Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Rahal lobbies for car swap

Posted on: March 26, 2014 | Comments (0) | 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(3) | 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.

In eight seasons competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Ryan Briscoe has seven victories and 27 podium finishes over 102 starts.

The Aussie, who was the 2012 pole sitter, will make his 103rd start in the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 26 in the Honda-powered No. 8 NTT DATA car for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

History of car No. 8 in the Indianapolis 500:

Wins — 3 (1912 by Joe Dawson, 1936 by Louis Meyer and 1956 by Pat Flaherty).

Last win — Pat Flaherty, 1956 (started on pole).

Pole starts — 5 (1929 by Cliff Woodbury, 1932 by Lou Moore, 1956 by Pat Flaherty, 1977 by Tom Sneva and 2001 by Scott Sharp).

Last car No. 8 in starting field – Rubens Barrichello (2012).

Beatriz piling up the miles

Posted on: April 9, 2013 | Comments(9) | Uncategorized | By: Dave

Adding two IZOD IndyCar Series races to her schedule means Ana Beatriz will be spending a lot of time on airplanes.

The Dale Coyne Racing driver returned to her native Brazil following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama to attend a wedding during the off weekend and will return to the United States for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach the following week.

Then it’s back to Brazil for the race in Sao Paulo on May 5 before heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Opening day of practice May 11 for the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

“It’s a lot of travel, but at least I’ll get some (frequent flier) miles,” Beatriz said.

Does it look like Helio?

Posted on: April 4, 2013 | Comments(28) | Uncategorized | By: Dave

Helio Castroneves said he’ll call it “mini me.”

AAA Alabama produced bobble-head dolls of Castroneves, who will drive the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske car this weekend in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Castroneves visited AAA Alabama headquarters in Birmingham on April 4 to greet AAA members and fans.

“This is great,” he said. “I have to take a picture of this and send it to (teammate) Will (Power).”

Castroneves also has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation’s “Turbo” for a safe driving public service announcement. The feature film is scheduled to be released July 17. A promotion for the animated film is on the rear wing of Castroneves’ car this weekend.

Andy Murray wins the Sony Tennis Open.

Miami resident Tony Kanaan accompanied Dario Franchitti to the Sony Tennis Open to watch Andy Murray compete in an early-round match. Franchitti and  Murray — both from Scotland — go way back, but Franchitti had never attended a professional tennis match.

“At the end of the match we went to talk to Murray,” Kanaan recounts.  “It was funny to see Dario learning about tennis.  Had no clue what was going on.  I had to bring him sunscreen and all the stuff that he wasn’t ready for.  He was all sunburned in the end.

“Andy is a great guy.  Had a great game.  It was fun to do something else outside of racing.  It was really nice to see how fast those guys go.  We think we go fast on the racetrack, but when Andy can serve a ball 133 miles an hour, I was pretty impressed.”

Murray went on to win the tournament March 31, defeating David Ferrer in three sets.

Takuma Sato spent a few days with A.J. Foyt at a convention in Vegas last month — a sort of “get to know you” period for the recently-hired driver and the Indy car racing icon.

Sato’s initial observation of the IZOD IndyCar Series team owner? “The more I get to know him the more impressive he is. His record is impressive and knowing him he’s quite funny. He can’t stop talking and joking.”

It is an unlikely pairing this hulking Texan and diminutive native of Tokyo, a cross-cultural blend of steak and sushi, Kit Kats and kabuki. Early on, though, Sato doesn’t see a communication gap.

“I don’t think we have a problem of ‘Lost in Translation.’ Yes, the team is based in Houston, Texas, and I come from Japan but we all communicate very well,” Sato said.

In fact, early March 23 in the team transporter, Foyt took up Sato on his offer of the services of Dr. Take Komatsu, who practices acupuncture, to potentially relieve the pain of sciatica that caused Foyt to miss last week’s Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park.

Foyt said he felt better after the treatment, and his mood brightened considerably later in the day when Sato qualified second in the No. 14 ABC Supply car for the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“We tested with Takuma, we know he’s fast, he’s been fast with other people so we just want to give him the best car we can,” Foyt said. “We’re proud of what he did today. It was pretty good.”

Added Sato: “I think I made him smile today and I hope he continues to smile (during and after the race).”