Archive for the ‘ Drivers ’ Category

Raising funds for a good cause

Posted on: April 12, 2014 | Comments (1) | Drivers, Sponsors | By: Arni

LONG BEACH, Calif. – What would make Ryan Hunter-Reay don an evening gown? Raising money for Racing for Cancer, of course.

The 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion put on a red Michael Costello creation during a live auction at the Yellow Party at Long Beach’s Federal Bar.

It sold for $15,000 – part of the more than $85,000 raised during the event, which featured live music from multi-platinum recording band LIVE and Art Alexakis from Everclear.

“Tonight’s Yellow Party event was a blast, we raised a crazy amount of money to beat Cancer,” Hunter-Reay wrote on Twitter after the event, which attracted Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport teammates as well as model Joanna Krupa and cast members from Bravo’s reality shows “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” “Real Housewives of Orange County” and “Shahs of Sunset.”

“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the support.”

The cause is near and dear to Hunter-Reay’s heart as he co-founded Racing for Cancer in honor of his mother, who lost her battle with colon cancer in 2011.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” Hunter-Reay said. “Long Beach was my mom’s favorite race. She always came here to watch me race. It makes this one very special.”

Hunter-Reay, who won at Long Beach in 2010, and his wife Beccy will co-host in The Yellow Party in conjunction with four more Verizon IndyCar Series events this season.

“This is the first full year that we’re trying to branch out beyond Indianapolis,” Hunter-Reay said. “Last year, we had parties in Houston and Baltimore but this is going to be a busy year. It seems like we have a promising bunch of venues. I’m thrilled for how long this charity has come in such a short period of time.”

This past weekend we were lucky enough to catch up with Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and SuperCross star Trey Canard at the Honda Performance Development simulator.  Josef and Simon invited fellow Honda Athlete and SuperCross rider Trey to the HPD headquarters in Brownsburg to give their impressive simulator a try.

For Trey’s laps they chose Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  Simon and Josef spent a few minutes with Trey going over the track map, gear selections for each corner, braking points, and some other subtle aspects of driving an INDYCAR.

It was clear immediately that Trey is a racer.  He found the correct line for many of the corners immediately and wasn’t too far off the pace from the real world drivers.  After a few runs he ended up just about 10 seconds off of Simon’s lap time.  Simon put down an impressive lap that, if done in real life, would have broken the track record.  After Trey’s simulator runs conclude we caught up with him and Josef for some one-on-one time.

You’re probably wondering why Josef and Trey are wearing scarves throughout the interview.  Trey’s signature apparel is a scarf.  Josef jumped at the opportunity to learn a bit more about his neckwear and here’s the end result:

Sunday – Jan.26 – 2:10pm


Checkered flag for another Rolex 24 and another INDYCAR champion in Daytona.  Sebastien Bourdais and his ActionExpress Racing teammates drove an incredible race and it paid off.  They are the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona champions.  Now, in 6 of the last 11 years an INDYCAR driver has been on the winning team at the twice-round the clock classic in Florida.

Overall, what an event.  Tons of incredible action and every single one of the INDYCAR drivers performed well.  Unfortunately, as is often the case in endurance racing, the cars didn’t hold up.  Here’s how the drivers representing the IndyCar Series finished in the 2014 Rolex 24:

  • Sebastien Bourdais – P1 Overall, P1 Prototype Class
  • Simon Pagenaud – P11 Overall, P7 Prototype Class
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – P12 Overall, P3 GTLM Class
  • Graham Rahakl – P14 Overall, P4 GTLM Class
  • Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P15 Overall, P8 Prototype Class
  • Mikhail Aleshin – P21 Overall, P4 GTD Class
  • Sage Karam – P43 Overall, P11 Prototype Class
  • Justin Wilson – P47 Overall, P12 Prototype Class
  • James Davidson – P48 Overall, P22 GTD Class
  • Tristan Vautier – P56 Overall, P13 Prototype Class
  • James Hinchcliffe – P57 Overall, P14 Prototype Class
  • Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P58 Overall, P8 LMPC Class
  • Gabby Chaves – P61 Overall, P16 Prototype Class
  • Sebastian Saavedra/EJ Viso – P62 Overall, P17 Prototype Class

We’re still buzzing a bit from that finish.  More importantly, we can’t wait for the start of the INDYCAR season.

We’ll have quotes and updates from Sebastien in just a few minutes.

