Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

IRVING, Texas — They stand as MacArthur Boulevard burger sentries, welcoming/enticing visitors to the mercantile district off State Route 114.

On the east side is Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which has three walk-in plaza locations in the Metroplex, offering all the toppings you can stuff between two fresh-baked rolls to complement its heaping bags of fresh-cut fries.

Fries animal style complement the double-double at In 'N Out.

Directly across the street is the standalone building with the drive-thru of In ‘N Out, which has spread like crabgrass from the West Coast with 15 locations opening in the past year in the Dallas area.

They’re 3.5 miles east of INDYCAR’s headquarters hotel for events at Texas Motor Speedway, including the Open Test this week and the Firestone 550 on June 8-9 – enticingly close for the IZOD IndyCar Series technical operations personnel to even eschew their usual Outback Steakhouse run.

This entry isn’t to compare the franchises – both of which began as family businesses. In ‘N Out does offer intriguing menu options such as a 4 x 4 and fries animal style (photo left), while Five Guys will assemble its thick beef patty with any combination of toppings and condiments on the menu. It doesn’t, however, offer milkshakes. You have to cross the busy thoroughfare for chocolate, strawberry or vanilla.

This entry to make IZOD IndyCar Series fans aware of the stores that have made an impact on American culture and waistlines. So if you’re heading to Fort Worth for the Firestone 550, look up the nearby locations. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’re in Indianapolis for the “500,” check out another fine burger place – 96th Street Steakburgers at 4715 96th Street – not only for its fare but for the “Burger Bash” on May 25 (6:30-10 p.m.). The free event, hosted by Indianapolis Star sportswriter Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee of NBC Sports Network, will have auctions, giveaways, a live radio show and special guests. It benefits St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf and The Indianapolis Star’s “Our Children, Our City” campaign.

Of course, burgers, fries and shakes will be available for purchase.

All hands on deck, er, helmet

Posted on: April 26, 2012 | Comments(3) | Uncategorized | By: Kate

At first sight, the top of Josef Newgarden’s helmet could look like a jumble of letters and numbers that predict some sort of Mayan prophecy.

Josef Newgarden's new helmet.

But get him talking about it and he can decode each and every symbol, all representing someone special that he takes with him every time he steps into the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car.

“The top of the helmet has the letterings and initials, with middle name, for each mechanic, each person that’s on the team and that touches the car,” he explained. “Anyone that touches the car is on top of this lid. Anyone that has placed their hand on the car is basically on here.”

Throughout a long journey that took him over to Europe and ultimately back to the U.S., where he won the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights championship, Newgarden learned to appreciate his crew members. To him, those were the people that really fueled his career and helped him attain his goal of racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Beginning in December, days after he signed with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Newgarden made it a point to immerse himself in everything he could around the team shop in order to familiarize himself with his new crew members. He gathered lists of everyone’s name and birthday to accumulate on his first helmet for the season opener in St. Petersburg.

“I didn’t really know everyone super well at that point, and through exchanging emails I left a few people out by accident on my first helmet,” Newgarden said. “So it became kind of a joke around the shop, like ‘Hey! You left me off the helmet!’ The guys were joking with me that they got left off. It was all fun and games, but I made sure to get the names right on the second one.”

He’s confident he’ll be sporting the complete list on the Brett King Design helmet in Brazil this upcoming weekend, and is honored by the idea of having his career enablers with him every step of the way.

“I think I liked the idea of having them on the helmet with me, just because we bonded really well, really quickly,” he said. “I think because we had all that chemistry, it was really important for me that they have a place on the helmet as well. It was something that meant something.”

Racing for bonuses in Car Town

Posted on: April 12, 2012 | Comments(7) | Uncategorized | By: Dave

Owning Scott Dixon’s ride in Car Town could earn a bonus if the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver wins an IZOD IndyCar Series race. 

The bonus, which includes other drivers, is part of Car Town’s 2012 Indy 500 Challenge.

Featuring the new Dallara chassis, players can build and tune up their car for optimal performance on the popular Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the other 15 racetracks that are part of the season schedule.

The popular Facebook game was developed by Cie Games.

Go to https://apps.facebook.com/CarTown to experience all the thrills of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

How St. Petersburg got its name

Posted on: March 19, 2012 | Comments (1) | Uncategorized | By: Dave

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Walk past the large building at 215 Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg for a glimpse of the city’s foundation.

According to local lore, city co-founders John Williams and Peter Demens devised a simple way of assigning names to the town and its first hotel in 1888. Demens, a Russian aristocrat, won a coin toss and christened the burg after his hometown of St. Petersburg. Williams, a railroad exec, did the same with the Detroit Hotel.

Many a celeb and politician have occupied rooms at the hotel during its heyday. Now a residential condominium, it’s on the National Register of Historic of Places.

