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A Verizon IndyCar Series car and other race cars from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum will be among the vehicles on display that spotlight how technology and innovation have shaped the evolution of transportation during the Festival of Machines at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Noblesville, Ind.

The Sept. 13-14 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) festival also includes classic motor vehicles joined by more than 100 vintage and historic machines, including steam engines, aircraft, watercraft, emergency response vehicles and construction equipment.

Attendees will have the opportunity to take a ride in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater on the grounds both days.

Indianapolis 500 competitor Pippa Mann will be on hand to greet visitors. Family-friendly activities include courses for pedal cars and Soap Box Derby cars, hay rides, games, and a steam engine and tractor parade. Children can also explore the inner workings of engines, test their boat-building skills and design and build their own fizzy rocket dragsters.

High-end fashion design house Kate Spade’s recent racing line was all the rage June 26 when reigning ,Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter Reay’s traveling fundraiser, “The Yellow Party” popped up at a Houston Mercedes-Benz dealership.

Racing fashion, including this Kate Spade purse and dress, was the style of choice at The Yellow Party in Houston.

The Yellow Party, which takes place at select races on the Verizon IndyCar Series circuit including the Indianapolis 500, was part of the festivities for the Shell and Pennziol Grand Prix of Houston. It drew about 300, including Houston’s racing community, according to a report from Culture Map, a local online publication.

So far this year, Yellow Parties have been held at The Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, Fla., The Federal Bar in Long Beach, Calif., where the rock band Live played , and Crane Bay during Indianapolis 500 festivities, where Live also played.

AutoNation Mercedes-Benz of Greenway was a new location for the event, which benefits Racing for Cancer, a non-profit organization founded by Hunter-Reay in 2010 after his mother, Lydia, died following a battle with colon cancer.

“This venue is gorgeous. I love it because we are surrounded by some of the most beautiful cars along with race cars,” said Beccy Hunter-Reay, Ryan’s wife. “The fashion here, I thought it would be a little more casual because it was at a dealership, but apparently not at a Mercedes-Benz dealership. It’s definitely got a higher profile here. I’ve seen quite a few tuxedos.”

The tuxes were a good backdrop for some other looks, including a few black-and-white-checkered ones. And one woman showed up with two of Kate Spade’s race-themed pieces: a sundress with a vintage race car pattern and a clutch, called “Photo Finish.”

The final Yellow Party for the season will be held at Mario Andretti’s winery in Sonoma, Calif., when the series travels to Sonoma Raceway in August. Officials are hoping to raise $2 million to fight cancer by the end of the season. AutoNation is matching every dollar Racing for Cancer raises.

With his Firestone 600 win at Texas Motor Speedway behind him and the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series season in front of him, Ed Carpenter spent the weekend of June 21 at home with his family in Indianapolis.

But he didn’t stop moving.

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter lines up a putt June 21 at the 6th annual Dayspring Mini-Golf Classic at Pirates' Cove, Indianapolis.

Carpenter and his wife, Heather, helped raise charitable funds on June 21 when they participated in the 6th annual Dayspring Mini-Golf Classic at Pirates’ Cove. Guests at the event were apparently motivated by a chance to play a round of putt-putt with Carpenter because the opportunity was auctioned for $2,300 – the money goes to assist homeless families at the Indianapolis center.

Once mini-golfing got started, Carpenter played and played some more — he didn’t stop until his last round was complete, despite getting a little wet when it rained.

Andy O’Gara got an early Father’s Day gift June 14 when he arrived home from the hospital with his wife, Sarah Fisher, and the newest addition to their family, Daniel James O’Gara, born June 12 in Indianapolis.

Sarah Fisher and Andy O'Gara, of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, brought their family's newest edition, Daniel James, home on the day before Father's Day.

“It’s nice to be home. It’s nice to sit in our own chairs and see him lay down in his own bed in his own room,” said O’Gara, the general manager of the Verizon IndyCar Series team, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. “It’s pretty special to get the opportunity to bring him home before Father’s Day.”

The littlest O’Gara, who weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces at birth, has a lively new room. Fisher gave it a surfing theme and decorated with boards, palm trees and images of vintage woodie cars and hot rods.

“She wanted to do something with cars but not necessarily motorsports-related,” said O’Gara. “Our favorite thing to do outside of racing is go to the lake and water.”

