News for the Month of January 2017

NAPA to sponsor Rossi for seven races in ’17 – “NAPA AUTO PARTS and Alexander Rossi drove into racing history by capturing the twin-checkers at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, and the pair will again join with Andretti Autosport in 2017. The seven-race, co-primary sponsorship will see the reigning Indy 500 champion take the wheel of Andretti’s No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda starting at the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season opener in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rossi will then carry NAPA Know How for races in Long Beach, Indianapolis, Road America, Watkins Glen and Sonoma.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (1/18/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 1/18/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (1/18/2017)

Trackside podcast 1/17/17 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 1/17/17 is a great listen as always. The pair are joined by Josef Newgarden, Spencer Pigot, and Kevin Olson. – 1070 The Fan – (1/18/2017)

INDYCAR announces contract extension with Bridgestone/Firestone – “INDYCAR announced a multiyear contract extension today with Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BATO), continuing its longtime partnership with Firestone as the official tire supplier of the Verizon IndyCar Series. The announcement extends the tire brand’s involvement in open-wheel racing that dates to Ray Harroun’s Firestone-equipped Marmon Wasp winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.” “Firestone is part of the fabric of INDYCAR and its commitment to evolving performance, innovation and safety in the Verizon IndyCar Series has been remarkable,” said Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations. “The Firestone brand has been part of our sport for more than 100 years and continues to be an integral partner in the growth of INDYCAR on and off the racetrack.” Full release at the link. – INDYCAR – (1/17/2017)

ECR names Pigot as road/street course driver for No. 20 – “Ed Carpenter Racing announced (Tuesday) that Spencer Pigot will retain his duties as the road and street course driver for the No. 20 Chevrolet for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. After joining ECR partway through 2016 in the same role, Pigot will be behind the wheel of the No. 20 at non-oval events for the entirety of the 2017 season. The only owner/driver in the series, Ed Carpenter, will continue to pilot the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet at all oval races.” Full release at the link. – ECR – (1/17/2017)

AJ Foyt Racing makes Chevy switch official – AJ Foyt Racing has made their switch from Honda to Chevrolet official. The team tweeted the long-reported news this morning and included a picture of AJ and Larry Foyt with drivers Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly in front of one of their cars outfitted with a Chevy aero kit. – AJ Foyt Racing – (1/17/2017)

ECR teases Tuesday announcement for No. 20 drivers – Ed Carpenter Racing will announce their driver plans for their No. 20 Verizon IndyCar Series entry at 10AM on Tuesday, January 16th. – ECR – (1/16/2017)

Report: Aleshin funding issues jeopardizing SPM seat – RACER reports that funding issues have put Mikhail Aleshin’s future at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in doubt. SPM had previously announced Aleshin as returning for 2017 but he is no longer listed as a confirmed driver on INDYCAR’s website and RACER reports it’s an issue with his SMP Racing backing once again. Full report at the link. – RACER – (1/16/2017)

Franchitti calls ’18 aero kit renderings “fabulous” – NBC Sports’ Luke Smith has a nice story with Dario Franchitti’s thoughts on the direction INDYCAR is heading with the universal aero kit for 2018. “The drawing of the rending is just that right now, but the direction they’re going in is fabulous,” Franchitti told NBC Sports at Autosport International. Franchitti further elaborated on halo head protection: ““But if it’s going to be done, it’s got to be done right. And there are so many unintended consequences when you do that. You don’t want to rush into it, but you want to introduce it as quickly as possible.” Full story at the link. – NBC Sports – (1/16/2017)

Record speed not top priority for ’18 aero kit – David Malsher of Motorsport.com reports that INDYCAR is prioritizing safety and quality of racing over higher speeds as they design the universal aero kit for 2018. “Speed is very important, yes, but at the end of the day, the racing product is what’s most important,” says INDYCAR president of competition and operations Jay Frye. “That one day – the 500 –the race is the most important thing. We want to have a great race.” Full story at the link. – Motorsport.com – (1/13/2017)

Abreu states Indy 500 goal – Versatile driver Rico Abreu has stated one of his biggest goals is to race in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. “My goals from Day 1 — that I’ve always said to everybody — my goals are to run the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500, and I just want to win races on top of all that,” Abreu told Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com. Full story at the link. – Motorsport.com – (1/13/2017)

INDYCAR unveils 2018 universal aero kit concepts – “As INDYCAR works toward a universal aerodynamic bodywork kit for all Verizon IndyCar Series cars in 2018, the development process is well under way. Jay Frye, INDYCAR president of competition and operations, unveiled a series of initial concept drawings for how the car might look during a media roundtable at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).” See the drawings in the full release at the link. – The Open Wheel – (1/12/2017)

INDYCAR announces extension with Dallara – “The first step in revealing INDYCAR’s next equipment generation comes in the form of signing Dallara, the sport’s longtime chassis manufacturer, to a new contract, officials announced (Thursday) at the North American International Auto Show. The multiyear agreement calls for Dallara, an Italian company with a U.S. base in Speedway, Indiana, to continue providing driver safety cells to the Verizon IndyCar Series through the 2020 season. The 2017 season marks Dallara’s 20th anniversary in U.S.-based open-wheel racing…INDYCAR will soon unveil plans for new bodywork giving the Dallara IR-12 chassis a fresh appearance for the 2018 season.” Full release at the link. – INDYCAR – (1/12/2017)

