Sunday, July 20, 2014


INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, July 20, 2014 - A statement from Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles about the death of James Garner:

"All of us at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are saddened by the passing of James Garner. He was a true friend of the Indianapolis 500 and his passion for the event, for the sport, and its fans made his many appearances at the race something to look forward to each year. As a three-time pace car driver for the 500 (1975, 1977 & 1985), Garner was also a skilled driver and will be remembered as one of the first true celebrities to be given the honor of leading the field of 33 to the green flag. Our thoughts and prayers are with Garner's family, friends and fans." 
Message shared by Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hinchcliffe, Tagliani and Villeneuve Ready for 2014 Indianapolis 500 Race Day

Photo credit: Chris Jones

Winning on the 105-year old Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit is a honour anyone who can handle a steering wheel would want. Of the select few who have joined the ranks of professional open wheel drivers, just 33 drivers a year compete for the Indianapolis 500. Bestowed with the chance at claiming the BorgWarner Trophy, the triumphant is the one who completes 500 miles around the 2.5-mile oval first.

With a rich national auto racing history, the Indianapolis 500 is understandable desirable to Canadians. Canada's History at the historic track known as "The Brickyard" runs deep. Pete Henderson was the first documented Canadian to run in the Indy 500 back in 1916. Since then, names such as Billy Foster, Ludwig Heimrath, John Jones, Scott Goodyear and Paul Tracy have competed for victory on the Indiana oval.

For the 2014 edition of the Indianapolis 500, three veteran drivers (James Hinchcliffe, Alex Tagliani and Jacques Villeneuve) have a 1 in 33 chance of winning the Memorial Day classic in motor racing.

James Hinchcliffe

Photo Credit: John Cote

Team: Andretti Autosport
Car: #27 United Fiber & Data Dallara-Honda
Sporting Spot: 2nd

The only Canadian driver running full-time on the 2014 Verizon INDYCAR Series tour, James Hinchcliffe is a 27-year old entered in his fourth Indianapolis 500.

Taking part in his first Indy 500 in 2011 with Newman/Haas Racing, Hitchcliffe's initial showing at Indy was strong but resulted with a DNF just ahead of the halfway distance in the race. Signing with Andretti Autosport the following year, his 2012 showing was his career best so far finishing sixth after starting second. The 2013 Indianapolis 500 had James Hinchcliffe arrive as an INDYCAR race winner of two races in the season. Unfortunately, he fell late in the race to finish 21st in his #27 Dallara-Chevrolet.

With the Andretti Autosport team switching from Chevrolet to Honda in 2014, Hinchcliffe enters this year's Indy 500 with a seventh place at Barber Motorsports Park being his best result of the season. Making problems worse, James Hinchcliffe suffered an concussion during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis race early this month resulting with him having to sit out the first four days of practice on the oval. EJ Viso subbed for Hinchcliffe until the Canadian received the go-ahead to step back in the #27 car. Fortunes might be turning around for James Hinchcliffe following a stellar performance last weekend in qualifying. Fourth fastest on Saturday, Hinchcliffe and the #27 Dallara-Honda was locked into the top nine positions of the 2014 Indy 500. After a Fast 9 Shootout on Sunday, James Hinchcliffe posted the second-fastest time behind pole winner Ed Carpenter. Hinchcliffe's four-lap average of 230.839 miles per hour was roughly 0.15 seconds off the pole-winning time.

Alex Tagliani

Photo Credit: Walter Kuhn

Team: Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
Car: #68 Dallara-Honda
Starting Spot: 24th

Despite running professionally in open wheel racing since the 1990s, French-Canadian driver Alex Tagliani was unable to run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway until 2009 due to the IRL/CART split. Arriving with Conquest Racing, Tagliani finished 11th and became the second Canadian to be recognized as an Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Alex Tagliani returned to the 2.5-mile track in 2010 with FAZZT Race Team. The 2010 effort consisted of a fifth place qualifying spot and a tenth final result. The following year, the FAZZT Race Team was sold to Sam Schmidt Racing and retained Tagliani for the 2011 Indianapolis 500. In a Fast 9 qualifying shootout for the race, Alex Tagliani and the #77 car won the pole with a 227.472-mile per hour average four-lap time.  Leading 20 laps on race day, Tagliani's race turned south and was ultimately cut short when the #77 crashed. For 2012 and 2013, Alex Tagliani participated with a Bryan Herta Autosport-owned race car. In both years, the team qualified 11th and finished 12th in 2012 and 24th in 2013.

For 2014, Alex Tagliani has been picked up by Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing for the Indianapolis 500 event. A one-off appearance in the 2014 Verizon INDYCAR Series, Alex Tagliani will be starting in the 24th starting spot on Sunday. In final practice, Alex Tagliani posted an eighth fastest time with the #68 car in race trim.