Sunday – Jan. 26 – 1:45pm

Just about 25 minutes remain and the #5 being co-driven by Sebastien Bourdais currently leads the Rolex 24.  Sebastien drove a very fast stint to put the car up front and Joao has been the model consistency since he jumped in the car.  It’s looking more and more like we’re going to see another victory by an INDYCAR driver at the Rolex 24.  Dixon and his #02 teammates were having another strong run as well.  Unfortunately, the floor of the car began to unravel and it was considered unrepairable.  Apparently, Dixon could see the track surface beneath his feet.  Crazy!

It’s going to be a fight to the finish.  The top two cars are only 10 seconds apart and you can be sure the #10 being driven by Max Angelelli is pushing as hard as possible!

Sunday – Jan.26 – 12:35pm


We’re officially under two hours remaining in the race.  What does that mean?  Aggression!  These drivers are pushing the cars to their absolute limits in order to make a charge to the front and the potential win.  Currently Sebastien Bourdais leads the field in the #5 ActionExpress DP.  2013 INDYCAR Champion Scott Dixon is back behind the wheel of the #0 and is turnining some of the fastest laps on the track.  He’s currently listed as 1 lap down.  If a caution comes out, Scott could potentially get his lap back and be in contention for the victory.  Ryan Hunter-Reay’s #91 Viper is currently 3rd in class and teammate Marc Goosens is driving. Dirk Werner is currently at the helm of the machine he’s sharing with INDYCAR star Graham Rahal they are in the 15th position overall, 4th in his class.  Justin Wilson is in the seat of the #60 but is currently P47 overall.

It’s bound to be an incredible finish.  Don’t miss these final 90 minutes!

Sunday – Jan.26 – 11:07am

Sage Karam just recently turned the car back over to Scott Pruett and stopped by the media center to chat.  He mentioned that prior to the start of the race he’d only had 1 hour in the car.  He spent roughly 6 hours in the car across his two stints this weekend.  Driving these cars require heavy focus and Sage told us that he was so focused on his pit stop/drive change and hitting his marks that he forgot to undo his belts to get out of the car.  This was Sage’s first experience with pit stops, sports car racing, sharing cars with teammates, and a car with a roof.  Needless to say, it was a big learning experience for Sage.  He did a great job during his stints and this young driver is sure to have a great career ahead.  He’s excited to have got the opportunity to work with Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend is hopeful that an opportunity will present itself for him to have a full-time ride in 2014.

Sunday – Jan.26 – 10:45am

Just over 3 hours remain in the Rolex 24.  The pace continues to increase as we approach the final laps of this event.  Sebastien Bourdais just climbed in the #5 and is dealing with a clutch/gearbox issue.  His teammate Christian Fittipaldi said it was an issue but was manageable.  Sebastien’s pace doesn’t appear to be effected by the issue.  Indianapolis 500 Champion, Tony Kanaan is in the 4th position about a minute behind Bourdais.  Ryan Hunter-Reay is running in the 4th position in the GTLM class, he’s looking strong in these last hours.  Sage Karam is back in the #01 and after several issues over the night they’re in the 9th position in the Prototype class.  A full-course caution has just been waved after the #18 GTD Porsche spun in turn 2.  Make sure you tune in and follow along here to see the sprint to the finish!

Sunday – Jan.26 – 7:30am

The sun is out.  The cars are green.  There’s been no cautions for fog.  All in all, a fantastic start to the last hours of daylight for the Rolex 24.  The INDYCAR drivers continue to make fans proud.  Currently Scott Dixon sits in the 2nd position in the #02.  Simon Pagenaud is running P19, Vautier P52, Hinchcliffe P55 (out of the race), Saavedra P58 (out of the race).  Ryan Briscoe and his beautiful #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R made the tough decision to call it quits overnight due to an overheating motor.  Conor Daly and Alex Tagliani unfortunately retired from the race after teammate Rusty Mitchell made contact with the barrier.  James Davison is behind the wheel of the #007 and is in 47th position.

We’ve taken a brief nap, changed clothes, and had a fresh cup of coffee.  We’re ready to dive back into the coverage of this twice-around the clock classic.  The pace is picking up and racing is become more ruthless.  Drivers aren’t as patient or passive as they were in the past 18 hours.  It’s sure to be battle to the end.  Who’s your pick for victory?

Sunday – Jan.26 – 1:32am

We’re just shy of the half-way point and it’s been quite an experience so far.  We’ve seen a massive accident, several multiple car accidents, debris scattered all over the track and a total of 9 full-course cautions.  Currently, we’re operating under a caution after the #87 spun off the track and subsequently caught fire.

