Notes: Jones will start from pole after Freedom 100 qualifying rained out

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INDIANAPOLIS – Ed Jones was the fastest through the first half of qualifying today for the Freedom 100, until a rain washed out the remainder. No matter, the points leader will still lead the field to the green flag for the premier event on the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires schedule.

Jones, in the No. 11 Carlin Dallara IR-15, clocked two laps at more than 197 mph to set the pace early. Zachary Claman de Melo crashed on the second lap of his qualifying attempt shortly after, and the rains began as the track was being cleaned.

The starting grid will be set by points, putting Jones on the pole. Santiago Urrutia will share Row 1 in the No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian. Sixteen cars are entered.

The 40-lap race will be telecast live as part of NBCSN’s Miller Lite Carb Day coverage.

Lilly Diabetes joins as co-primary sponsor for Daly’s No. 18 Honda

Dale Coyne Racing today announced that Lilly Diabetes of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company will serve as co-primary sponsor of the No. 18 ShirtsForAmerica.com/Lilly Diabetes Honda driven by Conor Daly, in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Conor DalyAs part of the sponsorship, Daly’s No. 18 car will run a special patriotic paint scheme with a series of four stars, one colored in blue to recognize the one in four veterans who live with diabetes, which is two and a half times greater than the general population. 

Daly was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 14 in 2006. Now 24, Daly continues to manage his diabetes through proper diet, exercise and medicines. The Noblesville, Ind., native wears a glucose monitoring system to help manage his diabetes and his No. 18 Honda is equipped with a glucose monitoring readout device.

“It’s a pretty exciting time for our race team to have Lilly Diabetes come on board for the Indy 500 this weekend,” Daly said. “It’s personal to me and also to so many people living with and managing diabetes. Being an Indiana native and having a company like Lilly help us bring awareness to the number of veterans living with diabetes is something really special.”

The team announced last week that Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee’s new company, ShirtsForAmerica.com, would be a primary sponsor for the Indianapolis 500. For each T-shirt sold on the site, a portion of the proceeds goes to Wish For Our Heroes – founded by military veterans to help veterans – and the Pat McAfee Foundation that has given more than $150,000 in scholarships to children of military families.

The tie-in with the two sponsors was a natural, according to team owner Dale Coyne.

“We are proud to partner with Lilly Diabetes for the Indianapolis 500 to help bring awareness to the number of veterans living with diabetes and help connect fans with Lilly as a resource for proper management of diabetes,” Coyne said. “With the Memorial Day weekend and the sponsors we have on Conor’s car, we couldn’t be more excited about Sunday’s race.”

Lilly has been providing solutions and support for people affected by diabetes since 1923 when the company introduced the world’s first commercialized insulin. Many of the company’s programs and solutions are designed around feedback from people who live with the disease every day.

Stinger raises $900,000 for charity, then is donated to IMS Museum

The Stinger, an Indy car created by John Andretti and long-time sponsorship partner Window World to honor the Centennial era of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, sold at auction Wednesday night for $900,000 at the Dallara Factory in Speedway, Ind.

Proceeds from the sale of the race car, designed to resemble the Marmon Wasp that Ray Harroun drove to victory in the first Indy 500 in 1911, which is signed by 249 drivers who competed in the Indianapolis 500, benefited St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Window World is donating $189 for each signature, meaning the car has raised more than $1 million for St. Jude.

The winning bidder, a group of 10 investors known as the Century Club, intends to donate the car to the IMS Museum.

Castroneves’ crew set to defend pit stop challenge title

Helio Castroneves’ No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet crew will defend its TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge title against 11 challengers on Friday during Miller Lite Carb Day. With seven wins in the competition, Castroneves’ crew has more than any other in the contest that started in 1977.

Castroneves’ crew received a first-round bye into the quarterfinals in the draw, as did the crews for pole sitter James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda), 2015 Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevy) and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy).

First-round crew pairings are: Matt Brabham (No. 61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevy) vs. Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda), Charlie Kimball (No. 42 Tresiba Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy) vs. Graham Rahal (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda), Sage Karam (No. 24 Gas Monkey Energy Chevy) vs. Carlos Munoz (No. 26 United Fiber & Data Honda), and Takuma Sato (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda) vs. Mikhail Aleshin (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda). The complete challenge bracket is below. 

Brabham's crew will consist of the honorary CK Crew of military veterans and first responders gathered from around the nation. They have been undergoing extensive training in Indianapolis the past 10 days under the guidance of Jim Leo from PitFit Training.

The winning crew earns $50,000 and second place $15,000, with prize money decreasing to $2,000 each for the ninth- through 12th-place finishers.

Notes

Xtrac, the exclusive supplier of gearboxes to Verizon IndyCar Series teams since 2000, presented gearbox No. 100 to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum today in honor of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. It was the 100th gearbox built by Xtrac for use in Verizon IndyCar Series competition. It was taken from production and modified with a cutaway view so museum visitors can see its inner workings … Andretti Autosport announced that entertainment technology company Technicolor will be an associate sponsor of the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda driven by Alexander Rossi in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. The team also announced a partnership with Dickinson Fleet Services to provide complete management and maintenance service for the Andretti team of transport vehicles and be a sponsor of the No. 28 DHL Honda driven by 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.

2016 Tag Heuer Pit Stop Challenge Bracket

From the fans