The 94th running of the Indianapolis 500 will mark the 450th Indy car event for Newman/Haas Racing since the team's first season of competition in 1983. After 107 wins, 109 poles and 248 top-three finishes the team will reach a milestone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The team has started from pole once (1987) in Indianapolis and has finished as high as second here (1985, 1991) although they have been a contender for victory and even dominated multiple races here.
The team has led a total of 791 laps in its previous 17 races at Indianapolis, which is most likely the highest number for any team that has yet to win the event. Following are comments from various long-term employees about the previous 449 events.
Ahead of Sunday's race, team co-founder Carl Haas, general manager Brian Lisles and team manager John Tzouanakis reflected on the team's record. Lisles, in his 22nd season with the team, is from London, England, and has been the general manager for the past nine seasons. John “TZ” Tzouanakis has been with the team since its formation (28 years), is from Greencastle, Ind., and has been the team manager for the past 11 years. Carl Haas (above left), co-founder with Paul Newman of Newman/Haas Racing:
“450 races seems like a lifetime; a lifetime of memories. I think that beyond the thrill and excitement of victories and championships – and don't get me wrong, winning for the 108th time is just as exciting as the first time – but it is the people who have been associated with Newman/Haas Racing over these 28 years that create the fondest memories. The fabulous racecar drivers whose talent we were able to harness, the engineers who started with us and blossomed into the best in the business, the race mechanics and support people who worked tirelessly to maximize our success; I'm proud to say that they are my friends and my memories. I look forward to enjoying the continuing legacy of Newman/Haas Racing. My only regret is that Paul is not here to share it with me.”
WHAT DOES THIS MILESTONE SAY ABOUT THE TEAM?
Lisles: “It's a tribute for any team to last this long. If you look at the history of motor racing, there aren't very many teams that are celebrating their 450th race. I haven't been here for all 450 races but I have probably been here for 350 of them. When I look back, sometimes it seems like a lot more than that but most of the time it seems like a lot less but I guess that's a good thing when time passes by pretty quickly. We still have some employees who were here when Mario (Andretti) first started and we're very proud of that and I know they are very proud of being with Carl all of that time. Until recently we even had an employee (Davey Evans) who went back with Carl well before Newman/Haas Racing was started.”
Tzouanakis: “To reach a milestone like 450 races says a lot about the team and the organization in general over all these years. To attract all of the great drivers who have driven for Newman/Haas Racing over the years including the Andrettis, Mansell, Fittipaldi, da Matta, Bourdais and others says a lot about the caliber of the organization. The commitment of Carl, Paul and Berni over the years has made this team one of the most successful in history and the longevity of the team further shows that. Their commitment to running the Lola when Carl was a distributor and making them the best cars to go and beat the Penskes and Marches and other manufacturers that were there for a long time also shows the kind of commitment to the team early on and it continues today. I'm proud to be a part of this organization.”