INDYCAR drivers continue to showcase just how talented they all are.  Scott Dixon was listed as the leader prior to this caution.  He exited the pits after a yellow flag pit stop in P4 overall.  Ryan Briscoe is behind the wheel of the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and sits in P14 Overall, P5 in the GTLM class.  We did just receive a report that they are dealing with a water leak and have made several pit stops since the yellow came out.  Alex Tagliani is back behind the wheel after Conor Daly completed a 3 hour stint.  Currently the #08 is in P28 overall and P6 in the GTLM class.  Simon Pagenaud is on-track again and is currently running in P37 Overall and P9 in the Prototype class.  Tristan Vautier and Sebastien Saavedra are in P57 and 58 respectively.

We inch closer and closer to the half-way point and there’s a ton of action still to go.  We’re still going strong and will continue to update you through the night.

Saturday – Jan.25 – 8:38pm

As promised, here’s the quick update regarding Gidley and Malucelli… both of the drivers have been admitted to the local hospital here in Daytona.  They are awake and communicative.  As more information is made available we will pass it along.

Saturday – Jan.25 – 8:11pm

2013 Indianapolis 500 Champion, Tony Kanaan, just stopped by the media center after his impressive stint in the #02.  Tony had some issues at the start of his stint but stated that he decided that he at least had to return the car in the same position as it was when got in.  The result was a spirited charge to the front of the pack that featured some outside passes and very close, wheel-to-wheel racing.  Tony truly is one of the greatest drivers, not only in INDYCAR, but in any car.  He mentioned that he’d only had a few laps prior to his stint in the race tonight and that he felt there was quite a bit of pressure as his teammates were all successful endurance racers.  He also let everyone know that Chip told him, “Unless a meteor hits the car, everything else would be my fault.”  That received quite the round of laughter from the crowd here in the media center.  Tony is someone to keep an eye on over the next 18 hours.  He’s made it clear he’s going to be extremely aggressive behind the wheel.  After their pit stop, and subsequent driver change, the car sits in the P8 position with Kyle Larson in the seat.

Saturday – Jan.25 – 7:37pm


Graham Rahal just swung through the media center to update everyone on his stint.  He mentioned that adapting to this style of racing has been an interesting experience for him.  Traction control which is not a feature of the INDYCAR, is something the drivers utilize heavily in sports car racing.  Graham stated that he’s used to using his right foot to control the car and it’s taken a bit of time to get used to leaning on the traction control.  He mentioned that the cars were much heavier than the IndyCar’s that he’s typically used to driving and it doesn’t quite suit his driving style. However, he said that he’s been having a blast at the wheel of the #56 BMW.  He’s hoping that the Viper’s have some trouble over the next few hours as they seem to have the most outright speed.  He’ll be back in the car later this evening for a longer stint of night driving.  He’ll get about a 3 hour break and then he’ll jump back in for another 3 hour stint.  His team is currently running P6 in the GTLM class.

Saturday – Jan.25 – 7:00pm


We’re fully back into racing and it seems with every second there’s something new developing on-track.  Most recently, the Delta Wing, currently being driven by Indy Lights runner-up Gabby Chavez, had a brief off and nosed the car into the tire barriers.  They quickly returned to the pits and changed out the nose bodywork on the car and are back on-track.  They currently are running in the 15th position in the Prototype class.

Indy 500 champ, Tony Kanaan, is currently giving chase to the leader from the 2nd position.  Justin Wilson is in the seat for Michael Shank Racing and is making a charge from the 6th position.  Viso, in the #78, is holding steady in the 9th position, one lap down.

The circuit is currently under a full-course yellow condition after a spin by the #09 LMPC spinning in the International Horseshoe.  The #09 is the sister car to the #08 being driven by Alex Tagliani and Conor Daly.  They currently are in the 24th position overall and are running 4th in their class. Unfortunately, Conor’s team was penalized due to an improper pass during the wave-around after the red flag situation earlier.

We’re heading back out to grab some more photos from the evening.  We’ll be back with those and quotes from the steady stream of drivers we’ll begin to see in the media center here shortly.  Tweet us your questions or leave them below and we’ll do our best to answer them!

Saturday – Jan.25 – 6:00pm

After an extended red flag for the accident earlier involving Memo Gidley and Malucelli, we’re approaching a return to green flag racing.  We can’t provide much of an update other than that both drivers have been transported to the local hospital.  When more information is passed along we’ll be sure to include it in an update.

