News for the Month of November 2015

Ganassi and Karam sever ties – Sage Karam is no longer under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing. “The team allowed his option to expire, and they are still very high on Sage, but the opportunities for the team are unknown and the budget for the 8 car is also unknown, so they didn’t want to keep him bound with nothing to offer,” said Karam’s manager Mickey Ryan. – RACER – (11/30/2015)

Veach to race Lights with Belardi in ’16 – Former Andretti Autosport Indy Lights star Zach Veach will return to the series in 2016 with Belardi Racing. Veach sat out last year hoping for a Verizon IndyCar Series opportunity and was a driver analyst at times for IndyCar Radio. “I’m very thankful for this opportunity that Brian Belardi has given me,” said Veach. “After racing against his team for so many years, I’ve always had a ton of respect for him, his crew, and of course, his cars.” – RACER – (11/26/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/25/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/25/2015)

Trackside podcast 11/24/15 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee is a great listen as always. The pair is joined by Leigh Diffey and Chris Finch. – 1070 The Fan – (11/25/2015)

INDYCAR mandates additional tethers for 2016 – “Tethering aerodynamic components of the Dallara chassis is among safety enhancements announced by INDYCAR that will be implemented for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The high-tensile Zylon tethers minimize the possibility of components becoming detached from the race cars during accidents. The rear beam wing and rear wheel guards will be tethered for all Verizon IndyCar Series events and the car’s nose will be tethered on superspeedways (1.5 miles or longer). Dallara also has designed a tethering system for the front wing main plane for the three superspeedways on the 2016 schedule – Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway.” – INDYCAR – (11/24/2015)

IMS announces Journey to headline Carb Day concert – Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced that Journey will headline the concert on Miller Lite Carb Day in the buildup to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. “The 100th Running weekend will be an unprecedented celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Journey is the first piece of the tremendous entertainment that will be offered,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “Miller Light Carb Day has become bigger and bigger every year and this promises to be the best yet.” – IMS – (11/24/2015)

Rahal marries Courtney Force – “Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal and NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force exchanged vows Saturday on the edge of a cliff at the Dos Pueblos Ranch in Santa Barbara County, Calif.” – INDYCAR – (11/24/2015)

Kaiser fastest in Lights testing at COTA – Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser had the fastest lap over two days of Indy Lights testing at the Circuit of the Americas on November 21st and 22nd with a lap of 1:54.2235. Andretti Autosport’s Shelby Blackstock was second fastest. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (11/24/2015)

GP of Boston reaches deal with condo owners – The Boston Globe reports that the Grand Prix of Boston organizers have reached a deal with the condo owners that were vehemently opposed to the event. This is one of the last hurdles to make the event truly happen. – Boston Globe – (11/20/2015)

Choi and French to test Lights with SPM – “Seven-time Indy Lights championship-winning team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that Heamin Choi will return to the cockpit and newcomer James French will make his SPM debut for the upcoming Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Chris Griffis Memorial Test at Circuit of the Americas…The Chris Griffis Memorial Test will take place on November 21 and 22 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires will make its series debut on the unidirectional, grade one FIA specification 3.427-mile track.” – SPM – (11/20/2015)

Marco back at AA in ’16 – Marco Andretti told NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan that he has committed a one-year deal with Andretti Autosport for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. “I did a one-year,” said Andretti. “Right now that’s where the Dr Pepper contract ends. They can’t sign me (longer) with anything on the table.” – NBC Sports – (11/18/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/18/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/18/2015)

Trackside podcast 11/17/15 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee is a great listen as always. – 1070 The Fan – (11/18/2015)

Hamilton Jr to test Lights car with McCormack Racing – Davey Hamilton Jr will be testing an Indy Lights car with McCormack Racing at Buttonwillow Raceway Park this week per a couple of tweets from his Twitter earlier this week. A picture of the car is available at the link. – Davey Hamilton Jr – (11/18/2015)

