Notes: Defending Grand Prix of Indy winner Power makes special delivery

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Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen was the recipient of a special gift April 5, with the delivery person just as special.

Will Power, 2015 winner of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, took one of the Chevrolet Camaro SS show cars branded with the race logo to Allen at the Colts training complex. Power handed over the keys to Allen, who will drive the Camaro around town to help promote the upcoming race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course May 14.

Power and Allen learned that their professions share some things in common. Asked who has the better hands, Allen replied, “He might have the better hands. Even though I catch the football, the grip that it takes to control a monster going 220-plus miles an hour, his hands are pretty good.”

But when it comes to blocking, the term takes on vastly different meanings. Allen is counted on for his blocking on the football field. For Power in Verizon IndyCar Series competition, blocking is frowned upon.

“I’ve been penalized a few times for blocking,” Power said with a laugh.

The Team Penske driver and 2014 series champion also suggested Allen should drive the pace car for the third annual Angie’s List Grand Prix.

“I don’t know about that!” Allen said. “Give me some lessons first and then we’ll talk about driving it.”

Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle already heating up

The three-way competition for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the Verizon IndyCar Series is already shaping up with Max Chilton, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly separated by a mere seven points after two races.

Chilton garnered much attention after finishing seventh at the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix on April 2, driving the No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

But Rossi also completed the 250-lap race at Phoenix International Raceway on the lead lap, in 14th position. The Andretti Herta Autosport driver of the No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda started 12th, lost three spots on the first lap, but slowly worked his way back up the grid to as high as seventh place.

The 24-year-old Californian put nary a wheel wrong in his first oval race until he brushed the wall on Lap 248, bringing out the caution period that ended the race under yellow.

"The car was good for most of the race and the crew did a great job," Rossi said. "I'm glad we got the first oval race under our belt ... but I think there's more to come next time."

Daly, in the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd's Hospitality Honda for Dale Coyne Racing, finished a lap behind the leaders in 16th place.

Pagenaud leaps into Green Bay excitement for Road America's return

Simon Pagenaud did what most would people like to do when they visit Green Bay, Wis. – the Lambeau Leap.

The Team Penske driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series points leader received a behind-the-scenes tour of Lambeau Field, home to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, on April 4 as he met with media to talk about Indy car racing’s return to the historic Road America permanent road course for the Road America Grand Prix in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The June 24-26 race weekend marks the first time Indy cars will race at the 4.048-mile circuit since 2007.

Pagenaud was in Green Bay two days after racing at another iconic Indy car track. Phoenix International Raceway also returned to the schedule this year following an extended absence.

“(Phoenix) was a great event, and I think here is going to be awesome,” Pagenaud told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “It’s an event for INDYCAR and the fans are always great here in Road America. I had a chance to race a lot in sports cars here and the fans always show up. It should be a great race. It’s quite a unique track.”

Pagenaud’s tour of the Lambeau facility included going to a statue allowing visitors to replicate when Packers leap to the front row of the stands after scoring a touchdown, known as the Lambeau Leap. He also visited The Automobile Gallery in Green Bay, where he was able to slip behind the wheel of a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette.

Pagenaud tweeted about the fun he had here.

Of note

PIRTEK Team Murray, which is fielding rookie Matthew Brabham in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May, has named veteran Andy Brown as its team engineer. A native of the United Kingdom, Brown has been a staple in open-wheel racing for nearly three decades, working in Formula One and Indy cars. He was assistant technical director for Galles/KRACO Racing in 1992 when Al Unser Jr. won the Indianapolis 500, he engineered Sam Hornish Jr. to consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series championships in 2001 and ’02 with Panther Racing and worked with Dan Wheldon at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams in 2006. … The Grand Prix of Boston powered by LogMeIn announced the addition of Delta Air Lines as official airline of the race that debuts on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule on Labor Day weekend.

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