The No Sponsor Left Behind Program
Two sponsors who had hard luck stamped all over their Versus airtime on Bump Day have found new homes, as Service Central, who were on Jay Howard's sidepods, have found a placement on the second FAZZT Racing Team entry of Bruno Junqueira (it's a yellow car, so no alterations were necessary to the color scheme). GEICO, the longtime backer of KV Racing's Paul Tracy, are now in the primary spot on teammate Mario Moraes' car. It was a bad week for the insurance giant, as they also missed the field for the Coca Cola 600.
ZZ Top Rocks the Pagoda, Much Beer Consumed
Just got back from wading into the crowd at the Miller Lite concert stage. ZZ Top piloted the good ship buzz over a MASSIVE crowd in the former F1 infield circuit; and the beer bongs were out in force in an episode of IndyCar Fans Gone Wild. The requisite Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers were joined by bad tattoos and future melanoma cases, with the primary attire being sunburn, not sombreros. Asked about the attendance, no one was willing to put a estimate on the record, but most in the Media Center reckoned it was certainly biggest Friday crowd in the last 10-15 years. So "frickin' big crowd" will have to suffice as the official descriptive.
Helio Wins Pit Stop Challenge, Media Center Yawns
Not content being defending race winner and present pole sitter, Helio Castroneves' Penske Racing crew added another trophy to the case with a convincing victory over the upstart Newman-Haas crew of Hideki Mutoh in the Pit Stop Challenge. Penske has won the last five Pit Stop Challenges.
"You saw it out there, they do an incredible job. I do believe all winter work, it’s paying off today. Not only today but every race when we’re out there. Yes, sometimes I overshoot and I make mistakes but they never see that way, they see it as a good practice to be ready for anything. And today in the pit stop it was just an incredible job," Castroneves said. "So proud of these guys, so honored to be working with this organization and these guys. So today is their day. I just have to sit down and drive the car. But it certainly is great to carry this momentum to the race. Because I know when I go out there, I will rely on these guys and normally, I’m sure we’re going to succeed as well."
Isn't That Grandpa's Delta Wing in the Case?
The Daytona 500 trophy made a special trip to the Brickyard for an interview and mutual admiration society meeting of the (only) two Daytona 500-Indy 500 winning owners, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi. It was set up next to the Borg-Warner Trophy on the media center dais and positively Delta Wing-esque.
"Actually, it's great to be here and obviously the guy sitting next to me is the one that we have to beat every weekend whether it's here at Indianapolis or certainly at Daytona or Charlotte. But I've never seen these two trophies side by side. I just asked Chip which one does he want because I don't care if I get two, I'd just like to have one. Anyhow, it's great to be here, and we've had a great month, very competitive," Penske said. "As I said to a number of people in the last few days that something's different here this year. We have a sponsor, we have four women in the race, the field is probably as tight as it's ever been and the great thing was we had bumping on the second day which I think brought a lot of interest to the sport, a lot of notoriety. So we're going to have a great race. To me this is the guy I know we've got to beat for sure."
There was no talk of who thought who was, uhh, supposedly bending the rules to their advantage, just some back-slapping frivolity between the two biggest check writers in the IZOD IndyCar series.