Salvador Servia heartily enjoys life

Posted on: October 12, 2011 | Comments(4) | Drivers | By: Dave

Salvador Servia laughs heartily – loud enough for his son, Oriol, a few yards away to pivot and return a smile. He’s relaying a story culled from more than four decades as a rally racer, enjoying the rides in the deserts and rocky outcrops across Europe with his wife/navigator Montse (above with Salvador and Oriol).

“In a rally that we won she felt bad and that was because she was pregnant with Oriol,” he chuckles at the memory. “I like to say Oriol was born in movement.”

That’s understandable as Salvador has been in perpetual movement long before his son’s birth. He’s been a rally racer who was twice the Spanish champion and competed at Dakar 13 times and Monte Carlo 11 times; a  politician who was elected senator of the province of Girona; a political economist. Now he’s track director of the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona – host of a Formula One race.

And, in another of life’s tangents, he’s also recently a published author of “Lead the Life.”

“I am old but I feel young; I’m not interested in history,” he relays about a Spanish publisher’s initial interest in a manuscript. “Then they proposed to write a book about stories, and they liked it. They are stories about a long racing life. I have been racing rallies for 42 years, always rallies. Road and desert, and at all this time by my side has been my wife. So I wrote some recollections.

“It’s easy to read and hopefully interesting.  At the end of each story I put a line with a message, and this is good today for the market.”

The Servias, who recently watched an IZOD IndyCar Series race in person, usually follow their son’s exploits via indycar.com and TV.

“When he was 12 he participated in school of driving karts. He traded water skiing for karts,” Salvador laughs. “And then he passed to Formula 3000 in Europe. But at the moment Formula 3000 was going down, he came to the U.S. and he did Indy Lights. He won the 1999 championship and had the opportunity to upgrade to Indy car.

“We have been in motorsport all our lives and we always helped him to reach his potential. Things are going really good for him this year. We’re very happy for 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.

Exposed: The Bachelor and Body issues

Posted on: October 5, 2011 | Comments (1) | Drivers | By: Dave

Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal are featured in general interest magazines out later this week. One (Rahal in Cosmopolitan Magazine) displays a designer watch prominent in the photo. The other (Castroneves in ESPN The Magazine’s “Bodies We Want” issue) shows a whole lot more, but not a designer watch.

“First of all, I’m honored to be in the magazine,” says Castroneves, who joins more than 20 other athletes who were captured all natural in poses related to their sport. “There are so many amazing athletes. I was just so surprised because I’m not the type of guy — 6 foot tall, broad shoulders – that I thought they would want.”

The three-time Indianapolis 500 champion, who’s 5-7 and about 145 pounds, laughs at what was proposed by photographer Luis Sanchis on the set that included a tire swing. The tire, of course, is the link to the IZOD IndyCar Series, but producers at least could have used a Firestone Racing tire instead of a passenger car tire.

“I thought they’d do something like you wear underwear and they would air brush it out,” he says. “But when I got there it was a big surprise. I would be completely naked. It was done in an artistic way. I’m comfortable with the group that was there.

“It was a unique experience. Hopefully, the fans will enjoy it.”

Rahal’s image, captured during the Toronto race weekend in July, accompanies the online piece for readers to select the “Bachelor of the Year.” He represents Indiana, where the Ohio native has resided since December. Rahal also is featured in the magazine’s November print issue (on newsstands Oct. 11).

Vote for Rahal through Oct. 16 at http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/bachelors-2011/bachelors-2011-indiana. The top 10 vote-getters will be the semifinalists, and Cosmo editors will select the “Bachelor of the Year,” which will be announced Oct. 18 when all the  state (plus the District of Columbia) representatives will gather in New York for the annual Cosmo Bachelor of the Year party hosted by editor-in-chief Kate White.

Though the 22-year-old Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing driver isn’t a reader Cosmopolitan (maybe thumbing through it once or twice?), he appreciates the attention it brings to the team, the IZOD IndyCar Series and, yes, himself. Much like Castroneves’ pages in ESPN The Magazine, though Rahal says he wouldn’t agree. “It’s just not my thing to be running around with my shirt off.”

What magazine would he like to be the cover story? “Any sort of sports or golf magazine; that’s what interests me.”

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!