As we prepare to return to racing here’s a run down of where the INDYCAR drivers and their teams are currently positioned:

  • Sebastien Bourdais – P1 Overall (Fittipaldi is behind the wheel at this time).
  • Tony Kanaan – P2 Overall
  • Saavedra/Viso – P4 Overall
  • Sage Karam – P6 Overall (Rojas is in the car).
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – P11 Overall, P1 in GTLM Class (Farnbacher is in the car).
  • Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P 16 Overall, P1 LMPC Class (Cummings is in the car).
  • Ryan Briscoe – P18 Overall, P6 GTLM Class (Garcia is in the car).
  • Graham Rahal – P19 Overall, P7 GTLM Class
  • James Davison – P51 Overall, P22 GTD Class (Davis is in the car).

Unfortunately, there’s not much more to report at the moment.  We’ll be back with more action in a bit.  Don’t forget to send us your tweets and show your support for the INDYCAR drivers in the Rolex 24!

Saturday – Jan.25 – 4:15pm

This continues to be one of the more intense starts to the Rolex 24 in recent memory.  The #01 car that will soon be driven by Sage Karam came in for a stop earlier.  Unfortunately, the car was dropped prior to the left rear wheel being secured and in the chaos the driver made contact with one of the crew members.  Thankfully, everyone is ok.  An interesting stumble early in the race.

There’s been quite a bit of contact as well.  None of the INDYCAR drivers have made contact so everyone continues into the late afternoon.

Alex Tagliani is behind the wheel for his first stint in the #08 LMPC.  His team appears strong and it should be exciting to see 2013 Indianapolis 500 Rookie, Conor Daly, get behind the wheel later this evening.  They are currently leading their class.

Scott Dixon continues to lead the Prototype class in the #02. Graham Rahal’s #56 car just entered pit lane for a driver switch and Graham will now be behind the wheel.  Currently they sit in 9th position in the GTLM class.

Ryan Briscoe’s team is sitting one position ahead of Graham in the 8th position in the GTLM class.  James Hinchcliffe is in the #70 LMPC.  Unfortunately, the team seems to be struggling and they are currently running in the 62nd overall position.

Saturday – Jan. 25 – 3:15pm

GREEN FLAG!  We’re off and running.  Just over 1 hour into the race.  Scott Dixon is still behind the wheel of the #02 and is currently running in 1st position.  The ActionExpress Racing DP is running in 9th position, Sebastien Bourdais has not been in the car yet.  The #01 car, currently driven by Scott Pruett, that will later feature Sage Karam at the helm is currently running in 11th position overall, roughly 58 seconds behind the leader.  The Delta Wing that will later be driven by Gabby Chavez sits in the 1oth position overall, Justin Wilson’s teammate, Oz Negri Jr sits directly behind them in the 12th position.  The rest of the drivers and their respective teams are in the following positions:

  • #70 – Tristan Vautier/James Hinchcliffe – P 61
  • #2 – Simon Pagenaud – P44 – Contact with the barrier just a moment ago with Van Overbeek behind the wheel.
  • #78 – Sebastian Saavedra/EJ Viso – P11
  • #08 – Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani  – P16, P4 in LMPC Class
  • #3 – Ryan Briscoe  – P27 Overall, P8 in GTLM Class
  • #56 – Graham Rahal – P30 Overall, P10 in GTLM Class
  • #91 – Ryan Hunter-Reay – P18 Overall, P2 in GTLM Class
  • #007 – James Davison – P56 Overall, P27 in GTD Class

It’s sure to be an exciting race as there has been a ton of action already. Simon Pagenaud’s team is working to repair their damage.  The INDYCAR group is looking strong with Dixon in the lead.  More coming soon!

Saturday – Jan. 25 – 12:45pm

It’s almost go time!  We’re putting our camera equipment together and scouting locations for where we’re going to head for the start.  There’s going to be some great racing at the start of this event (and throughout for that matter.  Make sure you’re tuned in earlier.  Part of the culture of this event is the preparation prior to the start.  Not just the cars, the teams and the drivers but the media and fans.  We spent some time at Target last night picking up coffee, red bull, sunflower seeds and an assortment of other items to keep us going during the 24hr stint.  Now, we want to see your setups and preperation!  Marshall Pruett, from RACER.com, posted a tweet earlier today asking you to send us your photos.  So, get to sending those in and we’ll retweet and reply.

Speaking of Marshall, he recently did some in-depth research on the new Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.  The same car that Ryan Briscoe will be driving in the Rolex 24.

There is some seriously cool technical information contained within his presentation, like the fact that the engine had to be DETUNED from the production model to meet up with the IMSA regulations.  That’s quite the statement.  Head over to Road&Track.com and check out the rest of the presentation now!