Jacques Villeneuve

Photo Credit: Walter Kuhn

Team: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
CarL #5 Dollar General Dallara-Honda
Starting Spot: 27th

Every Canadian race fan is familiar with Jacques Villeneuve's success at Indy. Prior to being the 1997 Formula 1 World Driving Champion, the son of Gilles Villeneuve drove a Players sponsored race car at the Indianapolis 500 twice. In his rookie year, Villeneuve started fourth in a Ford-powered Reynard chassis and finished second. Jacques Villeneuve and winner Al Unser Jr were the only drivers to complete all 200 laps in the 1994 race. His performance earned him the 1994 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year honours becoming the first Canadian to do so. The 1995 Indy 500 was another fine moment for Canadian racing. Nine laps remaining in the event, a restart had Jacques Villeneuve behind fellow Canadian Scott Goodyear. Goodyear mistimed his acceleration overshooting the pace car that was entering pit road. With Scott Goodyear being penalized, Jacques Villeneuve (who had overcame a two-lap penalty himself for what the sanctioning body ruled as passing the pace car) won the 1995 Indianapolis 500. The second race would be has last Indy 500 ahead of his move to Formula 1 the following year. In 2014, Villeneuve returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after a 19-year absence.

Driving the #5 car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, he qualified his Dollar General sponsored in 27th starting spot for Sunday's race. Timing into the race with a four-lap average speed of 228.949 miles per hour, Villeneuve mentioned he had trouble accelerating in his Honda-powered Dallara during qualifying. During Friday's Carb Day practice, the #5 car was still struggling to find speed posting a 30th fastest time. However, Jacques Villeneuve has expressed confidence in his car and team in quote on his website saying, "I saw some guys out there taking big risks. We didn't do that, and the car is handling better than it has been all week. We're happy right now, which is a good place to be heading into the race on Sunday."

Back in 2009, I was fortunate enough to get some words from Jacques Villeneuve ahead of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Montreal. Among questions I asked was the potential of returning to INDYCAR racing. Villeneuve response went as follows: "IndyCar is still damaged and not what it used to be. The healing process hopefully has started as it was a great series that opened doors to F1 to a few drivers." A lot has changed in five years and we're happy to see Villeneuve back at Indy as he risks his average finish of 1.5 in his third race on the 2.5-mile track.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Canadian & US Television Broadcast Schedule for 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy

On the streets of St Petersburg, the sound of twin-turbocharged Chevrolet and Honda engines will be brought to life in competition for the first time this year. New drivers, old open wheel stars like Juan Pablo Montoya retuning to the faster form of motorsports, Chip Ganassi cars with Chevrolet engines, Andretti Autosport cars powered by Honda, a new IndyCar title sponsor; 2014 promises to bring IndyCar fans a memorable. Consisting of 18 point-paying events, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series is something few race fans will choose to miss. Ahead of the start of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series today (Sunday, March 30th) , I have taken some time to provide the following full television schedule for United States and Canadian viewers of the open wheel championship.

A big win for fans even before the start of the 2014 season, all Verizon IndyCar Series races will be televised live on the Canadian and American carriers. The season opener will be shown on ABC in the United States and City television network in Canada. Both channels are non-cable networks that should provide an easy opportunity for most fans to watch the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg. A total of five IndyCar races will be shown on City in 2014 including the inaugural Indianapolis road race in the series as well as the prestigious Indianapolis 500. Five races, including the double race weekend in Toronto will be shown on Sportsnet in Canada with the remaining eight races being broadcasted on the Sportsnet One premium digital channel. Canadians will also be presented with several opportunities to watch encore broadcasts of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series. Races will also be shown on the site for online viewers in Canada.

I would have been much happier to have the schedule posted earlier (as would Canadian IndyCar fans). I sent several emails over the past two weeks to Rogers media regarding the Canadian television schedule for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series but never received a reply. While the American television schedule was confirmed December, the Canadian broadcast scheme wasn’t released until Friday.

2014 Verizon IndyCar TV Schedule

Date Round # Race Track Race Time (Times are eastern) US TV Channel Canadian TV Channel

March 30th 1 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg Streets of St Petersburg 2:30 p.m. ABC City
April 13th 2 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Streets of Long Beach 4:00 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet One
April 27th 3 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Barber Motorsports Park 2:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet One
May 10th 4 Grand Prix of Indianapolis Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) 3:30 p.m. ABC City
May 25th 5 Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 11 a.m. ABC City
May 31st 6 Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit (Race #1) Belle Isle Street Circuit 3:30 p.m. ABC City
June 1st 7 Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit (Race #2) Belle Isle Street Circuit 3:30 p.m. ABC City
June 7th 8 Firestone 600 Texas Motor Speedway 8 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet
June 28th 9 The Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston (Race #1) Streets of Houston 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet One
June 29th 10 The Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston (Race #2) Streets of Houston 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet One
July 6th 11 Pocono INDYCAR 500 Pocono Raceway Noon NBC Sports Network Sportsnet
July 12th 12 Iowa Corn Indy 300 Iowa Speedway 8 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet One
July 19th 13 Honda Indy Toronto (Race #1) Streets of Toronto 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet
July 20th 14 Honda Indy Toronto (Race #2) Streets of Toronto 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet
August 3rd 15 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet One
August 17th 16 ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 Milwaukee Mile 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet One
August 24th 17 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Sonoma Raceway 4 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet
August 30th 18 MAVTV 500 Auto Club Speedway 9 p.m. NBC Sports Network Sportsnet