The family was lucky when Daniel James arrived during the two-week break in the schedule, said O’Gara, who is heading back to work on June 16. Still, he said, the family has leaned on their team as they prepared for the baby’s arrival.

“We try to maintain the family atmosphere that we built the organization on seven years ago,” said O’Gara. “It comes back to you tenfold when you really need it and it will come back to them, as well.”

Daniel James joins his big sister Zoey, who is 2.

“She is still a little timid. When he cries she goes up to him and tells him ‘it’s OK,’” O’Gara said. “She is really all we’ve ever had (so) it will rock her boat sooner or later. But she’s doing well with it.”

The Yard of Bricks that mark the finish line of a lifelong journey.

By David Craske

Sunday is Race Day in America.

For some, it is the glitz and glamour of the Grand Prix of Monaco, and the high shrills of turbochargers on the shore. For others, it is NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, 600 miles of raw power of man and machine, where stock car legends are born, or redefined.

But travel the world, and when you just say “The 500,” people know what you are talking about. It’s not the Daytona 500 that defines “The 500,” nor is it stock cars in general. F1 doesn’t use distances to define their races.

“The 500″ is synonymous with another word. A city — Indianapolis. When I say I’m from Indianapolis, people ask me if I am involved in racing. Is this reaction the same with Charlotte? How about Daytona? Perhaps, but probably not as powerful. “The 500″ is so symbolic that you may be carrying a representative in your pocket or purse – just check your loose change for the 2002 Indiana quarter.

In 1909, four businessmen discussed the construction of an automobile test track west of downtown Indianapolis, as more than 40 auto companies were based in the city. The first race, a hot-air balloon race, was held later that year. A 2.5-mile rectangular oval was constructed with tar and crushed rock, and, after several accidents in short auto and motorcycle races, was repaved with 3.2 million bricks (90 percent from Indiana) in a period of 63 days. To this day, the track dimensions remain the same, the banking angles identical, and 95 percent of all bricks used are still there, under about  4½ inches of diamond-ground asphalt.

103 years ago, Ray Harroun won the inaugural Indianapolis 500-Mile International Sweepstakes, averaging 74-plus mph over 6.5 hours.

Sunday, 300,000-plus people will rise as one, honor our country, honor our fallen, honor our defenders, honor our freedom.

Sunday, traditions will be renewed again — from the parade pageantry, to “On The Banks Of The Wabash,” to the balloon release, to “God Bless America,” to Jim Nabors and his “(Back Home Again in) Indiana,” to the command to start engines.

The most unique starting lineup in racing: 11 rows of three. The flying start. The sheer speed. The 3.2 on the Richter Scale as the field barrels into Turn 1. The Yard of Bricks, the Pagoda, the Borg-Warner Trophy, and the culmination of hard work and dedication … with cold milk.

Sunday, names of the past will be remembered as legends. Names of the present will be ready to lead. Names of the future will become names of the now.

An American tradition; distinctly international.

33 drivers representing 10 countries … 32 men … 1 woman … 7 rookies … 6 former champions …

Different drivers from vastly different backgrounds, focused on the same goal – a white line, painted on a yard of brick, 500 miles ahead …

Sunday, May 25, 2014 – The 98th running of “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing” – The Indianapolis 500.

Rahal lobbies for car swap

Posted on: March 26, 2014 | Comments (1) | Uncategorized | By: Dave

Graham Rahal is lobbying for the ride swap that he proposed March 23 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. to drive the No. 15 National Guard car on an oval TBD and Rahal to get behind the wheel of Earnhardt’s National Guard-sponsored stock car – to come to fruition.

“It’s something I really wanted to do,” Rahal said. “Of course, I felt with the National Guard that it could potentially happen.  Media-wise, for sponsor exposure, I think it would be tremendous for them.  But I also thought it would be something that would be fun to do.

“We have a tie here now.  Let’s see getting Earnhardt and a Rahal, I think the last time those two names were on the same track were the IROC days with my dad.”

Bobby Rahal and Rick Hendrick, owner of the team for which Earnhardt drives, are longtime friends. Hendrick has said he’s OK with Earnhardt taking the IndyCar out for a spin.