Andretti announces Munoz return for 2016 – Andretti Autosport announced on Tuesday that Carlos Munoz will return to the team’s Verizon IndyCar Series program in 2016. He will once again drive the No. 26 Honda. “I’m really thankful to Michael (Andretti), JF (Thormann, COO) and the whole team. I’m really happy to be able to return for another year. The 2016 schedule looks really nice and we hope to fight for an Indy 500 win and a championship.” – Andretti Autosport – (11/17/2015)

IMS announces plans for premium seating – “For the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, fans will have the opportunity to purchase premium club level seating for the 2016 racing season and beyond. The Hulman Terrace Club, located on the outside of the front straightaway of the famed 2.5-mile oval past the exit of Turn 4, will feature more than 1,000 seats plus ADA-accessible seating for fans seeking a club option similar to what is offered at many other major U.S. stadiums. It’s the first new seating option at IMS in more than a decade and a key piece of the ongoing Project 100 initiative. Pre-sale registration is available here with tickets officially going on sale Dec. 1. Starting with the 2016 racing season, fans may buy a reserved ticket for one of the 22-inch stadium seats to get a coveted upper-level view of the action plus access to a private area where food and beverages may be purchased. Fans may also enjoy the new outside deck area with a covered bar on the south end of the Hulman Terrace Club, surrounding a large indoor pavilion.” More at the link. – IMS – (11/16/2015)

Hawksworth to race in Rolex 24 – Jack Hawksworth will drive for Starworks Motorsport’s PC class entry in the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona. “I really enjoy sportscar racing and am delighted to be kicking the year off early at Daytona with the Starworks team,” said Hawksworth. “They are a great outfit and I believe all the ingredients will be there for us to have a shot at being extremely competitive.” – RACER – (11/16/2015)

Racing Engineering exploring Verizon IndyCar Series program – Highly successful GP2 team Racing Engineering, owned by Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon, is exploring the idea of adding a team in the Verizon IndyCar Series. “We’re looking into it, but it looks unlikely before 2017 if we’re doing it on our own because of another project we’re going after right now,” Orleans-Borbon told RACER. “Are we interested? Absolutely. We’re not in a position to enter the series today, yet, because I don’t have any drivers in GP2 or other series that are prepared to help make it happen. And I would be open to working with an IndyCar team that has one car and we could come together to put a second car in the series. That’s where we are.” – RACER – (11/16/2015)

St Pete confirmed through 2020 – “Green Savoree Racing Promotions, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, received approval today from the members of City Council for the extension of its license for the annual event with the City of St. Petersburg through 2020. Under the amendment, the dates for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg have also been confirmed through 2018. The event will be held on March 11-13 in 2016, March 9-12 in 2017 and March 8-11 in 2018, with the Verizon IndyCar Series headlining the weekend.” More at the link. – GP of St Pete – (11/16/2015)

Frye named INDYCAR president of competition and operations – Jay Frye was introduced Thursday as INDYCAR’s new president of competition and operations. Frye had been the chief revenue officer for INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Frye will report to Miles, who will set strategy and oversee all aspects of the series. Brian Barnhart remains vice president of competition and the race director, Vince Kremer remains vice president of operations and Will Phillips continues as vice president of technology. They will report to Frye….Taking over Frye’s vacated position will be Rod Davis, formerly serving in senior executive roles with the Indiana Sports Corporation, USA Gymnastics, RCA Championships and USA Swimming.” – INDYCAR – (11/12/2015)

F1’s future at COTA in jeopardy – COTA may be in the market for a new open wheel series event after this report from RACER: “Circuit of The Americas chairman Bobby Epstein admits the Austin Formula 1 race’s future “is not looking good” after a state funding cut for the United States Grand Prix venue. Since its GP debut in 2012, the Austin track has received $25 million per year from the Texas state government based on the economic value of F1 to the region. But following the arrival of a new governor earlier this year, the formula used to calculate the economic impact has changed and an audit of how the fund distributed was carried out. As a result, the state feels F1 is worth 20 percent less to Texas than previously believed and has therefore cut the funding to $19.5 million.” “I’m concerned about the future,” Epstein told Autosport. “We did not know they would change how they calculated the funding. We just received a letter that they were going to do that.” – RACER – (11/12/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/11/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/11/2015)