De Silvestro at home in Switzerland County

Posted on: September 30, 2011 | Comments(5) | Drivers | By: Kate

It hasn’t been too long since Simona de Silvestro visited her home country of Switzerland, and on Sept. 29 a little taste of home was a nice treat for the IZOD IndyCar Series driver who has been nicknamed the “Swiss Missile.”

Simona de Silvestro visits Switzerland

Simona de Silvestro visits Switzerland

De Silvestro visited Vevay, Ind., a small town in Switzerland County. She visited a Swiss bed and breakfast, investigated the downtown history and went to Ogle Haus Inn, a landmark in town. Some of the locals who showed up shared their heritage with de Silvestro.

Not all was familiar to her, however. De Silvestro had the opportunity to blow into an alphorn, the national instrument of Switzerland.

“I had never tried one, so that was pretty fun,” de Silvestro said. “It took me a while to figure out how to do it. But then when I figured it out it was fun. But it was pretty funny, I made some funny faces while trying.”

Gifts from the heart at Motegi

Posted on: September 16, 2011 | Comments(6) | Drivers | By: Arni

The autograph session at Twin Ring Motegi is unlike any other on the IZOD IndyCar Series circuit.

Danica Patrick receives gifts from Japanese fans

Danica Patrick receives gifts from Japanese fans

In exchange for a photograph and a signature, some fans present gifts to their favorite drivers. Most gifts consist of photos, books, cookies and other sweets, and traditional Japanese items such as chopsticks or fans. But some fans go above and beyond the call in an effort to show respect.

EJ Viso showing some Japanese spirit

EJ Viso shows off one of his new gifts

One fan gave Marco Andretti a hand-made model of a HondaJet, complete with Honda logos, while Tony Kanaan received a 1/4-scale statue of Brazilian racing legend Ayrton Senna from one of his biggest fans in Japan. Another fan dressed his infant son -– whose middle name is Teekay in honor of Kanaan -– in a KV Racing Technology-Lotus onesie just like his namesake.

Danica Patrick received one of the biggest gifts -– a pair of daruma, Japanese good luck dolls, one painted to match her racing helmet and the other in the colors of primary sponsor GoDaddy.com and signed with well-wishes from a number of Japanese fans.

“These are great,” Patrick said after receiving the traditional Buddhist good luck items. “I am going to put these in the house back in the U.S.”

Daruma dolls, also known as Dharma dolls, are a Japanese traditional Buddhist toy used in goal-setting and wishing for good luck in achieving that goal. They are painted with only one eye with the other eye filled in once the goal has been achieved.

“I hope they aren’t Cyclops for long,” Patrick said.

Three days in the basement

Posted on: September 15, 2011 | Comments(7) | Drivers | By: Arni

Some IZOD IndyCar drivers will go to any length to get a competitive advantage over their fellow competitors.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender James Hinchcliffe used the Playstation 3 game Gran Turismo to get his first look at Twin Ring Motegi’s road course.

Of course, he didn’t plan on spending three days to take his first lap around the track.

“Maybe not one of my proudest moments,” said Hinchcliffe, who not only purchased the game and a memory card but borrow a Sony PlayStation 3 before he turned a lap. “Fortunately, I had a couple of teammates – my roommates – who did much of the grunt work. You try and learn a new track any way you can and video games these days are shockingly accurate. You’ll learn more in the first two laps in the actual car, but at least it gave me a little bit of a sense of where to go.”

Hinchcliffe and his roommates “spent three days in the basement” unlocking cars and tracks before finally getting to turn laps on the 14-turn, 2.983-mile road course. But because IndyCars are not in the game, he had to choose a car that is similar in speed.

“Part of the reason it took so long, was a) we had to unlock the tracks and b) I wanted to drive a car that would give me a feel of an IndyCar. I ended up driving the Konica Minolta Nissan Group C sports car. It was worth it.”

iRacing.com championship performance

Posted on: September 7, 2011 | Comments(6) | Fans, iRacing | By: DPhillips

Yang Ou on-track at Infineon Raceway

Yang Ou at Infineon Raceway

Yang Ou secured the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Premier road racing title like a true champion, leading from lights to flag in the top Strength of Field race at Infineon Raceway.  Taking his ninth win of the season, Ou crossed the line 18.7s ahead of Andre Boettcher with Aleksi Elomaa a further 23 seconds back just ahead of PJ Stergios.