As for a potential stumbling block of engine manufacturer cross-pollination, that could easily be rectified by Honda Performance Development president Art St. Cyr and Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. There’s precedence: Kurt Busch, a Chevy driver in NASCAR, will drive an Andretti Autosport-prepared Honda-powered car in the Indianapolis 500 in May. Additionally, Jeff Gordon drove Juan Pablo Montoya Formula One car and Tony Stewart swapped cars with F1 driver Lewis Hamilton.

“Hopefully we can get some power behind this and make it happen,” Rahal said.

All he wants for Christmas is …

Posted on: December 17, 2013 | Comments(4) | Uncategorized | By: Dave

After being a jolly elf during a Meijer shopping event last week with siblings from Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Indiana, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Will Power was subjected to having all four wisdom teeth extracted.

In this installment of “Ask Me Anything,” Power’s wife Liz fielded the questions as he wasn’t exceptionally audible.

Q: When you got involved in racing did you also think you would be a nurse?

LIZ POWER: “No, I definitely did not. Will is on the go all the time so having to not be on the go for even one day is not an easy task for him. I’ve given him lots of ice cream in his protein shakes. He is on a big health kick so he doesn’t know he has had lots of ice cream but he did in his protein shake. I put a lot of chocolate ice cream in there.”

Q: You are spending Christmas this year in Texas so when Will goes to family functions is he the life of the party?

LIZ POWER: “He is definitely the life of the party. He is the big deal when I go home to Texas because they are in love with his accent so they are always having him say stuff. He is in relaxed mode and is able to be more himself so he is a real comedian. When they go outside to play football he is out there with him. He calls Texas his second home. But our traditional meal is different than his traditional Christmas meal because it is their summertime in Australia so everything is cold – stuff like potato and broccoli salad and there is a traditional dessert. They make sandwiches and cold items because it’s the summer there. But Thanksgiving has prepared him for the big feast. This will be the first Christmas he has spent with my family. It didn’t take long for him to get used to eating all the food that we make and this will be the first Christmas he spends in the United States.”

Dixon’s crew embodies DO:MORE

Posted on: October 28, 2013 | Comments (0) | Uncategorized | By: Arni

“I’m glad it doesn’t mean we stink,” Scott Dixon jokes as he hands out Degree deodorant to members of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team at the team’s Indianapolis headquarters.

To recognize Dixon and his Ganassi teammates on the team’s 10th Indy car title, Degree Men delivered a congratulatory shipment of deodorant for each member of the team on Oct. 25.

“Target and all their partners, like Degree, support us on the track, but to have some actual product to share with the guys is definitely appreciated by everybody on the team,” Dixon said.

Degree Men deodorant – a Unilever brand – has been a sponsor of Target Chip Ganassi Racing for the past several seasons and wanted to reward Dixon’s series championship, which embodies the brand’s anthem of DO:MORE.

“We really celebrate anybody that pushes themselves to DO:MORE, and Scott and his team are perfect examples of the mind-set ,” said Ryu Yokoi,  brand manager for Degree Men. “We really celebrate with them. They are examples of DO:MORE and always pushing themselves to the limits and Scott was able to do that to win the INDYCAR championship.”

On Wednesday of Championship Week, I embarked on our second Twitter-based Trophy Tour with the Astor Cup. That’s right, I was entrusted for an entire day with the care of a 98-year-old trophy worth about $300,000 and I didn’t drop it.

INDYCAR Director of Special Events Joe Hodge, INDYCAR Security Director Ed Harris and I took the Astor Cup to a lot of iconic locations in the Los Angeles area and snapped photos to create a little social media buzz going into the season finale. It’s a fun idea that other sports trophies such as the MLS Cup have done in the past, and not only is it a really enjoyable day for myself, but also hopefully neat for INDYCAR fans to follow along, as well.

Where else would our day start but the start/finish line of Auto Club Speedway? Dear Old Astor (I can’t spend more than 5 minutes with an inanimate object without fondly naming it) met up with the Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Triple Crown trophy for the first shot, which was a gorgeous view of the morning light at the track.

After a quick Starbucks run and some NFL chatter on whatever happened to Donovan McNabb (remember this because it’s important later), we all headed to the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Kings.