The new Dallara chassis features a hand clutch and two pedals – one each for the throttle and brake that are on either side of the steering column. Such a setup requires IZOD IndyCar Series drivers to left-foot brake, which many have done in junior formulas and racing in Europe.

Four-time series champion Dario Franchitti equated the move to a right-handed tennis player or golfer who’s been told they have to switch to playing left-handed. It’s “hard to unlearn” decades of muscle memory braking with his right foot, he said.

So, upon request, Dallara designed a kit – which will be produced for any driver upon order — that shifts the brake pedal to right to provide right-foot braking, and INDYCAR approved. No modifications were made to the chassis.

“It’s important to me that we got that done,” said Franchitti, who tested the pedal configuration for the first time last week during the Open Test at Sebring International Raceway. “It makes a big difference driving the car. It will help me get just that last little bit and extract the maximum out of the car.”

Other drivers, such as Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, who also haven’t left-foot braked since early in their careers, are adapting to being left-foot brakers.

“A lot of other guys have made that transition over the years, but for performance purposes I felt the way I did it suited my style and it worked well for me,” Franchitti said. “You can change it, but I felt I would have been at 95 percent. I think it would have taken a few more tests to get to where I was as a right-foot braker.

“For me and the team, it was easier to (ask for a change). It also gives us some advantages as a right-foot braker that I wasn’t ready to give up.”

Franchitti begins defense of his series championship March 25 in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – a 100-lap race on a 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit that requires a fair amount of braking that he won in 2011.

In inset, the pedal configuration that allows for right-foot braking.

Firestone Indy Lights driver Jacob Wilson talks about his experience in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Media Karting Event Feb. 28 at Andersen RacePark.

St. Petersburg, Fla. What a beautiful city. Hopping off the plane from frigid Indianapolis into the 80 degrees we had Monday was a welcoming “Hello,” but the real hospitality was still to come.

Jacob Wilson on the track.

This was my first INDYCAR media event of this kind and it was a blast. The Andersen RacePark crew had everything done up very professionally and the karts were ready for everything we gave them, which was a severe beating at times. I was there representing Firestone Indy Lights, the final step before the IZOD IndyCar Series on the Mazda Road to Indy development program, as was my friend Peter Dempsey.

Marco Andretti and Simon Pagenaud were reppin’ the IZOD IndyCar Series, and Shannon McIntosh, Spencer Pigot and Matthew Brabham were there for USF2000. We also had Shea Holbrook from the Acura World Challenge and former Firestone Indy Lights driver Anders Krohn there, too.

After the press conferences and interviews wound down it was nice to meet and visit with some of the other drivers. The big personalities of drivers made this event a great time for me. Having the opportunity to hang out and just kid around in a relaxed setting made the great weather that much more enjoyable.

I was given the honor of being the “pro” driver for the Bay News 9 Team. Not many teams had a member with a personality more outgoing, friendly and competitive than my correspondent, Virginia Johnson. Virginia unfortunately couldn’t participate because she is expecting her first child, so I gave her a rain check on this one (knowing that this would in turn bring more track time for me). “First or last” was our official team motto while most of us had decided that “miss the jet dryer” was more hip.

On to the action …

The Le Mans style start made for an interesting first lap. Being quick on my feet, I won my first and only race of the day, as I quickly surrendered positions to the Irish man Peter Dempsey, and the Viking Anders Krohn. I did have a nice battle with Marco Andretti, Simon Pagenaud and Spencer Pigot for a few laps, which featured numerous attempts by Marco to shut other drivers’ engines off, and ended with Simon making a new path across the track, which the track steward deemed illegal. I liked his innovation … as you’ll hear about in a minute.

As the action heated up, so did the trash talking between news crews. At one point I thought we were moments away from having an “Anchorman” throw down Ron Burgundy style. Things quickly settled once lunch was served.

For those of you who have seen Brad Keselowski’s tweets from the car, that is nothing compared to Marco’s video tweeting while kart racing.

Deep into the race, the Bay News 9 mobile had worked itself into fourth position with the final two stints remaining. Making little to no progress on Spencer Pigot’s twp-lap lead in the fifth stint, I decided to lay my cards on the table in the final run. Some on-track hand signals with Simon allowed us to get hooked up as drafting partners. Creatively, we mastered the circuit in half the time of the other drivers. Unfortunately, after the third consecutive lap of short cutting half of the track, we got busted and ultimately had to settle for fourth. Ricky Bobby would have been proud though.

Thanks to INDYCAR and Andersen RacePark for the opportunity.

Yang Ou, the certain champion

Posted on: October 20, 2011 | Comments (1) | Uncategorized | By: DPhillips

Yang Ou, 22, is the champion of iRacing.com’s IZOD IndyCar Premier Series.

The spoils of Ou’s many online racing victories include a cash prize.

