Indy 500 notes: Drivers meeting sets the ground rules

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INDIANAPOLIS – The 33 drivers entered in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil received their final instructions on the eve of the epic race during today’s traditional public drivers meeting at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The event was part of Legends Day Honoring Champions of the 500 presented by Firestone. Festivities at the track included a morning autograph session with the 33 race starters, afternoon autograph sessions with former Indy 500 drivers and this evening’s concert featuring Blake Shelton.

The drivers meeting was conducted along pit lane with a large crowd watching from the Tower Terrace grandstand. Each driver was presented with a starter’s ring from Herff Jones, as was honorary pace car driver Roger Penske, owner of the Verizon IndyCar Series team that has won the Indianapolis 500 a record 16 times.

Penske and Juan Pablo Montoya were given the Herff Jones winning owner’s and driver's ring from the 2015 Indy 500, which was presented by Firestone, as well as their Baby Borg replicas of the famous Borg-Warner trophy that features bas relief likenesses of every winning Indianapolis driver.

Firestone also made its third annual Legends Day charitable donation, $20,000 to the IMS Museum, in honor of all the Indy 500 legends on hand this weekend.

Brian Barnhart, INDYCAR vice president of competition, race control, closed the meeting by delivering the final directions to the drivers for Sunday’s race (ABC at 11 a.m. ET, Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network at 10 a.m.). Barnhart closed his speech with comments summarizing the magnitude of this year’s landmark event.

“We have a tremendous platform to show the world the most exciting racing offered,” Barnhart told the drivers.

“You are the best racers in the world and I wish each of you both God’s speed and success. Take care of each other and let’s make the 100th running the greatest spectacle in history.”

CK Crew becomes crowd favorite in pit stop challenge

Team PIRTEK CrewThey may not have won, but the CK Crew walked off a crowd favorite in Friday’s TAG Heuer Pit Stop Challenge on Miller Lite Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The honorary crew consisting of military veterans and first responders, following 10 days of intensive training in Indianapolis, went up against the crews whose fulltime job is to service cars at Verizon IndyCar Series races. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s No. 28 DHL Honda crew defeated the CK Crew in the opening round of the contest, where the driver pulls the car into a simulated pit for a four-tire change in head-to-head competition.

The CK Crew was the initiative of PIRTEK Team Murray that is fielding rookie Matt Brabham in the No. 61 Chevrolet in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, named after the former Navy SEAL and author of “American Sniper” who died in 2013 at the hands of a fellow veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The CK Crew consisted of: John Heider, a former Chicago policeman now with the Chicago Fire Department; Ross Meyer, who served two tours of military duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan before joining the Indianapolis Fire Department; Marcus Presson, a retired Navy SEAL; Rita Reith, an Indianapolis Fire Department battalion captain; David Rutherford, a former Navy SEAL from Florida; Sonny Saghera, a California firefighter; and Walter Wasilewski, a retired New York City police officer.

“I’m so proud of the efforts of all the CK Crew team that came together for the pit stop challenge,” said Taya Kyle, wife of Chris Kyle and executive director of the foundation. “To bring all of them together from such different backgrounds, but all having done so much for our country, and develop them into the team they became was amazing.

“The challenge didn’t go our way, but they’ve all had an awesome time, worked their butts off, learned some new skills and along the way created some new friendships.”

The CK Crew program also has the support of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, which produced the 2014 “American Sniper” film and is releasing a special Blu-ray edition this month. The program is bringing veterans, first responders and their families to the Indianapolis 500.

Notes

Quiznos, the quick-service restaurant chain and pioneer of the toasted sub, today announced it would be primary sponsor of Buddy Lazier’s car for the 100th Indianapolis 500. The 1996 race winner will drive the No. 4 Quiznos Lazier/Burns Racing Chevrolet in his 19th Indianapolis 500 competition. "As a restaurant brand born in Colorado, we are proud to support one of our own on this national stage," said Susan Lintonsmith, Quiznos global chief marketing officer. "Buddy's hometown pride runs deep and his legacy on the track is unprecedented. We look forward to cheering him on from Denver this weekend." … Ed Carpenter Racing has added UPTIME Energy drink as an associate sponsor on all three of its Indianapolis 500 entries and the Conrad Indianapolis hotel as a sponsor on the No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. … Ticketholders to Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 are eligible for discount pricing to the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen, the Sept. 1-4 Verizon IndyCar Series event at Watkins Glen International. Anyone with an Indy 500 ticket can purchase general admission tickets for $40 or a camping spot for $200. Call (866) 461-7223 and mention the Indianapolis 500 ticketholder offer to receive the discount.

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