Archive for the ‘ Fans ’ Category

It was late on a cold winter day as I was working on livery designs for the ever popular INDYCAR.com “Design It” program that I got a phone call from a strange number. “Hello — This is Mike”, I said… “Mike, I’ve seen your designs on INDYCAR.com and wanted you to design a car for me,” said the caller. “Certainly, who’s this?” I replied. “This is Jay Penske.”

Understandably, I was shocked and honored. Here was the son of the greatest car owner in motorsports, calling me to design the car they’d race in the 2008 INDYCAR season, the popular Symantec #12 Dallara for Luczo Dragon Racing. He’d been a big fan of my designs on INDYCAR.com and gotten in touch with me. I got to work immediately!

Fast forward a few years, a few new friendships, and several years of designs for Luczo Dragon/ DeFerran Dragon Racing, to February 2011. The news had recently broken that DeFerran Dragon racing was ceasing operations. Soon after, the phone rang with another opportunity from Jay and team manager John “JC” Cummiskey. Jay, JC and a skeleton crew were working hard to put together a program to keep Dragon Racing alive and needed my help in designing liveries for sponsorship proposals. One of those designs, came to life this past weekend when INDYCAR star Paul Tracy took the reigns of the Ralph’s Supermarkets / Pepsi / Frito Lay / Rockstar Energy Drink / Berringer Vineyards Dallara at Long Beach Grand Prix for Dragon Racing.

Paul Tracy at Long Beach

Paul Tracy at Long Beach

Dragon Racing has always been wonderful when it comes to my creative freedom. I’m generally given a sponsor or two and am free to “go for it” to come up with an eye-catching design. This makes the design process much simpler, as there is no “box” to stay within. The design process for this particular car was quite simple once I got started. Ralph’s has such an iconic, clean, and classic logo that I wanted to make sure the paint scheme fit along with it. I also wanted to incorporate the Red/Black/White colors synonymous with the Dragon Racing logo. We also wanted to be sure to cleanly blend the logos of PT’s wonderful sponsor, Motegi Wheels into the mix.

The best way to accomplish this, was a white base. After sorting logo placements for Ralph’s, Motegi, and other partners I went to work sketching different line schemes on the model until I ended up with the design that will be raced on Sunday.

One of the benefits to working in 3D as I do is the ability to “rotate” the car at any angle needed. I was able to design this car, along with all others in the past, by sketching directly on a virtual INDYCAR, just like it were sitting in front of me. This is a benefit over working in 2D, for me, because I’m able to better visualize the final product at a multitude of viewing angles without redrawing the design multiple times at multiple angles. Until the next time, happy designing!

IZOD IndyCars. What do you think of when you see one? High speeds? Handling? Indianapolis? Ethanol? Iowa?

What about G-forces? If you go far enough down your list you might think of it.

We all have heard this line before: “All they do is turn left; it can’t be that hard.” IndyCar drivers who currently race at Iowa Speedway will argue it’s much harder than just turning left.

During the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the pole sitter Helio Castroneves had a four-lap average of 227.9710 mph. His teammate from Penske Racing, Will Power won the pole here in Iowa with a four-lap average of 181.337 or about 17.5 seconds.

Kelby Krauss, Senior Manager of PR at Target Chip Ganassi Racing, consented to help out with this month’s blog. He contacted engineers on the team who provided the information you’re about to read.

Forces at Indianapolis, a 2.5-mile oval, for when a driver completes a lap under a 40 seconds will peak right at about 4 G’s, and the time spent feeling over 1 G of force(1 G is the force you feel sitting at your desk chair) is 21 seconds or 50% of the lap.

Iowa Corn Indy 250

Catch the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 25

At Texas, a 1.5-mile high banked oval (24 degrees), the lap time is about 24.5 seconds; max G’s are 4.5 and drivers will feel more than 1 G for 18.5 seconds or 76% of the lap.

For drivers that compete in the Iowa Corn Indy 250, which takes place on a .875-mile oval with compound banking in the turns of 12-13-14, the forces are much different. Though drivers ‘only’ feel forces greater than 1 G for 75% of the lap, drivers will consistently hit G-forces over 5. A driver weighing 155 will feel like they’re 775 pounds at 5 G’s. Quick note: If you feel 5 G’s for more than a couple seconds you will start to lose consciousness.