Saturday – Jan. 25 – 11:30am

We’re creeping closer to the green flag and the excitement is ramping up here at Daytona.  There has been a multitude of press conferences in the media center, some vintage track laps, and the autograph session is about to begin.  The autograph session is one of the coolest parts of the Rolex 24.  All the drivers are lined up in front of their garage with their teammates for a full-field autograph session.  It’s probably one of the only opportunities you can get autographs from so many champions from so many different series and disciplines in on one location.  We’ll be posting a few pics later.

One of the questions we’ve been asked is in regard to which INDYCAR drivers are starting for their respective teams.  Scott Dixon will be starting in the #02, Alex Tagliani will be starting in the #08, and James Davison will be first behind the wheel in the #007.  The remainder of the INDYCAR pilots will be stepping into the car later in the 1,440 minute event.

Again, we’re going to be here for the entirety of the event and will bring you all the content we can.  It’s important we hear from you as to what you’re looking for from us!  So tell us what you want to see, stories you want to hear, etc.  We’ll get out there and get it done!

Saturday – Jan. 25 – 9:45AM

It’s officially Race Day!  We’re beyond excited to get this thing off and rolling and get the party started.  We heard some of your requests for a spotters guide that is specific to the INDYCAR drivers competing in the event.  So, here you have it.  You may notice that the #78 doesn’t feature Sebastian Saavedra or EJ Viso.  Due to the late nature of their entry they were not a part of the spotters guide.  Rest assured that they are in fact racing in the #78 Starworks Daytona Prototype.  We hope you find it helpful!

At the end of the day, RACER.com writer, Marshall Pruett caught up with Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and their TUSC teammate Memo Rojas.  The subsequent interview is quite hilarious.  Over the course of such a long race these drivers seem to get a bit bored outside the car.  As a result, interesting antics ensue.

So, we’ve spent the past couple of days here and we’re feeling pretty confident in picking our favorites for the race.   Before we do that we want to hear your favorites and dark horses.  Send along your predictions in the comments below.  We’ll post another update later this morning.  Happy Race Day!

Friday – Jan. 24 – 2:10PM

Final practice for the Rolex 24 is complete.  Richard Westbrook turned the overall fastest lap in the final session with a 1:38.964 in his Corvette DP.  The INDYCAR drivers and their respective teams rounded out the session in the following positions:

  • Sebastien Bourdais – P3 Overall – 1:39.665 (Christian Fittipaldi turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P4 Overall – 1:39.822 (Scott turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Sage Karam – P5 Overall – 1:39.835 (Memo Rojas turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Simon Pagenaud – P12 Overall – 1:41.528 (Johannes Van Overbeek turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Justin Wilson – P13 Overall – 1:41.675 (AJ Allmendinger turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P21 Overall, P6 PC Class – 1:45.349 (Conor turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Ryan Briscoe – P26 Overall, P3 GTLM Class – 1:45.934(Jan Magnussen turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Graham Rahal – P30 Overall, P7 GTLM Class – 1:46.309 (Dirk Mueller turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – P33 Overall, P10 GTLM Class – 1:46.435 (Marc Goosens turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Mikhail Aleshin – P51 Overall, P17 GTD Class – 1:49.495 (Sergey Zlobin turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • James Davison – P54 Overall, P20 GTD Class -1:49.830 (Al Carter turned the fastest lap for the team in practice).
  • Gabby Chavez – No laps turned.
  • Tristan Vautier – No laps turned.

With the final session often being a simple shake down to make sure things are prepped for the big show tomorrow the results aren’t necessarily a prediction for the race.  Especially considering many of the teams used the session to get drivers who hadn’t had as much time in the car to get prepped.  Still, it’s impressive to have 6 drivers from INDYCAR inside the top 15 positions.

He has the name, the car and the number. Meet James Davison (“license to thrill”).  Davison, a Firestone Indy Lights race winner who competed in two IndyCar Series races last season for Dale Coyne Racing, is co-driving the No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage for TRG-AMR in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.  The team had a bit of James Bond fun in the garage area, posing in tuxedos with the car.  Davison, 27, of Australia, said he’s cautiously optimistic of making his Indianapolis 500 debut in May.

We managed to gather most of the drivers this afternoon for aquick group shot.  Unfortunately, many of them weren’t able to make it.  Still, it was a great opportunity to get the INDYCAR contingent together for a few minutes.  There was quite a bit of handling discussions as well as tips on properly navigating slower traffic.