Ou’s domination of the online race came as no surprise, given than fact that he claimed his 11th pole position in a dozen outings with a sizzling lap of 1:15.593, more than .3s quicker than Boettcher’s best.   In fact, only Ou and Boettcher broke into the 1:15s as Elomaa gridded third with a best lap of 1:16.715.

“The race went well,” said Ou.  “I was very conservative on the first stint, because I hadn’t done a full fuel run to check the tire wear. Even so, the car started to get sideways quite easily due to the big elevation changes in most of the turns, and when accelerating out of the hairpins as well. I started to pick up the pace a bit in the second stint knowing that it will be shorter so I won’t have to save tires as much as the first run. I crossed the finish line and it feels like one of the shortest road courses this season.  Maybe it was, or maybe it’s just because of the fact that Sonoma is a great track for the IndyCars, it is tons of fun to race here.”

Ou’s championship-winning performance netted him $500 and the first place trophy.  In concert with the fact that he is in the driver’s seat in the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Premier oval series, Ou also has the inside track on the overall iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Premier championship and the $1000 and airfare, hotel and VIP tickets package for two people to the IZOD INDYCAR World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the weekend of Oct. 16.

“I’d like to thank my fellow competitors Aleksi, André, PJ, Santiago, Joao Pinho and many other skillful road course drivers for making it a fun and competitive season in the iRacing IndyCar Road Premier Series,” said Ou.  “A nd well done for their great driving!”

The second race saw Raymond Mooney come from seventh on the grid to earn the win in his first appearance in the iRacing.com IZOD IndyCar Series Premier road racing this season.

As I head into the last race of the season at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, I reflect back to the start of this season and the whirlwind it’s been.

In addition to the close of the season, I have the opportunity to reflect on the recent end of the Seventeen magazine “Pretty Amazing” contest, which has been one of the coolest experiences of my life. This contest was different than anything I’ve ever done. It is a huge accomplishment to be one of the top-five finalists (out of 35,000 who entered) in the competition where one of us would be on the cover of Seventeen, a magazine that reaches 13 million monthly readers!

At the beginning of the season, everything was extremely hectic and I was fully focused on the start of my first full season since 2006 in a new series, learning a new craft. It was March and we were entering our second race of the season when my management group, BRANDed, came to me with yet another opportunity! Some of you may remember the video contest we did a year ago encouraging YOU to turn OFF your cell phones and “Don’t text and drive”. In all honesty, I wasn’t super enthusiastic about it because I was focused on the start of my season and my performance on the track. However, I went ahead and came up with a short essay and we went ahead and submitted an entry. Here’s what I wrote:

At age five, my family and I entered a world that would later shape my life, character, personality and future forever. The industry was racing and I would start driving racecars the same year I began Kindergarten in Miamisburg, Ohio. I was the kid at the front of the line, the kid who won the fundraising competitions, participated in Student Government, was involved in my school, graduated in the top ¼ of my class, was elected for homecoming court and a two year National Honors Society member. But I was different than everyone – always have been, always will be and that is something that has stuck with me, defined me and given me confidence.  At age five, I won my first race and never looked back. At the age of fourteen, I started realizing I could pursue racing professionally. Between now and then, I’ve been through nonstop ups and downs giving it my all to find sponsorships, connections and the means to be a professional racecar driver. Today, I am a fully funded and paid racecar driver continuing the pursuit of being a professional driver in the Indianapolis 500. My dreams have fueled me and will continue to be the seed beneath my life motto, never ever ever give up.

Soon thereafter, we got a call back from Seventeen asking for a 20-minute video answering questions about myself, my family, my background and what I do. They also wanted to see my bedroom and a little bit more about my personality. The funny thing was, I had just gotten to Indianapolis for the month of May and was living in a short-term lease, white walled, and generally furnished apartment that would show none of my personality! So, I sat on the bed with a comforter that I’d never choose, bare white walls and explained to Seventeen about my crazy life, why I was where I was, and what I was doing. 

USF2000 Driver Shannon McIntosh

After a string of a few more calls and videos, Ann Shoket, the magazine’s editor-in-chief “skyped” me and told me the great news. I was one of the five finalists and would be making the trip to NYC for a week where I’d do a top of the line cover photo-shoot, meet the other finalists and experience all kinds of awesome stuff.