Iowa Corn Indy 250

Catch the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 25

With long straight-aways at Texas and Indianapolis, IndyCar drivers can rest, check gauges, think of how they’ll setup a pass and breath in-between turns. Typically about seven seconds between turns. At Iowa, however, drivers only get a break from these forces for about two seconds — if you can call that a break.

Plus, being a short track, drivers are much busier turning the wheel, watching out for traffic, getting back to the gas, etc., as everything is more compact.

These numbers are pretty mind blowing. So — just because Indy cars are slower in Iowa than other ovals, do not think for one second that it is easier!

Catch the G’s and excitement during this year’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 25th. Thanks for reading. Please keep your comments and suggestions coming. We’re listening – and thanks again for the support!

Earlier this week, on our Facebook page we posted a photo and asked fans to provide captions for the image. We’ve selected the top five submissions (from a whopping total of 404 comments — and yep, we read and enjoyed every single one of them) and are now asking fans to vote for their favorite. The winner with the highest number of votes by 11:59PM EST on Sunday, April 3 will receive an IndyCar Prize Pack. Fans can Tweet @IndyCar their favorite caption or leave their choice below!

Congratulations to our winner Bob McBride for captioning this photo of Simona de Silvestro:

Thoughts?

“Anyone know if Mike Cannon took something with him when he left this week?!?!”

1. Bob McBride- “Anyone know if Mike Cannon took something with him when he left this week?!?!”

2. Brian Lekander- “Visualization exercise of the new 2012 chassis…”

3. John Greenup- “I said change the TIRES!”

4. Chris Johnson- “Wonder woman, aint got nothing on me!”

5. Bill McAllister- “I’ve heard of “Indy Lights” but this is ridiculous!”

11 in 11 is here

Posted on: March 24, 2011 | Comments(2) | Drivers, Fans | By: Daniel

Well, the season is here, congratulations, you made it. It’s time for racing. It’s time for racing updates. It’s time for lots and lots of racing video content.

Back in January, we pitched a new video series to you – something we called 11 in 11. It was a simple premise. We would gather 11 of our favorite fan submitted questions and ask as many drivers during the 2011 season. 11 in 11, get it?

You responded with lots of suggestions, lots of questions. You left comments on our blog. You tweeted at us, you wrote on our Facebook wall. As always, you surprised us with your passion and enthusiasm for the sport.

Today we’re bringing you the first video in this series, featuring Target Chip Ganassi Driver, Scott Dixon.

IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Scott Dixon at the 2011 IZOD photo shoot

Scott Dixon posing during an IZOD shoot

What were the questions we ended up with? Here’s the general outline:

•    Which race are you looking forward to this year and why?
•    Talk about circuit layouts— what makes for a challenging course?
•    Talk about the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 and what it means….
•    From Paige: If you were a cartoon character, who would you want to be?
•    From Ken (possibly in Idaho): What retired Indycar driver do you respect/admire the most, and why?
•    From Gina: which type of track do you prefer- ovals or road courses and why?
•    From Neil: What is your biggest challenge now that you’ve made it to the pinnacle of racing?
•    From Canada: what’s the best prank each driver has played on other drivers/crew members?
•    From Joe: What are you most looking forward to in 2012 with the new car and engine?
•    From Susan: Tell us about the first race that you won (no matter how old you were, what type of race it was) and how it made you feel.
•    Megan wants to know: Everyone wants to win the Indy 500. After that what is the race you would most like to win?

And finally – here is the video. Enjoy. Lots more to follow throughout the season.

Earlier this week, on our Facebook page we posted a photo and asked fans to provide captions for the image. We’ve selected the top five submissions (from a total of 81 comments) and are now asking fans to vote for their favorite. The winner with the highest number of votes by 11:59PM EST on Monday, March 21 will receive an IndyCar Prize Pack. Fans can Tweet @IndyCar their favorite caption or leave their choice below!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER Chris Sparks who captioned this photo of Will Power:

Will Power

“Chip, I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!!!”

1. Gene Bardonner – “I’m not only a racecar driver, I’m a guitar hero too.”
2. Austin Erlewine – “C’mon bro, I got tiger blood!”
3. Dave von Falkenstein – “Yo, I’m Will to the P, O, to the ower.”
4. Chris Sparks – “Chip, I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!!!”
5. Terry Mitchell – “Ever see the Aussie version of Happy Days? Heeeeyyy Fonzi here!”

