INDYCAR Drivers Pass New England 101
Fresh off their qualifying run for the 100th Indianapolis 500, three IZOD IndyCar drivers made a quick pit stop in Boston, Mass., for a crash course in all things New England.
IZOD Indycar Series point leader, Will Power, along with top female racer, Simona De Silvestro and British motorsports sensation Justin Wilson joined NHMS executive vice president and general manager Jerry Gappens at The Fours Restaurant for a luncheon and question-and- answer session.
"Three of the best INDYCAR drivers were able to make the trip today after a busy qualifying weekend for the Indy 500," said Gappens. "All three will be part of one of the most anticipated events this season bringing the fastest racing on four wheels back to NHMS, during the Aug. 14 INDYCAR 225."
In preparation for the series first visit back to New England in 13 years, Gappens gave the drivers a tune up in New England culture and even demonstrated how to eat a lobster, one of the region's most notable traditions.
Gappens, a Hoosier originally from Indiana, gave the drivers some insight in Yankee-isms that he quickly learned after moving to the northeast over four years ago.
"They all definitely have rookie stripes when it comes to eating lobster," he said.
Power pilots the No. 12 Team Penske Honda and currently leads the IZOD IndyCar Series points. So far this season he has two wins, one at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and the other at Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300. Power struggled a bit earlier in the week but rallied back and will start fifth during Sunday's race.
"I expected to be running for the pole," he said. "For some reason our car just wasn't fast at first but I am very happy to be starting on the second row."
Top-female INDYCAR driver Simona De Silvestro who pilots the No. 78 HVM Racing Honda was also at the luncheon this afternoon. Silvestro suffered burns on her hands after a crash earlier in the week, but is cleared to race this weekend.
"The crash was definitely pretty tough mentally," she said. "I wasn't sure I wanted to be a racecar driver anymore but then I qualified on the first day so that helped my mind a lot."
Justin Wilson, driver of the No. 22 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda talked about his qualifying run for the prestigious event.
"We have done all of the preparation for the 500 and now we have a couple of days off," he said. "It is tough not to think about it too much."
Wilson also pointed out what it will be like to race at "The Magic Mile" in August. "I'm looking forward to it but I think it will be tough, it is a tough track to drive and get everything just right."
The stars and cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series will return to "The Magic Mile" after a 13-year hiatus on Sunday Aug. 14. For tickets please call the NHMS ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit Ticketmaster through nhms.com.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the largest sports and entertainment facility in New England and will host the three biggest sporting events in the six-state region as part of its exciting 2011 racing schedule.
Located approximately one hour north of Boston, in Loudon, N.H., the speedway hosts more than 100,000 spectators at each of its two prestigious NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Our NASCAR event weekends draw larger crowds than the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the World Series and the NCAA Final Four events. The facility is active every day from April through October and attracts more than 600,000 guests during the season. For more information on NHMS, please visit us at http://www.nhms.com/.