Between the trip to New York City and the time that I found out, I was really too flat out with racing and concentrating on that to really think about what the trip would entail. MTV came to Milwaukee to do some filming prior to the race weekend and I also kept myself busy with other racing related “activities”.

Finally, the time came to go to NY and I finally spent some time “offline” and enjoying being a girl. From the time I arrived at one of the swankiest hotels in SoHo until the time that I departed, cameras followed close behind. The first night, us girls got to meet each other and have a surprise dinner together. The following day was the beginning of nonstop activities that Seventeen and Neutrogena would keep the five of us busy with.

The day started off with a trip to Hearst Corporation where we met Seventeen Editor-in-Chief, Ann Shoket, who told us we were going to be giving a short speech to an auditorium full of girls about our age, in thirty minutes! We all had a bit of time to come up with thoughts and most of the girls wrote their speeches on note cards. I wrote a few bullet points down but chose to speak from my heart and ditch the note cards. It was truly an inspiring moment for me to be able to tell my story to hundreds of girls who I’d never met but would possibly be able to make an impact on. After our speeches, we got to “meet & mingle” with all of the audience and then were told we’d be getting full-on makeovers. Seventeen created individual “looks” for each girl and mine was “Edgy Sweet.”

We went to a top-of-the line salon in the city and each of us got our trial looks in preparation for the following day; the photo-shoot! I got my hair colored a bit darker and trimmed. They also gave me some layers. It wasn’t a whole lot different but I definitely liked it.

Shannon McIntosh at Seventeen Magazine Photoshoot

The next day was day one of the photo-shoot and most definitely the best part of the trip. I don’t think I realized how big of a deal the whole thing was until I walked into the set and saw the professionalism and amount of people it took to put this thing together: a photographer with two assistants, a celebrity stylist and his two assistants, celebrity hair stylist and Herbal Essences spokesperson and his assistant, make-up artist and his assistant, nail artist, television crew, media, Seventeen executives, MTV executives, Neutrogena executives and tons of other random people which I had know idea who they were.

The process began and I started with make-up, went on to hair, then nails and stylists. They had the music up loud and the fans blowing (haha!). A few of the girls were super nervous but I was seriously excited and felt awesome, or should I say “Pretty Amazing”? The rest is hard to put into words so here are a few “behind the scene” photos.

Shannon McIntosh at Seventeen Magazine Photoshoot

Shannon McIntosh at Seventeen Magazine Photoshoot

That evening we met one of the judges, Jared Eng (founder of Just Jared—much like Perez Hilton’s celebrity gossip site) and had a dinner with him. We then had a somewhat early night to get rest for the second day of the shoot. The girls who hadn’t gone the first day went at the beginning of day two and in the afternoon we were surprised with the challenge of coming up with our own photo-shoot for all of the girls together. It was pretty fun and within an hour we had to make a set and come up with outfits. Check it out.

The final day was a red carpet luncheon and we started the day off with hair and make-up again. I got used to not having to do anything to get ready and after I returned from the trip wasn’t sure what to do without the pampering!! Speaking in front of a huge group of Seventeen and Neutrogena Executives about the amazing experiences of the week. We walked the red carpet, posed for the paparazzi individually and with actress and singer Miranda Cosgrove who was one of the contest judges. She was truly a sweetheart and really genuine. My speech went very well and it was a bittersweet ending to a great trip.

Of course all week, everyone was speculating who would win and wondering when they would tell us, but we heard that we wouldn’t find out until the “Pretty Amazing” special on MTV, which aired on August 30th at 8pm.

We were all asked who we’d want to win if we didn’t and without a blink of an eye I chose Zoe. We really hit it off and connected having similar stories of overcoming adversity. I am extremely happy and proud for Zoe because she is a very inspirational girl who has gone after her dreams and will do great things in her life.

Although I didn’t walk away with the cover, I walked away with a truly amazing experience and am proud to have been one of five out of 35,000 who applied.

I can’t thank all of the IndyCar community enough for all of your votes and encouragement throughout the whole thing. It’s been very humbling and an honor.

See you this weekend at Baltimore!

Shann