Yeah, that’s the ticket

Posted on: February 23, 2011 | Comments(4) | Fans | By: Dave

LAS VEGAS – Racetrack promoters, Phillips-Van Heusen (parent company of IZOD) officials and drivers are on board with the plan unveiled by INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard on Feb. 22 to provide a complimentary ticket to the IZOD IndyCar World Championship on Oct. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Certainly fans are on board. They just have to purchase a ticket to any IZOD IndyCar Series race this season to be eligible to redeem for a ticket to the season finale. Full details for the ticket promotion will be announced March 1 on indycar.com and 866-INDYCAR. Tickets to the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships go on sale Feb. 25 through Ticketmaster.com.

INDYCAR in Las Vegas

Who's coming to Vegas?

“I think it’s great that the series is giving back to the fans,” said 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series championship runner-up Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, who attended the announcement at chic Crystals at CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip. “To give tickets to this race is a very good incentive because they get to come to Vegas on a holiday. To have the stands full of fans will make for a very good atmosphere.”

INDYCAR is the event promoter; it’s a track rental based on a sponsorship model instead of ticket revenue. The combination of exciting racing on the 1.5-mile oval, the championship component, the final event for the current Dallara chassis-Honda engine package, the glamour and allure of visiting Las Vegas should draw quite a crowd.

“This is a time when INDYCAR can tell our fans that we thank them for their support,” Bernard said. “For entertainment, you can’t get any better than Vegas. Competition, it’s going to be some fantastic racing. The economy is great right now and by offering a free ticket to anyone that goes to another event we think gives our fans great value.”

IZOD VP of marketing Mike Kelly said the IZOD IndyCar series already has given the company great return after the first year of the title sponsorship.

“I think our right place continues to be how can we energize the cities around the race weekends and the three weeks leading up to the race or the five weeks leading up to the race,” Kelly said. “And we are looking at Vegas and we are going to keep working, and I’m going to find money and ways to come in here and really tear it up.

“That’s what we do in markets when we go in and I think it’s a perfect one to do it. I can’t imagine what it could be like in five years when you consider kind of a Super Bowl city if you will, what Las Vegas could be like for a championship.

“It’s such a dynamic location. It’s evidence again that we hitched our wagon to the right horse.  This is just more evidence of growth.”

This week was full of signs of a quickly-approaching INDYCAR season. With IndyCars back on the track testing, Pace Cars on the move, and members of the Indy 500 Centennial Troops Tour making their way back to the U.S. from Europe and the Middle East, fans have plenty to be excited about.

The first open test is on March 14 at Barber Motorsports Park but some teams have already been out testing new drivers and new techniques. Photos and rumors circulated online this week with teams eager to get back on track for the 2011 season. Newman/Haas Racing completed a two-day test at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway road course with Canadian rookie James Hinchcliffe (Read more here).

Milwaukee Mile embarked on bringing the excitement of their 2011 pace car to Milwaukee-area hotspots including University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. The event asks fans to find their Pace Car and e-mail of photo of you and the car. They will post the photos to their website and fans get a chance to win 1 race ticket. INDYCAR races at the Milwaukee Mile on June 18th and 19th, so fans have plenty of time to spot the Pace Car and win. See where the Pace Car has been so far, here.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Chevrolet unveiled the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, AZ. The car, a Camaro Convertible, was then auctioned off on Saturday, January 22 with live coverage provided by SPEED and proceeds benefitting the David Foster Foundation. The winning bidder (with a bid of $225,000 USD) also received the opportunity to drive the Pace Car on a Parade Lap at the Indianapolis 500. As one fan put it, “Only $225k for the chance of a lifetime? Now that’s a deal!”

Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner, Arie Luyendyk and David Foster

Two-Time Indianapolis 500 Winner, Arie Luyendyk, Prepares to Drive David Foster and the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car onto the Auction Block

Going from Pace Cars to politics, the Indianapolis 500 Centennial Troops Tour contingency has made their way back to the States after spreading goodwill to troops stationed in the Middle East and Europe. Amazing photo and videos emerged from the tour and can still be viewed on the IndyCar YouTube and Flickr pages. Through the tour, Mario Andretti provided continuous coverage for USA Today, Sarah Fisher for ESPN for Women, and Al Unser Jr. for ESPN. Their articles and a running story on IndyCar.com provided fans with an inside look at the tour.

Jack Arute, Martin Plowman, and Davey Hamilton pose with soldiers at the USO Warrior Center

Jack Arute, Martin Plowman, and Davey Hamilton pose with soldiers at the USO Warrior Center

Penske Racing driver, Helio Castroneves, jetted off to Brazil and spoke with the Mayor of São Paulo, Gilberto Kassab, and discussed the upcoming Sao Paulo Indy 300. “Mayor Kassab has always been open to suggestion on how to improve the Sao Paulo Indy 300,” said Castroneves. Read the full article here.