Here’s how the INDYCAR drivers will start tomorrow for the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona:

  • Sebastien Bourdais – P3
  • Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan – P5
  • Gabby Chavez – P7
  • Sage Karam – P8
  • Justin Wilson – P9
  • Conor Daly/Alex Tagliani – P19
  • Ryan Hunter-Reay – P24
  • Graham Rahal – P30
  • James Davison – P35
  • Mikhail Aleshin – P40
  • James Hinchcliffe – P59
  • Tristan Vautier – P60
  • Ryan Briscoe – P62
  • Sebastian Saavedra – P65

Action for the Rolex has come to a close for today.  So, we’re going to head over to Target and get our equipment for the long haul tomorrow.  We’ll update with a few more photos this afternoon.  Don’t forget to let us know what you’re hoping to have us show you over the next few days.  We’ll do our best to get out there and find it for you.  Overall, we’re excited and can’t wait to get this thing started!

Friday – Jan. 24 – 10:00AM

Good news race fans, RACING IS BACK!  The Rolex 24 marks the kick-off of the racing season and we couldn’t be happier to be here.  This year features not only one of the strongest fields in recent memory but there is a massive contingent from the INDYCAR paddock taking to the track this weekend.  Drivers from Indy Lights to the IndyCar Series are piloting cars in several different classes.  Overall, 30 competitors in this years event have competed in an INDYCAR race.  16 of those 30 have won at least 1 race in the IndyCar Series.  While that’s certainly impressive in its own right, what really shows the strength of INDYCAR drivers in the Rolex 24 is the fact that in the last 10 years INDYCAR drivers have won five of the races.

What does all that mean?  We’re in for quite the show!  I’m beyond excited to get this event started.  Not only is it great to see all the incredible drivers from the IndyCar Series behind the wheel this early in the year but the merged sports car series with new cars and drivers should be spectacular to follow.  So, here’s our plan… we’re going to bring you all the inside info and behind the scenes images from this event.  Starting today and going through the checkered flag on Sunday (yes, all 24 hours of the race) we will be providing frequent updates to this post.  So bookmark it, tweet it, share it on Facebook, email it to your friends.  This will be the one-stop shop for all things INDYCAR at the Rolex 24.  Are there things you want to see or information you’re looking for?  Let us know in the comments below and we’ll get out there and find it for you!

We all know how much fun can be had on (and obviously off) Twitter, but our IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda drivers always provide us with some entertaining content via the social network.

But can you guess who said what? (Note: On occasion some of the tweets listed will come from prominent voices within the IndyCar community as well.)

Let’s see if you can pair the driver up to tweets listed.

(Answers will be revealed next week with the next installation of Guess That Tweeter)

1. Just realized that despite seeing every parody of it, I don’t think I’ve seen the actual ‘Call Me Maybe’ music video. And I’m ok with this.

2. Gotta love the London Underground !! #sweatbox #whofarted @tagliani

3. #fact Slow motion shots of 100m sprinters are funny.

4. #YouGetMajorPointsIf You’re French Canadian or can just speak French in general! I miss you GP3R!

5. Gf’s O2 sensor tanking just became an awesome excuse to go get new tools. Unfortunately I didn’t require a blowtorch. #Ireallywantablowtorch

6. My favorite time of the year!going to the indianapolis state fair tonight!with @rmiller @IndyCar!#thisshouldbeentairtaining.

7. Holy smoke these guys run so fast TV doesn’t make justice. Wow it is almost as impressive as @IndyCar going by at the @IMS from pit lane

8. Seeing the Dark Knight Rises for a second time. I sort of have a Batman problem… I will own a legit suit one day. #fact

9. Never leave your phone unlocked with Stig around.

10. On my way to the Glen to try to win another one with Alex ! Peter called wednesday this time…

Post your guesses below.

Simona de Silvestro on the tee at the TPC River Highlands.

Bunkers straddle the fairway on the 321-yard (women’s tee), par-4 18th hole at the TPC River Highlands, placing a premium on accuracy. No problem for Simona de Silvestro, who drives it as straight as her Nuclear Clean Energy car for Lotus HVM Racing.

“Good power on her drives just like her drives,” said playing partner, PGA Tour pro Y.E. Yang, during the pro-am of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., on June 20.

De Silvestro was particularly pleased as she closed with a birdie for the round.

“I made a really long putt, but I think it was because Y.E. gave me a new putter,” she said of Yang, who has two tour victories. “I can drive the ball, but chipping is pretty terrible. He helped me out and helped me read the putts. He was a really cool person to play with.

“I had an unbelievable time, the first time I ever did a pro-am. It was just a lot of fun, especially with the people from (sponsors) Entergy and Westinghouse. It was cool that they invited me.

“It was fun to play with things like grandstands and having a caddie. Even the driving range was so nice and the course was really beautiful.”

