Mario Visits Donald Trump In NYC

Not much turns heads on the streets of Manhattan. But spotting Donald Trump in the back seat of an Indy car – with Mario Andretti driving – now that brings out the Verizon phones to snap a photo.

Andretti pulled up in front of Trump Tower on a rainy day to chauffeur Trump to his next appointment.
“In my opinion, safer than a taxi,” Andretti said. “Through the streets of New York we went in the rain – and not a hair out of place.”

The ride was filmed to be aired as part of the season finale of “The Celebrity Apprentice” at 9 p.m. (ET) May 20 on NBC. Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall are the finalists.

Andretti’s son, IZOD IndyCar Series team owner Michael Andretti, was a contestant on the show this spring. He was competing for funds to be designated to Racing For Cancer. The organization focuses on early detection and prevention as well as raising awareness and support for fighting childhood cancer.

Racing For Cancer will host its largest fund-raising event of the year -- The Yellow Party -- on May 24 at OneAmerica Tower in Indianapolis, featuring IZOD IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy drivers and auctions. Get tickets and information at

Five teams qualify for Pit Stop Competition

Graham Rahal and his crew set the mark for others to match with a simulated pit stop time of 9.157 seconds during qualifying for the Pit Stop Competition before the start of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The event, featuring a $100,000 purse up for grabs among 12 IZOD IndyCar Series teams, is part of Miller Lite Carb Day on May 25.

Seven entrants have qualified through their performance at 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series races following the Indy 500:
No. 2 Team Penske with Ryan Briscoe
No. 3 Team Penske with Helio Castroneves
No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Scott Dixon
No. 12 Team Penske with Will Power
No. 26 Andretti Autosport with Marco Andretti
No. 27 Andretti Autosport with James Hinchcliffe
No. 50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Dario Franchitti

Time trials determined the remaining entrants. The No. 38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car will be in the mix, along with the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car of JR Hildebrand (9.298 seconds), the No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car of Oriol Servia (9.322), the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing of Mike Conway (9.815) and the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car for Andretti Autosport of Ryan Hunter-Reay (9.939).

The Pit Stop Competition consists of four rounds of head-to-head competition in which teams change four tires and simulate fueling.

Jourdain looking forward to visit

Michel Jourdain Jr., driving the No. 30 Office Depot/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car, has a surprise for his two oldest children when they visit the Speedway.

“I have said that this is a professional project but one that is very personal to me in many ways and one of them is that my two oldest kids are coming to the race,” he said. “They weren’t old enough to fully understand it before, but the two oldest are now.

“Silvia is 3 and this will be too much for her, but Michel and Marco, who are 7 and 5 years old, can’t wait. Every day they ask me ‘How many days until we come?’  The other day I told them ‘It’s 15 days’ and they said ‘I thought you said 14 yesterday.’ They are really, really excited about coming.

“We are making small suits like my driving suit for them. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

Of note

Indianapolis orthodontist Dr. Charles Pritchett, who has attended every racing event at IMS since 1957, was the honorary starter. ... Teams have options to set the rear wing mainplane angle between 0 degrees and -10.5 degrees for the Indianapolis 500. INDYCAR issued a bulletin reducing the angle from -11 degrees to -10.5 degrees. ... Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka has been named the official vodka for the 2012 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix with the return of the IZOD IndyCar Series to the Motor City on June 1-3.