Published On April 22, 2016 » 1328 Views» By Cathy Kightlinger »

Cameras sent from celebrity gossip site TMZ pop up regularly when Verizon IndyCar Series drivers travel to New York and Los Angeles. So it was during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach last weekend.

After stopping Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal on the street and dropping by the track to interview Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud, TMZ posted its videos, which – as usual – prove the drivers are really good sports. Rahal and his wife, NHRA driver Courtney Force, easily handled pesky questions about when the newlywed couple will start a family. Pagenaud used his time on camera to plea for relief from ongoing comparisons to British actor Sacha Baron Cohen, who played the French character Jean Girard in 2006’s “Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

Also, how does one of NHRA’s top female athletes get listed simply as Rahal’s “famous” wife? We think she deserves a nod to her place in the sports world.

Maybe TMZ is good luck because Pagenaud went on to win in Long Beach. Third-place finisher Helio Castroneves started the party early for his teammate, soaking reporters, photographers and fans.

After the last bit of bubbly was downed and the Long Beach street course went back to operating as city streets, Dale Coyne Racing driver Conor Daly and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe headed to the set of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Since we have only one Mirror Ball trophy in the INDYCAR paddock so far (Helio’s), we hope this is an indication of things to come.


Speaking of celebrations, Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Max Chilton his celebrated his 25th at Barber Motorsports Park on Thursday. Meanwhile, across the pond, the Queen of England was marking her 90th. Seems the festivities for Queen Elizabeth overshadowed the celebration for young Max, but he was OK with that.


Continuing the party theme, Ed Carpenter Racing’s stars did a little this week with their sponsor, Fuzzy’s Vodka. Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden pulled out a few of Fuzzy’s new 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 commemorative bottles and tried their bartending skills. Of course, they figured out how to turn that into a race, too.


About The Author

Cathy Kightlinger

Cathy Kightlinger began telling stories about Verizon IndyCar Series drivers and their families in 2010 while writing a culture column for The Indianapolis Star. She loves open-wheel racing, popular culture and lifestyle news so she joined the IndyCar staff in 2014 to combine all of those interests. Her blog, #TrackChat, will tell you what happens when drivers get out of their race cars – what they wear, listen to, eat, read, and more. She lives in Indianapolis.