Rossi receives ‘Baby Borg’ – Alexander Rossi received his ‘Baby Borg’ trophy for winning the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Wednesday in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show. Full release and pictures at the link. – IMS – (1/12/2017)

INDYCAR releases ’17 TV schedule/times – “In collaboration with ABC and NBCSN, INDYCAR’s television calendar will see each race return to the same network where it aired in 2016. The logic behind the schedule is based on continuing to seek opportunities to avoid broadcast conflicts with other major sporting events while giving INDYCAR fans the best possible viewing times.” “Today’s announcement is another key step forward in INDYCAR’s plan of developing continuity and consistency in both our event calendar and our television schedule,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We’re extremely grateful to our partners at ABC and NBCSN for their collaboration, which has been instrumental in the increase of television ratings and viewership INDYCAR has experienced the past three years and has the series well positioned to continue that growth in 2017.” See the schedule here. – INDYCAR – (1/11/2017)

Team INDYCAR to compete at Chili Bowl – “INDYCAR is reaching back to its racing roots by sponsoring 10 drivers at this week’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Team INDYCAR consists of 10 drivers competing in the 31st annual indoor midget race that attracts hundreds of racers ranging from weekly short-track regulars and legends to INDYCAR and NASCAR drivers. The week-long competition takes place on the quarter-mile clay oval constructed inside River Spirit Expo Center at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds. The event began Monday and concludes with the climactic championship feature Saturday night.” The 10 drivers are Chad Boat, Jerry Coons Jr., Tyler Courtney, Dave Darland, David Gravel, Davey Hamilton Jr., Kyle O’Gara, Davey Ray, Donny Schatz, and Tyler Seavey. Full release at the link. – INDYCAR – (1/11/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 1/11/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (1/11/2017)

Trackside podcast 1/10/17 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 1/10/17 is a great listen as always. The pair are live from the Detroit Auto Show and guests include Kevin Blanch, Katie Hargitt, and Marty Snider. – 1070 The Fan – (1/11/2017)

Report: SPM to test Dörrbecker – Escudería Telmex reports Mexican driver Luis Michael Dörrbecker will test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at the Verizon IndyCar Series test at Sebring International Raceway on February 28th and March 1st. See the release at the link. – Escudería Telmex – (1/10/2017)

Indy Lights grid taking shape – Rob Howden has a great update on the Indy Lights grid for 2017. He has a team-by-team breakdown of confirmed entries as well as rumors. The must-read piece is available at the link. – Rob Howden – (1/9/2017)

IndyCar reveals updated test calendar – NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno has posted a nice breakdown of dates, locations, and participants after INDYCAR revealed Verizon IndyCar Series test schedules for the coming months. Check it out at the link. – NBC Sports – (1/9/2017)

TK unveils logo/giveaway intentions to celebrate 20th year in IndyCar – From Tony Kanaan’s Twitter account: “This year I’ll be celebrating my 20th season in IndyCar! Stay tuned for swag giveaways and pics/cool facts of these 20 seasons”. See the logo at the link. – Tony Kanaan – (1/9/2017)

Urban to headline Legends Day concert at IMS – “Four-time Grammy winner Keith Urban will headline the annual Firestone Legends Day Concert on Saturday, May 27, the day before the 101st Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Tickets go on-sale Monday, Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. with a pre-sale for current 2017 IMS ticketholders taking place at an earlier date.” Full release at the link. – IMS – (1/9/2017)

Franchitti named Rolex 24 Grand Marshal – “Legendary open-wheel racer Dario Franchitti, who won three Indianapolis 500s as well as the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona, will serve as Grand Marshal for the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Jan. 28-29 at Daytona International Speedway.” Full release at the link. – Daytona International Speedway – (1/9/2017)

Ganassi completes educational test at Sebring – All four Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Verizon IndyCar Series cars completed a test day at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday. This was the team’s first chance to try out their new Honda equipment. “The car that we are racing today is totally new for us,” said Mike Hull, the team’s managing director. “Yes, it’s the same DW-12, but the weight distribution (between the Chevrolet and Honda engines and aero kits) is different, so the way the mechanical aspect of the car acts, you have almost to take the notebook you have and throw it away mechanically with the suspension part of the car. The aero is certainly new for us, so we have to match the aero to that.” Full story at the link. – INDYCAR – (1/6/2017)

Carlin announces Rickards as new Lights driver – “Carlin is pleased to announce that American racing driver Garth Rickards will join the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires team for the 2017 season. Rickards has already tested extensively with the team over the past couple of months and will make the move to the competitive Series following a programme last season racing in USF2000 – also part of the highly respected Mazda Road to Indy ladder.” Full release at the link. – Carlin – (1/6/2017)