Trackside podcast 11/10/15 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee is a great listen as always. – 1070 The Fan – (11/11/2015)

Final figure from Justin Wilson Charity Auction announced – From RACER: “The final numbers are in for the Justin Wilson Charity Auction: $546,967.49 was raised from 509 items that sold via eBay’s website. With helmets privately auctioned by Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Graham Rahal ($50,000) and Ryan Hunter-Reay ($24,000), plus more raised by NBCSN Formula 1 pit reporter Will Buxton ($16,100) through a private auction, the total leaps to $637,067.94. Created by Rahal in partnership with eBay, and facilitated by Auction Cause, the auction’s proceeds represent a significant contribution to the Wilson Children’s Fund, which was established to care for Wilson’s family after his death on Aug. 24.” – RACER – (11/10/2015)

Hinchcliffe named honorary chairman for Rev 2016 – “Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe will serve as the honorary chairman of Rev 2016. Rev, presented by Fifth Third Bank, is the marquee fundraising event for Methodist Health Foundation. The event is May 7 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hinchcliffe, who will enter his second season driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, was the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series Fan Favorite award winner.” “It really is a thrill for me to be partnering with Rev this year,” said Hinchcliffe, who has four Verizon IndyCar Series victories. “I can’t believe how it has grown into a must-attend event in just two years.” – INDYCAR – (11/10/2015)

DiZinno’s silly season update – NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno has posted an update on the current status of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar “Silly Season”. Good read on the confirmed drivers/teams/seats for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season and what driver and team openings are noteworthy at this time. – NBC Sports – (11/9/2015)

Veach interested in Lights return – Zach Veach posted a blog entry for RACER about a recent Indy Lights test with Belardi Racing and declares his interest in returning to the series in 2016. Veach did not race in 2015 while hoping for a Verizon IndyCar Series entry after a largely successful Lights season in 2014. Veach was a driver analyst for IndyCar Radio most of last year and did an excellent job in his new role. “The IL-15 has more downforce, higher mid-corner and straightaway speeds, and well as stronger brakes. It really is a joy to drive.” – RACER – (11/9/2015)

INDYCAR’s Damien Power series continues with Sarah Fisher – INDYCAR’s “Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes with Damien Power” continues with Sarah Fisher. Another entertaining watch in INDYCAR’s series with Power’s comedian brother. – INDYCAR – (11/9/2015)

Harvey optimistic for IndyCar chance – Jack Harvey told a British newspaper that there’s an 80% chance he’ll be in the Verizon IndyCar Series next season. Harvey does not appear to be heading back to Lights if that doesn’t work out. Harvey on a Verizon IndyCar Series move: “That’s the only aim really. I have no interest in doing Indy Lights again. I just don’t think it’s necessary because I’ve done two years now and finished second both times and I could have turned them into championship victories. Now’s the time to move forward into the IndyCar. That’s what I’ve been working towards and there’s some really good opportunities.” – The Linc – (11/6/2015)

Trackside podcast 11/5/15 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee is a great listen as always. The duo talks about the latest news and rumors for the 2016 season and Team Pelfrey Team Principal Nigel Tuckey joins them late in the show to talk about the team’s acquisition of 8Star Motorsports’ Indy Lights program. – 1070 The Fan – (11/6/2015)

CFH unveils new No. 67 GoPro livery at SEMA – CFH Racing posted a picture of a new GoPro livery for Josef Newgarden’s No. 67 from the SEMA show this week. Could be a noteworthy bigger sponsorship as the team tries to fill in the gaps left by rumored decreases in funding from Hartman Oil and Fuzzy’s. – CFH Racing – (11/6/2015)

Miller’s Mailbag 11/4/15 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (11/4/2015)

INDYCAR to allow Honda aero kit “catch up” – Mark Miles told RACER that INDYCAR will allow Honda to make changes to its aero kit to play “catch up” regarding it’s deficiencies to the Chevy aero kit in accordance with Rule 9.3. “We believe the situation created major issues for our Honda teams, which were under pressure from their sponsors and shareholders,” said Miles. “So we thought it was important to give them a chance to catch up because it was best for the overall health of IndyCar.” – RACER – (11/4/2015)