De Silvestro took up the sport when she was 12 or 13 in her native Switzerland, which doesn’t quickly come to mind as a European golf destination (it has about 60 courses).

“That’s when they just opened a course about 5 minutes from our house,” she said. “That’s where I first started, me and my dad. I started watching golf on TV last year and started to get into it. I got new clubs and started playing more often. I’m still not great, but it’s a fun game and it kind of gets your mind off all the craziness we go through (during the IZOD IndyCar Series season).

“I have to practice more if I want to beat Graham (Rahal) because he plays well. We’ll work on it.”

This is my first blog as a Firestone Indy Lights team owner on the Mazda Road to Indy for Jeffrey Mark Motorsport. In fact, this is my first blog ever.

I want to give race fans an inside perspective of the second best thing to being a race car driver.

From as far back as I can remember, and my wife will tell you that’s about two days, I wanted to be a race car driver. Unfortunately, there were two things that stood in the way of that ever happening: my mom and my mom. As a kid I was invincible. Others would call it clueless and my wife prefers the latter.

Juan Pablo Garcia

My driver this year is Juan Pablo Garcia. Juan Pablo is a very talented race car driver from Mexico City. He is as nice a person as he is a driver and has a good sense of humor. Bryan Herta Autosport, 2011 Indy 500 winner, is running my race team for 2012 and Jeffrey Mark Motorsport is being run out of their race shop in Indianapolis. This was the best option for me in my first year.

Bryan Herta and Steve Newey have been great mentors and great people to work with. Our first race is March 24 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. We have had a couple of test days for Juan Pablo in Sebring, Fla., Putnam Park road course west of Indianapolis and Barber Motorsports Park road course leading up to that race.

I look forward to having everyone follow along as I pursue my rookie season. It will be exciting and filled with laughter, sweat, tears and many podium finishes.

Q&A with Shannon McIntosh

Posted on: March 16, 2012 | Comments(3) | Drivers | By: Kate

Shannon McIntosh is beginning her second season of USF2000 competition. She competed in the season opener at Sebring International Raceway on March 15 and advanced two positions to finish 15th. The 22-year-old St. Petersburg, Fla., resident is part of the Women Empowered initiative of TrueCar, and spoke about gearing up for the next chapter of her career. 

Q: Before we get talking about the season-opening races at Sebring, it’s been a busy offseason for you. Recap what you’ve been up to.

Shannon McIntosh

A:

The offseason has been a whirlwind. Once the season was over, we started reaching out to some teams as I began looking toward a fresh 2012 in USF2000. I tested with Pabst Racing at IMS in October, and being at the Brickyard was a experience in itself. After the test, I started working toward putting a program together with Pabst because I felt it was a place where I had the support I needed to excel, and a team that was behind me and my success. It was shortly after this that my management BRANDed and I were able to close a deal for the 2012 season with TRUECAR.com along with an opportunity to represent Tag Heuer in their Time for Rebels campaign alongside Actor Neil Patrick Harris. Before we knew it, the season was here.

Q:  The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda is going to look a bit different than it did when you ran last year, with a whopping 35 cars this year. How great is it to see the series grow so much over such a short period of time?

A: I think it is phenomenal; the car count that we’ve got this year. I couldn’t be more excited to be in a premier series with a stacked field because I’ve always said you gain the most from racing the toughest competition you can find. I am so proud of Andersen Promotions/USF2000 for getting this series to where it is today.

Q: How do you feel you’ve grown as a driver over the break, and what new knowledge do you take into the season opener?

A: I feel like a new person. After lots of time reflecting on what the reality of last season was, I am in a great position as I start what I have recently referred to as “year one”. Not only do I have a new sponsor and team, I have the incredible opportunity to work with driver coach Mike Zimicki, who has an extremely impressive track record and resume in working with champion drivers. The greatest knowledge that I think I have as I enter the new season, is that it is essential, to have an entire team that is behind your success, in order to be successful.

Q: Sebring is going to be bustling this week! How much fun is it to run with a big event like the 12 Hours of Sebring, and later in the season when USF2000 races with the IZOD IndyCar Series events?

A: When I jumped to the open-wheel side of the motorsports world, the beauty of the ‘Mazda Road to Indy’ was that we raced at high profile events alongside series’ like American Le Mans and the IZOD IndyCar Series. Not only is it inspirational and motivating, it gives my sponsors greater value, and I feel very fortunate to have that opportunity.

Q: Which race on the schedule are you most looking forward to?

A: I think that St. Pete is going to be the most exciting for me. Not only am I a resident of St. Pete now, it was one of my favorite courses last year. St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities and racing a few blocks away from my home makes it even better.