Texas Motor Speedway announces repave – “Texas Motor Speedway will begin a major capital improvement project Monday consisting of a complete repave, construction of an extensive drainage system and a re-profiling of the 1.5-mile oval configuration at the world-renowned motorsports facility that annually plays host to NASCAR and INDYCAR events. The renovation will add a new layer of asphalt over the existing pavement, an expansive French drainage system on the frontstretch and backstretch, and reduce the banking in Turns 1 and 2 by four degrees. Barring extensive weather delays, the project is expected to be completed by early to mid-March in anticipation of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR doubleheader scheduled for April 7-9.” Full release at the link. – Texas Motor Speedway – (1/6/2017)

Carlin withdraws from GP2 to shift single-seater focus – Carlin has withdrawn from the GP2 series to shift their focus on other series. Carlin added an Indy Lights program last year and is strongly interested in adding a Verizon IndyCar Series program in the near future. A source within Carlin told Autosport: “We’ve come to a point where we have fulfilled our contract with GP2 Series, a championship in which we have enjoyed great success including numerous podiums, race wins, and been championship contenders…The time has now come to move on to focus on other areas of our race programmes.” Full story at the link. – Motorsport.com – (1/6/2017)

Daly a finalist to team w/Hinch at ROC – Conor Daly was named as one of ten finalists for a “wild card” spot to partner James Hinchcliffe in the upcoming Race of Champions event in Miami. “It’s a cool deal they have to bring in a wildcard, per se,” said Daly. “I know it was a big hit (in London) at Race of Champions and ROC is big race everyone looks at. Drivers from all the major disciplines of the sport are coming here to compete against each other. It would be a cool opportunity to maybe participate against them.” – INDYCAR – (1/6/2017)

Ganassi cars to test at Sebring Thursday – All four Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Verizon IndyCar Series car/driver combinations will be testing at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday, January 5th. Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, and Max Chilton will all complete their first laps of Ganassi’s return to Honda power. Here is a shot of Charlie Kimball’s car with a Honda engine and aero kit. More at the link. – RACER – (1/5/2017)

Hinch and Pigot confirmed for Mazda’s Rolex 24 lineup – James Hinchcliffe and Spencer Pigot will each drive for Mazda in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. – Mazda Racing – (1/4/2017)

Enerson added to Rolex 24 lineup – Recent Indy Lights and Verizon IndyCar Series driver RC Enerson was named as a driver for PR1 Motorsports in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. – PR1 Motorsports – (1/4/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 1/4/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (1/4/2017)

INDYCAR connections on entry list for Roar Before The Rolex 24 – There are plenty of recent INDYCAR drivers on the entry list for The 2017 Roar Before The Rolex 24 this weekend. Spencer Pigot, Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Tristan Vautier, and Katherine Legge are all scheduled to participate. Check out the full entry list at the link. – IMSA – (1/3/2017)

Rahal gets VIP treatment at NHL Winter Classic – Graham Rahal was a VIP guest of Bridgestone/Firestone at the 2017 NHL Winter Classic in St. Louis on Monday to help promote the INDYCAR weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park. Rahal posted a picture with fellow Bridgestone guest Olympian Aly Raisman. “I’ve been lucky to go to a lot of cool sporting events in my time,” Rahal said. “Obviously you’ve got the Indy 500 – to me, that’s the greatest – the Super Bowl, national championship football games, World Series. This is one of those events that’s extremely cool and ultimately will become an iconic event. It’s a great experience for me to be here.” – INDYCAR – (1/3/2017)

INDYCAR launches “NEXT” campaign – Following “RIVALS”, “SPEED”, and “LEGENDS”, INDYCAR has announced “NEXT” as its latest marketing campaign. “We’re confident and focused on INDYCAR’s future,” said C.J. O’Donnell, chief marketing officer of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The theme ‘NEXT’ will effectively deliver our message of continued growth and expresses the momentum our sport has experienced the last three seasons.” Watch the initial video here. – INDYCAR – (1/2/2017)

Blackstock to compete in Castrol Toyota Racing Series – Belardi Auto Racing Indy Lights driver Shelby Blackstock will drive in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, a single-seater racing series in New Zealand. The five-round series takes place in January and February 2017. – Castrol Toyota Racing Series – (12/30/2016)

Belardi adds Urrutia to ’17 Lights lineup – Belardi Auto Racing announced Santiago Urrutia as the driver of their No. 5 entry in Indy Lights for 2017. “We have a really strong crew and I believe that we are going to have one of the greatest teams in the paddock,” said Urrutia. “I am very happy to sign with Belardi, as I was fighting with the team’s drivers all year in 2016. I have only one goal, and that is to win the championship, and I am going to try to win every race for the team.” – Indy Lights – (12/30/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 12/28/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (12/28/2016)

Hinch and Helio added to ROC lineups – James Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves have been added to the driver lineup for the Race of Champions in Miami in January. Full release at the link. – ROC – (12/27/2016)

CGRT to field many IndyCar drivers in Rolex 24 – Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, and Tony Kanaan will all be driving as part of the four-car lineup for Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Rolex 24 Hours of DAYTONA effort. Full lineup at the link. – Ford Performance – (12/23/2016)

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