fourth and ninth, respectively.
Brickyard Base: Team Target has started the Indianapolis 500 41 times, accumulating four wins (2000, 2008, 2010, 2012), three poles (1993, 2002, 2008), 14 top-fives and 23 top-10s. Team Target has completed 90-percent of a possible 8092 laps attempted and have led over 1100 laps.
Going for Glory: Scott Dixon will be making his 12th start of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. To date, he has collected eight top-10 finishes (2004, 2006 - 2012), five top-five finishes (2007, 2008, 2010 - 2012) and one win (2008).
Trying For Another Milk Run: Tony Kanaan will be starting the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 as the reigning winner. He has started the race 12 times, starting on pole once in 2005 and finishing in the top-five seven times (2003 -2006, 2011 - 2013).
Pole-Sitter: Briscoe won the pole in his seventh appearance at the Indianapolis 500 in 2012. Despite starting on the front row, he finished the race in the fifth position. Briscoe has been on the pole 13 times throughout his career in the Verizon IndyCar Series and seven of those have been on oval courses (Chicagoland 2008, Milwaukee/Chicagoland 2009, Kansas/Texas Motor Speedway/Chicagoland 2010, Indianapolis 2012).
By The Numbers: Throughout Briscoe's 10-year career in the Verizon IndyCar Series, he has raced in the Indianapolis 500 eight times. Of those eight appearances, two have resulted in top-five finishes and three have been top-10 finishes. Briscoe has also finished the race higher than his qualifying position three times on the oval.
Making History: In 2011, Charlie Kimball became the first licensed driver with diabetes in the history of INDYCAR to qualify, start, and finish the Indianapolis 500 and he followed that up in 2013 becoming the first INDYCAR driver with diabetes to win a race at the most elite level of the series. There's also a unique connection to his sponsor who makes NovoLog FlexPen, the insulin he uses every day to treat his diabetes. The ability for a race car driver with diabetes to live and succeed in motorsports is relatively new. Howdy Wilcox II was pulled from the Indianapolis 500 in 1933 because of his diabetes and Eldon Rasmussen started the race three times in the 1970s, all without revealing his diabetes.
Kimball's IMS History: Kimball has a strong track record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with three out of four top-10 finishes on the oval. His first top-10 came in his 2010 season as a Firestone Indy Lights driver with a second-place finish at the Freedom 100, which was held on Carb Day. His only non-top-10 finish at the Indianapolis 500 came in his first season with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 when he started the race in 28th and jumped 15 positions up to 13th. Kimball improved his Indianapolis 500 finish record in the 2012 and 2013 season with eighth and a ninth-place finishes.
The Origin of the No. 83: Charlie Kimball's car number (No. 83) has a very special meaning to not only him, but also his father, Gordon, and team owner, Chip Ganassi. In 1983 Chip Ganassi had his best finish at the Indianapolis 500 while driving a car that was designed by engineer and car designer, Gordon Kimball.
Home Away From Home: Even though his roots are in California, Kimball still considers Indianapolis his second home. He will have 20-30 family members and friends from his home state of California attend the Indianapolis 500.
All Turned Around: The Verizon IndyCar Series drivers took to the newly updated road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time to test on April 30. Even though the direction of the track will go the opposite way of the Indianapolis 500 during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, drivers seemed unfazed by the directional change. "Driving the car doesn't feel strange because you're focused on hitting your marks, but every time I'm on pit lane and looking at the cars going out, it just doesn't look right," said Briscoe, who was second quickest overall after the two practice sessions. "We aren't looking at this like it's the Indianapolis 500, it is just a completely different race. It's just a lot of fun to drive and really cool to be learning a new track."
Practice Makes Perfect: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon, Briscoe, Charlie Kimball, and Tony Kanaan participated in the first Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test at the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 30. Dixon and Briscoe finished in the top two spots after the combined practice sessions of the day. Dixon led the CGRT efforts finishing first with a best lap time of 1:09.596, while Briscoe finished second overall with a best lap time of 1:09.655. Not far behind were teammates Kimball and Kanaan finishing 13th and 18th respectively. The four CGRT drivers ran a combined total of 300 laps over the one-day Verizon IndyCar Series Open Test.
Quick Turnaround: All Verizon IndyCar Series teams and drivers will be tasked with a timeframe of one day between the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and opening day of the Indianapolis 500. Team Manager of NTT DATA and Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, Tom Wurtz, gave a rundown of the tight schedule his team is preparing for, "We're looking at a really intense schedule of making sure that both our road course car and our oval car are prepped and ready to go for Saturday and Sunday of opening weekend. We are going to go ahead and have the primary 500 car, which is technically the back-up car for the GP, in the oval setup prior to Saturday. Then we'll come in early on Sunday morning to change the primary GP car over to the back-up 500 car. We usually like to have about two days to make that change, so doing that in eight to 10 hours is going to be challenging. We want to have our back-up cars out on the track late afternoon on opening day of the Indianapolis 500 and then we hope to have our primary 500 car out there on Monday afternoon. All of the Chip Ganassi Racing Teams have done a great job preparing for this month, so I think we're all in a really good spot."
The Silver Lining: In celebration of their 25th year together, Target and Chip Ganassi Racing will be entering three specially-liveried cars into races on May 25. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson will drive a silver No. 42 Chevrolet in the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, matching Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan's No. 9 and 10 cars which will be entered the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day. The silver cars were revealed at a special celebration thrown by Target in Las Vegas on March 7 where all three drivers were in attendance.