Today was Indy 500 Media Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which comes on the heels of the 99th running of the race this Sunday. There were plenty of happenings today, some that were expected and some that weren’t. The news began with the official confirmation of the driver that will replace the injured James Hinchcliffe this Sunday, for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the number 5 Honda-powered car.
Briscoe Back in 500
Ryan Briscoe, the IndyCar race winner and 2012 Indy 500 Pole sitter, will be back for his 10th career start in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Briscoe will be filling in for the injured James Hinchcliffe, who suffered significant lower extremity injuries in a crash on Monday. Thankfully, Briscoe has left the ICU and is expected to make a full recovery, with no further surgeries needed.
The Aussie returns to IndyCar for the first time this year, joining the likes of Alex Tagliani, Townsend Bell, Justin Wilson, Oriol Servia, Pippa Mann, Bryan Clauson, and James Davison. Due to driver changes, Briscoe and Davison will move to the rear of the field, with Ryan starting 32nd, and Davison 33rd based on entry points. Briscoe was given an hour of practice/refresher time on the track today.
2016 Indy 500 Logo Revealed
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway unveiled the logo for next year’s Indianapolis 500, which will be the 100th running of the iconic race. Included with that were the key dates next May, for both races. The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis will take place on May 14, with the Indy 500 set for May 29. The logo is below.
2016 Race in Boston
The Verizon IndyCar Series announced a new venue for next year’s schedule, when they will travel to the east coast for a race in downtown Boston on Labor Day Weekend. The Grand Prix of Boston will be a temporary street course with 11 turns, and 2.25 miles in length. The race will be held on September 5, and will be the season finale next year for the Verizon IndyCar Series. The deal signed with IndyCar is good through the year 2020. More information can be found on the website.
Tomorrow is Carb Day at the track, which features a busy one hour long practice session, and the much anticipated Pit Stop Challenge. There will be 12 pit crews competing for a $50,000 top prize. The challenge features four rounds of head-to-head pit stop action. A total of $100,000 will be awarded, with the runner-up team earning $15,000. The Pit Stop Challenge will be shown live on NBCSN as part of their coverage from 11 AM to 4 PM.
First-round pairings are: Alex Tagliani vs Jack Hawksworth; Charlie Kimball vs Takuma Sato; Graham Rahal vs Helio Castroneves; and James Jakes vs Townsend Bell. The four drivers that have a “bye” into the second round are Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, and Will Power.
Public gates open at 8 AM tomorrow, and the one hour IndyCar practice session begins at 11 AM. The Indy Lights Freedom 100 begins at 12:30 PM, with the Pit Stop Challenge scheduled to start at 2 PM.