Q: On another note, you’ve been chosen as the host of the famous Grand Prix After Party at PUSH in St. Pete, something that Dan Wheldon did for several years. Tell us a little more on how special is it to you to take over that honor.

A: As a resident of the same city that Dan Wheldon called “home” for many years, I am honored to be able to be a part of a celebration that we are having to benefit the Dan Wheldon Family Trust. It is important to me that I help carry on his legacy in even the slightest way, and I hope that the Grand Prix After Party is a success for the Dan Wheldon Family Trust for many years to come.

Foyt tells his story (one of them)

Posted on: November 10, 2011 | Comments(11) | Drivers | By: Dave

A.J. Foyt will be seen around his native Houston a bit more these days. Foyt is part of an initiative at St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston in which patients share their stories.

Foyt’s story is spreading a bit farther as he is featured in a 30-second commercial that is airing locally. He’s also featured on seven billboards in the area with the tagline: A.J. Foyt still has the heart of a champion.

Foyt’s story actually began with his wife Lucy undergoing open-heart surgery last winter (from which she has made a full recovery).  When doctors asked Foyt the last time he’d had his stents checked (installed during a procedure in 2000),  they didn’t like his answer. When they checked him, they found a blockage.

Foyt underwent a procedure to install another stent to open the blockage — complicated by the fact that the doctor had to go through an existing stent to reach it (an open-heart surgery team was standing by in case the procedure didn’t work). Fortunately, the procedure was successful.

When asked if he would share his story, Foyt didn’t hesitate to express his gratitude to the staff of the Texas Heart Institute’s cardiology team.

Salvador Servia heartily enjoys life

Posted on: October 12, 2011 | Comments(4) | Drivers | By: Dave

Salvador Servia laughs heartily – loud enough for his son, Oriol, a few yards away to pivot and return a smile. He’s relaying a story culled from more than four decades as a rally racer, enjoying the rides in the deserts and rocky outcrops across Europe with his wife/navigator Montse (above with Salvador and Oriol).

“In a rally that we won she felt bad and that was because she was pregnant with Oriol,” he chuckles at the memory. “I like to say Oriol was born in movement.”

That’s understandable as Salvador has been in perpetual movement long before his son’s birth. He’s been a rally racer who was twice the Spanish champion and competed at Dakar 13 times and Monte Carlo 11 times; a  politician who was elected senator of the province of Girona; a political economist. Now he’s track director of the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona – host of a Formula One race.

And, in another of life’s tangents, he’s also recently a published author of “Lead the Life.”

“I am old but I feel young; I’m not interested in history,” he relays about a Spanish publisher’s initial interest in a manuscript. “Then they proposed to write a book about stories, and they liked it. They are stories about a long racing life. I have been racing rallies for 42 years, always rallies. Road and desert, and at all this time by my side has been my wife. So I wrote some recollections.

“It’s easy to read and hopefully interesting.  At the end of each story I put a line with a message, and this is good today for the market.”

The Servias, who recently watched an IZOD IndyCar Series race in person, usually follow their son’s exploits via indycar.com and TV.

“When he was 12 he participated in school of driving karts. He traded water skiing for karts,” Salvador laughs. “And then he passed to Formula 3000 in Europe. But at the moment Formula 3000 was going down, he came to the U.S. and he did Indy Lights. He won the 1999 championship and had the opportunity to upgrade to Indy car.

“We have been in motorsport all our lives and we always helped him to reach his potential. Things are going really good for him this year. We’re very happy for him.”

IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira were victorious in a different type of race over the weekend.

“Now I can say I’m an Ironman,” Kanaan relayed a few hours after crossing the finish line in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
Kanaan and countryman Meira completed the grueling 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 24.2-mile run in under 13 hours. Both had competed in Ironman 70.3 events, but this was their first full-scale endurance race.

“The day after a car race doesn’t feel this bad,” said Kanaan, who checked in at 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

Meira completed the race in 12 hours, 24 minutes, 2 seconds. A total of 1,918 male and female triathletes who qualified or participated via a lottery jumped in the Pacific Ocean in Kona for the start of the event.

“This was awesome, and painful,” said Meira, who along with Kanaan is resting and recovering before getting in the race car Oct. 13 for the initial practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships Presented by Honda. “The pros are unreal.”

Maybe this will spur on the 36-year-old Kanaan and the 34-year-old Meira: Craig Alexander, 38, of Australia, won the event for the third time and set a course-record 8 hours, 3 minutes, 56 seconds in the process. How awesome is that? After completing the consecutive swim and bike, he ran a 2:44.03 marathon.