Then off we went to Santa Monica Pier, a place that I am quite fond of, as we’ve done a few media events in that area and there’s a cool little hotel called The Shore of which I’m a fan. Unfortunately there isn’t really an iconic “Santa Monica Pier” sign, but then I remembered the Route 66 sign that says “End of The Trail,” which is very fitting for the end of our season. I have a great photo somewhere from last year of Tristan Vautier and Esteban Guerrieri, 2012 Firestone Indy Lights contenders, pretending to duke it out right there.

As we tried to set up, there was an older gentleman sitting on the edge of the bench we were trying to set Dear Old Astor on that didn’t seem to take the hint to move, so Joe and Ed politely chatted him up while I took the shot. I spoke with him a bit as we were leaving, and he told me he was very busy sitting there doing “bikini research.”

Stub Hub Center, where the L.A. Galaxy play, was a very cool experience. Justin Pearson of their Communications department was extremely accommodating, and brought the team’s 2012 MLS Cup to take a group photo with Dear Old Astor. We got to take photos at Landon Donovan’s locker, and also went out on to the field. All of this on a game day.

Hollywood Boulevard was a bundle of laughs. We didn’t want to leave Dear Old Astor in the car, so he came along with us to lunch (“Table for four, please”). People did keep asking us if they could drink out of him. I didn’t really understand everyone’s very dire need to fill him with liquid, but I don’t ask such personal questions. Needless to say it wasn’t allowed.

We found a spot that overlooked the famous HOLLYWOOD sign on the hill, and after many a false direction, located Paul Newman’s star on the Walk of Fame. That was a great idea by Joe, and I think people enjoyed that shot a lot.

FOX Sports 1 was our final stop of the day, and also the one I wish I could do over again. We got there about an hour early and figured we could just hang out for a while until the studio was available for us to snap a photo. Kenny Florian (former UFC fighter) is an anchor on a UFC talk show they produce there, so we hung out in the green room with him and some of the other talent as they prepared for their show. Ed is a former wrestler, and it was entertaining to hear them swap stories.

We finally got on set, where I marched to the news desk to take the photo and be on our way without paying any attention to my surroundings. It had been a 10-hour-plus day since our first photo, our trip back was pretty long and our body clocks were still set on Eastern time. We were done in a few minutes, and I again marched right out being the most unobservant person ever. Completely missing that over in the corner, Ed was having a jolly time talking with Donovan McNabb. He was filming a segment. Also in the studio was Jimmy Rollins, who I admired because I used to be a big Phillies fan. And I missed it all.

Aside from that terrible misfortune, it was a solid day. I’m happy with the way INDYCAR social media has developed over the past couple of years, and am constantly looking for creative ideas to try out when I have the opportunity. There’s always an attempt to balance the great, deep-rooted history of INDYCAR and the new, ever-changing trends of social media, and I think the Trophy Tour is an ideal example of how we can portray both.

In the future, I’d like to see us incorporate more fans into the tour by having a set schedule of what we’re doing that we can publicize a few days before and have fans meet us at some of the locations. The problem with that now was that our hits were very close together and involved a lot of traffic, but maybe we can plan for something a little different ahead of time next year.

The good news is you can definitely catch Dear Old Astor in Victory Circle this Saturday with either Scott Dixon or Helio Castroneves at Auto Club Speedway. Come out and join or watch on NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. (ET).

Ana Beatriz shows the scope of the new stadium.

Two of the biggest sporting events to take place in Sao Paulo over the next 18 months collided April 30 when IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ana Beatriz visited the worksite of the Arena de Sao Paulo, which will serve as the city’s World Cup venue next summer.

Beatriz, a native of Sao Paulo, was excited to visit the stadium, which is located in the eastern part of Brazil’s largest city — 13 miles from Anhembi Park, the home of Brazil’s IZOD IndyCar Series event. The project is about 70 percent complete and expected to be completed by year’s end.

“Arena de Sao Paulo will be the most modern stadium in Brazil,” said Beatriz, who will drive the No. 18 Ipiranga Honda for Dale Coyne Racing in the fourth Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle on May 5. “It was cool to have the opportunity to visit it before it’s ready and understand the whole project.”

In addition to hosting five World Cup events, including the opening match of the tournament and a semifinal, Arena de Sao Paulo will serve as the home stadium for Corinthians, Sao Paulo’s most popular soccer team.