Ou & Doyle

Yang Ou and Tim Doyle

A native of Wu Han, China, Ou resides in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he is studying media technology.  It goes without saying that Ou is a fan of the real world IZOD IndyCar Series.  He also follows Formula One and the NFL and, when not studying or sim racing, plays a bit of football (soccer and American-style), not to mention rock/heavy metal on his electric guitar.

Ou amassed 16 wins in 25 starts (the iRacing format features multiple races at a given track each week) to beat Finland’s Aleksi Elomaa and Germany’s Andre Boettcher for the road course title and Tim Doyle (Winchester, Va.) and Elomaa for the oval crown.

Although he owns a variety of iRacing cars, the IndyCar Dallara – and the IZOD IndyCar Series – are Ou’s preferred choices.

“IndyCar is what I know best and my favorite car to race as well,” he says. “I appreciate the diversity in different type of circuits, as drivers have to master road/street courses, short ovals, 1.5-mile ovals and superspeedways. The car handling, setups and styles of racing are very different with every car configuration, which is of course also the case in the real world IndyCar Series and it is a cool challenge.”

That challenge appeared particularly daunting early in the 2011 season, as Ou suffered disappointing results in the opening races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and MIS.  On the oval side, he got into high gear in the second week of competition at Phoenix International Raceway with a pair of wins.  Similarly, he visited the winner’s circle in the second round of the road racing championship, and from then on was virtually unbeatable, scoring consecutive victories at Road Atlanta, Sebring, Road America, Mid-Ohio and in the finale at Infineon.

“It did feel like a slow start (on the ovals),” he concedes, “but it was an unfortunate incident that prevented me from leading the season from start to finish.  I got run over by the second-place car while pitting from the lead with eight laps to go, but he apologized for that later on and even with a lot of aero damage for the rest of the race I still finished third so it’s not too bad.

“On the road side I definitely got a slower start . . . I was relatively off pace from Team My3id’s Klaus Kivekäs and Aleksi at Laguna Seca. The car balance was good in qualifying and only slightly lacked downforce, but the race setup was very unstable and I had to drive conservatively. By Week 2 at Barber Motorsports Park, I already figured-out the most important setup settings. With .3 sec in reserve, I was still .25 sec faster than the second fastest qualifier, so it was a great improvement (and) I continued to learn about road course setup for the Dallara throughout the season.”

As has been well documented, iRacers are liable to find themselves competing with “real world” racers at any moment.  Yang Ou is no exception.

“I’ve raced against Will (Power), Oriol (Servia), Tscheck (Tomas Scheckter), Justin Wilson and also Dale Earnhardt Jr.,” he says.  “They drive in iRacing the same way they do in real life.  Will and Tomas were incredibly aggressive; Justin was less aggressive and made very calculated moves.

“Junior was fantastic at avoiding spinning cars as there were many ‘big ones’ during that race.  Yet, every time, when the smoke clears, he was almost the only one that made it through.  In the end, there were only a few cars left in the race and the two of us had a great battle.  Junior won, but I learned a lot and it was fun battling with 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.

This coming week will mark the IZOD IndyCar Series’ final round of the season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For the occasion the boys at ArtRotondo.com decided to break the walls down and unleash one of their finest works yet — Graham Rahal’s Sin City helmet.

This helmet was produced to pay tribute to the Indycar’s arrival to the city and to the city’s great attributes. Hoping that this helmet will be enough of edge that Graham will need to lead the final lap of the race and take the checkered flag to end his 2011 on a high note.

The end of season marks a lot of other end of season helmets for many others, including Vitor Meira’s latest helmets that he will also be sporting in Las Vegas along with Sebastian Saavedra’s upgraded more colorful Colombian influenced helmets.

In the DTM series, Mercedes top driver Gary Paffett unveiled his end of season helmets which include a special matte “Bizarro” version of his classic helmet which is already making head waves throughout the racing world.

Finally US racing prodigy Alexander Rossi hopes to finish on top of his World Series by Renault season with his brand new modified helmet style complete with his trademark ghost pattern palm trees to pay tribute to his native of California, so that the entire world see’s what he’s accomplishing and most importantly where he comes from as being the only american with a valid Formula Super License in the world.

The end of season is always a sad time for us as before everything else, we are avid racing fans, but work never stops and which is why you have to stay posted on the Indycar blog throughout the off season for our full updates on all of our upcoming projects and remember to also check in to www.artrotondo.com for day to day updates and on our Twitter and Facebook fan pages.

Randy wants your opinion!

Posted on: October 3, 2011 | Comments(101) | Uncategorized | By: Kate

INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard wants to hear YOUR thoughts on the IZOD IndyCar Series! Every Monday for the rest of the season, he will post a poll here on the INDYCAR Blog asking for your opinion. Today, he wants to know what you enjoyed most about the Kentucky Indy 300! Answer below, and follow him on Twitter to hear his response later today!