At the same time, IndyCar CEO, Randy Bernard, was sitting down with SPEED.com this week to explain oval restarts for the 2011 season. “We want to do what’s in the best interest of the series,” said Bernard. “I don’t think our drivers realized how many fans wanted this two-abreast restart and we want to make sure to do it in a way our fans approve.” See more of what Randy Bernard had to say here.

We might be a few months away from the official start to the 2011 INDYCAR season, but the signs of the season are everywhere and INDYCAR is sliding into gear.

11 in 11

Posted on: January 6, 2011 | Comments(29) | Drivers, Fans | By: Daniel

Happy New Year everyone!

We’re all about the 2011 season, thinking about new things we can do online. We’re working on a lot of different digital projects including a revamped IndyCar Nation section to IndyCar.com, a new mobile site, new content and more interaction with our fans – You!

One thing we offer a lot of online is video. Our YouTube Channel has over 1200 videos. Here’s Danica Patrick talking about technology in one of our videos from 2010.  My point is, we produce a lot of video, and that won’t stop.

For 2011, we want to try a new video series, called 11 in 11. We’re going to try and ask all of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar drivers the same 11 questions over the course of the season.

Live on Camera

33 Indy 500 drivers at ESPN

Here’s where you become involved. We want you to come up with the selection of questions that would apply to any of our drivers.

Leave your general question as a comment on this blog. Or send it to us via Twitter (@IndyCar) or through our Facebook page. We need your suggestions by next Monday, January 10. Hey, we move fast.

We’ll pick the final 11 for 2011 and get started soon. You can expect to see these videos throughout the season and we promise to try and cover all of the drivers.

Ask away…

Growing up in Columbus, Ohio the closest race track to my home was Mid-Ohio.  I spent most of my summers attending both my father’s races and IndyCar races.  As a result I developed a love for road course racing and became a diehard fan of the drivers that were the best at turning left and right.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a road course elitist, it was just what I was exposed to and what I enjoyed.    It wasn’t until I attended my first Pole Day at Indianapolis in 1988 that I realized how incredible oval racing can be.

Al Unser Jr.

Al Unser Jr

As most people my age who were/are race fans, growing up there was only one driver who kept my attention at every race.  Al Unser Jr.  He was always quick at Mid-Ohio and everywhere else for that matter.  As a youngster you don’t really realize the driving prowess of some of these guys… it’s more like cheering for a team, you pick your driver, he’s your favorite for whatever reason, and very few things can change that.

Al was super friendly with his fans.  I have multiple autographs and pictures with ‘Little Al’ from my days of running around the paddock.  It was only at a later age that I started to realize what a true racer little Al was and is.  The guy was quick… EVERYWHERE… and he drove every lap as hard as ever.

In 1993 a new driver entered the picture.  Nigel Mansel.  I’m not sure what drew my attention to Nigel when I was a kid.  It could have been that he was the reigning Formula 1 champion, it could have been that I loved the Texaco Havoline cars, or maybe it was his helmet design.  One thing was for sure, despite my Dad’s wishes, I was a Nigel Mansel fan.  To this day it’s the only racing shirt from my childhood that only has ONE autograph on it… Nigel’s.  I have a Bobby Rahal Kraco shirt that’s riddled with autographs, some of which I don’t even recognize, but Nigels was reserved for him alone.  One of the stories I’ve heard over and over about Nigel’s first days in an IndyCar is in regards to his famed test at Firebird International Raceway where he broke the track record his first time in the car.  Apparently, Nigel had a special test he liked to perform on new race cars.  The test allowed him to see how the car would handle when he drove it on (and sometimes over) the ragged edge.  Today, I miraculously discovered this famous first test in an IndyCar as well as footage of the famed “Spin Test.”  The entire video is pretty awesome but fast forward to the 5:00 mark if you’d like to skip straight to the “Spin Test.”