CFH lays off 8 staff members – CFH Racing was forced to let eight members of its staff go for financial reasons on Monday morning. “I wouldn’t say it’s downsizing; it’s more just where we are today and managing the business the best we can and making smart decisions for the partners we have,” Carpenter told RACER. “You don’t look forward to days like this; it’s something you never want to do, but looking at the big picture, and maintaining the health of the organization, sometimes you have to make hard decisions.” – RACER – (11/4/2015)

Kaiser resigns for Juncos’ Lights program in ’16 – Kyle Kaiser has signed to drive for Juncos Racing’s Indy Lights program again in 2016. “I’m excited to return for another year of Indy Lights with Juncos Racing,” said Kaiser. “The chemistry and team synergy we’ve developed over the past two seasons, combined with their work ethic, passion, and dedication will be a huge advantage going into next year.” – motorsport.com – (11/4/2015)

NTT Data renews deal with CGRT No. 10 – “NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing announced today that driver Tony Kanaan will return to the program and pilot the No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.” “It feels really great to be back with NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. 2015 was kind of a roller coaster of a season with some really solid results and some not so great results, but our top-five finish and Dixon’s Championship in Sonoma was a really positive way to go into the offseason for the whole team.” – Chip Ganassi Racing – (11/3/2015)

Mayor of Boston sets INDYCAR ultimatum – The Boston Herald reports that City of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has given INDYCAR and GP of Boston officials two weeks to work out the pending agreements for many large decisions related to the race weekend. “It is expected that your team will finalize agreements with all interested parties within the next two (2) weeks,” Brophy said in an email Friday to Jim Freudenberg, chief commercial officer for the Grand Prix of Boston, local promoters for the race. “Please be advised that the Mayor grows increasingly concerned with the progress (or lack thereof) of those discussions.” – Boston Herald – (11/2/2015)

Cavin Q&A 11/2/15 – The Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin’s fan Q&A answers questions on Mexico City, GP of Indy podium, Team Penske’s future, and more. – Indianapolis Star – (11/2/2015)

INDYCAR sets testing regulations for ’16 – INDYCAR has announced their 2016 testing regulations for the Verizon IndyCar Series. Full details at the link. Two big highlights are a promoter test at Phoenix International Raceway five weeks before the race at the new venue and “an aero kit safety test April 6 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.” – INDYCAR – (11/2/2015)

HVM auction set for 11/19/15 – An auction including the assets of HVM Racing will be held in Indianapolis from November 18-20. Full details at the link but many interesting items are available. The date of the actual auction is November 19th. – Key Auctioneers – (11/2/2015)

INDYCAR’s Damien Power series continues with Will Power – INDYCAR’s “Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes with Damien Power” continues with Will Power. Another entertaining watch in INDYCAR’s series with Power’s comedian brother. – INDYCAR – (11/1/2015)

Enerson confirmed for SPM Lights program in ’16 – “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) announced today that RC Enerson has re-signed with the team to compete in the 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Series. The 18-year-old American driver made a very successful debut with SPM as a rookie in 2015, finishing fourth in the championship and earning a win at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course. Consistency was the key with Enerson, who also earned five top-five finishes and four podiums.” “I can’t wait for the 2016 season,” said Enerson. “We had a great learning year and I’m looking forward to battling for the championship. My goal is to continue to develop my skills and learn as many things as I can.” – SPM – (10/30/2015)

Tatuus named as new chassis provider for Pro Mazda and USF2000 – There’s a new chassis manufacturer in the INDYCAR ladder system: “Andersen Promotions today announced that Tatuus has been chosen to design and manufacture the next generation of chassis for the first two levels of the Mazda Road to Indy – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The new Tatuus USF-17 and Tatuus PM-18 chassis will make their competition debut in 2017 and 2018 respectively.” – NBC Sports – (10/29/2015)

Newgarden leads #Shirts4Sage – Josef Newgarden and INDYCAR teamed up to create a hashtag and short video poking fun at Sage Karam’s constant stream of shirtless pictures on social media. The video is at the link and a must watch! – INDYCAR – (10/28/2015)

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