In 1997 Dario Franchitti came on the scene and would quickly become my favorite for the foreseeable future.  Dario had his fair share of shunts that season but the very next year he really put it together.  He managed to string together a series of races late in the season (1st, 1st, 4th, 1st, and 2nd) to finish an impressive 3rd in just his second season in an IndyCar.  Quite the improvement from his 22nd place finish in his first season.   Dario may not be the flashiest of drivers but he’s one thing above all else… consistent.  Consistent enough that in 1999 he finished 2nd in series standings after he and Juan Pablo Montoya tied in the championship standings.  (Juan was awarded the championship with his 7 wins compared to Dario’s 3 wins.)  Pretty impressive.  He only finished outside the top 10 in 4 races out of the 20 race schedule that year.  In 2007 Dario continued to show his consistency with his first championship.  Dario only finished outside the top 10 ONCE in 2007 as well as only finishing outside the top 5 four times in 20 races.  The guy is calm, cool, and calculated… and it’s awarded him three championships as a result.  He’s a legend on street courses and as good as anyone on ovals.  A two time Indy 500 winner and to this day, my favorite driver…

When I was a kid, Christmas used to be easy. I’d write my letter to Santa, asking him for the latest slot car set or hot wheels track so my brother and I could live our dreams of the Indy 500.Nowadays, it’s not so easy.

We still make lists in my family, but gifts are so much more practical. I take gift giving seriously, so if you’re like me and you’ve stumped your family on what they should get their favorite INDYCAR fan for Christmas? Here are a few suggestions from my lists of Christmases past. (Note to my family, I already have most of this so, don’t bother).

JIM SWINTAL PRINTS

You may know Jim Swintal as the longtime starter of CART or the current voice of INDYCAR’s race control, but he’s also an accomplished motorsports artist. Two of his latest prints involve the Firestone Indy Lights and both are available on his website.

LEARNING CURVE

“In regard to “Learning Curve,” the title of the JK Vernay Champion’s painting, it’s the most recent of fourteen paintings commissioned by Firestone since they entered the series as title sponsor. The first piece I did was for Eric Bachelart’ s championship back in 1991. When Firestone rejoined the ’second era’ of the series in 2008, we picked it right back up again. I always select an important moment to portray in the champion’s painting and JK made a decisive pass on James Hinchcliffe for the lead at the Watkins Glen ‘bus stop’ chicane. I knew it was big as soon as I saw it on the monitors from race control, so at the end of the day I went out there with a camera while everything was being packed up and recorded the reference photos and angles of the background that I needed.

Vernay

JK Vernay painting

25 YEARS of Champions

“The “25 Years of Champions” painting honoring Roger Bailey was a thrill because I’ve been involved with the series for so long. It was my first officiating gig as the Starter for the first Indy Lights Series in the early Nineties, and Roger played a large part in the decision to let me up there! Tony George Jr. and Arni Sribhen with the series deserve the credit for coming up with the painting idea and I just filled in with the ‘ 25 Champion’s’ bit as I had already created images of 13 of the cars. I created smaller versions of those same car images from the champion’s paintings over again and found suitable angles for the rest, back to 1986. The only one I needed help on was Jon Beekhuis’ 1988 winner. I remembered a red, white and blue paint scheme but I only had a black and white reference photo. Jon helped out by showing me a video that was made of his ‘88 Mid-Ohio victory, which he ran for me in the broadcast booth in Sonoma.”

Bailey

Roger Bailey "25 Years of Champions"

IRACING SUBSCRIPTION

You may never run 225 mph down the Frontstretch at Indianapolis in a real IZOD IndyCar Series machine, but with iRacing.com’s simulator, you can in a virtual replica of the Dallara/Honda/Firestone that races every May.  An added surprise is that you may end up racing against IZOD IndyCar Series drivers as Justin Wilson, Will Power and Martin Plowman are avid users of the game. For just $24.00, get a three month iRacing.com membership, and the Dallara IndyCar for FREE!

INDY 500: A CENTURY OF EXCITEMENT BOOK

Officially licensed in cooperation with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis 500: A Century of Excitement celebrates the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 and is a must-have for any fan of the 500. Ralph Kramer’s book features beautiful photos and an eloquent foreword by David Letterman, which are the highlights of the book for me. I’ve heard that even Randy Bernard is giving these as gifts this holiday season.

RETRO IZOD T-SHIRTS

Classic liveries of winning Indianapolis 500-winning cars inspired IZOD to create a line of t-shirts that make a great gift for race fans. Drivers such as Bobby Unser , Mark Donohue, Bill Vukovich and Ray Harroun are honored by the 100-percent cotton shirts.

While it may be too late to grab these items for the holidays, keep in mind that birthdays are a good time to gift these items as well. What did you buy for your favorite INDYCAR fan this Christmas?